Monday, October 3, 2011

Enough Hours in the Day...

Do you ever feel like there just aren’t enough hours in the day?

I’ve kind of felt like a juggler lately, trying to keep all the balls in the air and trying to make sure that none of them touch the ground.  When I spend the night sewing snoods I feel a little guilty when I don’t get around to making a rosary or a chaplet, and a few more recent projects I’ve been working on have taken away from my store-work time altogether.  I’ve been making Mae cloth all-in-one diapers, because diapers are just so expensive and I suddenly understand why all-in-ones seem so expensive when you buy them, because they take serious time to make (at least they do for me). 

The pressure is on to start seriously couponing again, because consistently living on the combined income of Paul’s permitted 10 hours of work a week and my store sales isn’t easy, and I can tell that Paul isn’t thrilled when he asks what’s for dinner and I say “rice and beans,” or some variation of rice and beans, yet again (and he doesn’t seem to be deceived when I say “five bean chili!” enthusiastically, as if it doesn’t involve one of those two staples of our diet).  Couponing should help with that, and I did finish organizing my coupon binder tonight.  Nearly every coupon in this house is clipped and in a carefully labeled section.  I’m ready to start saving again.

Then there’re the basic portions of my vocation that take up the majority of the day: caring for my family, cooking, cleaning and making sure nothing disastrous happens is a full time job (Mae’s a climber and I’m finding that silence means that she’s moved a chair, climbed something and is perched somewhere).  I’ve been developing a schedule of sorts, and attempting to incorporate the liturgical year into it as well, but I still feel, rather frequently, like I’m playing catch-up every night, especially with Paul spending around 50 hours a week working on school.

Even my blog has suffered as I’ve found myself getting around to writing a blog post at around 11:00 at night, and after getting up at 6am, I’m not too sharp by the time I start typing away.

I’ve also started writing again, even if it’s just a little bit every night.  I’m not sure I’ve ever mentioned this here, but I’ve actually completed two novels… one of which is all edited and printed out and sitting on a shelf back in California just waiting to be sent out, after being trimmed from over 100,000 words to something a little less gigantic.  Paul’s pointed out that my perfectionism could mean that nothing I write will ever see the light of day, but my blog should be proof that that’s not entirely true.  Baby steps! 

For now I’m re-reading Holly Pierlot’s A Mother’s Rule of Life and I already feel a little better about coming up with a Rule and getting things under control so, at the very least, I find things a little less stressful.  I had read half of the book when Sadie was small, but it got put aside at some point and I just kept meaning to finish it.  Now is definitely the time. 

The girls and I are also starting to do morning, evening and nightly prayers together and Sadie actually went and got her Bible tonight when I was looking for my copy of Magnificat and demanded that we read it (which is something we usually do before bed, although I haven’t been as great about remembering a it these last couple of weeks). 

And while things can seem a little hectic at times (usually in a “it’s all just going to be messy tomorrow so why am I cleaning tonight” sort of way) I like the business of day to day life and I sometimes think that I can almost feel my vocation and the call to serve my family, drawing me closer to God.  Tired or not I feel overwhelmingly comforted by the knowledge that I am where I’m supposed to be and there’s no where else I’d rather be and nothing else I’d rather be doing. 

I’ll just have to keep reminding myself that sitting down for fifteen minutes doesn’t constitute “sloth, “even if there are dirty dishes still in the sink.  Everybody needs to take a little break.  Even moms.    

Has anyone else tried writing out a “Rule of Life?”  How do you stay organized?  Do you feel like you get everything done by the end of the day? 

Now for an end to my day!  It’s a little earlier tonight than usual, but I can barely keep my eyes open!


  1. Me, I really like the GTD method formulated by David Allen. It did take some explaining, which, I suppose, is why he wrote a book about it, and I can't just give all the secrets of it away, either, because I'm pretty sure that counts as breach of copyright, but the basic foundation of it all seems to be fairly open source. Not sure that you'd have time to read his book, either, but if you'd like I can put together a brief summary, though I'm not sure that would be as effective as reading the whole thing. (It's thin, but you're already the first or second busiest person I know). I find the method cuts stress and missed commitments almost at once, and its primary strength IS organization.

