"In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps."

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Something’s Gotta Give

I have been thinking a lot lately about my commitments and priorities. I am not the kind of person who likes to stay super busy.  I enjoy down time, and I was really looking forward to a slower pace of life once I left the USA rat race and moved to Russia… well it turns out you can the girl out of America but you can’t take the American out of the girl!  Apparently I just cannot say no to anything!  Since I moved to Russia, my commitments have only increased and I feel like some things have really been suffering and I have not had time to take on things that I really want to do.

I am very thankful for our housekeeper Agnesa, who helps me with the deep cleaning and will also watch Isla during her nap, in case I need to run errands twice a week.  I thought that having her would help with some things, but it really has not.  Having a housekeeper only helps with toilets and floors, but there’s still the day to day maintenance that comes with having a busy toddler and a husband, who in spite of being a very intelligent Aggie and Stanford trained engineer, has not quite figured out the purpose of a hamper or where to put empty food containers and wrappers once you are done with them or where… ok I’ll just leave it at that Smile.

I want to be able to:

  • get back into doing things that I love with my husband.  We have both let some things slide that we used to do together in the US that we could easily continue in Russia… but we just haven’t for some reason.  We were even able to continue them after Isla was born, but have totally let them slide!
  • get Isla back on a good routine.  Our life gets in such an upheaval these days with all of our traveling, and we never really got back into a routine between Ireland and our trip home.  Plus having Isla on a routine, helps me be able to get everything done that I need to.
  • work more on potty training.  Isla was doing so well before Ireland, but then we got back and I was a little overwhelmed with work, and so I intentionally decided to let it drop until we got back from the USA.
  • work more on Isla’s independent play and blanket time.  I have also let those slide and I feel like those are so important to her development.
  • cultivate strong friendships with my friends in Russia, both the Russians and the friendships through Nick’s company.  Friendships take time and energy, and I have to make certain that I don’t let them slide with the busyness of working and taking care of Isla.  I can get so wrapped up my own life that before I know it, its Friday and I haven’t made an effort to see a single friend.
  • maintain strong friendships with the people that I left behind in the USA. This has difficult partly due to our internet situation, but I miss and love everyone so much… which they wouldn’t know from the almost total lack of communication that they are received from me!
  • WORKOUT, good gracious.  I have got to do something.  I had a couple of things show up in my physical that I had to take before moving to Russia, and I need to work on having a healthier lifestyle for my own health and longevity.
  • work! I really enjoy the work that I do part time even though I don’t really need the money.  If only I could convince my boss (ahem, DAD) to give me realistic schedules and deadlines so that it wasn’t always so feast or famine…
  • cook healthy and grocery shop!  I don’t know why its such a chore to keep our pantry stocked in Russia, but it just is, and I feel like I am always behind.  Not to mention that cooking and food prep take so much longer.
  • continue my crafts.  I used to love to needlepoint, but I have not picked it up one time since I moved.  I also bought a beginners quilt kit because I would love to try that… I have some serious doubts that it will ever happen.
  • continue to visit the Children’s shelter.  It is my favorite thing next to being a wife and mom!  I am longing to go back.
  • oh yes, and there’s a little thing called, learning the Russian language.  Nick and I are trying so hard!  We take 3 hours worth of lessons a week, and it is kicking our butt.  We also put in practice time, but it is clearly not enough.  I can’t wait to do a post on our progress but that probably won’t be until late August or September because I want to make sure that I understand a few grammatical concepts first.
  • spend more time in prayer.  I desperately need that quiet time with my Lord, but I am so bad about letting it slide.  You know, my About Me used to say (and maybe still does say) “I love Jesus and studying the word of God.”  Confession: I have done almost NO studying of the word of God since Isla was born and I so miss it.
  • contribute more to my babyfood making blog!  Seriously.  My poor pen pal has pretty much shouldered that burden alone since I moved to Russia.  I have at least 6 or 7 recipes that I have made and taken pictures for and they are just resting on my computer.  Arg.
  • I won’t even mention taking the time to figure out what to do with with wild and wooly mop that I call “hair”… it’s a lost cause folks.

There are some obvious things that I have done that I won’t post here that I am cutting out.  Just plain saying “NO” to.  I feel bad, but I can’t take on other people’s responsibilities when my own plate is so full.  It would be one thing if they needed me to help out because of an illness or something… but very often it isn’t.

I do enjoy watching a little tv (usually DVDs) in the evenings with my husband… but who doesn’t?  Maybe the answer is to cut that out completely?  I don’t know.  I feel like I need a little bit of decompression in the evenings, but maybe I won’t be able to figure out if I really need it until I cut it out entirely.

I think that part of the answer might lay in coming up with a schedule for the week?  I don’t know.  My pen pal made one and I tried to do it, and it was soooo hard.

I found this great article on the blog Clark Chatter called “Where Your Children Rank”… I have always thought that I put Isla first, but lately I have been thinking that I haven’t been in in many ways.  Not just her development and Babywise Principles, but making sure that I am not so busy that I am not a present mommy.

Anyway, I feel like a big fat failure lately so either something needs to be cut out or I need to get better at doing more with less time or figuring out priorities better.  Case in point… I had planned on spending some of my vacation praying and figuring it out… instead every spare minute that I have had has been spent working my tail off to meet a work deadline.  I’m a mess folks.

If anyone out there in cyberspace has figured out the secret to having it all and looking fabulous while doing it!  Please.  Fill me in.  I am all ears.


  1. whew! your list alone makes my head spin, you are ahead of me already!!! It seems to me you are doing a pretty impressive job of keeping up with life, and keeping your priorities in order. Try to have fun with it all!

  2. This post makes me sad! you've got a lot going on, and maybe you just need to ENJOY each step instead of worrying about how perfectly they're done, or if they ALWAYS get done. No one but YOU is worried about your perfection. The rest of us are pretty dang impressed with everything you manage to do!! (and love you no matter what)

    Schedules NEVER work for me, I clean (for real clean) about once every 2 weeks, don't always even wash my hair watch way too much tv and am definitely NOT trying to learn Russion... but its important to find what works for YOU and Nick and Isla, and I think its flat ridiculous to even consider shes not your priority. Its very clear you love that girl and she gets all the attention she needs!

  3. Thanks for the encouragement! It was a stressful day, but I have had some time to think things over, and I feel much better and have a much better perspective :). I have a better idea of what I need to do.

    And I'm not cutting out my TV time. I enjoy it too much!


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