I can be pretty hard on myself; my expectations are high, I have a lot of things I'm interested in and want to accomplish, and I'm a perfectionist. Those character traits can make me at different times either extremely productive, or so wallowing in self-criticism that I throw up my hands and decide not to try at all. If I can't be a perfect parent, why try at all? If I waste 30 minutes on the internet in the morning, the guilt can crush my productivity for the rest of the day. I'm working on giving myself enough mercy that I can shake it off and get on with things with the resolve to do better. That's hard for a personality like mine, because I've convinced myself that if I don't get sufficiently upset about something, I'm not taking the flaw seriously, and if I don't take it "seriously", I won't change. Perfectionists don't often live in the land of mercy. The irony is that guilt stifles, while mercy is the soil where the seeds of growth often sprout.
As I strive for balance, I've noticed two opposing narratives our culture often feeds to mothers: either that you need to do-it-all and accomplish everything, or that you really needn't do anything except play with your kids and you shouldn't feel guilty about your lack of productivity. As is my experience with many things in life, the Truth usually lies somewhere in the middle. For most of human history mothers have been amazingly productive, often involving their children in the work and rhythm of life, much to their benefit. Let's not fear hard work nor allow our children to grow up fearing it. But at the same time, no, I probably can't accomplish everything I want to, not with a list like mine. I need to hear that. Something often has to go before there is room for something else. Recently, I've chosen time for reading and journaling and lots and lots of sleep over writing for this space. Seasons change rapidly and it might not always be that way. I can get more organized and waste less time and I'm continually learning how to do that better (and in fact finding it easier to be productive when I'm not so hard on myself).
Anyways, here I am, with pictures of the pie for an occasion which I can no longer recall (though I can at least remember that they were Hoosier Mama's recipes for chocolate and lemon chess), and the apple and peach blossoms which are many weeks gone, and the seedlings which are very grown and in fact already in the ground! Even though half of the peach tree was killed the extremely cold winter before last, the remaining half blossomed this year and has set fruit, and for that I am very grateful. I tried to plan the garden this year with thoughts towards how preoccupied I'm likely to be in August (with the new baby and all) and with what is truly the most productive and useful to us with our limited planting space, and so I did one bed with tomatoes, peppers, basil and soon cucumbers, and the other is half flowers for cutting (a true commodity considering how many flowers we tend to buy in the summer) and the other half herbs and lettuces. If you're trying to imagine me getting over the garden fencing in a couple months at 8 months pregnant, please don't. Alan will probably have to lift me over. I do it because I love it, and because I'm trying to convince myself that all that squatting will pay off during labor ;)