    I should say, though, that you already run your family of four more effectively than I seem to be able to run my own affairs, and I don't have rambunctious toddlers or a student for a spouse to tend to. ;)

    Seriously though, GTD is great. It handles everything from the next two minutes to the next two decades. I'll write you a summary.

  2. I've read Holly's book. I really love her approach with the 5 Ps. I will periodically go through them for myself and see how my day is measuring up, so to speak. However, as a mom of 4 kids under 6, I don't have a rigid schedule. I have goals. And most of those are not by the clock. I tried running by the clock, but I just couldn't do it with so many little needs needing to be met regardless of the clock. So, while I make a small morning prayer offering when I wake up for the day, morning prayer with the girls doesn't happen at 7:00 but at the beginning of breakfast. I think the only things that happen by the clock at our house are nap time, bedtime, and the chaplet of divine mercy (which is said at 3). Trying to drive my day by the clock and always getting behind was just too discouraging for my personality. So, yes, I love her book, but I also needed to tweak it for this season of only small children.

    I didn't know you had written two novels. What kinds? Why don't you submit the one you've finished? Can it hurt to try? That is awesome!

    As far as groceries, of course how you want to eat will effect your costs. But Ramen noodles and rice-a-roni often cost $1 or less at our food store and it isn't even a discount store. My husband, a native Texan, is quite fond of beans and rice for dinner, though he likes his with some cornbread. Another cheap meal option is eggs. My MIL was dirt poor growing up in mexico and they ate eggs almost every day. I'm so sorry we don't live closer. I'd invite all of you over for dinner. What would your husband like for dinner?

  3. It does get easier to keep up with stuff as the older kids get older as you can delegate household and childcare tasks to them. I use Flylady which is a sort of secular Mother's rule. It does help to free up time and keep the house reasonable although I succomb to the guilt of "I don't work so my house and kids should be perfect" now and then. I have 2 out of 5 left at home, a 4 yr old and an almost 7 yr old, whom I homeschool. The 7 yr old does Morning prayer with me(as she can read) from the liturgy of the hours(I am a Benedictine Oblate). One thing I do like about the mother's rule is that she puts taking care of yourself as a priority, Moms tend to forget that.
    On food, I would skip the ramen noodles and rice a roni, they don't make very much and are full of additives and fake stuff. Eggs, definitely, I keep chickens for that very purpose. I live in a rural area and local chicken can be very cheap. Oats, homemade bread, figuring out what day the grocery store puts out the reduced price meat. I grow a medium garden to supplement the vegetables in Summer. In a pinch I have fed 4 on $30/week. Yup, very repetitive menu but no one was hungry. Have you tried signing up for USDA food, they can be quite generous with frozen meat and cheese on our area.

  4. Good luck getting back into couponing. I don't know if you shop the drug stores, but I was able to get great deals on shampoo and conditioner this week between CVS and their Dove deal and Kroger and their Sauve professionals deal. With buy 1 get 1 coupons we are stocked up for a while! Best of luck to you!

  5. I once went through a Mother's Rule of Life Seminar and it was very helpful. I don't stick with it consistently, but I try. :)

    For couponing, you may find helpful. It is written by a young Christian woman named Crystal who offers lots of tips for couponing and finding deals. I was able to cut my food budget drastically by using many of her ideas.

    I hope you do get your books sent out and published. Good luck with that!

  6. Hi Cam,
    You should consider self-publishing your novels through Kindle, much cheaper way to go and you can sell a lot. Also, Amazon has greatly reduced the price of a Kindle, so the market is expanding rapidly. Much easier than publishing through a publishing firm these days.

  7. I enjoyed the book A Mother's Rule of Life, but what I found helped me the most was when I started attending Opus Day gatherings. Really helped me to learn to arrange my day around prayer and to focus my time.

    Being rather ADD it hasn't been easy but I at least manage to get some things done each day. :)

  8. I don't know your exact situation, but if you're not opposed, you might consider going on food stamps, WIC, or TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families). They really ARE helpful and my sister was on them while her four were very young and her husband was finishing school. You can find all the application forms online and it really does help a food budget.

    And try to publish those books, lady!! Who knows, you could strike it big and be a huge best seller!! :)


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