Thursday, July 15, 2010

2010 and why the Jetsons have much to answer for


It's 2010 folks.


Isn't that a strange number when you see it looking out at you like that. It looks like the sort of year you would expect to be a Jetsons year - aka flying cars and saucers even.

More importantly, a year where gadgets prevailed, leaving many many hours to play happy joyful families without household conflict, knowing that the cooking, cleaning, shopping, light switching, clutter decluttering, fridge filling, billpaying, etc was all being miraculously taken care of by some happy joyful robot somewhere. And with hair piled high you could carry on balancing that happy joyful family with all the happy joyful interests you could dream of. I truly pictured this would happen one day. I may have been 7 at the time but those smiley Jetsons set me up for future feelings of failure.


Yes, there are many new gadgets. Some help undoubtedly - the washing machine will indeed wash clothes, but truth is I still have to fold them, all 73 pieces per day (this may not be the case in other families - you listening Rory?), and some don't seem to help at all - the internet, which sadly gives me joy also gives me absolute time wastage in almost equal parts.


I'm not whining about gadgets. I love them. What I'm really whining about is the fact that despite them, and partly due to them, life doesn't seem to have gotten easier.

Infact, I feel for the most part that I'm running on empty. I feel, for the most part, that I can only give 30-70% to anything at any one time. With more choices, more guilt, more gadgets, more social responsibilty, more helicopter parenting, more friends, more work, more interests, more access to technology, more memberships, more travelling partners etc, my head feels like it's going to explode and there is never enough of me to go around.

Hell, I can't even relax properly. I try hard, but living life in 2010 is a bigger beast than I have managed to comfortably chew on each day.

Is it me? Quite possibly. I seem to have come from the 'not happy unless I'm doing a double shift' mould. I do try and keep it in check but, frankly, life around these here blocks seems to beat to its own hectic drum regardless.

The parenting gig is one that I undoubtedly invest the most energy, juice and time into - without regret. I love kids and I especially love mine. If I could give even more, I would.

But life didn't start when I popped them out. Before they came along I was very happily doing, and enjoying 300 other interests. Having kids didn't change that. Having kids just took an 80% slice out of me, and shifted my perspective somewhat. Those other interests remained, hovering in the background, crowding out whatever white space there may have been there previously.

And that is where all the mental conflict starts. Your story may be slightly different, but 'same same' different no doubt.

I work. Passionately, even managing to think about it all of the time whilst only being paid for it a tiny percentage of the time.

I write. This actually translates to I often love to think about what I could be writing.

I am a partner. The 7 day challenge validated that there is plenty to be gotten from giving, but giving takes energy and my energy bank runs low. Always.

I am a friend. One where I am often cut a lot of slack. Thank God.

Conflict. Conflict.

What else crowds that white space? Probably a lot like you, I am a person with a gym membership, a lover of sleep, a person who loves to retreat, a wonna be cooker extraordinaire, blogger, twitterer, people lover, wonna be student, lover of good causes, someone with a unibrow that needs to be waxed (ok, maybe that's just me) and hair that needs to be coloured far too frequently, lover of books and all things news, and still much much more. None of this, and plenty more important stuff rarely gets much of a look in (except for, ahem, twitter and that's another post). The 'me' bit, from the brain to the unibrow and back down to my fingers, all of that gets pushed to the back of the line. But truly, it is everything that is pushed and shoved and nudged around just to try and make it fit in.

Conflict.

I know I'm not alone.

Infact, I need to know I'm not alone. Where do you sit? Have you mastered your own universe? Do you have family to help with the load (we don't)?

Or, like me, do you have a sliding scale of where you give and at the bottom of that scale is you. And scattered throughout is conflict.

Yep, please tell me - I'm not alone.

Dovic xx



25 comments:

  1. Baby, you are not alone.....promise.

    For one, I am so relieved that there is someone else out there that counts the items she has to wash, dry and fold daily.

    We are currently in a space where I finally feel we do have a bit of balance. Y'know why? I have put my work on the back burner, without resentment. But.....you guessed it....we now have no bank balance.

    So, it appears SOMETHING always falls off the cramped wagon. I am just glad it wasn't me or my mind.....

    xx

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  2. Oh Honey you are so not alone. The sad thing is I don't have 3 young children and I'm facing the busiest year of my life with the least amount of white space ever. I still haven't put my finger on why, but suspect the Interwebz might have a little to do with it. I feel scattered, operating in total bandaid mode and rarely rested. As I approach 50 (yes I am staring at it) I would have hoped that I'd be relaxing a little, writing profusely and enjoying my "twilight" years. Guess 70 is the new 50 so I have another 23 years of this hamster wheel! I need a bex and a lie down right now.

    Great post Ms Dovic. I love it when you write. xx

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  3. Have you been inside my head? I have a post roiling around in my mind on this very topic. Great post.

