Keepin' It Real: November is Runnin' Me RAGGED

Thursday, November 20, 2008

On Jodie's suggestion (it's cathartic! Put it out into the universe and let the universe give a little back to you), I am sharing from a venting email i tossed off tonight to very patient friends of mine:

"As for me? I.................I'm just TIRED. and OVERWHELMED. Nothing bigger or more malignant going on. I am: sick of the clutter that only I see and therefore only I tackle... and I do not have time to deeply address the clutter because my spare moments are spent cleaning up the daily messes or keeping up on business emails or (let's admit it) with my online girls. And then evening hits and i need to be WORKING, or I feel like a pile of useless procrastination... so evenings are out for any personal catch-up. Add to that my back has been really hurting for over a week-- a sore, tight, muscle-y ache that only deepens as I sit in this chair longer...

Add to that I have this absolute NEED in me to be creative, but the pro photography isn't filling that need, and yet it consumes my every moment, so there IS no time for ME. Real "Me Time".

The more I type, the more I just want to cry.

I am just beaten down. And it is just today. Tomorrow, I'll put on my superhero cape again and manage with a smile on my face, and truly not even feel beaten down. Until I trip over another pile of crap or Noah fights another nap or I realize we're on our last roll of TP or some other trigger. Most days, most of the time, I am FINE. It's just when one thing trips me on my path, the rest of it comes ZOOOOMING back into focus and I remember how MUCH WORK I ALWAYS HAVE TO DO. And I feel alone. and I feel like NO ONE CAN SAVE ME, or provide relief.... and I have to just grit my teeth and push through.

and I am scared that this is what my entire mothering career will feel like. Not 100% of the time, but in consistent waves. Consistent enough to wear me out and kill my spirit a little more each time I freak out.

And what might possibly help here? Oh, let's just conjure up a no-holds-barred dream list:

1. cleaning lady

2. nanny 1 or two days a week

3. a project room of my own

4. Joe knowing how to eliminate clutter, instead of just reshuffling it, or worse, not even noticing it.

5. three or four photography sessions a month. No more than that.

6. regular exercise.

7. drinking more water.

8. Praying more consistently.

9. Feeding my spirit more consistently.

10. Close friends nearby, so we could make the boys watch the boys and I could go to a dang movie or dinner with some girlfriends.

11. More space

12. less stuff

13. personal chef

14. jacuzzi

15. massage and pedicure and haircut and highlights

....So. Obviously, as I was typing all that, some possibles flowed out. Some of those are do-able. but when i feel so MIRED, starting any healthy activity seems impossible and insurmountable. And that's what i gotta fight.

Anyhoo... more than you bargained for, but I just hit a breaking point this evening, and your asking me about it made me force myself to sort it out.

Anyway, I'm out...



And there is me. Genuine, real, and OVERWHELMED. I wrote that email at about 6:30 p.m. and it is now 11:30 p.m., and already I am feeling more okay with life again. I took two hours tonight away from my computer and the photo editing and I watched the Thursday shows (LOVED poor Toby's facial expressions the whole time! Loved Steve Martin on 30Rock. Didja know he plays a MEAN banjo?! Not on the episode. Just in real life.)... and while I sat and watched, I worked on a little crafty and then cleaned up a Craig's List toy for Noah that turned out to be pretty cool, bot that I'm not looking at it in the corner and only thinking of Stranger House Filth.

And after my two hours "off", I was able to get back to my ever-present task of editing photos and I have been working hard.... and so. And so I feel a bit better.

and tomorrow is another day. And we'll see if it ebbs or flows. I can handle either one.


{photo is not actually from today, but from another classic "life is overwhelming me" post back in January 2007. But it is a pretty accurate representation of how my life is flowing, and how I'm feeling!}


  1. I'm sorry you're having such a rough night! I know what you mean about the cycles/ups/downs/highs/lows that are always a part of being a mom, whether stay-at-home or not, I would presume. I'll be fine and then suddenly FLIP out when my OCD (I'll be the first to admit this is a very real problem I have!) kicks in and I've stepped on one too many mashed up cheerios on the floor I just cleaned a hour ago. I think you've got such a healthy thing going on when you stop, write about it, regroup. You're seriously one of the most amazing women I know! You're so talented and it just amazes me that all that creativity is in that one little body!!! I'm sorry the pro-photographer thing isn't the "outlet" you were hoping it would be. And I feel badly that you're bogged down with all that editing to do. I have an idea- you can just teach me how to do it and I'll do it for you:) Ya right. I'm sure it would take me my whole life to get as good as you but just know that I would help you if I could!!! Sounds like you're feeling a little bit better now but give me shout if I can do anything to lift your burden! Maybe I'll see you tomorrow at playgroup? Happy bday to little Noah!

  2. Hang in there lady! And, I'm happy to hear that your 2 hour regrouping settled some of your nerves and allowed you to ease some of the overwhelmedness (my new word). The pic was from Jan 2007? Then, you should give yourself a break, because that was PREBABY! Which means, you are handling things EVEN BETTER with a baby in tow -- because you have that to add on to your to-do list! So, give yourself a pat on the back and remind yourself that anything that you do is progress -- no matter how small or insignificant YOU might think it is, it is still PROGRESS. {{HUGS}}

  3. Toby cracked me up too! "NOOOOOOOO! NO! NO! NO!" OMG I was laughing SO loud at midnight while watching it!

    And I'm proud of you for letting it all hang out! Already the comments would be making me feel better and less alone.

