Monday, February 25, 2008

Can I Take Your Order?

I spoke at a local high school today for their Writer's Week program. All week, students and actual honest-to-goodness real writers share their work and their insight with an audience of students and teachers. And then there was me. I stood up there, palms sweating so much I think they made a puddle, and I talked. I don't even remember all that I said. I guess it went ok. I mean, no one boo'd me or threw rotten produce at me, so that's good, right? My sister videotaped me speaking so that I could see what not to do the next time I speak anywhere, but I didn't have the software to transfer the video to my computer. I'll try to get a video on YouTube soon.

Last night I had a dream. It was actually more of a nightmare. I used to have this dream frequently back when I was a waitress, but I haven't experienced this dream since 1992. Except for a few variations, this is how the dream generally goes...
I'm working in a crowded restaurant and the hostess has seated me like 8 tables at once. Everyone is demanding something from me.
"Miss, can you take our order now?"
"Oh miss! What is your soup du jour?"
"Where are our drinks?"
"Can I get the bill?"
"Where is our food?"
"This isn't what I ordered."

I was running around in circles, trying to get everything for everyone, but I just couldn't keep up. I went to the bar to wait for my table's drinks, but the bartender forgot how to make a martini and had to look it up in his bartending manual. He couldn't look it up though because he didn't know how to spell "martini" and no one had a clue. I kept trying to tell him that it started with a letter "M", but he didn't believe me and meanwhile, my customers were getting angry. (At least I could spell in my dream.)

Instead of waiting for the bartender, I started adding up customer's bills, but I couldn't do the math. The calculator was broken and I couldn't figure out how to add the bills. I kept looking at the tickets, but they were written in another language and I just didn't understand the characters that were supposed to be numbers. The sommelier, who was Gary Cooper wearing a cowboy hat in my dream, came by and told me that I was stupid and not only did I have no clue about wine, but I couldn't do simple addition. I almost cried.

The next thing I knew, I was trying to ladle out bowls of soup, but instead of soup, the containers were filled with water. A gentleman, who had been seated at one of my tables, walked into the kitchen to get his own soup.

I decided that I had to run to the grocery store to buy soup for the restaurant, but while I was there, I realized that I was missing my bowtie. Suddenly I wasn't in the grocery store anymore, but I was at the mall trying to find a bowtie so I could go back to work and take care of my tables. I was running from store to store in the mall, freaking out that I had tables who were impatiently waiting for me and I couldn't go back until I found a stupid bowtie. (Yes, I know it makes perfect sense to leave your job in the middle of a shift to go shopping for formalwear.)

I awoke feeling frustrated, feeling like I needed to do something, feeling like everyone wanted something and I wasn't able to get a grip. I was dropping the ball and messing up everything. I'm sure you all know what I'm talking about. It's sometimes difficult to juggle everything. It's so hard to keep up with housework, to pay bills on time, do laundry, make doctor appointments, and make sure your kids have clothes they haven't outgrown. Then there's getting the kids' pictures taken, arranging birthday parties, planning out Sunday school lessons, going to the grocery store, making school lunches, and cooking dinner. And let's not forget making sure you spend enough time with the kids together and individually, helping them with their homework, reading to them, making sure they do their homework, and practice their instruments, ensuring they eat a balanced diet. And if you work outside the home, there are the meetings, the paperwork, the business trips, and the phone calls to deal with as well. It's a wonder we don't all wake up in cold sweats in the middle of the night after having the waitress dream!

After thinking about this for a while, I came up with these suggestions to help beat the stress of feeling like you just can't do everything and make everyone happy.

1. Delegate - This is where you tell the kids, "You WILL clean up your rooms, vacuum the family room, and set the table, or I will lose it and run away from home, leaving you to eat nothing but Fruit Loops and Kool-Aid fish for the rest of your lives.

2. Say no to non-essential things - "Hey Mom, can you go to the grocery store? There's nothing to eat in the house."
"Sure there is! Look in the couch cushions. Those Cheerios can hold you over for at least another week."
Or "Hey honey, are you going to do laundry sometime soon? I don't have any clean clothes."
"Eh, I've got your old boy scout uniform packed away in the attic. Just pull that out and wear it."

3. Make a list - I find this especially helpful. Make a list of everything you want to get done during the day, then cross off tasks as you complete them. If you do something that isn't on the list, write it down and then cross it off. Trust me, it'll make you feel like you're really accomplishing stuff. Make sure to add all ordinary things like brushing your teeth, going to the bathroom, and drinking a cup of coffee to the list.

4. Baby steps - Break tasks up into smaller chunks that are easier to handle. Like cleaning one room instead of worrying about cleaning the whole house at once. Or like eating just one piece of pizza at a time instead of trying to devour the entire thing at once.

