It's become clear in the last few weeks. I do not have the time I want for even the basics, much less all the extras I've been trying to fit in. My work lasts from morning until night and then through the night as well. My daughter Katie sleeps like a newborn (read: badly). There hasn't been a night in the last two weeks when I've been up less than twice. One night, between two girls with nightmares, another who wet the bed, still another with a cold, and Katie's regular sleep pattern, I was up eight times!
I haven't been able to nap soundly for weeks, for dozens of reasons, a different one each day -- repairmen showing up at the wrong time, the phone ringing, Katie and Harmony not sleeping at the same time, 1:00 Church, and then because my body betrays me: when I finally carve out a time when my kids don't need me, I can't calm down and really sleep.
It feels like the elements are conspiring against me. Last night, I went to bed early. Within that first hour, I was up three times with children who needed me. I finally got Katie back to sleep but then I was unable to sleep myself for several hours in the middle of the night.
So I'm retrenching. I'm cutting back on all extras. I'm taking a look at the work I do and deciding what I can put on hold. I've already cut out most of my photography and I guess I won't be adding it back in for a while. I don't write like I want to or post on this blog much (for example, I'm going to post this badly-written, disjointed piece of writing even though I know I could polish it up better if I had time). There's plenty I can't cut out, either because I've felt strongly it needs to happen -- my mother's group, some of the exercise I'm doing -- or because it's just the basic work of having a large family -- the errands, the neighborhood preschool, Eliza's dance class, trips to the library and the grocery store, helping kids with homework and reading, Scouts and piano lessons, dinners, laundry (hours and hours of laundry!), and more I can't remember right now. But the rest? I'm going to be looking at it seriously and culling.
I've spent all summer getting organized and doing better with my to-do list and developing a system to keep track of all the stuff I have to do. But you know what? Even if I have time to write down all I want to do, that doesn't mean I have time to do it all. It's time to cut back, to retrench.
I also need to figure out the delegation more. I listened to part of an interview this morning of a mother and her two grown daughters. When they were growing up, she determined that since they didn't have a farm, a large family, or a large home to take care of, she needed to teach them to work somehow. They chose piano. THREE HOURS A DAY on the piano. I don't think my kids need that much time on the piano. However, I DO have a large family and a large home to take care of, plenty of opportunities to really teach my kids to work.
And honestly, they work some, but even on our "family work days" it's rare for them to be working longer than two hours straight. During the week, their zones take them maybe fifteen minutes a day. I don't think any of them needs three hours of work a day, but maybe it wouldn't hurt for them to take on a little more of the responsibility, to take a little more notice of all the work that I do every day and help out.
I hope this time doesn't last forever. I'm sure it won't and I'll be able to keep up with things more, but as long as my baby sleeps like a newborn, I need to treat this time the way I would the newborn period, by being more patient with myself, by lowering my standards for a spotless home and completely organized life, by giving highest priority to my sleep.
Wish me luck.