21 June 2011

Anything Does Not Mean Everything

"You can be anything you want to be."

"You can do anything if you just put your mind to it."

These phrases became my mantra during high school and college.  They were the source of my motivation.  If anyone suggested I couldn't do something, it only made me work harder to prove them wrong.  But everything changed when I started graduate school; the "magic" of those two phrases was lost.  Now they are discouraging instead of encouraging and it's taken me a long time to figure out why.  Somehow anything got replaced with everything.  It doesn't take long to feel like a failure when you stretch yourself too far, try to be the perfect everything. 

"You can't have your cake and eat it, too."

The message is slowly sinking in. I may have to give up some of my real food, crunchy mama, From Scratch ideals -- at least for this season of my life.

I work part-time, go to school full-time, and have a daughter who isn't even 3 months old yet.  On top of that, I expect myself to make perfectly nutritional meals (From Scratch), be fit and stylish, have a Martha Stewart home, and run a successful blog, among other things.  When I can't do it, I beat myself up about it and then try even harder to do the impossible.  This incessant guilt cycle is the root of my depression and it has to stop.  I'm working hard to break the cycle and create balance in my life, but it isn't easy.

One of my post-baby gifts was a sack of Seventh Generation products: laundry detergent, diapers and wipes, and disinfecting wipes.  I love using the disinfecting wipes primarily for wiping down kitchen counters.  I have to admit that they are much more efficient -- and I have to admit, easier -- than my usual old washcloth and vinegar/water spray routine.  I resisted using them at first because they're disposable.  I cringe every time I throw one away, quickly imagining how long it's going to sit in a landfill before it decomposes, telling myself what a bad environmental steward I am (how could someone studying Environmental Engineering do such a thing?!).   Still, I might buy more when I run out.  I have found something that makes cleaning fast, easy, and (dare I say?) enjoyable, which helps create some balance in my life.  Isn't it better (for me and my family) to have a clean and sanitary kitchen at the expense of a few disposable disinfecting wipes than to not clean the kitchen at all?

And maybe in a different season of my life, I can think about how to make them From Scratch.


  1. The people who manage to do all those things you listed are probably neglecting their own well-being and their relationships. It sounds like you're doing fine. You should see my house right now. And while I do have three kids, I have no job and no schoolwork or classes. Can't imagine trying to do all that at once!

  2. I agree with Jenny. The people who look like hey have it all together are usually faking it. My dad tells me "you can be a mile wide and an inch deep or an inch wide and a mile deep". I try to remember that when the word no seems like a foreign language. Also, my house is a mess too.

    Hang in there! Enjoy sweet Adelaide.