4. Take a deep breath and relax. Remember what's important and things will fall into place. If they don't, just take some time out and escape the stress for a little while by going shopping for bowties at your local mall.

104 comments:

Pattie said...

Thanks for the laughter.. i was smiling the whole time i was reading your post....

Jules said...

I used to have the ohmygoshyouarelateforclass!! and the okwhomovedmyhouse? dreams. What a way to start the day! Off and running...

Just Because

Six-Pack Momma said...

I don't remember the last time I laughed so hard! Tears were rolling down my face!

And then, I really started getting emotional reading about all we, as moms, have to do. Sometimes, I feel as though I can't do it anymore.

Thanks for the daily laughs. And even more, thanks for being real. I appreciate the tidbits of advice you gave. We need to remember those things and not beat ourselves up over not doing it all.

Thanks, Dawn- you're awesome!

Lisa said...

Love your suggestions, but I'm afraid #1 would backfire on me and my kids would say "see ya! bye-bye!"

Alice said...

I have worked for a restaurant for the past 18 years, started out as a server and I am now a manager, but I still have nightmares about serving. I think we all have the same dream with minor variations! It is sad because every now and then those dreams become reality! Thanks for making us all smile with the tales about your life :)

Free2BMii said...

Hey Dawn,
I am probably not the first comment but HORRAY anyway.

I understand what you mean about waking up in a cold sweat. I have one child who is 5 and getting everything done around the house use to stress me out. I know one kid to your six but I also work from home and have to keep my daughter away from the house during the afternoon due to her dad working night shift.

I found an easy way to get things done, other then duct taping my daughter to a chair and sticking her in front of the idiot box, I mean the television is to get her involved.

When I do laundry, she is doing laundry. When I am cooking, she is doing dishes. Kids can do anything and since you have six - put them to work.

Savannah, my youngin', knows how to do laundry, dishes, vacuum, dust, clean the tub and sweep. She also has daily chores that if she doesn't do them, then she doesn't play with her friends.

She is getting to the point where I dont have to ask her to do stuff, she just does it. She will now sit at the table when I am working and she will do her learning books.

The family should be involved because YOU don't make the mess therefore you shouldn't have to clean it up yourself.

If I am ever in your area, I will come over and clean your house. That is a promise. Have a wonderful week!

Leanne
aka: Free2bmii

ck said...

AMEN!

While I was reading your dream, I was analyzing it and came to the same conclusion you did. I have two less than you, but I totally get your list. I've been doing that instinctively--just never actually wrote it down as a system.

The only flaw is that when you delegate, you have to trust that the delgatees will perform, the task(s) assigned by the delagator. Back when I was a restaurant mgr, my hubby would say something incredibly helpful like, "I don't understand why you can be so organized and clean at work and so NOT at home."

The difference being I had 16 and 17 year olds who I could fire if they didn't do their assigned tasks, not 4 children under 8 that I can't fire. I can barely ground them and get it to stick consistently.

So I feel for you, but it sounds like you have as much of a handle as you could possibly have,

And I'm sure your speech went great!

Heather said...

"It's sometimes difficult to juggle everything. It's so hard to keep up with housework...ensuring they eat a balanced diet." I know I feel like that with just two children - I'm surprised you don't have the waitress dream more often with six children!

Lisa said...

EIght tables, huh? Like the eight members of your family, each with their own set of needs? Make sure to take care of yours, okay? Love your list.

Anonymous said...

Anxiety dreams are the worst!! Why do they have the capability to feel SOOOOO REAL when you are in the middle of them!

Loved the delegation list.

I hope you get a better night's sleep tonight Dawn. It's awful to wake up exhausted because of the tiring dreams!

10-25 cm of snow expected today here in Ottawa. now THAT'S my nightmare!

Cathy said...

lol loved your dream! can relate to the stress! agree with the list thingy - it does help to feel like something has been achieved in the day.

i also like the idea of adding going to the toilet to the list - it's a task and a half (especially around here when you have to first unpick the bathroom lock witha skewer or screwdriver - long story!)

unfortunately mine a little young to delegate to but i'm saving it all up for when they are older :)

Gary Anderson said...

Dawn--

Your visit with our students at Fremd High School's Writers Week XIV was a big hit! You were hilarious, and our students definitely got the message that writing can be much more than just homework. We hope you and your sister enjoyed your time with us. Thanks for coming!

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

That's funny. Alan Alda just yelled at me in one of my dreams because I told him to wipe up the orange juice he spilled on my floor.

