doing it all. for now.

I wanted to call this post: How To Do-It-All Little by Little but I didn't know if I was being ironic or not. Doing-it-all is what we moms do now. Work, play, involved parenting, home, travel, blogging. All and more. It sounds like a lot and it is. I don't know what else to say other than I grew up hearing that I do anything that I wanted and I believed it. Anything less is unacceptable. Physical laws of the universe be damned.

But anyway.

I am sewing in five minute bursts. By design. Carefully planned five minute segments. It's the only way I can actually get something done. This isn't new to anyone here. Sometimes we sew what we can between the preping the vegetables, then while the children are momentarily distracted with a puzzle, before the buzzer goes off and the company arrives. This is the front lines of parenting and having other stuff to do.

For five minute sewing sessions you need a clear list instructions, broken down into small tasks (saves time having to figure out where you are). You need a place to keep the machines, fabric and patterns out and ready to be utilized at any moment. It need discipline to not get distracted by interesting projects that pass by your attention every day or inspirations that keep you from sleeping properly. You must live organized, knowing failing to put first things first will result in chaos.

Before I became a parent, I thought chaos could be sort of fun and interesting. Now, as mama, I know chaos is an ugly, scary place and must be avoided at all costs.

I've become so used to living in the parental combat zone that I have developed an entire, frankly diabolical, routine of intensive child care, housework, and exercise corresponding with the actual cutting out of fabric and running of sewing machines. Sometimes I even phone people.

I say diabolical, because it is complicated and requires precise timing, huge expenditures of energy and lays total waste to it's victim. (Me.) It is brilliant and insane, all at once. It works, sometimes.

Here is generally how it all goes down. The deal with the kids is that I do a previously agreed upon amount of play, say, five rounds of ring around the rosie, with full out falls (not fakely, lame half falls most of us actually do, especially if there is other adults present) and then I get a full five minutes at the sewing machine while the children play on their own. Seems pretty straightforward, though a bit silly, particularly considered from my parents or grandparents generation (I know this and, agreed, we moms today are truly odd creatures).

But that’s not all.

While taking my five rounds of ring around the rosie, when I do my full out, on my back fall complete with funny kicking legs and wild eye rolling ‘whoa!’ (there are no half measures here), I then hold my legs up to make a small bench for Smootch, where she lays across and counts as I do ten crunches. Afterward, I hop back into go position for another ring around without ever using my hands to haul my body off the floor. (This little bit extra is designed to get in some off-skate training for roller derby. It’s actually quite helpful in developing my skating muscles, and, more importantly, my not getting my fingers run over muscles after a fall.)

Yes, it feels like a lot. But it still isn't all.

My house is pathetic. It refuses to clean itself. My laundry will lay about all day without ever picking itself up and putting itself into the washer. The dishes are always running about, forever in the wrong spot (on the table, not the counter; on the counter, not the dishwasher; in the dishwasher, not the cupboard; in the cupboard, not on the table). I wish they'd just sort themselves out and stay where they should be. I can't even talk about the bathroom.

So, five minutes here, five there. Set the kids on the stools and have them pour in the cake ingredients, while I make a dentist appointment, answer the door, send off a couple of orders, jot a few things on the list I keep close by for when I remember something else that needs done, and mentally composing that email I've been meaning to get to but haven't so far.

Some days I can do it all. Some days it all goes kablooey.


  1. All I can say is,
    and it's rough and I don't know how I will survive it all.

  2. I'm saying this with love and understanding (I've earned my t-shirt) These are the days of milk and honey -- Be Here Now.

  3. Veronica CummingsApril 10, 2010 at 7:03 PM

    I get 10 minutes if I let my 3 year old play in my button jar...20 if I let her dump it out. I only do that if I'm desperate!! LOL!!

  4. Just wanted to say that I love that your cake is smiling! :D

  5. sounds like we have similar work-out routines! :D

  6. I feel ya...and btw, those cookies look so yummy ^-^

  7. I am so with ya sister...

    And, I love the pictures peppering this post. Totally understand! (-:

  8. Totally feel you! You are a good mommy :)

  9. Have to thank you for this post. I was reading this thinking you are completely insane and than it hit me that this too is my life. It's great to hear someone else say it, and have it work for them, and even enjoy the way it works. On a week where I've felt alone in the universe this was so welcome to read.

  10. Aye....I'm tired just reading your post. Did you ever think it would be so hard to be a mom? You are never off duty. No desserts to yourself. Even your attention is divided. My secret to finding sewing time with two young kids is macaroni and cheese + cartoons. No shame in slacking here and there!

  11. You are AWESOME, mama :) I keep telling myself that there's a time and season for everything, and in just a few years the kids won't even WANT to play with me! So I play harder :)

  12. Just reading that post made me tired :)

  13. "No desserts to yourself" I've actually taken to finding the most child-offensive things that I enjoy and buying those, only to be disappointed in the short shelf life they have before a child discovers that they're actually fantastic.
    I'm going to have to try the time bargaining, tho. Perhaps that might work. Currently, I stay up till around 3 a few times a week.

  14. I have only one of my four children at home today and he is a teenager so happy to occupy himself reading and gaming and talking a bit. My two busy, crazy small girls who I would usually identify as the ones responsible for my lack of completed sewing projects are with dh at my ILs who don't like me so I have stayed at home.

    I could be sewing miles of stuff today but without them here my creativity has fallen into the pit of sadness I feel at being disliked so much.

    I am cooking a meal that only ds2 and I like and I have planted up some pots for potatoes but that is it.

    The little ones feed my creativity and inspire me to sew or stick or paint or mould in a way that my older two don't quite so much. Enjoy this time while it is with you and hold these days in your heart.

  15. I don't have much time other than to say I *heart* this post!

    Thank you, from another five-minute-mamma

  16. I completely understand. I just had my third child and it took me two days to complete a simple outfit for my oldest child. 30 minutes ago we just finished a photoshoot at my house and you would have thought it would have been easier....disaster avoided. Nope. Not any easier, the older children were bouncing off the walls and I sat in the middle of it all holding my newborn looking completely mortifies in front of my photographer friend. Ugh! Well, at least some of the photos will be interesting and full of expression.

  17. I feel you. My sewing machine has taken up residence on the kitchen table. Cut a piece now, pin a side later, sew a seam here, measure there. Play a game then cook some food. Start a craft then wash the dishes. You have to find time somehow because it. never. ends.

  18. 1. I want recipes for all of the treats you tempted me with.

    2. I LOVE your white mixing bowls! What's the make, model and place of purchase, por favor? They'd look fab in my kitchen, especially if I could work up the energy to make the recipes you're going to give me from question #1. :)

    How did the move turn out, BTW? Have you located a good source of crafty materials to restock your supply?

  19. misty creek, the move turned out great! Weird, huh? Best part is that the people I gave my fabric and craft stuff to still have it and a good enough friends that they let me raid their (my) stash when I need something. The universe wanted me back home, it seems.

    as for your other items, coming right up...

  20. OMGoodness, mama, you are living my life!

  21. You are so funny! I love how you describe being a mom. Your blog posts are always fun to read.