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!

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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.

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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!

Love,

Worry Wart