Wednesday, January 11, 2012

What I Don't Do

Every once in a while, I get to listing all the things I do and someone asks how I can possibly manage all of that. Which sounds insufferably full-of-myself when I say it, like I just did. Still, allow me to pull out my own trumpet for a moment. There's a point, I promise.

  • I'm a full-time lawyer who started law school with a 4-month-old and graduated with a 3-year-old and a 9-month-old. I now have three sons under the age of 11.
  • In the last three years, I've written and edited one whole book and half of the rough draft of another. I successfully completed NaNoWriMo in 2011. When I buckle down, I can write about 1000 words a day without too much trouble.
  • I'm a host of David Farland's Authors' Advisory and, starting last year, I've been privileged to help out at LTUE. This will be my third year at LDStorymakers. I'm the group leader of my online writer's group.
  • Last year, I read 109 books. That's a daily average of over 95 pages. (In 2009, I read 173 books, with a daily average of over 157 pages.)
  • Before my church congregation underwent a recent and severe reorganization (if you're familiar with the LDS church, you'll understand when I say that they took 4 wards and made 5), I did 3 jobs: I visited 3-4 ladies every month, I prepared a sunday school lesson every other week, and I chaired the Cub Scout committee (which involved three meetings a month and miscellaneous emailing / list making / etc in between)
Pretty impressive, huh? *polishes nails on shirt* Feeling inadequate? Seriously, don't. Let's discuss what I don't do (a lot of this I feel very guilty about, so be kind):
  • Exercise. I have a gym membership and go only sporadically. It's a goal to spend some of my reading time each week reading on the elliptical at the gym, but for now, I'm just getting fatter and more unhealthy.
  • Sleep. If I don't sleep for around 8 hours a night, I get sick (as my husband points out to me every night). I get sick a lot. I'm constantly having to forego holding cute new babies because I have the sniffles or a sore throat or a head cold. Sleep really should be a bigger part of my life, but it's so BORING! Not that being sick is all that exciting....
  • Grocery shopping. My husband does that. I seriously haven't been grocery shopping (except as the occasional tag-a-long) for... um... well, I've been married 11.5 years....
  • Laundry. Just tonight I had to fold a basket full of whites and got all huffy about it. I occasionally have to wash my own work clothes and miscellaneous delicates. The laundry I do is the sort where you spend five minutes tracking it down and putting it in, 30 seconds transferring it to the dryer, and another 5 minutes hanging it up afterward. I occasionally fold stuff my husband has washed and, about 6 times a year, feel all virtuous about running a load of something or other for the family. Go me.
  • Ironing. All my clothes are wash-and-wear. I made hubby buy me an iron for Christmas a few years ago, but never have found a regular use for it.
  • Dishes. I do these more often than laundry, but, again, hubby takes care of most of this.
  • Cooking dinner. Hubby again. I might cook dinner 2-3 times per week. I usually make a special breakfast on Saturday morning.
  • Cleaning the house. Except for the 2-3 hours a week I spend on the bathroom and the kitchen (hubby has an aversion to cleaning that involves chemicals and scrubbing), I don't clean much at all. Might vacuum 6 times a year. 
  • Any of the "man chores." You'd think that since I have a stay-at-home husband, I'd be expected to take on some of the traditional man-chores, but no. He does all the car maintenance (I only get my own gas when I'm on writing conference trips), yard work, snow removal, home repair, etc.
  • Homework. I mentioned I have three sons? They are generally finished with homework when I get home from work. (Haha.) I get to help my youngest with his reading homework a few times a week, and answer the very occasional question for the other two, but I don't have to take care of the day-to-day grind of making them sit still.
  • Reading to the boys. I feel VERY guilty about this, but most nights I just don't get it done. They always ask, but more often than not, I put them off. And we're in the last few chapters of the book we're reading, too! Bad mommy.
  • Television. I used to be a TV addict. I had 5-8 shows I just HAD to watch every week. Now I have none. Partly, I learned when I got the DVR that if I can put off a show until I have over a month saved up, maybe I wasn't all that attached to it. Partly, this is excruciating choice. There are some awesome shows out there that I'd love to watch all the time, so I don't let myself watch a single episode. I don't have the time. I miss out on a lot of inside jokes and social bonding opportunities, but there it is. I just don't have the time.
  • Movies. I might watch a movie while I fold laundry, but that's only about once a month. I rarely go to the theater. I sometimes will get a movie for date night with the hubby. Most of the movies that have come out in the last ten years I just didn't see. I have no idea that some of the movies even exist. This is very sad for a Theatre Arts major, but there it is.
  • Theatre, arts, etc. I don't go see plays, I don't get involved in community theatre, and I don't visit art exhibits. I would love to join the community choral at the local college, but can't.
  • Girls' Nights Out. Or nights out in general. I might leave the house for a fun nighttime activity once a month. If you count church activities. I don't go dancing, I don't hang out at the local coffee shop, I don't do any of the things the girls in the books I read are always doing.
I'm going to stop there because, well, if I don't get to bed soon, I'm going to get sick... er. That sore throat ain't just gonna go away on it's own. Still, you can see that the list of things I don't do is much longer than the list of things I do. Not so impressive now, is it?