    AND I feel like a celeb with my photo on your banner! I love that one of you two! :)

    AND AND AND I finally found hats for the kids I like so can I add to your stress with a shoot? HA! Or if you'd rather NOT add to your stress I totally understand and will beg someone else! :) Just let me know b/c I really don't want to make you busier.

    and. Happy Friday!

  4. I feel like I could have written your post! You're not alone. Hang in there!

  5. after five years of experience doing this mom thing, it will always ebb and flow. always. i have found that consistent scripture reading and prayer have completely taken away my going-crazy-on-my-kids episodes when things get overwhelming. of course the challenges of a one year old are different. i remember having two small children, teaching piano every afternoon (having taken on WAY TOO MANY students) always behind on cleaning my kitchen and every other room, having to sit down and nurse every few hours, a husband that had an unpredictable schedule and would be gone for days at a time,(or he would just leave early and come home so late) you start to lose your mind. you do what you gotta do.

  6. Anonymous8:53 AM

    you are not alone... as a mom to a 3 year old and 1 year old i'm experiencing the same feelings and ups and downs as you. it's amazing to me how quickly my mood can go from happy to sad to despair (in one hour!). i never knew that being a mom would be such a roller coaster ride. BUT consider yourself lucky - you know what CAN make you happy (crafts, photos, blogging, etc.). i haven't even figured that out yet!! hugs from a canadian lurker... love reading your blog, your photos are SPECIAL!

  7. Geez, Emily, no wonder you're tired. Trekking all the way up to Minneapolis to take a picture of my living room and then posting a blog about it is quite an undertaking. What? That isn't my couch under that pile? Dang. You could have fooled me.

    Now that I'm at home, I find that it is a lot more work to keep up with the house because we're actually LIVING in it. I feel like I am running on a treadmill trying to keep things organized and uncluttered. Some days I win, most days the clutter wins.

    Being a mom, working part-time and still finding time for things you enjoy is very much a balancing act. It isn't easy walking the fine line between busy=fulfilled and busy=overwhelmed.

    Hang in there!

  8. I would gladly provide several of the items on your list, if I only freaking LIVED closer. So, despite my inability to give you anything really concrete, I will pass along my love, adoration, etc. . . and hopefully the ego boost will at least be helpful. You're awesome. . . have I told you that lately? :)

  9. Oh, I know how you feel. Last week, I had the house sooo pretty and perfect and now it isn't. I feel horrible about it, but not bad enough yet to clean it. Mostly because a lot of the mess is from John using the fireplace but not being the happy helper and cleaning his mess. Cycle cycle cycle. I hope things get better for you.

    Now I'm off to clean...or to watch Grey's since I went to the midnight showing of Twilight and didn't get to watch it last night.... :)

  10. Oh EM! Totally know where it is coming from. I dream of a little "vacation" that would allow me to actually cealn our house, not just keep it up! And that husband not noticing the clutter, believe me, that is Rob! Hang in there, we all have those days!

  11. Anonymous3:04 PM

    Emily, what Lyn said is so true. When I didn't have a family, I would leave for work in the morning with the bed made, everything tidy and clean, and put back in their respective, designated spots. But now that I'm a full-time mom with two young active boys, who need creative time and play time, our house is overflowing with stuff. And it can get overwhelming at times. But I just try to take a deep breath, because someday this house will be an empty nest, and I will be longing for these days again. Hang in there! You're not alone.



  12. You absolutely deserve a cleaning lady. If you as a mom are WORKING, you deserve to take some of that money and get some help with you clutter. DO IT! Even if it is just a one time thing to get things under control, DO IT! It will be well worth the investment.

  13. add me to the list of people how know how ya feel. {{{HUGS}}}

  14. Oh Emily, My sweet, dear Emily.... How I do relate! Are you sure you were not writing my story?

    I Sooooooo wish I was closer and could be there for you - both for some "girl time" and to play "auntie" and give you a reprive.

    I don't know if you remember how many times you pulled me through these very same feelings when Zachary was this age (and yonger; and older)....I don't know if you remember, but when you lived with us YOU were my link to sanity!!!!

    You have been there from the VERY BEGINNING for me, I hope you know that I am ALWAYS here for you!!!!

    I love you my dear and precious friend!!!!!


    Try to re-read "Little Earthquakes"

  15. I read #4 on your wish list and laughed out loud realizing the "Clutter Acceptance Gene" must be some kind of strange genetic trait in the the Tanner family line, as it occurs in our household from time to time. -Joel

  16. So, I'm a little slow- I'm only just now getting caught up on blogging because I feel the same way- overwhelmed by so many things. I know I'm not a mother trying to get everything done with a wascaly wittle kid underfoot. But I have been feeling overwhelmed with teaching lately- trying to get my homework done (still not there yet), trying to grade what they have turned in, trying to stay on top of things, feeling frustrated because I don't have time/knowledge/experience to know how to make reading a novel a meaningful- even fun- experience for them, feeling pissed because they were mostly a bunch of whiny, lazy kids who didn't want to listen to the directions, no matter HOW MANY times I repeated them, feeling like I am losing them and I don't know how to get them back, feeling terrible because I hate my third period class... Grrr. I need more of a break. I'm feeling burned out right now, feeling like I suck as a school teacher, wishing I could do as well in the classroom as I do with my Gospel Doctrine classes, wishing I could figure out a way to teach secular things with the Spirit...

    thanks for letting me vent all that. I'm a little better now for it. YOu are an incredible mom and sister. thank you for inspiring me in so many ways and for all your love and support. I love you.


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