Thursday, May 14, 2009

stolen moments

Baby 1 is asleep for his second nap of the day. Baby 2, still fussing. It's been 20 minutes already, and I'm just sitting here on the floor, going over my list, talking and shushing him as he falls asleep. Occasionally I go to the crib to reposition and quiet him some more. When will he be asleep?? OK, finally. Both babies are sleeping. Baby 1 has been down for 20 minutes, and Baby 2 just fell asleep. I might have 10 minutes or an hour before Baby 1 wakes up. What can I do in 10 minutes, or 5? A shower? Breakfast that I won't forget in the microwave? Open and pay a bill? Do I need to make bottles? A shower. I'll grab a shower.

Over and over again, throughout the day, the internal conversations continue. What can I get done now? What should I be doing? There is no down time, no time to really sit quietly without all of the demands of keeping this household (and new business!) running weighing on me. It's a good thing I have always been the kind of person who would work on tasks a little at a time, jumping from one thing to another. In the past, I thought this a weakness, but now it is the key to my survival!

a day in the life... or was this just a morning?

With a ton of crafty mama friends with one or more children, I wonder how they do it. Time to knit? Quilt? Make baby clothes? All while keeping house, baking fresh bread and meals? It's a mystery.

I've learned that the most helpful thing is to keep a master list of all the things that need to get done, and break that down into daily tasks, no matter how small. Somehow I always think I can keep all of this in my minute-to-minute brain, only to find myself with 2 or 5 or 20 minutes, not knowing what to do or where to start. Then I end up refreshing my home page on Facebook or checking Bloglines, only to find that all my free time has gone the way of the dinosaurs.

* fill water bottle
* call dentist to schedule cleaning
* come up with list of questions for doctor's appointment
* split circular-knitted vest at armpits so i can continue knitting
* install Office upgrade
* make x, y, and z phone call
* pay monthly bills
* groceries
* print photos for grandparents
* send Mother's Day cards

OK, that was my list from last week, when I started writing this post. Most of the items got done! Sadly, not the knitting, the photos, or the cards. Better luck this week!


  1. OMG - this is totally me, every day! That's why I'm blogging tonight... party because I don't know what to spend my time on. And partly because I worked last night until after 10 pm (on payroll taxes) so I deserve to sit and watch TV while on the computer, right?

    Keep up with those lists! And make sure to add - "treat myself!"

  2. It's called parenthood - such lamenting about nothing. Get over yourself!

  3. Right there with you...that's how my days tend to go, too. I've kind of gotten into a routine, though, as the twins have gotten more dependable with their naps and playtimes. I kind of know what I"ll be doing when for the most part. YES to lists and doing things in short little bursts when you can grab time! For me, I try to have 3-4 tasks that I plan to get done each day, and I prioritize around those. A couple things MUST get done every day, so those get done first (my workout, wash bottles, etc...)

  4. This is very similar to David Allen's Getting Things Done method. I bet a Google search would pull up moms who use the method while home with babies/kids. I've been using the method for at least 6 months, and it's great. And there are lots of computer based (and paper based) systems that support the method. Things for the Mac is my personal favorite and a total God send. Maybe get the audiobook from the library to listen to in the car? I recommend Getting Things Done and Making it All Work, both by David Allen.

  5. I hear ya!
    And, btw, I don't think this is "lamenting" at all, just an observation of what all our lives have become since we welcomed little people into them. Some days are easier than others, but all require some kind of "management". Thanks for sharing how you "manage". :)

  6. Wow, lame anonymous comment. I can't believe people are that mean hearted.

    I was going to comment to say I saw something somewhere about setting a timer for 15 mins and cleaning for that long. I try to do that while C naps and I am usually amazed at how much I get done in 15 mins. Lots of times I would just sit and feel defeated, but when I set the timer I actually feel so productive after just 15 mins.

    I have no idea how you do all you do with twins. I find a toddler and a babe tough and I have a live in helper (hubby). You are a hero to those boys!

  7. troll.

    Mama C, you are an INSPIRATION. I have five kids and read your blog and go...oh yeah! Great idea!!! So thanks for's a very awesome reminder about cherishing the small fractal moments and doing what you can to stay on top of the pile o' life!


  8. Wow, thanks for the ideas! I love the exchange of strategies. I know my sister posted a while back about an interview she heard with David Allen - I've been meaning to go back and listen to it. I'll see if the library has either of those books on CD, Knittah - I know you have really benefited from his approach.

    That's a great idea about the timer, too. I could probably do that even while the boys are playing. M is going through (another) fussy phase, so I often feel like i have to sit right there with him. I could probably do 5 or 7 minutes, though!

    With all the millions of blogs out there, you'd think someone who didn't like mine (or didn't want to even read the whole post before dumping their nastiness all over comments) would just move on to the next one. 'nuf said.

  9. Getting Things Done crude self-assessment tool: