Boston-based Cornelia joined the Farmers To You staff in January of this year. She has brought her perspective as a working mom to our conversations about the partner family experience … and we’ve implored her to share her story. Her first installment can be found here: “Here, there, and everywhere. A fraught tale from a frantic mom.” We hope you enjoy reading it, and invite all of you to share your perspective as well.
At first I was asking: There are not enough hours in the day. How can I do more?
I had a 3-year-old, spent 1.5 hours commuting in my car every day, and was doing the grocery shopping at 8 am on Sundays, but buying my lunch every weekday.
I was resentful of my husband, rarely saw my friends, and envied my son’s daycare providers for the time they had to devote to him. While I had the privilege of paying for it.
A friend suggested Brigid Shulte’s book “Overwhelmed.” Naturally, my first response was: “Who has time to read a book??!!” But her newfound calm, coupled with her insisting that I could find the time, pushed me to it.
While reading it, I started tuning into some of the conversations about the culture of busyness. The glorification of over scheduling . The martyrdom of motherhood. Picture this: I bump into someone out and about, and they ask casually: “How’s it going?” My answer comes like a shot: “Busy! Very very busy!” My response is automatic. Exasperated. And a bit self-congratulatory. Suggesting: “Oh, I have so many things going on in my life! See what I can accomplish?!?! I’m a Superwoman!”
But I had nothing on Brigid Shulte:
I am like the Red Queen from “Alice in Wonderland,” forever running faster and getting nowhere. Entire hours evaporate while I’m doing stuff that needs to get done, but once I’m done, I can’t tell you what it was I did or why it seemed so important. At work, I arrange carpools to band practice and ballet. At home, I write e-mails, and do interviews and research for work. “Just a sec,” I hear my daughter mimicking me as she mothers her dolls. “Gimme a minute.” She just stuck a yellow sticky note on my forehead to tear me away from writing this story, at 9:35 p.m., to remind me I’m late to come read Harry Potter for story time. Most days, I feel so overwhelmed that I barely have time to breathe.
And so I read…And, slowly, took a hard look at how I was spending my time. I was surprised (and a little angered) by the assertion in the opening chapter of “Overwhelmed” that, despite my busyness, I had many hours of leisure time in a week. Once I got past that and understood how I was choosing to spend my time, I was able to see it.
How did I find the time to read? Two things: Most importantly, I deleted all social media apps from my phone. It is astonishing how much time I can waste on Facebook. Two: I replaced those apps with the the Kindle App. It’s free and your e-book library is accessible from any device. Why I am more apt to read something when it’s lit up on a screen I’m not sure. But, I read books regularly now.
We all have our own journey, and I want to share the resources that have helped me simplify. This process is difficult. Breaking old habits. Honoring intuition over chatter. And it is imperfect. I’d love to hear from you. What resources, apps, tools, tips, services, etc. do you rely on – and why?
*This Washington Post article is what inspired Shulte’s book. It’s a good read!