Things Fell Through the Cracks. They’re Having Trouble Getting Out.

We’re back from our short vacation, and I’m back to writing this week. AlmostSoon. I hope.

I’m also back to bill paying.

And schedule wrangling.

And message answering.

And fight refereeing.

And band-aid doling.

And tear drying.

And couch snuggling.

And child chauffeuring.

And pick-them-up-late-ing.

And dinner planning.

And mess sighing.

And oh-no-what-have-I-forgottening.

And I’m-pretty-sure-it’s-all-too-muching.

And I-think-I’ll-just-read-a-novel-because-I-don’t-know-what-to-do-firsting.

I’d say things are falling through the cracks around here, except I’m not sure what to call it when the cracks have joined forces to become a giant, cohesive, bottomless chasm that already swallowed all the things.

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Hello, THINGS? I holler from the precipice. You all doin’ OK down there? Need anything from me? … Ummm … Any chance you can rescue yourselves this time?? … Hello? … Helloooo?? Hello, THINGS?

But the things aren’t responding, so it’s time to don my rescue gear and rappel into the chasm to pull them to safety. Again. Like I haven’t warned them a thousand times to quit playing near the chasm. The things, though, you guys; the things never listen.

When I was a kid, I didn’t like to clean my room. Like my friend Sally’s son says, “I’m not one of those cleaning type kids.” Word, man. But my dad taught me two cleaning skills I still use when my things go missing:

  1. Pick up just one thing. Put it all the way away.
  2. Repeat.

OK, fine. Today, that advice is my rescue gear. I’m getting ready to descend into the chasm, friends, and to pick up just one thing at a time. To do something instead of nothing. Because I’ve noticed that a) doing nothing means nothing gets done, and b) the alternative to nothing isn’t doing it all, it’s doing anything.

Wish me luck down there.

(And if I’m not back in a couple of days, send help.)

……….

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P.S. I’m trying these days to give myself credit for the things I do manage to do and not just beat myself up for all the things that base-jump into the chasm. And you know what? I’m already successful today. I’ve had my coffee, my children are all the way dressed, and I am wearing pants. BOOyah!

P.P.S. Are any of your things stuck in the chasm with mine? How’re you doing? And what do you need credit for managing to do today?

……….

image credit “Break” by Salvatore Vuono at freedigitalimages.net
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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
36 comments
  1. Today, my 2-year-old woke up at 6 am, covered in puke and poop. Just like he did after his nap two days ago. While my husband had taken the kids from church to camp for the weekend. I’m walking in circles bouncing the two month old. Everything has fallen in the cracks. Thank you for this post. It has helped me feel less guilty about the piles of dishes and laundry and the fact that Sesame Street has been on all morning. So I’ll venture into the chasm and take care of a load of laundry. That’s something.

  2. Just had a new “thing” fall. I am the facilitator, along with my husband of our care group, which is the smaller church group that meets once a month in someone’s home, in lieu of Sunday evening services. (For the record, we were drafted, we did NOT volunteer.) I am in charge of deciding what the theme will be for the meal that we share, which is a cooperative effort. We meet THIS Sunday night. I JUST sent a FB message to my care group mates.

  3. Oh! I want credit! I found the top of my desk yesterday! It was under much including my car insurance policy from 2008. Safe to throw out, you think? The desk has cubbies and I cleaned some of them but it is school vacation and the baby woke up and yadda yadda, I didn’t finish. But today, my elbows rest. It is a good day.

  4. I can sum up my cleaning skills and strategy with a poem I wrote when I was in junior high.

    I wish that my room had a floor
    So I could get from here to my door,
    I could clean it I guess, but it’s too much of a mess
    It’ll just have to wait one day more.

  5. Love your dad’s cleaning skills! Wish he would teach them to my son. I tried to teach him this exact same method but I have failed completely.

    So the things falling through the cracks: My house looks like a bomb has gone off, in every room. But on the plus side: I cooked a meal every night this week. And monday I went and bought running shoes, because I mean to start running this spring. And buying the shoes is a very important step!

  6. My new mantra is focus on what you have done. We do a lot more than we think we do. 🙂

  7. I’m so glad you are spreading the word to give yourself credit for what you HAVE gotten done and to focus on that! It is amazing and should be repeated over and over to mommas, especially new mommas, everywhere! My mother gave me this exact advice when we first brought my son home and I was frustrated that I couldn’t get anything done between changing diapers, feeding him, and feeding myself…I didn’t get that at that time, that was my accomplishment! Being a first time Mom I thank you, and all the other Mommas on here for spreading your wisdom and sharing your battle stories 🙂 You give me hope & help me to see the funny in the everyday craziness!

