I am my own worst enemy

When Bill took the kids to Russia last summer, I got more done in two weeks than I had in the previous 6 months: took down outside Christmas decorations (in June… the neighbors cheered); washed windows and dusted blinds, cleaned the fridge and the stove; organized baby clothes and kids toys; washed and vacuumed both cars; planted flowers; lost almost 10 pounds; washed great room curtains; went through months’ worth of mail — all that while working full time. And then Bill got back early, and my accomplishments ground to a screeching halt. In the six months since, I still haven’t hung the curtains back up, the mail pile is overflowing, the cars get washed by rain and snow, bins of clothes and toys are still sitting in the guest bedroom, the study is an “enter at your own risk” zone, we still have the (live, now pretty much dead) Christmas tree up, and my Christmas wreaths are doubling up as Valentine’s Day wreaths.

I am beginning to suspect that the only way I can get anything done is when I am alone and not distracted. This have worked well through childhood, high school, college, and before-children married years, and somewhat well through one-child and two-children years. It is so not working now, in the three-children years. I feel like I am slowly drowning under all the things I should be doing but am not. I am past “overwhelmed” and firmly into “if I just ignore my problems, they will all go away,” aka The Ostrich Approach. As a coping method, it leaves a lot to be desired, especially since I know that sticking my head in the sand is only making things worse (though the thought of getting in the car and driving into the sunset has great appeal).

It’s time for some attitude adjustments. I am going to try and focus on putting out fires one at a time, ignoring the fact that Rome is burning all around, since focusing on the whole city just paralyzes me. (OK, going to stop torturing that metaphor now.) I pray this approach works, because it truly is my last hope.

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4 thoughts on “I am my own worst enemy

  1. Oh my gosh, I can so relate. I just told Eric yesterday that there are so many things that I would like to do and just can’t seem to get to them, that I’ve gone into shutdown mode: I don’t do anything because I simply don’t know where to start.

    I was thinking that I need to make a list of things I want to get done. Then prioritize it. Then just start at the top of the list and keep working on it until there’s nothing left. (OK, that may never happen, but a girl can dream.)

    Good luck!

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  2. Shannon, “shut down mode” is a great way to describe it!

    I am thinking along the same lines as you are. Made a list in GoogleTasks (for today: laundry, call parents, go through bills), and am trying to work through it one task at a time.

    Good luck to both of us 🙂

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  3. A couple of thoughts from my experience: Don’t make your list too long at once, or it will contribute to the overwhelmed-ness, and thus be counterproductive. And don’t make the items on the list too comprehensive (e.g. “put away everything that needs to be put away”); break them down into more manageable chunks (e.g. “deal with the pile of papers on the corner of the dining room table”).

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  4. I also find it much easier to accomplish things when I’m home alone; if Lynn hadn’t gone home two weeks early last June, I never would have gotten our apartment packed up before I had to leave.

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