Expected to do it ALL!

 Expected to do it all!

I’m not sure how I would survive if I had a ‘real’ job! Some days are overwhelming and I wonder how or if or when I will ever get everything accomplished. I often wonder what other mothers do with their time. Am I overly involved or high strung or do all mothers live like I do? I tend to have high expectations for myself, my house, my husband, and my children. I know my husband thinks I need to relax a bit but I just know that if I relax I will soon drown in dirty laundry, dishes, and monster trucks. I envy the women who always seem to be busy going to lunch with friends or to soccer games with their kids, yet they still have dinner fixed, their house is in order, and no one is looking for clean socks three minutes before the school bus arrives.
 
I’m quite certain my office hasn’t been clean since hunting season started, and the garage has been a mess since last April when we got the lawn mower out of storage. For a while I was sacrificing an hour of sleep at night to read through some books and magazines I have been dying to read but now I am too tired to lose even a second of peaceful slumber so my ‘to read’ pile is taking over my bedroom.  
 
My husband and I have a long list of what we feel are lofty goals, things we want to change about our family, what our ultimately perfect life style will be, and how exactly we are to attain our dreams. However, some days I think the only thing I have the energy to think about is how to get my kids to stop fighting! Then, when I feel discouraged that I am not accomplishing enough or that I’m not being a good enough mother or wife I begin to wonder what I am doing with my time that is making me so worn out and overwhelmed.
 
So, today I decided to answer my own question. I am more of a numbers kind of person and less of a words kind of person so I did the only thing my bookkeeping trained mind knows how to do, I made a spreadsheet.  First I made a list of all the things I do during a typical 5 day work week. In essence this is a list of what I consider my ‘job’ requirements. I then allocated an amount of time I spend on each particular task. Some tasks were easier to determine by hours per day while others were easier to determine by hours per week. The purple numbers are the raw data, all other numbers are calculations. (Numbers with decimals are percentages of an hour, not the number of minutes.)
Project
Hours Per Day
Hours per week
Total Hours Per Day
Total Hours Per Week
 
24.00
5.00
24.00
120.00
Exercise
0.75
3.75
23.25
116.25
Cooking
2.00
10.00
21.25
106.25
Cleaning
2.40
12.00
18.85
94.25
Laundry
1.00
5.00
17.85
89.25
Bath/dress self & kids
1.25
6.25
16.60
83.00
Religious Service
0.60
3.00
16.00
80.00
Community Service
0.25
1.25
15.75
78.75
Dirty Diapers
0.30
1.50
15.45
77.25
Homework/Reading
1.00
5.00
14.45
72.25
Personal Religious Study
0.25
1.25
14.20
71.00
Recreational Reading
0.50
2.50
13.70
68.50
Piano Lessons
0.50
2.50
13.20
66.00
Shopping
0.40
2.00
12.80
64.00
Yard Work
0.80
4.00
12.00
60.00
Entertaining Kids
1.00
5.00
11.00
55.00
Reading Mail
0.10
0.50
10.90
54.50
Meal Planning
0.20
1.00
10.70
53.50
Internet (Email, Facebook)
0.50
2.50
10.20
51.00
Feeding Animals
0.25
1.25
9.95
49.75
Driving to School
0.20
1.00
9.75
48.75
Dreaming of Poultry
1.50
7.50
8.25
41.25
Visiting Friends/Family
0.40
2.00
7.85
39.25
T.V. / Personal Quite Time
1.00
5.00
6.85
34.25
Date/Special Time w/ Spouse
0.40
2.00
6.45
32.25
Misc Apts (dentist, dr, etc.)
0.10
0.50
6.35
31.75
Personal Finance Management
0.10
0.50
6.25
31.25
Sleep
8.00
40.00
-1.75
-8.75
 
As it turns out I need an additional one and three quarters of an hour each day in order to accomplish everything I need to accomplish. Of course we can argue that there are things on the list that aren’t 100% NECESSARY, but remember also this is taking into consideration that I am ‘working’ as a mother 24 hours a day so little moments of down time (internet, Personal time, and SLEEP) do feel necessary, especially during nap time and after bed time.
 
Going back over my list I am disappointed to see there is little to no time for sewing, scrapbooking, writing, or organizing; all things I would love to spend more time on.
 
So what is the solution? I’m not sure there is one except to analyze and understand what works best for YOUR family. I recently read an article called “It Takes Only Thirty Minutes a Day…” in which Barbara Stockwell discusses all the things that are recommended for women to do to be more successful, happy, productive, and spiritual. Most of the suggestions she points out guaranteed positive results in only “30 minutes a day”. So, in order to fulfill these recommendations she started getting up a little bit earlier and going to bed a little bit later. The books and magazines this author was reading were encouraging her to do things such as; exercise for a more perfected physical condition, to meditate and recite positive affirmations and visualizations for increased mental health, and to perform a 30 minute foot soak each evening to reduce stress and tiredness.  Stockwell says, “It is marvelous how many things can be done in such a short time, and I would feel negligent if I said I couldn’t find those few minutes. After all, is a few minutes a day for all that improvement too much to ask? I can always set the alarm a little earlier.”
 
 I’m sure many of our efforts appear to be in our best interest. After all, we can always do more, work harder, and sleep less, right? Wrong. We all have 24 hours in a day and trading an hour of ‘this’ for an hour of ‘that’ will always come at a cost.  My suggestion is to start over and reanalyze what is really important. If, at the end of the day I am truly too tired to talk to my husband about his day maybe there is a way to do less laundry or have fewer dishes to wash. Maybe it isn’t such a bad idea to visit Taco Tuesdays at CafĂ© Rio or avoid the grocery store for a week and eat food storage. As much as we may all hate to admit it there may also be times we can’t volunteer to help at church or at school. If we aren’t careful we may end up with the same problem as Barbara Stockwell during her going to bed later and waking up earlier experiment, “last night as I was setting the alarm after my prayers I realized it was time to get up and jog”.
 
We may think we are expected to do it all but in reality the only one expecting anything from us is ourselves. Our husbands want us to talk to them, our kids want us to listen to them, and we should want to be happy. Organization can help us be more productive and get more done but every now and then we have to just accept our life for what it is; a work in progress. We may as well enjoy the process.
 
To read Barbara Stockwell's Article click HERE.
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