The Busy Life Cycle- Wash, Rinse, Repeat

I’ve fallen out of the habit of blogging. Like exercise, it’s something that always makes me feel better when I’m done, but if I don’t keep up with it, it becomes daunting. Where do I start? What do I share? I’ve gone too long. I’ve been too silent.

The thing is, life balance is an increasing struggle for me lately. Work related to this blog is picking up, which is fabulous, but life with my kids is also speeding along, faster every day. Scott and I are both spinning in place, unable to find something to grab onto and make everything slow down. So instead, our world goes faster and faster until all the dishes have been flung from the cabinets and drawers, landing on cluttered counters. The centrifugal force of life has thrown clean and dirty laundry to every corner of this house. LEGOs are spinning around my head as I type this.

But none of this is new. It all feels very wash, rinse, repeat to me. Jill is overwhelmed. Jill has a messy house. Jill feels like her kids are growing up too fast. It’s all been blogged before.

I dream of the day I can come here and blog about solutions. I dream that one day I’ll be here with a magic formula to share with all of you. In my mind, I imagine it would be something like this:

Wake up EARLY.
Get dressed. No matter what.
Consult your to-do list that you religiously add to and cull.
Do the awful stuff first thing in the day.
Don’t check Facebook or Twitter until all the awful, boring stuff is done.
Always be cleaning something.
Only take breaks AFTER you clean something.
Respond to or delete emails the day you get them.
Keep your computer organized.
Keep your photos organized.
Take time to get outside every day.
Write the next day’s blog post by 5pm the day before and schedule it to publish.
Do the dishes.
Do the laundry.

That all sounds simple. It sounds like something most people who’ve got life under control do. I have been trying to put this in place for years.

It’s impossible.

My brain works best late at night. I crave social interaction throughout the day. I’m inspired by that social interaction to create, to collaborate. It feeds me. Sometimes… okay, lots of times, I would rather sit on the couch and snuggle with Leyna while Kendall shows off the newest level on his current favorite Wii game then fold or rinse off anything.

I’m growing a baby.

I wish I could be one of these routine people, the type who can “never sit still.” I wish I could approach my day methodically, to-do list in hand. I have a feeling it would drain me of my creativity, though. I do have a tendency of abandoning one project to start another when a flash of creativity hits me. I think this might be referred to as ADD in some circles. I’m just going to call it living in the moment.

The point of this blog post was, honestly, to just start blogging again. I opened my window and told myself to just write something. Anything. And this came out. Because one thing I’m learning in trying to figure out this balance thing is my worst enemy is doing nothing.

I don’t have to do everything methodically, by a schedule. I don’t have to cross off all my to-dos before I add new ones. I DO have to keep on doing stuff, though. So when I get paralyzed at the thought of how many emails I haven’t responded to yet, I get up and wash a few dishes. When I feel overwhelmed by how much laundry there is to catch up on, I take a few minutes to write down blog post ideas. That’s the only system that’s ever worked for me. That, along with a huge helping of self-forgiveness for the days that no system works.

So Self? I’m forgiving you for the last couple weeks of chaos, and starting fresh. Not that the last couple weeks of chaos weren’t worth it. Did I tell you all what I did? Oh that’s right. I forgot to blog.

Well, first there was California for the Mom 2.0 Summit, where I pitched HLN, took lovely pictures of my friend Morgan on the beach, and helped some dad bloggers make fun of the Wall Street Journal. You can see that picture in the NYT today. 



And then there was Vegas, where I spoke on a panel at the ABC SEC about how brands can work with bloggers, alongside my good friend and baby gear superstar Jamie Grayson.


Then Austin, where I had the honor (like the truest form of that word, seriously honored) to read my Letter To My 51 Year Old Self to an audience of hundreds as part of the Listen To Your Mother Show. Pregnancy only made it twice as hard not to weep through the whole thing. I’ll be sure to share the video with you all when it’s up on YouTube later this summer.


Photo credit Alison Eden Photography

Finally, we landed at my mom’s in the country for Mothers Day. She got a new puppy. And I got to take pictures of my BFF since Jr. High and her two little cowboys.




And now I’m craving a little normalcy, and lots of sleep. My to-do list, which obviously I will forget exists by the end of the week, includes stuff like “buy the baby a dresser,” and “stop living out of a suitcase.”

50 Things to Do Before You Deliver: The First Time Moms Pregnancy Guide
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  1. You’ve had good reason not to post for a bit. I mean, WOW, look at what you’ve been up to! And all while growing a human, that’s a lot! And once you get those photos organized can you come do mine? 😉

    • No advice. Just wanted to let you know that you’re speaking to my heart. I have always wondered what it would be like to be one of those “never sit still” people. But something tells me that would be just as much a curse as a blessing. We all have our strong points. Making lists and sticking to it is not one of mine. But we manage. Somehow we manage. Congrats on LTYM! What a wonderful piece to read for the show.

  2. I am the organised girl with the to do list etc. Regardless my life feels chaotic and I get anxious when things aren’t as I had hoped they would be. In conclusion being a Mum causes chaos, being a Mum and a freelancer is hard. Full stop.

