Dealing with downtime

Els has been writing a lot about dealing with downtime and not sliding into sloth.  I’ve been comboxing away, but I feel like I need to get a little more raw and a lot more verbose to have my girl’s back.  Anyway.  Maybe someone else out there has these issues.  Everyone’s bound to have a moment of this at some point.

The first point to this whole thing is that sloth is a defect of character.  If you’re really enjoying lying on the couch eating bonbons day after day, it doesn’t matter if you could hop up and run a marathon … you’re making a choice to stay on your behind.   Motivating you because of your choice – someone other than me needs to do that.  I am not a slothmonkey.

But.  I often feel like a slothmonkey, because I have various things to deal with that either currently knock me down or have knocked me down in the past.   Let’s make a list, shall we?

  1. Semi-bedrest pregnancies (past)
  2. Depression (past)
  3. Serious injury (past, but limits me a bit)
  4. Menorrhagia (current, has been going about 10 years)

I wrote about how to deal with the physical stuff in a long comment for Els.  It comes down to making priorities and sticking with that list.  It’s a matter of managing your energy levels and what the doctor will allow.

What I didn’t write about was the depression (past) or managing my emotions (current) when I can’t get things done.  Do you think that doesn’t bother me?  It bothers me.  A lot.  One of my goals is to go a month without making a lame apology to my husband for being wan and useless.  Like I picked that.  -eyeroll-    It usually takes me a few days to agree that sitting on my behind is useful… which is about when the energy makes a turnaround.  So frustrating.

So, let’s talk about the past depression.  Auntie Hearthums has a story for you… sit down.

Once upon a time, my husband and I bought a house.  It had three bedrooms and one bathroom.  We were using one bedroom.  My husband had a friend in jail, and he told me that his friend would be moving in with us while on parole.   I had a friend who was getting out of the military and didn’t have anywhere to be really.  So, we filled up the extra bedrooms within six? months of moving in.

Four adults was fine – except that Auntie Hearthums hadn’t developed a backbone yet, so one of the four of us didn’t do much about chores or grocery sharing, and I didn’t make her, and didn’t think to ask DH to make her.   About a year later, she got married.  And her husband moved in too.  Now we have five adults in a 3bd/1ba.  That might work… if two of the people had pulled their fair share.  But they didn’t.  And anyway, it was super crowded.  (I was working 40 hour weeks at a stressful job at this time).

THEN the two married ladies got pregnant.   Meantime, the new husband’s friend and *his* wife were hanging out a lot, and the single lady’s boyfriend hung out a lot.  The friend’s wife also got pregnant.  (The single lady stopped drinking the water in the house).   Most nights, I cooked dinner for 6-8 people after coming home from a full-time job.   (Why was I cooking 95% of the time?  That’s an excellent question… see: Hadn’t developed a backbone).

Then the company I’d been temping for decided to relocate.  Being insane, they decided they just had to keep me for a few more months… and moved my office equipment into my living room.   We’re up to five people, three cats, an in-home office, two pregnant ladies, one of whom has to rest rather a lot, three usual-guests and around 1400sqft.   Do I have to tell you about the level of squalor?  It wasn’t nice.   It really REALLY wasn’t nice.

And then the military men got relocated, with their wives.   Six weeks before I was due to give birth.   Did they clean before they left?  Was that a joke?  No.  DH shoveled their room out.  We moved my friend into their room (after refurbishing it) and made a room for our baby – but that’s all we could get done.  Did WE clean the house?  Also, no.  What time did we have?  Also, I worked (not very hard) up until two weeks before my due date.  (Baby was late, but that’s not relevant).

So.  I had our first child – by c/s, which means I couldn’t sleep on our waterbed for the first couple of weeks, I had to sleep in the living room on the fold out couch – and my house looks like something blew up.   I’m recovering from surgery, my friend is already due for sainthood and works full time, my mom works full time, MIL works full time, my husband works full time… are you getting the picture here?

Oh, and I was crunchy and doing cloth diapering and trying desperately to breastfeed – so lots of laundry, lots of pumping, not much sleeping.

Four months later… my mother in law died.

Two months after that… my husband got laid off.

Dear Reader – I know what depression feels like.   And I’ve had my awful-times since.   But this one is printable.

What helped?  Flylady.  I don’t still do Flylady.  Haven’t for years.   But Flylady, ever so slowly, helped me dig out.  Flylady helped me build habits to minimize my work going forward.  And all those darn emails made me feel like someone cared about me.  The ethos of “just do a little bit, but do it perfectly and let it spread” as well as, “You can do anything for 15 minutes” – they helped.  They seem silly now.  A bit embarrassing.  But they worked.  They helped.  They changed things.

I still haven’t learned my lesson about asking for help outside my very innermost circle, but at the end of these years I can tell you – the dust on the top of your shelves isn’t going to harm anyone, and it won’t take you long to get rid of when you’re able.   It’s frustrating and shaming to have to be the weak one, the one on the asking end, the one who can’t pull her own weight and a bit more – but it happens.   You can’t always do all the things, and do them all perfectly.  We’re Americans, and that’s our standard.  But that’s not God’s standard – it’s ours.  It’s phariseeism, wanting to feel like you’re doing well enough on your own merits.

Being weak isn’t the same as being slothful.  Being sick isn’t slothful.   It’s just part of life.

And we don’t get to Heaven by virtue of the works of our hands.



4 thoughts on “Dealing with downtime

  1. Elspeth

    Good thoughts here, Hearth, I agree that difference between sickness and sloth is worth noting and I was having egnuinely challenging physical issues that demanded I rest. So, thanks for the encouragement.

    Got a lot done today, though still not quite as much as I’d like to have. I’m a bit afraid of heights and so am putting off painting near the top of the vaulted ceilings. Leaving that for one of my girls, LOL. I feel kind of bad but not bad enough to get on the top rung of the ladder.


  2. goingtothefields

    I’m convinced that struggle means nothing to most people.

    Meaning: your story don’t matter. It does but not to them. Why can’t you just be a perfect Christian wife? Why can’t you regain your figure, homeschool, accept challenges, and just Love The Lord? Why can’t you? Why not?

    Daily discouragement is real.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. hearthie Post author

      I don’t give a fuzzy bunny about “those people” – I care about the people I can maybe help by talking about the times when life handed me a whole sackful of lemons.

      For true, “those people” in my life are the voices I listen to and internalize, or maybe the odd person on the ‘net. IRL? Okay, maybe I’ve met one or two. (The realtor when we sold house #1 wasn’t exactly excited by my baby steps toward a clean house, because .. they were baby steps).

      So, for me, the biggest discourager is the voice of perfection from inside.



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