Lists. I am a keeper of lists. I have one on my fridge to track groceries, I have one for my bills, I keep an editorial calendar (which I obviously ignore, since I haven’t posted since last Friday), and I also have a design calendar and a homeschool calendar. I have a book wherein I keep my numerous internet logons and passwords, I have a daily to-do-list a weekly to-do list, and a monthly to-do list.

Yet none of them are helping. I’m caring for two frail and elderly parents, homeschooling three kids, working a part time at home job, trying to keep up with the laundry (seriously…yesterday? I did TEN loads. TEN!) With each passing day, I find myself more and more overwhelmed.

And I have an intense dislike for that word, “overwhelmed”.

o·ver·whelm (vr-hwlm, -wlm)
tr.v. o·ver·whelmed, o·ver·whelm·ing, o·ver·whelms
1. To surge over and submerge; engulf: waves overwhelming the rocky shoreline.
2. a. To defeat completely and decisively: Our team overwhelmed the visitors by 40 points.
b. To affect deeply in mind or emotion: Despair overwhelmed me.
3. To present with an excessive amount: They overwhelmed us with expensive gifts.
4. To turn over; upset: The small craft was overwhelmed by the enormous waves.

2b and 3 pretty much sum up how I’m feeling tonight. Don’t be mistaken, this isn’t a pity party. It’s a call to action. There’s going to have to be some changes made on my part. I can’t do it all and I’m not even going to pretend I want to.

It’s most definitely not burn out, because I can’t see myself giving up blogging, but I’ll call it streamlining. I’m going to be choosier about what I commit myself to in the future – I hate committing to things and then feeling like I’m not holding up my end of the bargain…have you ever felt that way? What do you do?

Y’all…I’m seriously having a hard time tonight seeing the bright side…for the first time in a long time. I don’t like letting folks down. It’s my nature to give and give and give….but what happens when I just don’t have anything left over?

What do you do when you feel like you’re losing the battle? Help a girl out…I need someone to polish the dull side for me…

Look on the bright side! Subscribe via my RSS feed.

28 Comments on Polishing the Dull Side has Never Been More Difficult

  1. Mrs. Brownstone @ XBOX Wife
    September 9, 2008 at 9:28 pm (15 years ago)

    Ok – for one, do not beat yourself up! You have a lot on your plate and all of it sounds worthwhile. Just do the best you can do, and that will have to be good enough…for everyone!

    For two, take a moment ~ even if you have to neglect something else ~ for YOURSELF!!! Go to Sonic and get a fancy Coke…or cheddar peppers…or fried mac and cheese…or a junior banana split…go for the LARGE banana split! Get a book that you enjoy and read one chapter every night before you go to bed.

    For three, ask for help ~ which you did, or I wouldn’t be typing all this! Don’t feel bad about feeling bad! It happens to all of us!!!

    Praying for you…I hope you’ll feel better soon!

  2. Mrs. Brownstone @ XBOX Wife
    September 9, 2008 at 9:29 pm (15 years ago)

    Come make a thankful list, or at least read some of the others posted at my blog. They always make me feel better!

  3. Chaotic Joy
    September 9, 2008 at 9:33 pm (15 years ago)

    We all have times where we feel we can’t keep our head above water. Remember the things that really matter, and if you don’t get to the rest that day, it’s OK. Really. It is.

    Ask for help when you need it. See if someone can take the kids for the day to give you some time to catch up.

    But mostly, be a little kinder, gentler, more forgiving…to yourself. Praying for you.

  4. Amber (Bringing Good Home)
    September 9, 2008 at 9:33 pm (15 years ago)

    Oh, girl, I have BEEN there! And I don’t have the taking care of my parents part or the making money from home part.

    I think you’re on the right track. Streamline. Simplify. There are some things you cannot let go of. There are some things that can wait. There are some things that can go all together.

    Make a list full of easy things to do just so you can cross a bunch of them off right away!

    Go ahead, take a bloggy break and catch up on some housework.

