must fill it...?
i came across a blog discussing how to simplify list making. list making has never been a part of my reality. partly because i can keep things in my head well, but it got me thinking. for someone who has reacted to the word time with...
not enough, not enough, not enough...
as i manically multi-task my way through the day....
i wondered why i had never had To Do lists in my life.
it occured to me that whilst i have desired to Achieve A Million Things Before I Die, i have never felt pressured to Must Dos.
my battle has always been with the Want To Dos. in my recent bloghops i have noticed this distinction. between women who feel an anxiety about Needing To Do and with those feeling it with Wanting To Do.
so i can learn from someone who feels relaxed about time, who feels at peace with letting go of the need to make each second worthwhile. and others can learn from someone like me, who feels no need to check off a To Do list.
although i have only 2-3hrs to myself, need 8hrs sleep to feel human but average only 5 (interrupted), have a velcro child, and no outside help (family, nanny, whatever), i never feel overwhelmed by Mounting Tasks.
somewhere along the line, it was never embedded into my psyche that i am only of value if i am productive, achieving useful things.
there was a time not so long ago that if you did not do the washing or cook daily, your family went without. and in many circles, the work ethic of the previous generations has continued. but often to our detriment. despite, washing machines, fridges and freezers, dishwashers, various ease-making equipment, abundance, and availability of resources, some of us still harbour anxiety. and actual hands-on fun time with the children was either a luxury reserved for Sunday, or unheard of.
more than fear
mixed media collage
my mother-in-law and i were discussing the changes. she, who has worked hard all her life, both in and out of the home, admitted that this was no longer necessary. all she has ever known is darning socks, scrubbing floors, cooking daily, and so on... until perhaps around 15 years ago.
she told me that she spent very little time with her sons, because there was just too much that needed doing, and it all took time. we romantise the bygone days, forgetting that the average woman had to break her back to get through each day. even when modern appliances came into the scene, there still remained a deep anxiety about keeping up on the domestic front. if your neighbour scrubbed her windows every day, so did you. if your neighbour had a lovely garden, you certainly strived for the same.
hard work and perfection. and little to no play.
she told me how all the time i spent reading with the girlchild, playing with her, doing art for myself, reading for pleasure, taking strolls in nature, going to the beach, crocheting fun hats.... and so on..... was something she can only be thankful for in our generation. she loves how much time i have for her granddaughter.
and we throw it away.
because our neighbour, or other blogging mamas, do so much? they knit and do crafts and plan meals and conduct nature studies, and renovate furniture, and cook from scratch, and write books, and blog......
or because our parents struggled, and there was no such thing as leisure.
husband has the work ethic, he feels anxiety at All That Needs Doing. I feel anxiety at having no time to do all i want.
so we have to keep up right? with others. with our embedded stories. we must fight time, wring as much out of each second as we can. right? and the days we don't manage that?
we go to sleep with guilt sitting nice and heavy in our gut.
and that's how we wear ourselves away. ultimately, feeling we are not good enough.
my mil said, you have so many choices these days, so much time.
she said it with awe, and admiration, and pride, and thankfulness.
i feel i cheat her every time i think - i have no time, or, when someone else thinks, there's so much to do.
how much needs doing, really?
and although we've learnt now how important play is, we've made it work! i must create a schedule of fun for my children! i must fit in play with baking and knitting all our clothes and doing something educational.
whether we want to do or feel we need to do, we. can. not. do. it. all.
us women finally managed to understand that with the career-family tug-o-war, but now we've moved it back into the domestic sphere, we must be super-crafty-hands on-book loving-waterbirthing-babycarrying-cooking-cleaning-creating-domestic-goddesses.
and while we're fiercely doing or feeling guilty at not doing, life is getting on with the business of passing by.
i am not more part of life just because i do more.
on the contrary, i am disconnected.
most of my life is occuring in my head, in the anxious thoughts.
we ought not to want to do it all.
that's been a loooong and sloooow lesson that i'm still learning.