I'm 80% back to where I was, oh, almost 3 years ago. Back in the Summer good ol' 2010, when we first bought this place, I was kinda kicking butt and taking names farm/garden/house-wise. Between Bill and I, we kept the lawn mowed, the flower beds mostly weeded, and the critters and kids safe, well fed and generally presentable. Darn those were good times!
Fast forward to the present. The yard is straight-up out of control, the girls are old enough to dress and style themselves, for better or worse (trust me, sometimes it's worse!), the house hasn't had a top-to-bottom cleaning since I don't know when, and the laundry... sweet baby jeebus, the laundry.
I feel like I'm treading water. I get the house mostly caught up, then it's time to put the garden in, and the house falls massively behind. Then the reverse happens, it's Autumn, and I can mostly quit stressing about the yard and garden and focus on the house, then a metric crap-ton of leaves fall and the rains hit and turn our yard and garden into muck soup, which will take massive cleanup come Spring...and the cycle continues.
I can't keep up. I can't mentally juggle the nutritional needs of four humans and 50+ critters and keep my carpet vacuumed and have a clean car and volunteer at the girls' schools and make my own cheese and keep my sanity. Something has to give.
So this school year, I didn't volunteer. So far, I haven't made cheese, though that is not something I want to give up, I just can't find the time for it just now, and my loss is the pigs' gain - they're big fans of our goat milk. My car is littered with latte cups and other weird odds and ends, and has a trunk full of clothes that I've been meaning to drop by the Salvation Army for, seriously, months now. On the whole, it doesn't bother me too much, because I know what my priorities are and why, but to the outside observer who doesn't know the backstory on our year of crap, it probably looks like I'm a giant slacker and a half-assed mom, and that bothers me.
So what do I do? Do I run myself ragged trying to keep up appearances when, deep down, I'm not terribly bothered by the fact that I have a dandelion forest in my front yard and a ring-around-the-tub? Or do I focus on the stuff that I feel really satisfies me - canning weird flavors of jam, knitting a million dishcloths, cooking from scratch and having dinner on the beach with my family?
It's no contest. I choose the experience of togetherness over the facade of always having it together.
Now, how do I make myself ok enough with my choice to hold my head up high and not explain or apologize for my messy car, my cluttered porch or my daughter's whack-a-doo self-styled hair? Seriously - how?