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  4. Apart from the "wonna be student" bit ('cos I'm doing that, too), that's all so totally me, so No - you are absolutely not alone.

    I don't know that I ever thought I'd be a lady of leisure, 'cos I seem to be hard-wired to want to DO things, but I certainly had vague fantasies of floating around the world, writing lofty dispatches from fabulous destinations, trailing adoring children and a nanny.....*snorts morning cuppa out her nose*

    The reality is, the more there is to do (in terms of 'being able to have it all'), the more we feel we SHOULD do. Juggling parenthood with *anything* else should be considered a form of insanity; it's a full-time job in itself. Maybe some of the social ills of society might begin to be sorted when it is recognised as such, and being a parent might be as rewarding from the outside as it is (mostly!) from the inside? ;)

    Will a few more gadgets help? Don't know, but I'll have fun playing with them...

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  5. And now my neck is sore from nodding so hard through every line of that post...

    Oh yep, I hear you. I am exhausted just from my non-stop brain, the demands on my time and the pressure I put on myself to do everything.

    I especially love this line: "Living life in 2010 is a bigger beast than I have managed to comfortably chew on each day." - ABSOLUTELY SPOT ON.

    Brilliant post - you've written down the muddle in all our heads so perfectly.

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  6. No you are not alone.

    If I think about it too much I start to go under. I kind of live the clouds a bit. A pyschic recently told me I have a lot of fairies hanging around my head and find it hard to concentrate on one thing. Sounds about right.


    I'm going to give meditation a whirl. Let you know it goes x

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  7. So not alone Ms D. Although after years of asserting my desire, neigh right, to be one of them there superwomen - all too often finding myself doing half of a lot of things and many of them badly as a result - I this year decided to embrace a slightly more chilled out approach. After wrestling with childcare options (we don't have any family on hand either), job-juggling options and reduced sleep options I deferred from uni and am taking on only a modicum of freelance work, opting instead to enjoy being a new mum for the second time around, and ensuring number one son didn't fall prey to mummy's over-packed schedule. I get twitchy now and again, and no doubt I'll be itching to do more by the end of my Jetson's year, but for now I'm finding this 'smelling the roses' business pretty damn fine.

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  8. Hear, hear! I also keep waiting for the Jetson's super-convenient world to roll in like we were promised... but.

    I made 2010 my 20Zen and I've been downshifting the activities, the obligations, even 'the fun' and it's been GREAT. SO great. I'm having the best year ever just appreciating life's simple pleasures.

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  9. I could have written that. On the wannabee student" thing, I wanted to go back to study for so long, that every time I drove past the local university (every day nearly), I'd sigh, wistfully, for what my life used to be. So, this year I did it. I enrolled in OUA for one unit, committing to 10 - 15 hours of spare time that didn't exist. When the unit started, and I read what was required, I knew for sure that I was freaking insane, and that time would have to be stolen from somewhere that mattered. From my children. From my husband. From my reading (things I WANT to read, not textbooks). Even from my mindless computer staring, and tv watching. By the middle of the first week, I was snapping at my children, saying to one, "go away, I have to study, I can't concerntrate!" One very stung expression from said child, and I came to my senses, realising that this was everything that I disliked about uni (study, discipline, time management...stress!) and nothing I absolutely adored (independance, stellar social life!) By day 4 I was out, with nothing but a $75 penalty to show for it. Actually, there WAS something else. The realisation that I thought I couldn't be happy with just raising my kids, and filling my days with homemaking and hobbies, at this point in time. Thought I must want me, I SHOULD. But the fact is, at the moment, I don't, and now I know that's ok. When one of my kids smiles at me charmingly, I am over there like a shot, for a cuddle, a chat, even some colouring in or playing with the blasted barbies. They are a gift I have only been given for a short time. Studying can wait (and you know what, for me, I think it will be waiting a very, veeeery long time!)

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  10. I don't think you can edit comments, that will teach me to not check my "work"! The above comment should read "Thought I must want MORE" (not me!)

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  11. Sarah (Maya_Abeille_July 16, 2010 at 2:42 PM

    Good one. I think that if you are of a particular temperament (the kind where your brain doesn't like to switch off) then it's like part of you is focussing on any given activity and another part is off with the fairies anyway... once you add a number of small children and various other competing interests the result is mayhem. I think that for me anyway, there is so much more riding on my care for my children than there was in the 'it takes a village' days. Some lucky people still have the 'village' - whether is be family, close friends or even employees to help lighten the load; but many of us take on a herculean task that in years gone by would have been more of a shared effort. When you think about the needs of small children and the ratio of two parents, at least one of whom is working outside the home, and all the rest of life's shrapnel (like hanging on to sanity) - it does not compute. Computer says no. BUT a problem shared is a problem halved so knowing your not alone does indeed provide some kind of core stablity which although nowhere near ideal, may just be essential to the continuation of functional chaos! Thanks for sharing. xxx

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  12. And drat and darn it if I didn't commit an apostrophe homicide in my comment - YOU'RE, it's YOU'RE not YOUR!!!

