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.

6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by wombcaryn on October 24, 2008 at 7:00 pm

    1. Email me the answer.

    2. Those were tuna? Aren’t tuna huge? And wouldn’t there have been a dolphin all sad and tangled up too….?


  2. Posted by Heather on October 25, 2008 at 8:46 pm

    I’m having the same kind of day today. I told my husband, all I want to do is something that I’m not doing seven days a week already (dishes, feeding, naps, picking up). I want a break to do the different stuff, like carve a pumpkin with my son (which I watched my husband do out the kitchen window as I did the dishes)! It’s all so overwhelming and swirling around my head right now. Too many jobs, too many people, but in the end, I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world…except dishes…and laundry…


  3. My favorite part of this post is Carla’s:
    “Ten fake bucks to anyone who can guess what advice I’m confident will appear in the comments.”

    I feel like this too sometimes. I don’t love feeling overwhelmed like this and usually attribute it to my not listening to God very well and taking on too much. But who knows? Maybe everyone following God’s will really well in the Bible felt overwhelmed much of the time too.

    How to square feeling overwhelmed with experiencing the peace of God as continously as He promises it? I would give ten fake bucks to whoever could cough up that answer…


  4. Posted by Stacey on November 3, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    Okay, time to comment…How do you do it? You let go of the guilt….focus on the fact that everything you do as a mom comes out of a deep love for your children. Your kids may end up in therapy (or sitting around the campfire at camp) and talking about their mom (and dad), but eventually they will become moms and dads and realize that you act out of love and concern for them. God has gifted you and your kids see you using your gifts for His glory, it doesn’t get better than that. I am sure after your stressfull week you snuggled, played, affirmed, loved, scolded, picked up after etc. each of your kids (along with your husband) and they are thrilled to have less-stressed mom back. Kids are resilient, they will eventually come to realize you did the best you could with what you had. You are an awesome mom and should get rid of the guilt and start patting yourself on the back.


  5. Posted by Robyn on January 7, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    The advice that would appear, but no one has said (hopefully because the people who read this blog are not that narrow-minded and judgemental?) is “Well, maybe you should just stop working and take care of your kids the way a GOOD mother would.” Can I have the 10 fake bucks? ‘Cause I’ve heard it before, and I just smile and look at my beautiful, healthy, smart, loved, loving, well-adjusted daughter. And I know, without a single misplaced doubt in my mind, that I am a GOOD mother.


  6. Posted by Robyn on January 7, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    Oh, I recently read on a blog on Work It, Mom that guilt is a luxury of us wealthy North Americans. Women the world over do NOT feel guilty for providing for their families; they do what they must. It was a good reminder.

    Guilt is a wildly unproductive emotion. It is not the same as true conviction about wrongdoing. It is false self-recrimination, not from God. And as such, it should be stomped out immediately.


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