Category Archives: Procrastination

I’m a consumer consuming. Or a consuming consumer. Either way, I’ve got it bad.

I have become a woman obsessed with using her phone. Once the kids get to bed, it’s: which site am I going to go to next upon which to waste hours and hours of time and energy? 

The past few mornings I’ve woken up feeling extra groggy, and I’m starting to wonder if this is the cause. Well, either binge surfing the net, or the added caffeine and sugar I’ve slowly let creep back into my diet after months and months about being vigilant about avoiding it.

It’s just there’s SO MUCH out there to read and see and peruse and browse and buy. I’ve got world news to catch up on, celebrity news, local news. Facebook news, Instagram posts. 

And then there’s the most recent obsession: the Bloglovin’ app. It’s an app that lets you plug in all your favorite blogs so you can follow them directly and get all recent posts in one place. Right now I’m subscribed to about twenty food blogs. And a couple of writing blogs. LOVE wasting time here.

When I’ve checked all of this stuff out, there’s always Pinterest and Etsy and Wayfair and Overstock and Craigslist and Facebook yard sale groups to check in on to find ideas and inspiration and items with which to fill our new home. So far I’ve purchased nothing. But the temptation is strong. Real strong. 

I’m feeling the need soon for another of my necessary iPhone abstinence sessions, which I self-mandate every now and then. 

But for now, I’ve got to run and check out these Memorial Day sales online.

Peace out.

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I am so done with—well, everything!

Have you ever reached a point where you become so overwhelmed that you don’t want to do anything? You just want to throw in the towel and yell, “I QUIT!” at the top of your lungs? And then run away to Mexico?

Well, I am at that point now, and sadly, have been stuck in it, mucking about, for the past few days or so. Help! I cannot pinpoint the moment things went south for me. But I do have some general ideas.

Let’s begin with the children. The oldest has been enjoying nap-free, action-packed days with later than normal bedtimes. This has the effect of turning her into a bit of a monster. She has become overly sensitive and emotional, as well as grouchy and sassy. And I can’t tell her she’s tired because it will just end up in an argument. After 4:00 p.m., she seems to lose all control of her manners, the words that come out of her mouth, and the ability to remain upright without falling into something for more than fifteen minutes at a time.

The middle child is perhaps the whining-est child on the face of the earth right now. Truly. I have not met a child who whines more than she does. At first, I chocked it ip to teething. But, if that’s the case, the child has been teething now for over four months straight, and is showing no signs of stopping. From the moment she wakes up, until the moment she goes to sleep, and then, on into the middle of the night, it’s:

“Hold me, mama!”

“Nurses!”

“Arm!” (she wants to lie on my arm)

“Mom-MEE! Mom-MEE!” (spoken like Will Ferrell demanding ‘Meatloaf!’ in the movie Wedding Crashers)

And the baby. The poor, sweet baby. He is mostly quiet and pleasant and smiley. He rarely fusses. But he’s been in a poor-napping-during-the-day phase for some time. As a result, I end up spending much of the day either holding the baby, or trying endlessly to put him down for a nap. Our house is just too small, and the noise and distraction too much, that he wakes up time and again after being put to sleep in my arms.

Then, there’s the house. Besides being small, there is always, always the issue of child clutter on the floor. Lately, there have been tens upon tens of little colorful plastic bears littering the floor. I had to recently round them up and retire them to a secret hidey spot that NO ONE knows about. There is also always laundry to be done and folded and put away. And dishes in the sink or on the counter, or in the dishwasher waiting to be put away.

But then there is the recent stuff too. Like the landlord wanting us to buy the mower. Thankfully, we have put his ridiculous offer on hold for the time being. Or the hundreds of maggots I discovered in the garage once I moved a towel that was lying on the floor. They scattered everywhere in an instant. Normally, I am not afraid of bugs, but this was just too much. I told the hubs he needed to immediately come outside and deal with the situation. His solution—throw away the towel. But what about the scattering maggots?!

Then there are the flies that reside in our house these days, again, numbering in the tens upon tens. I swatted at least twelve yesterday. I’ve no doubt these are coming from the maggot farm in the garage. Also, there are small ants that seem to be building their den underneath the bathroom floor, coming and going as they please. I suppose it is nice entertainment to watch them while I’m sitting on the toilet, but I’d really like for them to build and destruct elsewhere.