    Meant to add that I have been so overwhelmed recently after at least a week wherein I literally spent 14 hours our of every 24 physically attending to some one else's needs... that I told my husband i was going to book in to a local hotel this weekend and do nothing but lie around, read, have a bath and order room service for an afternoon and evening.

    I ended up putting the two kids in daycare for a few hours and going to get a restorative haircut instead but I must admit I am still tempted to do the hotel thing...so tempted.

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  13. Sarah (Maya_Abeille)July 16, 2010 at 2:51 PM

    actually what am I saying - 14 hrs out of 24 implies that i got to sleep by myself... make that 24 hours out of 24!

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  14. As everyone else said, you are certainly not alone! I find it immensely difficult to feel as if I'm juggling everything properly...of course, kids & hubby come first, but after that it is all a jumble. I find that all things "home" come before anything else and all things to do with stoking the fire of creativity or personal fulfillment (or waxing and hair appointments) come in last minute and dead last. Perhaps we'll all prop each other up! ;)

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  15. Why do we take on so much? We seem to think the key to our families happiness is running ourselves rampant trying to squeeze in as much as possible.

    I am determined not to be one of these mums. I work full time and I don't have time for everyone/everything...
    Maybe I am kidding myself and have a shitload to learn as the new mum on the block.

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  16. You are definitely not alone! I feel exactly the same- except I only have the 1 baby to take care of- not 3 like you. In fact I feel guilty sitting here replying, knowing there are things around the house to be done- while the baby is asleep. . .

    I also study- from home- and this is the part that I find hardest. Trying to do this and do it properly, with all of the other distractions, and ensuring that my baby (and hubby) aren't neglected is HARD. We also don't have any family here with us for support, so the bulk of childcare rests with me. . .

    I enjoyed reading this, knowing that I am not alone and- you my dear are not alone either!!

    I think it's time that we give ourselves a break and put ourselves FIRST! If something i.e. the washing does not get done one day, then who cares-it'll still be there tomorrow to do.... Lets start a revolt!

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  17. You are NOT alone! (now I have a Michael Jackson song rolling around in my head).

    You said it all so perfectly! x

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  18. Nope, you are definitely NOT alone there babe.xxx

    Have I mastered my universe? definitely not...yet.

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  19. I'm pretty sure the only time I'm not connected is when I'm in the shower. And that's only until the iPhone becomes waterproof.
    Time to zone out - even the desire/ability to resist - is a hard come by thing. My greatest hope is that one day I can convince my wife to ditch the TV. #neverhappen

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  20. So, so not alone, sweetness. It's just.. exhausting, isn't it? The constantness of it all. Huge hugs. Hearing you.

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  21. I so hear you sista!! Women's lives, especially, are just so big and complex and fraught nowadays, it is hard to even encapsulate that--but you've done a great job with this post. I relate to everything you've said, but so rarely hear anyone mention that "beauty maintenance" element. The older I get, the more I resent the time that gets taken up with things like colouring my hair. As if things aren't busy enough! (BTW, anidledad, we ditched the TV a coupla years back. Great for the kids, but didn't seem to make one ounce of difference in terms of freeing up time for us. I think unfortunately the internet just rushed right on in there...). Brilliant post!

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  22. Nope. Not alone. And perhaps my best lesson was to not have a computer for a couple of days. It made me sit my arse on that couch each night and just integrate with my family. I too am supposed to be studying (2 out of 10 subjects to go and have lost ALL motivation to finish). I write for a local Gold Coast Blog and I also do books for a SpecSavers franchise. Add to that 4 full days at work and 3 kids that go to 3 different schools/kindies and sometimes I am living dangerously close to losing it. BUT, and this is the big but, Phil is an equal partner in all this as such, he does equal parenting. It's always been the way we've done it. There are still arguments about who does more or less, don't get me wrong, but that's our family way. But I'm guessing, something, someday will have to give. And hey, I only had my first ever eye brow wax this year. Have a feeling I was bushy magee and no one told me. xx

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  23. Nope not alone...

    I struggle with the juggling act too and some days feel like chucking it all in. Sometimes I wish I didn't have a computer, I didn't know what the internet was and I was a total hermit... we could totally just live an isolated life here.. surely we could...

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  24. SO not alone.

    I struggle every day and it seems to be getting harder to juggle.

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  25. I don’t know what to say. This is definitely one of the better blogs I’ve read. You’re so insightful, have so much real stuff to bring to the table. I hope that more people read this and get what I got from it: chills. Great job I can’t wait to read more, keep them coming!

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