Monday, July 09, 2007

How do you do it all?

Tonight as I was standing at the dryer folding clothes so I could switch over the wash, I was thinking about my cheering squad. No, I'm not talking about imaginary friends that cheer me on (though I wouldn't necessarily put that outside the realm of possibility). I'm talking about family and friends who say to others about me, "That Karen! I just don't know how she does it all!"

I suppose it either sounds impressive to work nearly full time and go to law school and have two small children (who actually know who you are!) at home-- or it sounds wildly insane. And the truth is probably somewhere in between. When people ask me how I do it all, I usually point out that Jason is incredibly involved-- a real partner to me. So he picks up the kids from school and gets them off to bed. And I point out that my in-laws are a huge support-- that the kids and Jason have a family meal most nights because Jason's mom feeds them all at her house. And I point out that I have understanding and flexible colleagues and an incredibly supportive boss.

And all that is true.

But as I stood at the dryer tonight, folding the clothes without even bothering to turn them right-side-out before doing so, I realized that my answer just isn't the full story. The truth is this:

  • I don't dust. Pretty much ever. Maybe once a year. And sometimes I con Casey into using the feather duster to "play" and dust at the same time.
  • I don't worry if the socks aren't matched up-- they all go in the sock drawer. And I don't worry if clothes are folded inside out. I figure whoever took it off inside out and didn't take the time to unflip it can't be all that upset if I treat the item the same way (though honestly it's mostly my stuff that ends up inside out in the wash).
  • If I'm not going to work, wrinkles don't matter on clothes. If the clothes are clean, I'm all good.
  • I have an amazing ability to ignore clutter. When Jason recently cleaned out the closet, he found bill statements from four years ago (when I started law school). Now, in my defense, I pay things online-- but really, that's a lot of mail to store up in a closet, and it was probably a fire hazard.
  • I don't mind pulling clean dishes out of the dishwasher to use instead of putting things away. Okay, I mind a little. But not enough to actually put the stuff away when life gets really busy.
  • I have a really dirty car. Really. Dirty. Inside and out. I try to clean it out every couple weeks, but you'd never know it. Plus, I think I might be able to feed a small army with the amount of cheerios, pieces of chips, and crackers on the floor of my backseat.

Those are just a few of the ways I'm able to "skimp" so that I have time to do other, more fun things. Don't get the wrong idea. I do clean bathrooms with some regularity. I do vacuum. The laundry gets done every week. The sheets on the beds are clean. There is fresh food in the fridge, and I make breakfasts and lunches. But the truth is you really can't have everything in life. And really, if something's gotta give, why not let it be the dusting?


Johnny said...

Dude(dess), your bullet points sound like a college "duuuude".

Same here!

R... said...

Great post! Thanks for the "pep" talk of sorts. :-) Everybody finds a way to make it work when it's important and leading a full life forces you to figure out what's important very quickly.

Julie said...

Aha! True confessions! Dusting is always the last thing on my list so it never gets done either -- until the cobwebs start showing. You are still my hero. :)

missko23 said...

Like you used to iron your clothes for work! I're amazing. We're all thinking of you....