When I'm not blogging

Really, is there anything else?

Today, the anything else was two children who refused to go to school (only one succeeded in staying home--feel free to guess which one), a trip to the pediatrician, amoxicillin, immodium, a trip to the hospital lab, a trip to Dunkin Donuts as a bribe to get [possibly sick child] to go to the hospital lab and have blood drawn, having blood drawn, a trip to school to pick up the well child, a brief lovely hiatus while the children, sick and well, played with Vous while I --gasp--WORKED! ACTUAL WRITING!--until the H came down from his office, pale and stricken, to announce the death of a woman he's known his whole life and who we both adored. She had a full, long life which we celebrate, but I can count on one hand the times I've seen the H cry. It was wrenching. He'll be headed west for the memorial this weekend.

I tend to move through life thinking (foolishly, I already know) that I am one step, one unsolved problem, away from getting everything organized, under control, running with the efficiency of some Operations case I skimmed in business school. Not so. HBS should write a case on motherhood, family and home management, because I'd like to hear what those smarmy balding 30 year old frat boy motherf***ers I went to B school with would have to say about how to do it better, when chaos is always waiting to disrupt the house of cards I call my plan. (Can you tell how much I liked B school? Mike, if you're reading I don't mean you.)

This all sounds terribly selfish, self-involved and needlessly self-pitying as I read it over, which makes me feel ashamed. Just last week I was doing some gloriously beautiful drive or other and thinking about how unbelievably great my life is. And trust me, it is. In ways I never anticipated. It is decidedly not, as an old friend wrote me last night after, I think, reading this blog for the first time, all "The Ice Storm" and "Away from Her." Ok, maybe once in a while, on the really bad days when the H loses his shit and I follow suit. But not much, not really. The things I don' t like about my life are largely things that I don't handle well, places where I fall down, disappoint myself or others, drop out, fail to perform or provide. So that's the question--how do you do better, knowing that life will always provide earthquakes just when you think the ground is steady? How do you keep everything running?


lnadig said...

I don't. Some things get done, some don't and I just have to go with the flow and start again the next day. Just yesterday I was saying to D that I didn't understand how I could get so off balance, so quickly. He responded that he's been working from home for 10 years and still has trouble with the balance thing. (Add sick kids and/or snow days into the mix and all plans go out the door!)

The B school "boys" would blame middle management and come up with a complex workflow analysis and talk about implementing an efficient computer monitoring system, complete with a quality control module. When in reality they'd handle it in their own lives by getting a wife & leaving the domestic stuff to her. That's it - you need a wife! In fact, we all do - the old fashioned, 1950's job description type wife, who is there when the S*&! hits the fan to take care of the things we just can't face.

cab said...

Hmmmm. this one takes a little thought. First of all, which part sounded "selfish, self-involved and needlessly self-pitying"? I must have missed that part.

What you describe is something we all face. But the myth that we need to dispel is that there is any way to get ahead of it all. Chaos is the natural order and our relentless need to wrestle it into a neat package is the problem, not our inability to do so. I know that exact feeling that I am one phone call away from having it all hum along like some well-oiled machine. But that's an absurd fantasy when I have an elderly house, elderly parents, until recently several elderly cats, two young children, one lovely and wonderful but needy-in-her-own-way nanny... I need not go on.

How many times have I sat in my office for an entire day and long into the night trying to get it all done? Too many. This conversation has made me resolve to stop that. My best days are the days I realize that most of it doesn't really matter, those who love me will continue to do so, and keeping the big balls in the air (children's mental health and self-esteem, no small feat in my house, making sure husband will remember my name when kids go to college, making sure neither one of my parents needs to be rushed to E.R. at this moment)is all that really matters.

goodfellow said...

I don't think there are very many people who can manage things like you think you should -- not even Martha had it all together. You have set very high standards yourself... I'm betting that you have things running smoother than you think you do.

Staying at home and running the household is not what you studied for, and like me, it probably does not play to your natural strengths (just a guess here, but you don't have an "S" in your Myers-Brigg profile, do you? You are a strong "N", aren't you?), so it speaks all the more of your love for your children, and your family that you are doing this.

(I'll remind myself I said this tomorrow when I have to confront the detritus of breakfast and the rest of my day...)

rebecca said...

I showered today! AND bathed!

Alto2 said...

Three kids, two cats, one husband, one large home, and no help. How the hell do you think I keep it going? I fake it! Putting out fires is what I do best.

Martha has hornswoggled us all into believing we can have it all and do it all. We can't. Just do the best you can and try to keep the kids from killing each other.