  3. I’m so happy for you for the recognition you’re getting and how your career is growing.

    You basically have two full-time jobs – SAHM and writer/burgeoning media empress, and no real childcare – I don’t know how you do ANYTHING. Yes, Kendall goes to pre-school and Leyna is in something part-time, too, but it’s not the same as FT or major PT childcare. Toddlers by their nature are very FT and while Kendall is older, he is not the easiest child. I so hope you are not offended by that, I mean it as a compliment to you, to acknowledge how much work parenting is for you. I have one kid, she is easy (I lucked out) and she goes to school 3days/week and it is full day. That’s the only way I am able to work part-time. And on days like today, I have down time and am able to get to the grocery store, etc.

    I love this time with Ella – she starts Kindergarten in the fall, and I’ve toyed with the idea of going full-time, I really would miss having our days together. Though, I think having just one full day together would scratch that itch. I’m kinda toying with that idea for summer since there is a cool camp nearby.

    Anyway, please cut yourself so much slack because all of your jobs are just never-ending, always there and really hard to budget your time with.

  4. I have never been a list-maker or a schedule-keeper. Not that I don’t want to deep down, but I just am not a schedule girl. I don’t have any great advice or anything, but it sounds like you are pretty busy…having so many travels and a baby cookin’ is enough! BTDT a few times myself…Love your blog and all the great pictures. I don’t mind waiting for new stuff 🙂

  5. You and I are kindred spirits! This is why I love the internet…it’s so good to “know” you and share this crazy life thing with someone I can relate so well too!

  6. It’s good to hear that I’m not the only one who beats myself up about not having it “all together” like some people. Oh, how I wish I could be Type A.

  7. MAZE Cord Blood Laboratories on

    you will always have a to-do list. there will always be the things you haven’t done. your house may always be messy. by concentrating on the ‘what could have been’ rather than “what it is” it just takes the wind out of your sails. enjoy the day, enjoy your kids and the one inside you and it will all fall into place. may be not in a straight line but it will fall into place.

  8. Jessica Stay At Home-ista on

    Umm, hate to throw this at you, but I found the transition from 2 to 3 kids to be the hardest. It’s not just the outnumbered-ness, it’s an overall sense that there are not enough hands, minutes, clean clothes etc. So let go of your ideal day now, before the little one comes:)

  9. You look stunning in the LTYM photo. First of all the amount of travel you did, anybody would be tired. Plus being pregnant! Wow! I think you are doing a fabulous job. It’s so hard to balance parenting and all our other commitments. Especially all the stuff you just explained. Be easy on yourself! You are growing a baby. Take care and enjoy some down time.

  10. That’s a lot of traveling! That would make me go nuts. I nodded when you listed the ‘perfect schedule’ and said “My brain works best late at night.” I tried that sort of ‘ideal’ schedule, I didn’t last a day! It just doesn’t work for me. I like doing all my blogging and client work after the kids are in bed. It’s my ‘me’ time, even though it is mostly spent working. 🙂 Take it easy on yourself, growing a baby is tough stuff! I don’t have it all together here either. I haven’t organized photos in 4 years since first baby was born lol

  11. I am one of THOSE people who cannot sit still. But, I still struggle with getting everything done that I want to do. I love being creative and doing things on a whim, but I also love being organized. My main technique for staying on top of stuff is to designate a couple days a week where I tend to the lists and do everything I am supposed to be doing, with no interruptions. These are the laundry and house cleaning days. The rest of the week, I jot down things I’d like to do on a white board in my kitchen, but I go where the wind takes me on those days. Having this plan allows me to get a lot done on my type A days and to be creative and happy on my lazy momma days.

  12. Sounds just like me, do something different when there needs to be a job done. Impossible to get up early. Keep getting distracted. And I don’t have the very valid excuse of growing a baby, just two big kids and an outside full time job. Let me know when you find out that magic solution, need it now! 🙂

  13. Candice Moretti on

    So glad I’m not alone as I sit here with four weeks to go on welcoming my second daughter. We are moving into a new house in 15 days and everything is suffering while I just want to snuggle my first born

  14. As the busy mom of two sets of twins (4 year old boys and 4 month old girls), my “things I should really do to make each day easier” list looks pretty much like yours. I can’t even accomplish that get up early part, which would make everything so much better! I could use more hours in the day…but really, I just need to actually wisely USE the hours in a day I have!

  15. Courtney Helms on

    Dying of cuteness at your mom’s Scottie puppy. We had a Scottie, they’re wonderful, stubborn, full of spirit. Love. As for your method of getting things done, you gotta do what works for you. Don’t try to cram your creative spirit into an overly organized little box.

  16. And now I’ma write a post with nothing but a link to this post. Seriously. It resonates with me mainly on the routine part. I feel like the most non-adult adult, like when is someone going to come show me how to do things on a regular basis so that I’m not always ALWAYS flustered, running around, late, tired? I need to create a routine, specific days for certain things like laundry. I know I need to do this. And yet. I’d rather sit in a corner and have more chips.

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