Time

Holy shit, life has been busy. Lately the lack time has felt severe, to the point that I start to get panicky thinking of all the things I have to do and how few hours I have to do them.

I keep telling myself that this too shall pass, but getting through each day can be overwhelming. It’s not even about how I might fit in the thing I want to do, it’s about how I can manage all the things I feel I have to do. And the reality is most of them don’t get done, and the clean laundry sits all over the couch for five days, and I don’t make my grandmother’s calendar until two weeks into the new year, and every night I shave off a few more minutes of sleep until I’m barely getting six hours again.

I return all the unread comic books to library, because I know they won’t get read before they’re due. I don’t bookmark posts I want to come back and comment on because I know I’ll never have a free moment at my computer. I fish my jeans out of the dirty clothes hamper AGAIN, because I still haven’t manage to wash them. I get yet another note from my son’s daycare about how they are running low on diapers. I scramble to edit my students’ skits in the three minutes between classes.

I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. I’ve already extracted so much from my life: I’m not trying to see friends; or connect with my husband during the week; or make extra money tutoring (though I need to). I carve out time to exercise three days a week because my mental health depends on it, and that is usually when I blog, or comment. That is the only thing I’m doing right now that I don’t actually HAVE to do. All the rest is necessary–morning routines, making the kids dinner, putting them to bed, grading papers. I don’t see what I can stop doing to make things easier, and yet this life feels untenable.

I think a lot these days about the “seasons” in one’s life. I know this is a particularly hectic season in my life, but I also know I have a few more years left in it and I’m trying really hard to make those years not only manageable, but at least somewhat enjoyable. It’s hard not to feel like I’m failing at that, and I’m not sure how or why that is.

Not sure where to end this post. Life feels hectic and relentless and I want to simplify things but I don’t know how. And that is where I’ve been these past two weeks. And I’m hoping it gets better.

How do you make your life less hectic?

20 Comments

  1. I’m not sure how often you wash your jeans, but My husband and I both jeans a few times before throwing it in the hamper. Same for t-shirts and sweatpants for home. I.E. less laundry.
    We don’t really fold the kids’ clothes. We throw them in designated bins or hang them up.
    I also hang up a lot of my t-shirts instead of folding. Though right now I’m trying the Marie Kondo technique of rolling shirts up so I can see these.
    As you can tell, a lot of my time-saving techniques are related to laundry. I hate laundry and folding clothes.

    1. I wear my jeans 3-4 times before putting them in the wash, unless I get something on them. When I’m pulling them out of the wash I’m wearing them for the 4th or 5th time.

      I would love to leave clean clothes around in hampers but my cat loves to pee in a bag of clean clothes so I try to avoid that. Also, our house is small and I do 10+ loads a week (we use cloth diapers), so I have to stay on top of it or the bags are everywhere.

  2. I had to get up earlier. I’m barely getting 6 hours now but in order for the dishes to be put away, the laundry to be done/folded, bathrooms cleaned…I do something every night. What helps me is that I make a list. Not too overwhelming of a list and cross something (1 or 2) off each night. I try to recoup my sleep on the weekends which sometimes does/doesn’t work out.
    However, I’d like to add, I had to search for my jeans this morning…and they were on the floor. Yeah, I forgot to wash my clothes b/c I was busy washing the kids clothes. Yeah.

    1. I’ve been keeping a list of 2-3 things to do a night (if there are three, one is VERY SMALL). This helps me, but I still feel overwhelmed. And my house is so small, if I get up earlier, everyone else will just wake up earlier with me, and that kind of defeats the purpose. πŸ˜‰