    Make sure you find a little “you” time here and there, whether it’s just to sit down and read blog feeds or whether it’s with a book and a coffee. If you keep going and going and going without stopping occasionally, you WILL burn out.

    If you can, call a friend or family member to watch your kids for ONE WHOLE DAY. It will feel good, I promise. Whether you use the day to work or to stare vegetatively, it doesn’t matter. 🙂

    Oh, and pray! I do that a LOT!

    Prayin’ ya through~

  5. Robin (PENSIEVE)
    September 9, 2008 at 9:36 pm (15 years ago)

    a) {{HUGS}}

    b) Make time for some girlfriend time. I’m not kidding. Not online, either, IRL. Touch them, look at them, hug ’em….just spend an hour or two with someone who loves you and can affirm you.

    c) Laugh. It’ll do wonders from the inside out. Heck, if you just will yourself, your kids will think you’re insane, they’ll start laughing, too, and pretty soon it’ll be the real thing.

    d) Do something totally selfish. Mani? Pedi? Hair?

    e) Do something totally unselfish. It’s okay to do “d” and “e” or just one of ’em.

    f) Know that you’re not alone. Most of us could say we’ve been right where you are (maybe are right now…lawsy mercy, MY wheels have been spinning the past few weeks!!).

    {{more hugs}} Can’t wait to see how you grow through this…AND, to see your new WP blog! 🙂

  6. Headless Mom
    September 9, 2008 at 9:45 pm (15 years ago)

    what they said.

    Oh, you want more? OK. #1 you are a rockin’ designer. BUT if you need to take a few less jobs per month for the next few, then do.

    #2 let go of smaller house cleaning tasks. or do a less perfect job if you can’t let it go all together. it will be there tomorrow, or the next day, or whenever.

    #3 focus during the daytime hours on kids/school/etc. if you can, after dinner just sit with hubby, watch a movie or some mind numbing tv and just BE. do this once or twice a week if you can and don’t feel guilty about it. sometimes just relaxing can make all the difference.

    #4 say no for a while. there is nothing wrong with getting yourself back on track. there will be more opportunities when you are feeling more up to it.

    #5 give yourself a break! you work hard and have a lot on your plate. take a bloggy break (again!) if you need it. we’ll all be here when you return.

    Love you!

  7. Andrea
    September 9, 2008 at 9:46 pm (15 years ago)

    I have totally felt what you are feeling and it usually takes only half of what you have on your list to get me there…you are doing a great job and have some great suggestions here. I try to realize that there are some things that can wait a day and there are some things that I have to pass on to someone else.

    Hang in there and know that you have people praying for you!

  8. thesecretlifeofkat
    September 9, 2008 at 10:27 pm (15 years ago)

    I felt like this last Spring. I don’t know if this is a possibility for you, but I got away for two days. I stayed in town (just in case Jimmy needed me) but I went to a bed and breakfast near the college in our town.

    I spent the first entire day offline – praying, journaling, thinking, daydreaming and running (exercise is a great stress reliever and I do some of my best thinking when I run).

    That first day gave me great perspective and vision for the changes I needed to make in my life.

    The second day, I just had fun. I hung out at some beautiful spots on campus, slept in, played on the computer, went to a concert at a coffee shop (dave barnes…love me some dave barnes music…).

    I basically just relaxed.

    It was hard to get away and I certainly couldn’t have done it without the support of Jimmy, but our whole family has been better off for it ever since…

    ‘cuz if mama’s not happy…

    🙂 I hope some of this rambling comment was helpful to you.

  9. Angie
    September 9, 2008 at 11:01 pm (15 years ago)

    I hear ya! I have just been exhausted lately! Between homeschooling, being an independent contractor as a therapist, church obligations, blogging, feeding the children (I can’t believe they insist on eating every single day — LOL), etc.

    I have just worn myself to a frazzle lately! I keep thinking that we just need to take a week off school, but I’ve been trying to hold out for our first quarter to be done first. (We started in July, but did take off a week when I had surgery, plus we have had some four day weeks.)