And it is so important to "count" the little things that we do. I used to be in the habit of rushing around trying to finish all the necessary tasks (cleaning, teeth-brushing, nail-clipping, you name it), so that I could get some "real" job done. I finally figured out that those items were part of my real job, which made me feel a lot better. I was accomplishing something! Sure, I was accomplishing the same thing day after day; but that's the way it is, sometimes.

grits404 said...

oh my word! i have a very similiar waitressing dream sometimes too. i wake up all panicked and have to remember i'm not waiting tables anymore, except for my kids who might be more demanding than any customer.

in college i used to write "take a nap" on my list just so i could cross off one thing on my to do list. it's good to have goals.

dorindmikey said...

Haha the pizza things is so true.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dawn, I worked as a waitress for a few months and that was me in reality. I felt so scatter brained. I am also a hair designer and that is far less confusing. But the dream I always have is my sissors won't cut! Arrggh! Kristine in Michigan.

Queen Elaine said...

Funny you mention dreams. Last night I dreamt I was running away from a burning plane because it was going to explode. I ran at least a mile, but not through streets. Oh no, that would be too easy. I was running through buildings and over balconies, climbing over furniture and and difficult places. Wonder what that's trying to tell me? LOL!

M said...

Hilarious! I needed to hear it. My dream is that it's high school graduation and I have to pass a math final and never went to the class all year. And then can't get my locker open. Then my cap and gown don't fit.
I spend the rest of my day thinking about fractions. And that is a nightmare.
M

Patty said...

Hi Dawn,
Waitresses everywhere are giggling at this one. The dreaded waitress nightmare. Mine are usually like yours, unable to get to my tables no matter how hard I try. My friend Pearce has a reoccuring one where people just keep coming in and the manager won't close. It's 3 a.m. and the restaurant is still full.
Thanks for the laugh,
Patty

Brenda said...

LOL. You could be the next Heloise!!

JujuBoo said...

I like your list of ideas. But I would add to mine #5: When all else fails, cry. It feels good and it freaks the husband and kids out enough that they leave you alone for a while. They tiptoe around you and actually do things without asking. I pulled this one yesterday and actually got out of folding 3 baskets of laundry :)

Julie said...

Maybe that dream was a clue as to what your life would be like after getting married and having children? (I know I often feel like everyone wants something from ME, so I can relate...)

Good advice, and from someone who's actually LIVING life like the rest of us!! Thanks!

NeedleDancer said...

I am so with you on this!
I don't have the waitress dream (yet). But I'm spinning my wheels and getting behind while working as fast as I can.
I've adopted the list thing. I even set up my 'puter to automatically regenerate the activities that must happen over and over. And I've broken them down. For me, water the plants (indoors) takes five entries (bedroom plants, kitchen plants, etc.). That way, if I get one room done, I can cross something off AND keep track of where I got distracted.
Can I put "Read blogs" on there? (and yes, there is a "Write Blog" recurring entry for the one blog entry I do each week that's related to a KAL).

Irishmama said...

Dawn - Great advice.
May I add?
Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day. Buy a lock if you have to.

Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less foods that are manufactured in plants.

Try to make at least three people smile each day.

Clear your clutter from your house, your car, your desk and let new flowing energy into your life.

Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.

Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

Frame every so-called disaster with these words: 'In five years, will this matter?'

and

Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.

Kathy said...

Ahhhh Server Dreams... even after being out of the business for a few years now I STILL get those! The stress, always getting sat too many tables to handle at once, nothing ever going right..

and oddly enough I've had the part where you have to go somewhere to get a piece of your uniform or a specific bottle of wine while your tables sit there too.

Server dreams, they're supposed to be an outlet of stress but they just make you more stressed. I think you're right though, it's your brain saying you're having problems handling everything in life.. but I wish it didn't have to do it with such an awful stressful dream dangit!

I feel your pain, I feel your pain!

Raising Country Kids said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who writes something down on the to-do list *after* I've already done it. . . just so I can have the satisfaction of crossing something off!

Here's a question for you: when you delegate to the kids, do you go fix what they've done afterwards? When mine sweep, for example, I can't help but go in after they're done and get the yuck from beneath the table that they've missed. It sort of defeats the purpose of delegating.

Alisa said...

LOL! Great advise! I love #3. I do this all the time, make a list and add to it. It makes me feel like a successful woman by the end of the day! ;)

Anonymous said...

If it makes u feel anybetter I keep having a dream that the yacht I booked for my wedding keeps leaving without me (amazing everyone is aboard 2 hours b4 the ceremony but me) and then when I do get on the yacht (magically)its' not even the right wedding yet my fiance is on it anyways does that make sense or what!!

sasha

CristyK in MI said...

Dawn, I don't know how you do it with 6 kids, I can't seem to do it with 2.
I love your suggestions about the list. I'm going to start doing that today.
I read your blog every day trying to get the courage to be a strong mom like you, and not the push over I am here.
Keep writing, your giving strenght to the masses (sorry spelling isn't my thing).

Veggiemomof2 said...

Sounds like you don't feel equipped to do what people are expecting of you sometimes.