  3. We do ALL this stuff on weekends. (I know you have to do laundry for the diapers more often). Friday evening, laundry loads begin (1-2 loads our clothes, 1 load kids, 1 load bathroom towels/kitchen napkins/rags, and every other week a load of sheets). whoo hoo! looking forward to it! Saturday morning grocery shop. Saturday night, fold laundry. Sunday morning and afternoon, cook & prep all food for week (make big dinner dish we eat throughout week, cut fruit/veg for lunches, this week I’m making myself egg muffins or frittata for breakfasts so I can grab and go, portion out kids’ and our snacks into containers, make sandwiches/salads for 2-3 days lunches at a time).
    We do take turns to get this done, so that one of us can do stuff with the kids. That helps a LOT. that way I can get to bed at a decent time on weeknights (theoretically)

    1. I do A LOT of laundry on the weekend, but if I leave it all for the weekend and then we do something I’m TOTALLY fucked for the next week. What do you do if you have plans on the weekend? When does this stuff get done then?!

  4. My hope that my life will feel less hectic when I start my new job just evaporated πŸ˜‰ When I am overwhelmed, unfortunately exercise is the first to go. (Which I know shouldn’t be the case, but that’s what I let happen.) The idea of me-time and filling my own cup feels like a pipe dream. Gosh, even picking up a prescription before the pharmacy calls me to complain about how long it’s been sitting on the shelf seems like a pipe dream! Hopefully your other commenters will solve all our problems because I’ve got nothin.

    1. I’m sure it will feel less hectic, because you are used to working for hours after your kid goes to bed. You clearly have strategies in place to make life work without that time in the evenings, and now you’ll have it. I have faith things will feel better for you soon. πŸ˜‰

  5. I find that I rotate a lot. I go through periods of time when I’m focused on sleep, other times when I’m focused on hanging out with K, times I’m more focused on housekeeping. I can’t do it all at once. Its not a perfect solution, but it seems to be the best I can do at this stage of life.

    1. I do this too, but right now I feel like I don’t have time for ANYTHING, and that is what is making me feel panicky. I’m not focusing on sleep, or my husband, or writing, or anything. It’s like I’m in survival mode.

  6. Your observation that there is no time remains valid as always.
    Levis suggests freezing jeans rather than washing them. I never tried this. They would say to spot clean ‘life’ off the jeans before freezing. I cannot picture the adrenaline boost of putting on frozen jeans. Or the size of the freezer needed.
    Hopefully this tip made you laugh.
    Beyond that ‘tip’ I have nothing helpful. You have too many things to do and not enough help or time to accomplish it all and not enough money to hire any of it out. SOME 3-4 year old children are really good at folding clothes and putting them away… but that is only some not all and I think your daughter does not have that aptitude/desire. Maybe your son will. (Putting clean clothes on the floor to fold does not ‘really’ make them dirty as long as you do not have dirt floors or it is not too close to the cat litter box. But deep breaths while you work on convincing them to use the sofa or other flat surface is recommended.)
    I remember those days. Children grow, things change. Despair does not help you. Stop, breath, focus your mind on something pretty around you. Know we all support you. You are not alone.

    1. I have to wash my clothes because they get shit on them. I wish I could blame that on my kids, but I’m a messy eater myself. πŸ˜‰

      I’m trying to find some stuff my kids can help me with. My son is really good at picking up his own toys…my daughter, well, asking her to help would require a SIGNIFICANT time commitment to get her to a place where she might actually be able to save me time, and honestly, I don’t have faith that we’d ever actually get there.

  7. I second what a PP said about shifting as much of the workload to weekends as possible. I do ALL laundry (wash/dry/fold/put away) on Sundays after church with the exception of one mid-week cloth diaper wash (note: to only wash cloth diapers twice a week, I bought more cloth diapers – cheap! – off Craigslist). I bought enough bottles (again – cheap! – consignment store) to last for three daycare days, so I also only wash bottles 2x/week. I also only grocery shop on Sundays – no mid-week trips. Post-baby I sat my husband down and told him I needed him to “own” certain things – things that he would automatically do when he sees they need to be done/I don’t have to remind him of. It took trial-and-error to figure out what he was good at doing (and by good, I mean to my standards not his – e.g., bottle washing shifted to him for one week and then I took it back). Now after I wash bottle and pump parts and they’ve dried on the counter he assembles them and puts them away; he stuffs all of our pocket diapers; and he takes trash and recyling out 2x/week (on the two days I’ve “ordained” – ha!). As I mentioned in a previous comment, I have someone come clean every other week. I regularly straighten but spend very little time hard-scrubbing. I don’t have much free time, but I also don’t feel like I’m drowning…

