Can I do it all?

I’ve got a lot rattling around in my head these days, but very little time to sit down and blog about it. Mostly, I’m questioning my place in the world right now. Am I overextending myself? Am I trying to do too much? Am I just plain crazy??

I love taking pictures for other people, but is now the right time in my life to be pursuing it? The post-processing work especially takes up a lot of my time. And I can only work once the kids are asleep for the night, which means I stay up late and am then I feel like I’m not getting enough sleep.

Also, after reading on The Lactivist that the Mothers’ Milk Bank of Denver is nearly out of breast milk, I really want to start donating. But is it realistic for me to commit to that? I feel very fortunate to have a plentiful supply and would like to be able to share some of the “love” with other babies who really need it. I am currently going through the screening process. I told them I only have a manual pump and they said they loan out electric pumps to moms who don’t have one and want to donate! So that’s great news and incentive for me to pursue this, but will I have the time to pump every day? One of the requirements in collecting your milk is that you have a shower or a bath every day. LOL There are many days that I skip a shower because I just don’t have time. So now I would realistically have to find time to shower every day and find time to pump. Hmmm.

Parenting two children takes up a LOT of time and energy. It’s rewarding beyond belief to be a mom, but I feel like I need something more. I don’t want to give up everything that is important to me, because I feel like I need to have things that I enjoy doing and make me feel good about myself, other than being a mother. Not that being a mother doesn’t make me feel good about myself, but I have other interests besides raising two amazing kids. ;) Does that make sense?

I need balance. I need more hours in the day. I need a way to better manage my time.

I’m up for any thoughts on how I can do this – perhaps how you all manage your time – or if you think I’m crazy for thinking I can do it all. Thanks for “listening.” :)

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12 thoughts on “Can I do it all?

  1. Can relate to the “needing something more” beyond parenting. Haven’t yet found the something but you aren’t alone in that.

    If you have an electric pump attached you may be able to do some computer post-processing while it is going. Just a thought.

    I don’t think I manage my time well. The days just fly by!

  2. I KNOW exactly how you feel- when you do find that something else, then it seems like you are just more cramped for time and then you wonder what you were thinking! I like what I read in the AP journal this month from Martha Sears- that this stage in parenting is like a “season” and it won’t last forever. It is so hard having small children, but I just keep telling myself that the lack of time, sleep, showers :-) won’t last forever and then I’ll have more “me” time. I am still trying to pursue just a little bit of outside work and hopefully it can grow more as the kids do.

    I haven’t pumped for the bank, but having done so for work, it does take time. I don’t know if they have a requirement on how you have to pump, but sometimes for me, it was really stressful trying to pump just enough milk that I knew Ryan would need the next day, while I was gone. Once you start pumping your supply will up, and then you will almost HAVE to pump, like it or not, so keep that in mind. :-) I hope it works out if you think you can do it. Keep us posted.

  3. i pumped and donated to a woman in my community for about six months after ellia was born (around the time that my son weaned, so i had lots of extra milk!).

    i just commmited to pumping the other side while ellia was nursing, twice a day. i could have donated way more milk if i had pumped every time ellia nursed, but i felt like that was all i could handle. so it didn’t really take up alot of time for me, since i was sitting and nursing anyways.

    as for the photography, i would continue to pursue it, but maybe only taking on a few projects a month, so you’re not busy everyday? i really feel the need to do something non-mothering sometimes too!

  4. I just read the link that Sonja above had recommended and WOW it was right on. I may even print out that blogger’s entry for future reference it’s that good.

    There are so many things I want to do too, but I have to narrow it down to the most important and then of those pick one or two. Once I’ve picked one or two, then that has to be picked apart as well, to make it manageable. If I’m going to do something, I’m going to do it right – a person cannot do everything and do it well.

    A big reason for my not getting more ahead in life is a lack of focus – I find so, so, so many things that are interesting and worth pursuing that I never just picked a couple and zeroed in on them. My energy would become dissapated and I’d have no path to follow, hence I became lost and that created inner turmoil.

    I’m still learning to narrow it down and focus. Decide. And it’s tempting when something comes along that is worth pursuing, but you have to really think long and hard if it is worth your energy before putting yourself out for it.

