Wednesday, 9 April 2014

I Don't Know How You Do It!

This is a statement that has been cast in my direction many a time.  The first time came when things were particularly difficult.  I won't go into the details.  Suffice to say co-owning a business is not good for a friendship.  Starting a new business at the same time was was not good financially nor emotionally.  I was brought to the bottom of the well and it was a dark place for me.  And I had people saying to me "I don't know how you do it".  The truth was, I wasn't doing it terribly well at all.  I was a mess.

When "I don't know how you do it" was again laid before me on Friday my flippant response was "nor do I".  After the morning I had yesterday I don't think I'm doing 'it' terribly well.  And truth be told I don't do 'it' terribly well pretty much most of the time.  Don't get me wrong, if I commit to doing something I get it done even if it kills me because I am a 100% kind of person.  Because of that I keep up with my study load, hand in assignments well and truly on time, I'm able to do my job at work with some kind of authenticity and competence and my family gets fed every day...more than once a day.  It looks like I'm doing OK to everyone else.

But don't let that fool you into thinking that I'm doing "it" well.  I've been home on school holidays for four days and my children have barely seen me.  I've got one final mid-semester assignment to complete this week and that has consumed my time.  Miss Sunshine is trying to organise her 18th birthday party and I keep saying "yes I want to, I didn't mean right now".  When I was vacuuming on Saturday (read first time this year - just kill me now) I had a little 'moment' with some tears because I'm not doing this bit of my life well either.  House cleaning?  You've got to be kidding me.  When competing against being at work on time, submitting assignments on time, getting dinner on the table somewhere close to on time and getting kids to be where they need to be on time housework doesn't even rate a mention on the 'urgent' scale I run by.  It simply doesn't exist until some 'urgent' reason presents people coming for dinner.  Which hasn't been in our experience for quite some time thanks to aforementioned assignments.  My extroverts are dying the slow withering death of starvation from people time.  I have three of them shrivelling up alongside the dust bunnies keeping them company.  Since having someone for dinner (which I'm going to cook anyway) means cleaning as well we're just skipping the whole people-over-for-dinner scenario.

On Saturday it all got to me.  My grief over the loss of close community has been accentuated by the stuff I'm not doing well, and the fact that there is just nowhere to go with it.  I have a friend who had a conversation about house paint colours with her Dad and two days later the man was in her house painting her walls!  That's what I'm talking about - love with feet on.  And I ached a little more because you just can't develop that kind of community in the space of a couple of years.  That's lifetime stuff. 

So here's a suggestion for those of you who know someone that you "just don't know how they do it".  Because she's not doing it.  I'm here to tell you there's a whole bunch of stuff in her life that just isn't happening.  There's stuff you can see that looks pretty good but that's not the whole story.  So....ask what you can do so she can get on with "it".  Better yet, don't ask, just do something to bless her.  Get that woman's house key off her husband and go clean her house.  Make her and her family a delicious, healthy meal.  Paint her walls.  Clean her windows.  Weed her garden.  These are the things that will bless the woman that "you don't know how she does it". 

These are the things that will help her feel like she might just make it. 

Love with feet on.


Left-Handed Housewife said...

Great post, Tracy! I'm having a busy time this spring, too, and feeling overwhelmed and like my house is falling apart! If I could afford a housecleaner, I'd hire one.

Well, anyway, I hope someone comes over and brings you a hot dinner! Wish it could be me.


Susan said...

Thank your for being so brutifully honest. Yes, that's brutiful. Brutal and beautiful all in one. A friend of mine uses the phrase, and I think it fits much of life perfectly.

I have a t-shirt that says, "I can do hard things." It's a good mantra to keep in your head for those vacuuming for the first time this year moments.

Rooting for you.