    1. I try to shift things to the weekends, but then when we do something on the weekend we’re totally screwed. Luckily we don’t do a ton on the weekends, so that doesn’t happen much, but when it does, the following week is a shit show. Oh, and I also only wash my cloth diapers twice a week, but I wash the inserts separate from the shells (and soak the inserts all night because I have a front loader), so it’s two loads per wash. If I miss the first day I’ll wash them all together, but I try to avoid that because I wash my shells on Medium and my inserts on Hot.

  8. Yeah, it’s tough. Sometimes I think I’ve got this, then it doesn’t take much to throw things off. For example a couple of months ago the power went off in our area for like 9-12 hours and of course it was on a Sunday and Sunday is when we do our grocery shopping. It wasn’t even weather related. So we had very little food so it was quite stressful. We managed but still. We were lucky in that in our particular subarea the power came on earlier than others so I was able to rush to the local Lucky and pick up some stuff since they were open whereas most others like Trader Joe’s were not. So we were fine even though I usually shop at like three or four stores a weekend (I have it finely honed) so everything got thrown off and just one little thing like that they can throw your whole week off…and I know this is coming from a privileged first world view.

    And then we just upgraded our iPhones and I spent like 2-3 hours a day for the past three days trying to get our backups to work–I was chatting online with Apple support etc. so again I don’t have to three extra hours a night so I had to give up a work out…so yeah I doesn’t take much to throw everything off.

    So your daycare takes cloth? That’s rare.

    I do the actual laundry like sort, operate the machines and my dh is supposed to fold and often the adult laundry basket just sits there for a week until the next weekend when I has to be emptied and similarly with the kids’ laundry basket that is kept in one of my chilren’s rooms…so yeah we do eventually put stuff away and fold and hang it but it’s usually a week behind.

    1. I TOTALLY know what you mean. If one thing is off, the whole thing goes off the rails. If I go out to eat with a friend on the night I’m supposed to wash diapers, my whole week’s worth of laundry is screwed. If my have a staff meeting when my kids need to take a bath, we all get to bed two hours later than we should. It’s a mess, a mess I don’t know how to clean up.

  9. This is so hard. You have so much on your plate. As always, I’m so thankful that you have women here who get it and who support you and validate you.

    I’m unspeakably lucky with a husband at home – it’s the only way that I can be sane.

    Even then, the daily cleaning is on me, because he just doesn’t notice it. He does do all the laundry, though. I know. You hate me now.

    My intention is to prioritize sleep. It’s just too important and I function so shittily without it, and I’m still not in a space where I can control when I am woken up at night and how often. So going to bed that 1 hour earlier, and spending the hour before that doing relaxing non-screen things (ha, ideally) – it’s important.

    1. But the thing is, I DON’T really have that much on my plate. It’s just life, you know? It’s not like something crazy is happening right now–except maybe vision therapy. That is why this stresses me out so much, because there is anything intense going on, and yet things feel untenable. How is it ever going to get better?!

      I should also be prioritizing sleep. I try to–it’s just my hard kid doesn’t fall asleep until so late, I NEVER get a moment to myself. It’s hard to give up those few moments for sleep.

  10. THIS. I am beyond stressed and constantly short on time and I’m not sure what the hell to do about it to change things! Glad I’m not alone?

  11. I’m going to pull you up on one thing. You wrote, “I don’t know what I’m doing wrong.” You’re so hard on yourself. When you tell me about your schedule, I don’t know how you do it. Maybe you’re not doing anything wrong. Maybe you’re just busy. Stop beating yourself up – that’ll save several minutes a day, I suspect! πŸ˜‰

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *