I get a little twitchy this time of year. It's generally a good feeling, as it's a recognition of the longer days and the possibility of doing something that doesn't involve the couch and my rear end being friendlier than is really good for anyone. This is when I start thinking about running again, and make my semi-annual attempt at outdoor domesticity. I take walks and soak up the sun and in general remember why I hate winter. Unfortunately, this is also when I tend to over plan the wonderful things I'll do this year. I'm not much for New Years resolutions, but spring resolutions have paved my personal road to hell. I never do run 20 miles a week or manage to keep a garden going or even get outside on every nice day, as I really do intend to do each year.
This year is particularly tough because LO really does take up quite a bit of my time. (A baby is time consuming. Who knew?) It's already Thursday, and I still haven't put away the clothes I neatly folded on Monday, nor have I completed all my freelance writing assignments for the week, or been to the gym once this week (although I have walked the stroller twice. It takes forever because it has to stop and sniff all the other strollers and sometimes it pulls me, hard, when it sees a squirrel. But it's all worth it when I see how excited the stroller gets--jumping up and down--when I put on my shoes and get a jacket to go out.)
I'm sure that my lack of productivity, particularly as the weather warms up, will be a consistent inner battle. I'd like very much to feel as if I have a handle on all of my to dos, but I'm not sure that's ever possible. Strange thing for an optimist--I always remember what I've left undone, rather than delight in the things I have done. Even if what I have done is take a nap with my sweet little boy and introduce him to the daffodils sprouting in our back yard.
I've had a realization lately that I'm a person who needs a slower pace to life to be happy. I'm not someone about whom it is said, "If you want something done, give it to a busy person." Sadly, knowing this intellectually about myself does not necessarily help with the daily 5 pm dread as I realize that J is due home soon and I've only crossed two items off my to do list. I'm starting to wonder if I should change my to do list to include things I always can accomplish on a daily basis:
Make LO giggle hysterically
Keep in touch with friends and family
Calm LO's tears
Snuggle with LO
Keep track of the B family's plans
Feed LO (lather, rinse, repeat)
Make the house slightly better than it was before
Keep up a running commentary with LO
Sing to LO
Read Miss Manners
Retrieve toys thrown on the floor (lather, rinse, repeat)
For some reason, in my head (and in the heads of many individuals out there), child care doesn't "count" for doing something, even though I'd say it's the most important thing I'll ever do. I worked with children for six years, but at the most I would see those kids for about an hour a day, five days a week, for 36 weeks out of the year. I might have had an impact on some of those kids, but many of them will not be able to recall my name in a few years. J and I are the most important people in LO's life, and you'd think I would remember that as I'm shaking my head sadly at the pile of laundry or the unopened email from an editor. I guess I still buy into the Super Mother Can Have It All myth that the previous generation in particular was trying very hard to live up to. Even at my current, slower pace, I'm still annoyed at myself for not doing everything I set out for myself.
So, perhaps my spring resolution this year should be to recognize the done, rather than lament over the undone.
If you'll excuse me, the stroller is nosing around, looking for a walk.