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Snowed Under

Today our temperature outside hit a near-balmy 60 degrees. We’ve been enjoying this warm weather as much as possible, aware that all too soon we’ll have snow days keeping us from the park.

But as nice as it’s been outside, I look around my life and feel completely Snowed Under.

Do you know how some women walk around saying that before they had kids, they were good-looking? Well, before I had a child, I was organized.

In the weeks leading up to Maddie’s birth I was a ball of organizational fire, pre-paying every bill I could, freezing casseroles for later use, organizing baby girl’s clothing by size and color (light pink to dark pink), and more. I anticipated that I’d be completely useless the first few weeks for anything other than recovering and oh, yeah, nursing 12 times a day. I knew the paperwork would pile up unfiled, the dust bunnies would collect, and the underwear drawers would become less than neat.

I made my peace with that.

What I did not anticipate was that a year and a half later, I’m still treading the frantic newborn waters rather than swimming confidently ahead of the current. I try to keep my head down and not notice, but sometimes it gets to me and I have a wee little meltdown.

This past weekend my life came to one such screeching halt. In searching everywhere I could think of to find a Christmas stamp and ink pad that I use every year, I finally found it sitting on top of a filing cabinet. Where I had put it last year until I had time to truly put it away.

This led me to notice other “issues” about my house: the 8 months worth of credit card bills still to be entered in Quicken; the 6 months worth of financial paperwork to be filed; the stack of books sitting on my bedroom floor, awaiting a moment when Maddie’s awake but occupied so I might put them away on the bookcases in her room; the list seemed endless.

I’ve spent the past year-and-a-half feeling like an ER doctor: I have to triage the household “emergencies” and ignore the little cuts and scrapes. Where once I was the cardiothoracic specialist of organizing – labels for everything, color coding was the rule, a neat pantry and tidy basement – I’m now the harried emergency resident, racing from a proverbial gunshot wound to a heart attack to an outbreak of chicken pox, while the poor old lady who came in with “just” a broken arm sits patiently on a gurney waiting for a chance to get my attention. All on four hours of sleep snatched two days ago before my current shift began.

I swear, I need to hire a sitter for a solid week, just to get ahead of the game again. And I’m content to lower my standards: I don’t even need printed labels if it’s faster to write something instead. But my clutter and disorganization is beginning to cost me time – witness my frantic search for the ink pad – and even money – I spend an hour looking for the bag of cat food I know is somewhere, only to have to admit defeat and buy another bag.

And on another, more intimate level, I know it’s wearing on my soul. To live with a blanket a guest borrowed six months ago sitting at the foot of my bed simply because I haven’t found the time to dig out the trunk and put it away just makes my life feel that much more cluttered, that much more out of control.

Is there an end in sight? Maybe by the time Maddie’s little as-yet-unmet sibling starts kindergarten. I know there are things I can do: stop napping when Maddie does even though this pregnancy exhausts me; start cutting back on my blogging time; sleep less. But none of those sacrifices (yet) seem worth it.

So I continue to slog forward, bailing water out of the leaky ship with my sippy cup while clenching my teeth and trying not to shout, “Just give me a couple days in dry dock to fix the $#@# leak!”


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