Welcome to motherhood! LOL

Vickie said...

I love my lists, I would be lost without them. I like seeing things checked off, crossed out, whatever...it's a sense of accomplishment. And my brain gets full, so I need the help, or I lose some valuable talent or piece of info like DH's birthday or where I left the car keys....

Colleen said...

Thanks again, Dawn! You've captured my thoughts EXACTLY at a time when I really needed to be reminded. As an ex-waitress, I'm surprised *I* haven't been having "shop for bowties" dreams lately! Love your blog...

Queen of things green said...

Thank you for posting this Dawn. Lately I feel like the waitress. My family is moving into a new home, trying to conceive our 3rd child, have birthday and anniversary parties to celebrate. I am feeling a little run down with all. We have a great way of putting it all in perspective. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

You really crack me up!! The list thing is a wonderful idea-- I do that when I know I have a really busy day, so I won't forget anything.

But, to put things on the list that you have done, that's the ticket to answer the hubby's question "What did you do today?"

You don't sit there and go "ummmm", but just show him the list--"Here is what I did today!"
Thanks for the tips, Tina

KristoCat said...

Dawn, I have SO had this same dream! Except I'm a librarian, so it takes place in a library, not a restaurant. But the basics are exactly the same. I'm so glad to know I'm not the only one who feels like this :)

Anonymous said...

Yes, Dawn........I've had that dream! Over and over and over..... Now, along with all the other things you need to accomplish, how's that Dr appt coming along? Remember, to take care of others, you must take care of yourself first! xoxo Kathy

Janet said...

I used to wait tables as well, and have similar dreams frequently. Except that instead of missing my tie, I'm missing all upper body clothing. And no one notices.

I do the list thing all the time. I only have 2 kids, but right now the 4-year-old needs her 4-year checkup and her picture made. As soon as this play is over . . .

One Crazy Adventure said...

Oh, how I know the feeling. It's the perfectionist trying to force her way into everything.

Remember, nobody expects as much from you as you expect from yourself. When all is said and done, it's how you lived your life... not how clean your house was, or how many loads of laundry you did.

Sarah R said...

Ugh. Your waitress dream reminds me of my high school dream that pops up every now and then. I went to a very demanding high school and took college-level courses, and near about had a breakdown at the age of 15. Every once in a while, I have this dream that I'm rushing around the hallways of my old school, constantly late for classes. When I arrive, I almost never have my school work, or something is totally and completely wrong, and I wake up feeling totally stupid and frustrated too.

Loved the suggestions! I don't have any kids (yet), but I do a lotta the things you mentioned becuase, if you didn't, we'd ALL be crazy! :o)

Susan said...

Hi Dawn. I have 6 children also (4 boys ages 7 to 11 and 2 girls ages 2 and 4) and I so relate to you. My "stress dreams" as I call them are usually about high school where I have missed a class all year and suddenly have to take a test. I feel for you. It is sooo hard to juggle the kids and the constant interuptions and distractions and actually getting something done in the house. My lists are full of every day tasks and I add to them to cross things off also so it looks like I have done somthing meaningful each day. I homeschool and it seems there is never a break, but at the end of the day, the sleeping faces are all worth it. I appreciate knowing other moms are going through what I am. Thanks for making me laugh!
Susan

Tamara Follett said...

I was a waitress for five years during college (that was 12 years ago) and I still have dreams like that! It's funny to know someone else does too!

Kresta S. said...

Hi Dawn, this list is perfect, but there could be one more added. #6. When all of the above fails, don't be afraid to ask for help!!

I am also a stay-at-home mom who started her own business when my first child was a baby. I have 3 daughters now and have never worked outside the home since any of them were born. I got to the point, however, with working and being a mom and wife, that I just couldn't do it all. My business gave my the "bread winner" role in our family, so I couldn't stop doing it. But, there eventually came a time where working full-time and trying to care for 3 young kids and a house was simply too much. So, I hired someone to come in and help me a few days a week. She cooks, cleans, babysits, does laundry. It probably saved my marriage, truth be told. Because who has the energy to play the wife role after you've spent 8 hours working, another 8 hours doing housework/kid stuff, and are up 4 times a night with a newborn? Anyway, I'm lucky because at least I'm home. I take my hat off to moms who work outside the home and have to actually take their kids to daycare or something like that. I'd never make it. :)

janel said...

Thanks for the good advice. Now, please discuss the issue of having sick kids. Is sane survival possible on my part? Because I'm not sure I'm going to make it through the week with 2 kids with the flu!

Kyddryn said...

Oh, I can relate to the feeling - sometimes it's just overwhelming. And I'm supposed to do it all with a smile on my face? Hah!

I finally decided that the laundry, dishes, and general disarray will be there when I'm ready for them, but my son will only be willing to cuddle, read books on my lap, and chatter with me for a few short years. Guess where my priority is?