  8. Today I baked 3 doz hamantashen with help from 2 doz preschoolers, so that was awesome. However, the resulting dirty dishes jumped into the chasm. Also, my daughter’s only gymnastics leotard is under the bottom of Mt. Laundry. My solution is to buy her another leotard, but doing that is also at the bottom of the chasm. Lastly, I think we’re having frozen pizza for dinner. But, hey, I’m feeding them!

  9. I hear you! And I wish I could send help, but I’ve been stuck in the chasm with my things most days lately. Amen on giving ourselves credit for everything that we manage to accomplish on a given day! (Does keeping your kids alive until the end of the day count??)
    Please say it does!
    Sharon

  10. I can relate to everything and everyone. O. Ver. Whelmed. I feel like we now live down in the crevice – where all the “has never gotten done” collects and multiplies and threatens to take over. We are treading “things” with our heads barely above the surface. Sigh. We’ve had major, chronic “issues” with 2 of our 3 kids for the past year or more and honestly this whole experience has allowed me to truly let go of what is not that important. However, after close to 18 months it has become apparent that there are some things that really do matter that have been “let go” to the point of disaster. Am trying to just do what I can without sinking into the “bad mom place”. The “issues” involve lots of appointment that are not “in-network” so lots of $$. I am hoping to start a full-time job soon to help with that but the thought of how THAT will impact the “thing swamp” is a bit daunting.

    Thanks for reminding me I am not alone and that ONE thing is SOMETHING.

    1. Sending love to you, Karen, as you navigate your “not in-network” things. Ugh. If it helps with the Not Alones, you described my life exactly with this: “…this whole experience has allowed me to truly let go of what is not that important. However, it has become apparent that there are some things that really do matter that have been “let go” to the point of disaster. Am trying to just do what I can without sinking into the “bad mom place.”” Word, mama.

      We will do what we can do, and we will let go what we cannot do, and shame is one of the things we cannot do. Yes? Yes.

  11. Does anyone else want to do laundry naked? I always feel let down when I finish all the housework and laundry and then need to shower, and boom, dirty clothes…then I’m not done! But it’s not enough for a load. If I could just do laundry naked, I might be done at some point….

    1. I’ve never done it, but I’m also bothered by the perpetuity of dirty clothes, so….I’m in! God help anyone who accidentally comes home at the wrong time.

      1. I’ve done laundry naked. You’re welcome, Sandra and Internet.

  12. If only my things would care for themselves. I think everything is ok at the moment, but here I am, sitting in front of the computer at 12:24 AM knowing full well that the alarm clock is going to sound at 6:45 AM, so something is not right. I am procrastinating something, but it’s so late now that I don’t remember.
    Accomplishments of note today: I positioned myself near enough to my son’s swim lesson so as to hear his teacher to determine if he is as mean today as he seemed to my son the last time (he was not). Also, my husband and I synchronized our calendars this evening. (Which sounds cool and like maybe we can just hook up some USB cord between two electronic gadgets, but no. This involved two paper calendars and one electronic calendar. Much page turning and going back and forth. I am certain to have missed something.)

  13. I heart the hell out of you.

    My big accomplishment for today is that I cut the Tower of Towels in half. My husband has this lovely habit of folding his dirty towels and stacking them ever so neatly on top of the dryer. What does he hope will happen to them? No clue. But it was getting precarious to the point where I could barely reach the top. No more, my friends!

    Other noteworthy things I did today: floss, put on matching socks, and finish a box of Samoas! I’m now realizing that last one isn’t as worthy of praise as I thought. They sure tasted good, though.

    1. Your Tower of Towels makes me laugh. Isn’t living with human people entertaining? We’re all JUST SO WEIRD! And awesome.

  14. It feels like too many things to count! I wish they would fall into a crack! I keep seeing the stacks piling up around me. I’m grateful though, that I’m not alone. I see there are plenty of other incredible moms and women who are balancing the same sorts of things. Thank you for your post!

  15. Today we filed our taxes, which is more than I have done in weeks! My children are dressed (and somehow even their fingernails and toenails are clipped!), so I guess I have accomplished something.
    But everything else remains undone. Oh, and I need to eat some more. The baby I’m growing is TAKING EVERYTHING I OFFER!!!!!

    It has def been one of those “lost in the chasm” days for me, too. If you can hear me under the laundry, can you bring me another plate of chicken??

    1. You’re growing a baby and you remembered to file your taxes?? That’s a total win, Lindsay.

  16. Beth, you need to put a “like” button on your comments… There are lots of people that I would like to “like” their comment, but just don’t have the energy to write a whole reply… Oh, and I’m officially changing my name just for your blog. I used to be Maria, but will forevermore be Maira, since every single time I write my name in the “name” field to post a comment, it comes out Maira. Up to now, I’ve always corrected it, but I’m over that now. It doesn’t happen anywhere else. Only here. So clearly, here, I’m meant to be Maira.

    1. *like 🙂

      Maira is an awesome name. Why the heck not?