Then, there’s the washing machine. That started giving us trouble weeks ago when it began leaking copious amounts of water onto the floor. Turns out the water valve was faulty and cold water was just gushing out all over the place. Lovely.

So we went for a whole week without the use of a fully functioning washing machine. This was especially trying since we need to launder diapers every other day. We were able to make it work for a bit, but I had to stay with the machine while it filled up, then manually turn off the water, then come back downstairs for the rinse cycle, turn on the water, stay until the basin filled up, and then leave again, on and on ad nauseam.

We finally got a refurbished one a few days ago—courtesy of the landlord—which of course, I just discovered is leaking water again, although gratefully, not as much as last time. Does the madness ever end, I wonder.

So this morning, when I woke up at 7:45 (thank you, husband, for getting up with the baby at 6:00), and just wanted a moment to sit on the couch with a cup of coffee in hand, but instead was met with a rambunctious four-year-old who wanted to build a block bed with me for her wooden doll family, a whiny two-year-old demanding, “Hold me, mama! Nurses on the couch!”, and a baby, who would very soon need to be put down for a nap, I really did want to run away to Mexico. I felt as though I couldn’t do it again—another day of the same old routine. Another day of swatting flies and cleaning clutter and dishes and holding babies and listening to “Mom-MEE!”

There’s this phrase that I’m reminded of time and again when I feel overwhelmed like this. 

Just start

Don’t think about everything that needs to be done, just put one foot in front of the other and do something. So, I nursed the toddler while drinking my coffee and watching the four-year-old play with blocks. My husband, bless him, sensing my unraveling, went in a little late to work so he could rock the baby to sleep.

After he left, I managed a shower. Next, I swatted a fly and killed it dead. Then, I started a load of diapers. Baby steps. Finally, when I felt I could do no more than that, I called my sister and told her that I was coming over with the kids because I couldn’t be trusted to be on my own with them today.

She laughed and took us in. We hung out and chatted. She put the baby down for his second nap. And then, she fed us and gave me a couple of glasses of wine. And it was just what I needed. A break from the monotony and confining walls of our home.

It’s funny. In the moment I always think, “Oh man. God is really testing me today. What with all the flies and maggots about.” And then, after the briefest respite, I suffer from the guilt of you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-God-is-testing-you, you’re-so-blessed-it’s-not-even-funny nonsense.

I guess it’s like my wise husband says: There’s always tomorrow. A new day. A chance to start all over again and make things better than they were before.

Aren’t we lucky?

Keeping priorities straight: It’s not an easy thing for me to do.

When I started the ‘Roost’ back in January, the purpose of the blog was to create a space for intentional ‘daily’ writing practice. And also, maybe, along the way, to record some anecdotes for the good old family memory book.

The blog got off to a well enough start, but creativity and productivity have stalled somewhat in recent months. I guess that’s to be expected, given we have a new baby in the house. There’s really not a lot of free time during which I can just run off to the local coffee shop to sit and stew with my thoughts each day, typing away at the keys. What with swim lessons, and nursing sessions, and inconsistent nap schedules—and—have I mentioned I’m now a mother of five two-to-three days a week, since I’ve agreed to help my sister by caring for her two kids this summer? (They are actually quite pleasant and helpful, so, so far, it’s been a pretty nice arrangement).

I’m a person who thrives—creatively—only when she has time to herself. Moments of quiet in which to daydream, or simply, process. The moments don’t need to be very long, but they do need to happen. Otherwise, I get cranky. I feel stale and overwhelmed. Defeated. Which is how I feel now.

I find it terribly disappointing when 8:30 p.m. rolls around on any given day when I haven’t written, or at least thought of something to write for the blog. Because by that time, if it hasn’t gotten done, it’s just not going to happen. Sleep is way more necessary than writing is important right now.

The truth is, I probably do have time each day to write. I just don’t make it my top priority. I choose to spend my time doing other things instead, hoping I’ll be able to write later. Always later. How is it that the things that quite possibly nourish and fulfill us the most—in my case writing and exercise and meaningful time spent with my kids—get pushed to the side in lieu of other, less important, but still urgent-seeming tasks nonetheless?