Shade and Sweetwater,
K

Penguin Mama said...

#3 - Make a List. My daughter taught me this one about 7 years ago while grocery shopping. You have your shopping list, and if you pick up anything that isn't on the list you write it down. That way when you leave you can say you only bought what was on the list!

Mabunny said...

HAHA! That would be a nightmare from which you coun't awake.
Thanks for the de-stressing tips. Sometimes I log into the computer game my hubby and I play and take a little trip out of reality for a bit, or I read or crochet. As for sometimes wanting to delegate, we have " Fend for yourself night" , it can happen any time during the week that I've done alot and just don't feel like cooking;)) There is plenty of lunchmeat, macaroni , hotdogs and the assorted goody to fix.
I'm off work tomorrow and do't even watnt to think about what I have to do then. Will face it when I come home from taking kiddo to school.

MaBunny

Lisa M said...

Ah yes, the anxiety dreams! I think making lists and prioritizing is the best way to help with the feeling that you are drowning in responsibilities. Either that, or hire a nanny for each child! But really, we are only capable of doing so much each day, so all those unimportant things will just have to wait. Or go away.

Andrea said...

May I suggest checking out:

www.flylady.net

Seriously, she's got it down to a science and is SO easy to follow!

Not to say I don't have crazy days because I totally do, but she's go the answers for all of us "SHE's" (Sidetracked Home Executives).

Anonymous said...

Hey Dawn,

I think we tend to carry stress into our dreams. Your advice is so correct. I would add just one more. **Moms need WEEKLY time off to regroup and recharge. (even for just a couple of hours)

Question for your SSO: With 6 kids, how do you handle daily chores? Do your kids work off a chore chart? Do they get paid for doing those chores?

Please, send some of your creative writing abilities my way!! You have tons, so can you share? He he...

Your awesome!! (Everyone needs to be told that atleast once a day!)

Have a great day!
~Lisa, San Antonio, Texas

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Exactly why I named my blog "Juggling Life!"

sorina said...

This is a very entertaining blog. Well-written and clever. You are now on my favorite list.

Becky said...

I used to have dreams like that after working as a cashier in a grocery store...except mine were of long lines going all the way down the aisles, a berating boss yelling at me to hurry things along, angry customers with handfuls of coupons, always writing checks and taking their sweet time about it, complaining when I asked for ID, then questioning their receipt while I'm in the middle of checking out the next person, as though I was trying to cheat them.

I think dreams like that are a byproduct of stress...so much to do, so little time.

Loved this post, and the list idea, and putting things on there that you've done that weren't yet on the list.

I'm sure you were fantastic at your 'speaking engagement'. How could they not love you?!

Kristina in Las Cruces, NM said...

LOL My stress dream is always that I was in such a hurry to get to work, I forgot to put on my close. As a result, I have to hide in my office all day so that my boss does not see me naked. Since I can't leave my office, I can't do any of the work that I was in a rush to do when I left the house!

I rely on lists all of the time and I do add things to the list all of the time. Then I can cross them off right away and feel like I've accomplished something :)

Anonymous said...

My life is abouts lists as well. It is always nice to "peek" into someone else's harried life...makes your own seem less complicated. Thanks for the laugh.

Faith said...

I still have dreams about being late for work and missing college classes even though I've been out of college and haven't worked outside the home in years. What is that about? Those were some great tips; I know those things work for me!

Kristina in Las Cruces, NM said...

(Sigh) I really can spell. That should have been "clothes" instead of "close" in my last comment.

Pam said...

So the delegate thing...my only problem is my kids (all teens + one 11 year old) would LOVE to exist solely on Fruit Loops and Kool Aid. Oh wait. They need a green too...add Mountain Dew and we're good to go. And I really did run away from home on Valentine's Day...wish I could've heard you speak....

TONYA said...

Okay I'm seriously rolling on the floor at your suggestions.

1. My kids would be woohooing it around the house with me locked outside already LOL

2. HA HA HA. I'll have to try that line. The hubby asked me about the laundry last night but backed away very slowly when he felt my glare burning through his eyeballs - then proceeded to do 2 loads of laundry himself, how I got stuck now with 6 loads sitting on top of the laundry & dryer to fold though is beyond me, ugh.

3. My husband seriously does this, I always laugh at him about it.

4. Do you know how many unfinished tasks there are around my house, they are about to swallow me whole. Stuff eating just one slice of pizza, give me the whole dang thing, I'll 'consider' working it off tomorrow :)

5. Shopping, I'm sorry that's the only word I read in there. I'm on it.

AlaneM said...

