If You Do Just One Thing Today

“If you do just one thing…” It’s a phrase I’ve taken great comfort in ever since reading the marvelous column about this in Real Simple magazine, back in the day when I was a devotee of the mag. At the time, it just really helped me to focus my swirling mental list of stuff that I was stressed about accomplishing, whether it be in the apartment, my social/family life, or at work, and usually, all of the above at once. I could grab one task out of the chaos, focus on it, finish it, and move on to the next one.

It was quite a transition to go from working woman to mother, and a stay at home mom, at that, especially because it happened quite suddenly in my case. Two and a half months after getting hitched, we learned that we were expecting. And within 2 weeks of that, I was on bed rest until our little honey was full term. Given my pre-term labor, all I could do was “nothing”. Except, that is, cerebrally prepare for motherhood. But for whatever reason, I seemed incapable of even mentally preparing for a baby, much less adapting gracefully to this sudden new stage in our life. I didn’t have that 7-9 month transition period to bid farewell to the working world, ease into marriage, and work out the logistics of welcoming new life. When a discerning friend later empathized, “you didn’t have the mental energy. You were exhausted even as you lay there.” I was greatly comforted because then suddenly what seemed like 7 months of slovenly-ness was clarified into a very simple state of letting my body rest so that we could have a healthy baby. Nothing more, but also nothing less. Continue reading


The Small Success of the Week

I made sweet potato wedges on the fly, without planning, without a recipe, without any ingredients (other than the sweet potatoes, of course!). And they turned out!


Sometimes, when I am busy and anxious about many things (nothing too serious, just everything piling up in life), it’s really helpful to focus on something, any thing, even a very small thing, that is working. In this case, something I tried without knowing what I was doing, turned out just fine, and required only approximately 5 minutes of work total. And now, I have something to feed the beast (my 11 month old). That’s saying something, because of the grocery dearth we’ve been experiencing all week.


Bonus Round! The beast. I’ve been admiring our son’s long, long, jealousy-inducing long eyelashes, and I can’t seem to capture them well on my camera, but I got a hilarious shot that sort of shows them off! Enjoy!

2nd Bonus Round! “Blessed is the man whom thou dost chasten, O Lord…When the cares of my heart are many, thy consolations cheer my soul.” (Psalm 94: 12 & 19, RSV)

Happy Labor Day weekend, everyone. Hope your labors are fulfilling and fruitful.

Mary Clare

I am Afraid of Sitting Down

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Exhausted Woman with Lots of Work – Stands

Don’t get me wrong, I easily sit down, take a load off, and get lost in Pinterest. But I am afraid of this. I just realized this fear when, arms full of clean laundry, I remembered that I needed to do one more thing in the laundry room. I hesitated in indescision way too long. If I put the cloths down in our basement family room where our cozy-est chair resides , I worried, I would sit down to fold them after my laundry room errand, and never get up again. If I didn’t put them down and get my hands free to check stains in some other laundry, I would “never get anything done”. That “getting stuff done” mindset is a whole other topic. For now, I simply want to report that this fear of sitting down has been discovered!

And I figured out the source. There’s this scene in Zola’s L’Assommoir (1877) where the main character, a successful, hard working woman who owns a laundry facility, sits down at work. The novel centers around this event as the sole cause of a slow, painful, really tragic decline of the entire family. Something about how, that first time she takes a load off, she allows herself to progressively get more lazy and disinterested, if I remember correctly. Somehow, I project this story on myself and feel that if I sit even once when I should be doing something else, I will disintegrate into a pudgy couch potato while my family rots around me.

Full disclosure, I am sitting as I write this to you. I plan in standing up in a minute, but I am not confident in my ability to do so. If I am still here tomorrow, send help!


Worry Wart