Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Confessions of a multitasking mom

Priorities. It seems I have too many. And too few resources to treat them all with the attention they deserve.

Sure, this sounds like the lament of a working mom. But it's true of any person, I think. We have so many hours in the day, so many resources we're blessed with. And in the end, we have to make choices.

And so goes it with making choices for my family and the world around us. I have great intentions. But I can't do it all.

I value the few hours a day I have as a family - the whirlwind hours of 5:30 to 8:30, where juggle dinners, diapers, playtime, bathtime, stories and struggles of not wanting to go to bed. Many days, I wind up exhausted, and often my husband and I are right behind them in going to sleep.

So that leaves me with a shortage of time. And so each hour is wasted as little as possible. Need to cook? The kids join us in the kitchen, despite the frustrations that accompany it. Want to garden? They're right beside me starting seeds and commenting on which are sprouting first. Doing yard work? Bring your own shovel and watering can. It may feel like play to them, but they're quietly learning a lot about how we take care of this world.

Those busy hours are springboards for interesting conversations. This morning's rush was punctuated by a discussion of where food comes from (from my 4 year old), which led to a talk about how fun it is for us to garden. We talk about how recycling allows us to make new stuff from old, and we talk about how we can help others by donating things we may no longer be able to use. Most talks aren't nearly as deep, but the point is, we talk. As a family. And that time's important too.

So while much happens in our family hours, much is left on the table. Like the dishes. Or the laundry. My household is far from perfect, and it shows. I choose some time-savers too without even blinking. For all of my homemade meals, there's plenty of frozen finds too. For all of my applesauce making in the fall, I still use fruit cups by spring. For all of my homemade cleaning solutions, I still have my stash of Clorox wipes. For all of my high-efficiency appliances, I'll still dry my dishes in the dishwasher - or put it on the one-hour wash to save time. Certainly not anything to scold me over, but it's a decision nonetheless.

Life is a series of choices, big and small. There are times when we can invest a lot in green living, and there are times when we pick and choose. Right now, forces at work, with my family and with my health mean I'm scaling back on a few of those smaller choices. But as the springtime comes and my health (God willing) improves, I'm sure my energy will return and I can put a renewed focus on things I've left behind.

In the end, I don't think any of us can do it all. Nor should we attempt to. But the aggregate of us making changes, big and small, can make a dramatic difference in this world.

This is my submission for the March APLS carnival on making choices, hosted this month by wikeorama.

1 comment:

Steph @ Greening Families said...

We've been talking a lot with our children about this very subject. Knowing that there are many opportunities each day to make a choice has been one of those initially-overwhelming-but-eventually-freeing concepts for us.

I hope the warmer weather brings you stronger health!