    Okay, that wasn’t much encouragement. sorry! But, know that I empathize!

  10. chickadee
    September 9, 2008 at 11:58 pm (15 years ago)

    that is a big load! i know how you feel but i’m not sure i have any great advice. just let yourself off the hook. it’s ok to not get it all done.

  11. Jane Marie
    September 10, 2008 at 5:07 am (15 years ago)

    I am a list maker also. My daughters used to laugh at me and now they do the same thing. While it can be very helpful, it can also be “overwhelming.” (your favorite word)
    I had the same problem last fall and winter, and I just put the blogging on hold for three months. When I came back, I was very excited about it all and it was fun again. I also gave up tv, well almost. I actually had time to read again. Stop working at a certain time every night. Just call it quits for the day and set that time aside for yourself. You need to rejunvenate! No one can be Superwoman!

  12. Nancy
    September 10, 2008 at 6:20 am (15 years ago)

    The above posts have some great ideas. I’d like to add – delegate some chores. Young children can fold washcloths and hand towels and dust the lower parts of furniture. Older children can do a lot more. Everyone eats, wears clean clothes, uses the home facilities – so… everyone can help. Chores/jobs are part of life, so they might as well get started now. Best of luck- and cheer up – it will get better!


  13. Shara
    September 10, 2008 at 6:31 am (15 years ago)

    By sharing your frustration in feeling overwhelmed, you have helped out a ton of people– including me. We all often feel like we’re taking one step forward and two steps back, but to know we are not alone somehow makes it all a little better.

    I will be praying for you for wisdom in what you need to do and what you don’t. You have been a blessing to me and helped me out a lot these past few months as I’ve gotten started blogging. You were my first famous commenter, remember?? =)

  14. Best Life
    September 10, 2008 at 8:41 am (15 years ago)

    So many of us have been there. These are some great suggestions. One I’d like to add is something that helped me when I was in a place where taking a day off just wasn’t an option (although I do think it’s a fabulous refresher if you can do it!). When I was caring for a dying parent and homeschooling and, and, and…I couldn’t leave. So I would step outside and raise my arms and take a couple of looonng, deeeeep breaths. It takes the edge off. Lisa~

  15. polkaspotfarm
    September 10, 2008 at 8:59 am (15 years ago)

    One thing that I indulge in from time to time is putting something in the crockpot, getting a sitter, taking all of the laundry and a good book to the laundromat. It gets a lot of laundry done at once, and you can sort, fold and even hang there. Then when you get home get help with putting things away.

    I’m sure that things will work out for you, but just an afternoon off from everything will help you tremendously.

  16. Misty
    September 10, 2008 at 9:33 am (15 years ago)

    bless your heart… I am there, in overwhelment (is that even a word???) with you, these days…
    saying a prayer for you- that something comes along which really helps.

  17. Ma Val
    September 10, 2008 at 5:01 pm (15 years ago)

    I think you’re on the right track. Asking for help is the best first step. Think a bit about who has offered help in the past and call them! They offered because they care about you and your family and now is when you need them. Maybe it will be a meal or a sitter a little help goes a long way. Hang in there. I’ll say a prayer for some peace for you tonight.

  18. Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates
    September 10, 2008 at 6:31 pm (15 years ago)

    First of all – pray!

    We all get overwhelmed and need to say no sometimes. Don’t feel bad saying no! Prayerfully decide which things are the most benefit to you and your family and say no to the others.

    A friend once told me that sometimes your stepping back and giving something up is part of God’s plan to work on someone else’s heart to cause them to step forward. Wow – that was a new perspective and has really helped me. I am not the only one who can do some of these things and sometimes my refusal to let go can keep an opportunity from someone new.

    Praying that your streamlining will go well…


  19. Sweet Serendipity
    September 10, 2008 at 7:11 pm (15 years ago)

    Oh, how I feel your pain. I can’t get it all done (at least not to my satisfaction) and someone is always feeling neglected. I think you have to just decide to make priorities and work from the top down. Give yourself permission to let the little stuff go and do ask for help. Sometimes counting your blessings can give you a fresh outlook. There is always someone who has it worse than you.
    Hang in there!