Oh Dawn, you really are the best!
Back in the day I worked in fast food & had a nightmare about having to open in the morning. I would be at a party & couldn't get home no matter how hard I tried. And then when I did get home there was a party & nobody would shut up & let me sleep. Those nights I would wake up over and over with that dream & be completely stressed that I would not be able to get to work on time. I would lay in my bed saying to myself over and over "go to sleep, you have to get up early!" I'm sure you can imagine I did NOT get much sleep!
Love your deligation list - I'm SO bad at that cos I want things to be done a certain way - dumb I know.

noble pig said...

Yeah, I hate it when I'm speaking and people are throwing rotten produce. Ha-ha, that was a good line. You're funny.

Rick said...

Now you got me worrying about you. I hope I don't have some kind of dream of me trying to pull you out of quick sand or something. I need my beauty rest.

Seriously though, you do need to learn how to say "NO."

BTW: You really want to torment yourself? - then go ahead and watch that video of you speaking. There is nothing worst than having to critque yourself speaking in front of people. TOTALLY painful!

My advice? (If you care to hear it) skip the video - just enjoy the ride.

http://organizeddoodles.blogspot.com/

rachel said...

Glad to know I'm not the only one who adds things to the list just so I can cross them off! I told a friend about this once and she suggested I start taking anxiety meds for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder! I don't think I'm OCD (clinically speaking) so your numbered list was affirming to me.

Chelsi said...

I'm so glad that I'm not the only one to add things not previously on my list once I've completed them and cross them off. I feel so much more accomplished, then, and I can really see that I did something with my day. Hang in there with your incredible "to do" list!

Heidi said...

I agree with Six-Pack Mama--thanks for being real and for your great tips (and great sense of humor!).

Sharlyn said...

I've told my kids before, "Here are the things that must be done. Choose what you will do or you will be assigned!" That's worked. They'd rather choose than be stuck with something they don't "want" :)
I rarely remember my dreams. Sometimes I wonder if I dream at all. Hmmmmmm............

Allisha said...

You have just summed up the past two weeks of my life. My husband recently lost his day job and is home during the day and I am going INSANE! I finally got all my kids in school and now the biggest kid is back at home! It is nice to know I am not the only Mom out there who feels overwhelmed by everyday life.
Just one question, how many lists do you have? I have a daily list, a meal plan for the week list, a grocery list, a wish list, and a finish that project list!

feefifoto said...

I enjoy reading your blog but I rarely comment. This post was very enjoyable and your advice is sensible and reasonable. I also make lists, and I even add things that weren't originally on the list just for the pleasure of crossing them off.

Evanna said...

That's funny! I, too, make lists and then add the extra things I've done just so I can cross something off! :-) I haven't added things like teeth brushing yet ... but maybe I should. Maybe then I'd feel I got more accomplished at the end of the day.

Fran Tynan said...

LOL - I read your blog all the time but this is the first time I've commented - I SOOO do that - with the list, where if I do something 'extra' I write it on and cross it straight off........seriously, I do.......
Thanks for the laughs!!

StampingJoan said...

too funny! I have those kind of dreams too where I am here, there, and everywhere! You certaily have too much on your plate!!! Take a breath!

Joan

coquet's cache said...

The dream reminded me of my actual 8 hour shift working in geriatrics and rehab. Only I'm not sleeping, and I really need to pee something terrible. Keeping a lid on what's not important is the key. That, and bourbon. Thanks for the laughs. (kidding about the bourbon. I like gin.)

Sarah said...

Just what I needed to hear today, Dawn. Thanks!!

Anonymous said...

Sometimes it helps if you carry a notebook around and just write down whatever occurs to you so that you don't forget it later. Also, when my kids got old enough to do laundry, they were on their own. That way they had clothes to wear, cause they couldn't wait on me.
Don't sweat the small stuff. In the great scheme of things, its all small stuff. Therefore, do what is important, not whats urgent.
Single mother of four.

Chrissy said...

It's so funny that you would blog about a dream because last night I dreamed that I was babysitting your kids. They were very well behaved but now you owe me 20 bucks! :)

BoufMom9 said...

LOL! As soon as I started to read your dream i was thinking," Yep. That's me at dinner time."
" Mom, I need my meat cut. "
"Mom, he has more than me!"
" Mom, listen to what happened in school today..."
"Mom, no listen to me.."
YIKES! Sometimes it's nearly impossible to juggle it all.
PS If I told my kids I was leaving and they could live off of Fruit Loops & Kool Aid, they would pack my bags for me. LOL

Kit said...

Your post made me smile as always, but you know- there is real wisdom here, too. I was just realizing the other day that I need to slow down sometimes so I can enjoy little moments with my family- a sink full of dirty dishes can wait a little longer!

By the way, I keep meaning to post this youtube video, because it's very funny and it made me think of you:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxT5NwQUtVM
Comedienne and Mom Anita Renfroe, with a Mom's version of the William Tell Overture. Have you seen it before? I love it! LOL.