It’s like I have this mental checklist of things I need to accomplish before I do the things that I find pleasurable. 

Take a walk with the kids in the morning to get fresh air and much needed endorphins to start the day? Nope, gotta start in on the growing laundry pile. Play house with the kids, or make art at the table? Not yet. Kitchen’s a mess. Gotta clean it up. Get out the computer and write while the kids nap? Or, better yet, take a nap myself? Are you kidding? That’s the only time I have to tidy up the place and run the vacuum across the floor.

Liam has always tried to help me see straight. “Sit down and rest. Does that [insert meaningless chore] really need to be done right now?” Of course it doesn’t. Don’t people always advise: The vacuuming can wait. Right? It will always be there.

That’s the problem! It will always be there! So, it needs to be taken care of! Immediately! Every time! 

For only when the floors are clean, the dishes put away, the laundry folded and stashed in dresser drawers, can I permit myself the space within which to write and create, go on walks, to sit down and breathe.

Pretty effed up, huh? This is the way I work. The way I rationalize and compartmentalize. It’s compulsive, I know. So, as life with three little ones is extremely messy and loud, and relatively inescapable, you can understand why it’s been awhile since I’ve written, and why the posts have been infrequent. I’m trying to work on the priority thing.

I’ve started setting the laptop on the table in the mornings as a gentle reminder that I should sit and write whenever I have the opportunity. And, I’ve been trying to carve out some time to play with the girls a bit each day, to let loose and just have fun with them both. And, to talk to, make smiley faces at, or simply stare at the baby (he’s getting so big!). I even let myself give in to reading a nearly 500-page John Grisham paperback this past weekend. It’s pretty much all I did from evening Friday until I finished it on Sunday afternoon, thanks to the hubs for picking up some major parenting slack.

I do know how to relax, you know. It’s just that I have to do about thirty-seven things first, before I’ll let myself cave. I’m working on reducing that number substantially, or simply being able to say to the girls, “You want to have a tea party for the next five hours straight? You got it! But what about that mess in the living room? Oh, don’t worry about that, sweeties. In fact, fuck it all! Who’s pouring first?”

Well, minus the whole ‘fuck it all’ part. I imagine that part I’ll say in my head. You get the point, though.

Day Three of the Writing Project: Already in Jeopardy

When I told my husband a few days ago about my plan for the blog—that I wanted to try to write one post a day for 365 days—he looked at me as if I were out of my mind, only after he asked, “How much is this going to cost us?” (We’re at the end of a holiday vacation spending binge and he is ever our firm budgeteer. Surely he was thinking that this blog, and not the several dinners out or spending spree at Ikea, or even the trip to the Please Touch Museum in Philly which essentially charged adult-like admission for our 1-and-a-half and 3-and-a-half-year-olds, would be the financial straw that broke our camel’s back).

“It’s free!” I said, pleased with myself that my sole creative endeavor of the new year would not be the thing to bring us to financial ruin.

He then told me in a most supportive way that he thought a post a day was too much. That I was setting my aim too high. “How about once a week?” he countered. This man knows me well and has seen me struggle with goal setting and intention making. He’s seen me start a project and then drop it, never to look back again. I told him that I wouldn’t make the blog public to friends and family until Day #10. This way, I rationalized, I’ll have a chance to make a real go of it and see how challenging it is, to make time to write every day, especially after I return to work. If it’s too difficult, or if I fail, no one will have to know about it.

I have to admit. I’m cutting things awfully close on just day three. One would think on Day Three of a new project there would still be plenty of momentum and inspiration, right? I mean, I had planned on writing earlier in the day. Instead, while the girls napped, I made a conscious choice to catch up on some “New Girl” episodes we had sitting in the DVR queue, even after my gallant hubby asked me about posting, ever looking out for my best interests. I’ll just write after dinner, I said to him and to myself.

Well, here I am, an hour before what will technically be Day Four of the blog, restless as ever.

Lesson learned: Do not put off until after “dinner” that which can be done while the littles are sleeping soundly.