Bottom line? I get done all I do because I have an amazing, supportive spouse who picks up all my slack and because I prioritize the things I REALLY want to do.

So what do you give up so you can do all the things YOU do?


  1. You don't even pump your own gas? Slacker! Just kidding - I can't imagine being a working mother. Or having a full-time house husband (wouldn't that be nice?). Seriously, though, you do lots and lots and you should definitely be proud of it all!

  2. Life's all about choices and prioritizing.

    My only recommendation about the things you don't do? Read to your boys. They grow up so dang fast and unlike the laundry and dishes, they won't wait while you take time to do something else. By the time they're 9, they're halfway to adulthood, and a lot of the second 9 years are spent learning to separate from you. I read to my boys into their mid to late teens. one of my cherished memories. It's an awesome way to introduce them to different authors.

    Get well, Robin!

  3. Wow, there are so many times I have wanted to be in your shoes...and possibly my husband in your husbands:) But, it didn't work out that way. You should be proud of all you accomplish! You're amazing, and I was shaking my head at how much of a slacker I am as I read your list of dos:)

  4. Susan--oh, I am proud of what I do. I think it's an impressive list. I just think that the things on my Don't-Do list are impressive, too. There are lots of writers who don't get to do what I do because they're busy doing what I don't do, and that's impressive, too. Don't you know. ;)

    Donna--I hear you, and I'm absolutely going to be kicking my own butt into gear on the read-to-boys front.

    Deana--my husband is one in a million. I can't believe I got so lucky!

  5. You have such a great guy, Robin.

    Life is give and take, isn't it? I can relate to that list is SO many ways. We can't do everything. We can just hope that we're doing the important things.

  6. Shelly--absolutely. Sadly, I suspect we won't really know if our priorities were right until we have the benefit of hindsight....

  7. You go, girl! Toot that horn, you deserve it:):) And YAY for spouses who pick up the slack! I know mine certainly does in the hmwk area (I'm so sick of school stuff when I get home since I'm a teacher). Don't know if you are querying or know anyone who is but I just announced a contest on my blog today!

  8. I can not wait to be done with school! But then I know I'll be looking for work and busy again...I just hope I can keep up as much as you do! :)

  9. You are awesome, I had no idea you were a lawyer- I LOVED this post- it made my night... I feel so spread out in many ways, you do have an awesome husband! Hey, do you have ideas for me for Cub Master since you had Scout experience- I have NO boys and have been called to Cub Scout Cub Master~ are they crazy, Robin, your seriously awesome, I have a gym pass and I really am trying to go- I swear 6 pregnancies and 2 kids to show for it, can I just wear it on my clothes- or hand a card out and explain why I am the way I am. I want a list of your books you have written- I would LOVE to read them. Your awesome, I am glad I know you!

  10. Your house sounds like mine. I have three little ones,too. Thank goodness for a husband who can cook or I'd starve!

    I have the same problem with sleeping, but sleep is what I always sacrifice to get other things done.

    Heading off to bed now!

  11. Jamie--your comment has triggered a frantic effort to rewrite the thing again (it wasn't ready when I stopped after the last effort). Hope there's still room for me when I'm done!

    Talamante--That's another thing I don't do: School! Seriously, all the things I do are fun for me. Try that. :)

    SS--Aren't husbands grand? How did we ever get through high school without them? :) For Cub Scouts, you should know that the Blue and Gold Ball is in February. It's sort of a big deal, so start planning now! Also, pinewood derby is anytime over the next few months--find out when your district meet is and make sure yours is before that! :)

    Also, I haven't published anything yet, but I'm absolutely certain you'll notice when I do! :D

    Jenn--WHY do we need sleep? WHY??? What's the point? :P