I hope it brings a smile to your day. :)

http://www.kitmama.blogspot.com

Yvonne said...

Amen..and so it is! Hey, I thought that I was the only one who felt overwhelmed and under appreciated! And...how did you know that I add things to my list as I do them and then cross them off....have you been spying on me?

Kim said...

It is like you were reading my mind lately. I feel like I am drowning under all the stuff I need to do and remember. And that is only for three kids - well, four if you count my husband! Thanks for reminding me that I am normal - whatever that means!

VanDerHoekArt said...

Amen! When I wake up from a dream like that I usually try to clean out a closet and end up with more piles of stuff everywhere. Then I truly feel like I haven't accomplished anything!

Christina said...

Poor Dawn, I can relate to your dream, I had similar ones from time to time...
Since you made a list with suggestions and I love the last two points on your list (Babysteps and Don't sweat the small stuff), may I add another point? Join www.flylady.net. You have heard it before from several of your readers :-) It is free and it helps you exactley with the problems you just described in this post! Babysteps and Don't sweat the small stuff are two of Flylady Marla's "rules" - you already figured them out on your own so I think you are ready for Flylady ;-)

Love
Christina

Dorothy said...

I do think your mind is trying to tell you to slow down. Don't think of yourself as supermom. Or you will have to fill the shoes. The more you offer to do the more people will take. My daughter continues to go through those times, as she is 41 has 7 children and a grandchild. I continually tell her do only what you comfortably can the rest will stay. She is better, however continues to feel guilty if she can't do and be all things. Guess what in the end, it'll all get done, it just may take more time, giving you time to live a little life which once gone, you can't take back.

Good luck
Dorothy from grammology
remember to call gram
www.grammology.com

datatech57 said...

I have been in the Army, worked at television stations, and been a police dispatcher. I used to have "everything-going-wrong-at-the-TV-station" or "-police-station" dreams, but they finally dropped off after years. I still get Army dreams, though. I am very glad to wake up and find out that I do not have to worry about that stuff in my waking life. I have enough to occupy my concious mind!

Ruth

Tracy J. said...

That's better than my cleaning-kids' poop-off-all-surfaces anxiety dream!

Anonymous said...

Hey girl! Love your blog--I am a mom to 3 --find your blog hillarious! So..I am not one of those people who "expect" you to answer my question..I know you get thousands of emails a month..but would be awesome if possible..My husband is just a few weeks away from writing his first book and has a few more in the works and he has been reading up on the best way to get a literary agent and quiet frankliy--scares us--we are a Christian family who wants to find somone who is a Christian as well and is in it for the benefits of my husband and not just in it for himself..Ya know?? Just curious what company do you use for your new book that is going to be published..Any information would be awesome if you have the time. Again..I feel like a goober for even asking you and my husband really did not want me to bother you..but hey..never know until you ask. Thanks again and love you and your sense of humor!
Ashley
stan72@comcast.net

Adrian said...

Oh thank goodness! Finally someone who has strange dreams like I do. I've always had bizarre, disjointed and surreal dreams and they were way worse when I was pregnant. I always envy people who tell me they had a dream about washing their car or being a beauty queen or something.

I always want to ask them where were the dinosaurs, or the clowns, and was there a bathroom in the middle of it? My dreams always seem to have a bathroom in them - maybe I need to get up and go to the bathroom more at night! But yet, I can so relate to the multi-tasking nightmare of being a working mother. I always feel like the guy at the circus who is spinning the plates...

TheHMC said...

Once again, you've cracked me up. I agree with you on the whole "clean one room instead of the whole house" deal.
And your thing of making a list? I get side tracked EVERY time I go to do something. All I need to do is make a list and add all the extra crap I've done to it and I won't feel like such a worthless hag? You are my hero lol.

I swear I could've written most of that posting.

Now..
It's wednesday.. where our new entry? You know we (your readers) will go through withdrawl shortly if you don't hurry it along, right?

The Pikes said...

Okay - Is it wrong to admit that I choked on my cheerios while reading this true to life

I feel like I am on a treadmill that is stuck in overdrive and sooner or later I am going to take a nose dive...LOL

Anonymous said...

OOOh, off topic. Today TipNut has 2 great "recipes" for Playdough; one chocolate-peanut butter which can be eaten while making shapes and the other is "coffee" made with grounds so it looks like rocks and dirt when the kids make stuff out of it!

SuperMom said...

Dawn,

I introduced you yesterday at Writers Week. You were fabulous. Want proof? The physics teacher in front of me was laughing-- and he never laughs. Like, ever. You mentioned that you had your sister tape you. Is this because you are new to doing presentations? If so, you're a natural.

By the way, you inspired me to start blogging. It should be up soon. Wish me luck.

Thank you for coming to speak at our school. The students loved you (honestly), and you made an enormous impression on me.