  20. Clemntine
    September 10, 2008 at 10:02 pm (15 years ago)

    Not sure this is what you’re looking for, but here in Pig Swill, Oklahoma, when it gets that bad, we go out and shoot somethin’. Then we eat it or mount it. Different strokes, I guess…


  21. Mel, A Dramatic Mommy
    September 10, 2008 at 11:37 pm (15 years ago)

    Last year I decided to see a therapist for stress management. She told me that I need to learn to let go and figure out my limitations.

    I stopped seeing her but those two things stuck with me. Sacrifice blogging if it’s for the greater good. No one would fault you for that.

  22. Mzzterry
    September 11, 2008 at 10:45 am (15 years ago)

    saying “no” and not feeling guilty about it is the most wonderful lesson i ever learned. I highly recommend it sweetie!

  23. Flea
    September 11, 2008 at 3:02 pm (15 years ago)

    When I feel overwhelmed, I find it helps to do the one thing which is hardest for me – talk to my husband about all the things which threaten to consume me. Talking about it all, item by item, helps, sure, but he usually has a better perspective, if only one from the outside of my head. He helps me eliminate items from the list, see what’s really important. Sometimes he takes on items which are important, but which aren’t mine to carry. It helps him to know what’s really going on.

    Like I said – this is very difficult for me to do. I feel like I HAVE to carry it all.

  24. Kim from Hiraeth
    September 11, 2008 at 8:26 pm (15 years ago)

    I stop and pray.

    Then I talk to my husband and we sort out what needs to ‘go’ together.

    And I pray some more and make sure I’m taking time to read scripture.

    I put supper in the crock pot before I open a bottle of ink.

    When home and home business collide, I use a timer. I set the timer for 15 minutes and speed clean/do laundry. It forces me to get up from the drawing board and get some exercise and tackle a few chores.

    Those are just a few of my coping cheats.

  25. PastorMac's Ann
    September 12, 2008 at 12:16 am (15 years ago)

    Saying a prayer for you right now, my friend. Overwhelmed is not a fun place to be.

    As far as saying “no.” I think you’ll ultimately feel better about doing few things really well than feeling guilty about have tons of things to do but not enough time and energy to do then all excellently.

    Hang in there.

  26. Bev Coggins
    September 12, 2008 at 10:13 am (15 years ago)

    When I go through similar times, it helps to look over my lists and determine what is absolutely necessary under the circumstances and what can wait. In light of the weight upon you now, some things on your lists will not seem so important.

    You may also find some items on your list that need to be removed for now.

    One thing that refreshes me is nature – just going to a quiet, beautiful park for an hour is like a tonic! It’s peaceful and restorative. One hour doesn’t seem very long, but it’s amazing how long it seems. Sometimes I take a book or take a walk or take a nap (just make sure you’re safe!).

    Another thought is to lower your standards. Sometimes we need to settle for what is possible, not necessarily what we’d prefer.

    Hope your spirits are lifted by all these kind responses!

    Bev Coggins

  27. Emily
    September 12, 2008 at 8:01 pm (15 years ago)

    i totally agree with all that’s been said. i’m gettin’ to the party late!

    i have learned by necessity that you just do what you can. if you have more than you can reasonably do, just do the absolute essentials and don’t allow yourself to feel bad for not doing MORE. you need some alone time as well – to remain sane and healthy. remember to take care of you, and let things slip if you need to.

    things will get better – just keep your head up!

  28. Baby Tunnel Exodus
    September 12, 2008 at 10:33 pm (15 years ago)

    One of the hardest words in the English language for Moms to say is… No. I really do feel for you, your plate is Very full with things you can’t slough off, but trim the fat my friend. You, and your priorities, will thank you in the end. Stay focused on God; He’s focused on You. Blessings, Whitney

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