To Blog or to Clean?

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Even though I am now a full-time stay-at-home mom, I feel like my time to really “get things done” is still quite limited. (If you ever wonder why, borrow a toddler for an afternoon and try to get something productive done. Just try it.)

Basically, I only tend to be super productive during her naptime (which is what’s happening now, coincidentally), while she’s watching a movie (which is what usually happens so I can make dinner in peace in the late afternoon), or when Matt’s home and playing with her (which is usually when I get ready for the day, if it’s in the morning, or when I’m finishing up dinner preparations, if it’s in the evening). I’ve learned that by the time her bedtime rolls around, even though it’s only 6:30 or 7:00 at night, nearly all of my resolve to be productive is wiped out by then, so I rarely get anything *too* productive done after that point (except go to my exercise classes, that is).

That means that on most days, I am only guaranteed about two (*maybe* three) hours of really productive time (and on days when I watch my friend’s baby for her, it’s even less).

It used to be that I’d blog Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and save the more intense cleaning and laundry projects for Tuesday and Thursday. Since I’ve started babysitting for my friend those two days a week though, my productive time has been severely cut, so it’s been a harder and harder feat to get my 3 weekly blog posts in AND keep the apartment relatively in order.

I think this is where many people would just give up on the whole blog thing, or at least cut back a lot—after all, I receive absolutely no compensation for blogging and never have, and it’s something I do purely for my own sake.

But I went a long time without blogging much (see the archives at the end of 2014 for proof), and I am still SO SAD that I hardly blogged at all during those times because I would have loved to be able to go back and see more posts about my pregnancy with Raven and about how teaching was going and about all the things that made me choose to have an unmedicated childbirth.

So I’ve come to terms with the fact that blogging, in the long run, is really one of the best things I can do with my productive time because it pays off in both short-term ways (like opportunities to “chat” with many of you lovely readers and have some really enlightening conversations) and in long-term ways (as a sort of always-accessible family/personal scrapbook and journal). Needless to say, the blog isn’t going anywhere for awhile.

On the other hand, I know myself well enough to realize that I also really need the short-term benefits that come from living in a clean home about as much as I need the feeling that I’m working on something worthwhile, so it’s not like I can just give up on the cleaning goals, either.

And therein is one of the tricky struggles of being a mother (and that gets even trickier if you’re a working mother, like I used to be)—the constant battle of what to do during that precious and very limited “power” time you have each day. Do you use it to work on a hobby? Do you use it to get some much-needed rest and relaxation? Do you use it to finally get on top of the dishes?

For me, every day the answer is often slightly different, but I do try to keep myself to a schedule so that I don’t fall behind on the things that are important to me but not urgent (like blogging) and so that the state of the house doesn’t ever reach *too* much of a crisis stage. I think sometimes it’s so tempting to just let these worthwhile personal projects (like blogging or reading or pursuing a personal hobby or interest) just fall by the wayside as we seek to stay on top of our other duties and commitments, but I know that for me, if I don’t allow myself some regular time every week to work towards my own personal goals, I start to feel like I’m losing myself (never a good feeling, in my book) and like I’m becoming more and more depleted by the day.

All this is to say that I have a sink full of dishes that has never *quite* been washed all the way down to empty so far this week and a whole bunch of random odds and ends that need putting away in my living room (and don’t even get me started on the two bedrooms, which have stayed in a state of semi-clutter since we acquired our last two storage units)—but I’m choosing to blog anyway, because I know that in the long run, I maybe want the benefits from that just a bit more than I want a spotless apartment.

(But because I kept this blog post relatively short and free of lots of pictures I needed to go through and edit, I’m probably going to have time to do the dishes and clean the living room, too—so a true win-win, I’d have to say!)

How do you keep up with the things that matter most to you while also staying on top of all your regular household/work duties?

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