I have to sign off now--my three year old is beating on my chair leg with a spoon and chewing on my slipper. (sigh)

All the best,

--Trish Weidig

Anonymous said...

Maybe a question for your Sunday Sound out thingie... when did each of your kids start walking/crawling? I'm really asking because my 10 1/2 month old loves to have me hold his hands when he walks around, but refuses to even attempt to crawl/walk/pull up on things on his own. I'm absolutely convinced that I'll be assisting him until he's 18. I wouldn't mind, because I love that he needs me. But my back hurts. And I want him to gain the confidence to do things on his own. You know, like climb up the fridge to steal the cookies! :giggle: Were any of your kids like this?

Rachel said...

I LOVE your blog and read it all the time, but this is one of the first times I've written. I really needed to read this tonight. I've been feeling a little overwhelmed with all I want to do each day and truly not being able to fit it all in. I need to got to bed because it is so late, but tomorrow I'm going to reread this post and figure out how to use your suggestions. Thank you.

hammy said...

1. delegate
2. say no
3. make a list
4. baby steps
4. remember... a list is just a list. the numbering is not important.

:)

that was quite a dream. i don't know how you can remember it so clearly. i remember when i usually have bad dreams, i wake up jarred, but don't remember why....

"aaarghhh.."
"what happened? are you ok?"
"ya... bad dream. baaaaaaad dream"
"ok. just relax. what did you dream about?"
"well, there was me.. i was in... i was in an accident?? or was i back in school?"
"you don't remember?"
"well, i was there. there were dark shadows... but lot of sunlight??? that doesn't sound right, does it?"
"hmm.. no."
"anyway, it was pretty bad. baaaaad dream"

mrsslats said...

Hehe... What is it about waiting tables that gives us such horrid nightmares.
Around here people think a good tip is 10% plus a dollar. Even if the bill is over 100.00.
That gives me nightmares, let alone all the crap I go through for my sad tips. I think this area needs a public service announcement: "A decent tip is 15%, a good tip is 20% or more! These people don't get the normal hourly wage!" I make $3.25/hour! The tips feed my family for cryin' out loud!

Lynne's Somewhat Invented Life said...

How do you have time to dream such elaborate dreams? You must wake up tired. I'm tired just reading about it.

Grandmother Goddess of the Garden said...

Write BREATH on your list, followed by one very LARGE glass of wine, or martini (staight up, very dry, with lots of olives!)

Anonymous said...

Dawn, I'm worried, its Thursday and you haven't posted since Monday.... are things ok??? I miss your posts!!!! Hurry back!!!!

Pam (Seattle)

Colleen said...

ugh! I hate those kinds of dreams...I wake up hating everybody and feeling anxious.

Rick said...

I hope this means that you're getting some rest.

http://organizeddoodles.blogspot.com/

Mom2myfav8 said...

Love it—absolutely love it.

I’m a 57 year old mom with 5 out of 8 kids still at home, the youngest 13. I started raising kids with my brothers and sister when I was 8. You would think after raising kids and keeping house for almost five decades I would have control over life and this house. I don’t, I just do things a lot slower.
As you get older you think,someday I will find the “magic” advice on how to keep order in your life,this has not happen. One thing experience teaches, “Is this too will pass.” To only be replaced with something else.
Trying to keep on top of things only means you have further to fall. I can’t even keep up with things much less get on top of them. But in the end it isn’t the clean house, or clothes that fit, or even enough time, energy, or money that makes a life worth living, it’s finding the joy in everyday things, and I have to say from reading your posts…you have found that joy. Thanks for helping even an old mom like me keep perspective.
Susie

Manic Mom said...

Or, tell 'em to open their own can of Campbell's and just wear a polo shirt without a bowtie! : )

FishyGirl said...

That was seriously funny. I find I need to make sure to take a couple of hours a week to myself, somehow, to help me not be a Mean Mommy to my four little monsters.

Also thanks for reminding me to pay my bills today because it's a shorter month. My bank account thanks you for helping me avoid late fees.

Anonymous said...

I'm anxious to see the video from Fremd. I graduated from there and love reading your blog.

Kathy said...

You poor thing! When I was working at a local fast food restaurant, my husband (now ex) would wake me up, "Honey, you're trying to hand food out the window again!" Apparently, I was trying to run the drive thru in my dream, can't even escape work in sleep! Thanks for the laughter though.

www.kathy-iamwhoiam.blogspot.com

NedaTN said...

Thank you for telling your dream. I waited tables for 4 years and have been in banking for the last 13. I still have the dreaded table waiting dream when I am stressed. I scurry around and I can never seemed to get anything done no matter how hard I try. I never realized other people had that dream too. My other recurring dream is of Tornadoes. Yuck some of those are too, too real.

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