      I went through a little phase where I got a real kick out of giving myself a Harry Potter name when I went to Starbuck’s (ie once a month). “Okay Bellatrix/Minerva/Hermione/Ginny/Molly, here’s your *whatever fancy drink you felt like with whip cream on top*. I know, most people stop doing stuff like that after middle school, but I have decided to only grow up as much as I HAVE to.

      1. Maira. Love it! And I agree about the “like” button. So does my tech guru (aka, Greg). We’ll see if we can get that Thing to not fall into the chasm. 😉

        Jessi, I love your coffee order names.

        1. LOVE the new LIKE button!!!

  17. My things won’t jump into the cracks. They just keep laying around my house, out where God and everyone can see them. They are annoying little critters, my things. I do have to pat myself on the back for getting ALL the laundry done yesterday. Granted, there are only 2 of us, but I did the sheets too! On BOTH BEDS! And I had enough forethought to stop and get a rotisserie chicken on the way home tonight instead of getting here and then having to do take out because I had no plans. OHOHOHOH! And guess where my chicken carcass is??? It’s on the stove, boiling away with all the half dead vegetables from my fridge. Yes! I’m making your chicken noodle soup. Well, a variation anyway. Yours didn’t call for mushrooms and zucchini and scallions in the stock, but they were dying in my fridge, so I just threw them in. And now, I’m going to go do school work, which I’ve been procrastinating about for the past 2 hours, and that is why I’m here in the first place… In I go – wish me luck…

    1. “My things won’t jump into the cracks. They just keep laying around my house, out where God and everyone can see them.” Ha! Love.

      And I hope the chicken noodle soup worked well. I dump all my extra veggies in my stock, too. I keep a bag of veggie odds and ends in the freezer for just such an event. And now I’m craving chicken noodle soup.

      1. Actually, the chicken noodle soup stock smelled fabulous last night, and I’m sure it will make a wonderful pot of soup…. tomorrow maybe. Just now, I’ve decided we’re going to Johnny Rockets for dinner right now because I’m ravenous because I just realized I haven’t eaten anything since my daughter and I ate lunch at 9:30 this morning. And that was because we ate breakfast around 6 am after spending 2 hours cleaning up some of the flood waters that invaded about half of my apartment from the burst pipe one floor up at 3:30 this morning. The noise from the 4 industrial size fans the restoration crew left running in my 1000 sq. foot apartment is driving me bloody mad, and I’m not even English! So we have to get out of here for awhile to soothe my nerves. But I’m pretty sure we will have AWESOME chicken soup tomorrow!

  18. Yes! Go you!

    I am there with ya. My kids are sick so pretty much there’s more laundry and mess creation than resolution today, but everyone’s clothed, fed and looked after (sometimes there’s kind of a line for Mom).

    AND. I did some laundry. A journey of a thousand miles . .

  19. Oy. We’ve had only 1 week of everyone well since Christmas. So I’m in exactly the same place. My hallway is overflowing with laundry, my bathrooms are all dirty, my bedrooms are all messy. But, my dishwasher has run today and we have clean dishes! Yay for clean dishes!

  20. I have a jillion essays to grade this week (written by seventh graders, so of course they are FANTASTIC). And they’re writing more right now, since the seventh grade writing test is in two weeks. I’m sort of freaking out about how much I have to grade, and how much better I wish they were this close to the test. Blerg.

    But, after reading this, I picked up four essays and graded them, rather than burying my head and doing none. So thanks.

    1. WOOHOO! The most useful math I ever learned was the fact that any positive number is infinitely more than zero. So you, for example, have graded infinitely more essays than before. WIN!

  21. We just got back from vacation too, in on a red-eye so the first day back was pointless, the second day back I had to go to work and now it is the third day and my house looks like a bomb exploded. I spent all morning running errands to get food since we were out and now I think reading a book is something I am considering doing instead of dealing with the ginormous mess. I feel your pain!

  22. I must have a never ending supply of balls, because I keep “dropping the ball” and the darn things are multiplying down there. What mostly stays down there is (most unfortunately, IMO) our bedroom (oh, how romantic!) because honestly, no one sees it. And it’s where wayward things go to die (or at least wait to be missed, and somehow they never are.) How utterly embarrassing to admit here, even to other overwhelmed moms, that I actually get to clean our little haven of marital bliss about once every year and a half. My dust bunnies have grandchildren.

    1. Last time I cleaned off my dresser, I found stuff from Christmas. 2010.

  23. I am currently buried under Mt. Laundry. However, my children are dressed (even though the ones who are school-age had a snow day today), and I think I know what we’re eating for dinner–which usually is about 5 pm around here.

  24. Yes, some things are stuck. But today I returned library books, put a bunch of bills in the mail and put 4 baskets of laundry away. I am quite proud of myself, but there is still so much to do that I am on the computer, again.

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