    I’ve personally decided to focus on 2 things besides taking care of Aidan and our home. And my time is filled to the brim from 5:30 AM til bedtime every single day.

  5. I feel exactly the way you describe when my kids are babies. The first years of both my kids’ lives I’ve been like a mad woman – determined to have a career, be skinny and svelte, have a perfectly clean house, etc etc. I go at warp speed and crash often ;) Then somehow, after they become toddlers I settle in again. For me, the needs of an infant are so overwhelming that I am afraid that I’ll drown in their needs and lose myself entirely. I feel liek I’m fighting HARD to retain some part of me so I don’t get sucked entirely into being a mom – and it’s easier for me once they seperate a little and don’t need me as much.

    I’m not saying it’s the same for you. Just that I feel similarly. Like Heather said, it’s a season and we’re going to have years of being just us :) It’s hard for me to see that when I’m there though.

    Maybe give yourself a deadline – say Julian’s b-day or January 2008. Take on a few things now but plan to do the rest majorly at that deadline. That would give you a bit of a break to do the rest of your very hard job, and time to see if these things are really things you need to be doing now :)

    I thought about donating too. I can’t bc of Mad Cow :) And I suck at pumping so my hat’s off to anyone who donates :)

  6. Man, do I know how you feel! And my gut reaction says, that yes, you are taking on quite a bit and something’s gotta give. I LOVE the idea of donating milk. What a worthwhile cause. But your photography is fabulous and something outside of motherhood that’s all “Amy” and I know you adore. But you can’t do it all, sweetie. The baby is so young yet. What a pickle! Is there an amount of milk you have to donate per week? Maybe you can just pump on the days you shower. Sounds silly but hey, maybe!

  7. thanks for all the feedback, thoughts and suggestions.

    penny – thanks for sharing. glad i’m not alone.

    sonja – that was a great entry. thanks for linking her.

    michelle – that’s a great idea – pumping one side while nursing on the other!

    amy – i appreciate you sharing what you are going thru too.

    heather – thx for reminding me about what martha sears said. i was just reading about that the other day. the milk bank requires a commitment of 150 oz. but not a certain amount per day or anything.

    nicole – yeah, i feel like i should be able to do it all and yet, i’m only human. i need to just chill and not expect the world (just yet). ;)

    nino – that’s a great idea of just pumping on the days i shower. and thx for the reminder that julian is still just a baby. i needed that.

  8. one of my yoga students (how funny because she really was my teacher) who was about 70 years old gave me a good line to remember. I was about 2 months post partum with Sula and trying to balance being mama of two kids under the age of, teaching 4 classes of yoga a week, writing articles, training for more yoga work, beginning PR for my husbands new music, trying to finish the remodel of our house so we could sell it and move/ travel/get on the road…I was just talking to her about how my life was so constant and I felt like I was spinning. She grabbed my hands, her blue eyes milky and wise looked right into mine and said, “dear you CAN do it all, all of your passions are yours. You just can’t do it all today. Your life is long.”

    So I guess start with what you know. Be present. And think about what can you do today that does not extend you beyond yourself, beyond your kids needs. And what yo can’t do today, be assured it will present itself to you when you are able.

    Love!
    MB

  9. Hey there Amy. I don’t have any great suggestions for you; but I just want to say that I know how you’re feeling. They are only small for such a short time in our lives. It’ll be gone before you know it; and you’ll be wishing they were tiny again. :) No one ever gets to the end of their life and says, “Gosh, I wish I’d spent more time at the office/at work/away from my family,” or whatever.

    Take care. Enjoy your babies. They are so adorable, btw; the pic of Julian smiling at Ava just melted my heart. :)
    Katie

  10. Amy – thanks for the info about the Denver milk bank being low – I have decided that I have been called to donate mamas milk. I hadn’t thought about that before. Hopefully I can swing it!!

  11. Hi Amy!
    I just wanted to let you know that I empathize with many of your feelings. It’s so hard to admit to “needing more,” although I think most other mothers completely understand. I really don’t have any advice, as I still often feel out of balance myself, but I just wanted to let you know I am thinking of you. Best wishes to you and your family!

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