Archive for October 24th, 2008

How Does She Do It?

Carla: At my house, the answer is “She doesn’t.” I am coming off a couple of weeks of intense work and staring at another deadline that will sneak up on me if I don’t start in on the project right now. A week ago, I hit my emotional and mental wall, not knowing how I could possible get my project done and still function as a human being/mother/wife/person who has other stuff to do. With the help of a lot of PBS Kids and a very helpful husband I got my project done, but I felt like I’d failed in so many other ways.

I just know my kids are going to bring this kind of stuff up in therapy one day: “My mom was ALWAYS on the computer. I’d come home from school and there she was. I’d go watch TV for six hours at a time and come upstairs and there she was.” Honestly, I hate to think about the message I’m sending them.

At the same time, I love what I do (not so much during deadline week) and I’m grateful for the chance to be part of the publishing world. I feel like I midwife a lot of wonderful books into being, books that change lives and heal hearts and draw people closer to God. I do feel gifted for this and I am blessed to have work I can do from home. But weeks like last week I just don’t know how to be all the people I need to/want to be sometimes. So that’s my question for the revolution. I don’t think we’re supposed to do it all, but how do we figure out how to do the bits we really believe we ought to be doing?

Caryn: This really is THE question for the revolution, I think. More than learning to say no or weeding out the unimportant stuff or whatever, it’s about how we do what we’re called to do. And I think you just do it.

I keep thinking of Finding Nemo: At the end, when the fish are trapped in that net and all crowded and stressed, and the dad or Dori (I can’t remember. Maybe Nemo even) tells them to “just keep swimming.” (For what it’s worth, my kids mostly watch this movie in Spanish because we’re weird like that in our casita Cubana. So I hear the fish saying, “Nadaremos!”) And I think that’s perfect advice for moms.

Because when we ignore what God’s calling us to do, say like Jonah, we risk getting tossed overboard swallowed by a big old fish. So I figure we might as well get swimming ourselves. So that’s what I do. Just keep swimming. And pray for strength and endurance and that I won’t lose my mind and my kids and husband won’t hate me. Oh, and a nanny. I ALWAYS pray for a nanny. God’s come through with everything BUT that. 

Carla: Love the image. And of course what I really love (other than that you watch it in Spanish) is the idea that it takes all of the fish to make it work. Nemo and Dori can’t do it alone. All of the tuna need to swim as a group, as a community, to save each other. I think a lot of my stress comes when I think I have to not only do it all but do it all by myself. But I have called on neighbors for extra babysitting help, given up the idea of a perfectly clean house for one cleaned by the kids, and let myself lean on friends who are willing to listen to me vent about my self-induced  stress without reminding me that it’s self-induced. So nadaremos Caryn!

Ten fake bucks to anyone who can guess what advice I’m confident will appear in the comments.