On failure

Sometimes, it feels that I do nothing but fail.

For weeks now, I have been telling myself that I need to “get my life together”. Make myself a schedule, so that there is time for everything I want to and need to do. Time for cleaning; maintaining a home that looks like a Pottery Barn catalog and Better Homes and Gardens magazine collided. Time for cooking Pinterest-perfect meals from scratch; shredding Brussels sprouts and pan-frying them with walnuts and cranberries, whipping up a sriracha cream sauce for my chili-glazed salmon, and cooking Lillian’s teeny tiny salmon filet separately from all the spice (only to find that she flips her shit for sriracha). Time for blogging; for finding some peace and quiet to think “what do I want to write about today?” and creating something that is well-written, smacks of sass, and makes readers cluck their tongues and say “why didn’t I write that?”. Time for the gym; to work out until my whole body glistens with sweat and I become one of those Chive girls. Time to walk the dog; that sweet little boy who loves me unconditionally and is so happy to see me, at the end of each day, that he goes cross eyed trying to lick my face and watch his tongue at the same time. Time to spend with Roo; to colour, and draw, and read, and dance, and sing, and recite The Jabberwocky over and over because she keeps saying “more! More!”. Time for writing; for sitting down with my novel every single night without fail, like I set out to do, until the damn thing is finished to perfection.

But without fail is a life I do not know.

There are nights when I whip up a dinner that is completely nutritionally balanced. One palm-sized portion of meat or fish, and two or three vegetable sides, of varying colours. But on those nights, the dog does not get walked; or the novel is neglected; or the living room doesn’t get vacuumed. There are nights when the living room gets vacuumed and dusted, but dinner will be pasta or – gasp – pizza (quick, easy) with fruit for dessert to try to offset my guilt and offer us some nutritional value. There are nights when I go to the gym, but on those nights, story time is brief; homework is not done; and dishes may even be left in the sink overnight.

The simple truth is this: no amount of scheduling will solve my problem. My problem is I have three hours between finishing work and putting Lillian to bed. The things that require leaving the house – like the gym, or walking the dog – have to be completed in that short time. All the while, the minutes are ebbing away. Every minute I spend at the gym is a minute taken from cooking time. Every minute walking the dog is a minute taken from cleaning time. When you take off the time it takes me to travel home, I have around 160 minutes to spend in the evening with my sweet Roo before she goes to bed.

When you put it that way, it’s easy to see why I don’t want to leave her at daycare while I work out. Why I don’t want to strap her into the stroller and walk the dog. Why the dishes can wait.

So I accept my failures.

I failed Bio-101 last semester. I fell so behind from the very start, I gave up even trying to catch up.

I fail to keep my house tidy. Every weekend, I spend a whole day cleaning it from top to bottom, and for about 48 hours, it does look like a Pottery Barn home. Every weekend, I say “NOW I have come out on top; now I can just maintain this. Just an hour each day of spot-cleaning, that’s all it will take”; and every day, I fail to find that hour.

I fail to read. One of my New Year’s Resolutions this year was to “read constantly”. Always have a book on the go. Devour books, like I used to. Yet every day, the latest book I picked up looks at me from the coffee table, lonely and untouched.

I fail to go to the gym. I failed even the smallest of challenges: to go to the gym every single day, without fail, during my one-week trial period, so I could figure out if I actually have time for a gym membership.

I fail to blog. My once-weekly posts have slipped, because there is no time to sit and think of what to write about. There is plenty that pisses me off, and I could write about those things all day long. Wealth inequality. Gender inequality. Rape culture. The beauty industry. I don’t want to be that blogger but I can’t think of anything else to write, so I don’t write blog posts at all.

I fail to write my novel. That one kills me, but every time I sit down to write, Baloo rests his head on my lap and gives me the Sad Eyes, and I think “how can I not spend some quality time with him? He’s been alone all day…”, and we play, or we snuggle. Or I notice the dishes and pans from dinner and I think “I have to put those in the dishwasher. I have to clean the kitchen sink. Come to think of it, I need to clean the kitchen floor again”. My passion is just a hobby, and how can I justify letting my job as a mother and Head of Household slip for ‘just a hobby’?

Oh, and by the way? Today I learned I failed to get published.
*Lie down. Try not to cry. Cry, a lot*

I spread myself too thin. I take on too much, I take it on alone, and I fail, fail, fail.

But that is okay.

I have a dog who doesn’t care if he gets walked every day or not. He cares that I come home from work each day and tell him he’s a good boy and I love him. He cares that he gets fed. He cares that he gets walked often enough to keep him fit, which he does.

I have a daughter who loves me. I have a daughter who doesn’t care if I wash the dishes immediately after dinner or if I put them off, even until the next morning. I have a daughter who doesn’t care if I worked out that day or not. She cares that she gets her bath every night, and that sometimes I let her splash and make a mess. She cares that she gets a ‘Mummy snuggle’ and a story before bed each night. She cares that if she wakes in the night, I am there, and I am.

I have a God who loves me more than I can fathom. Who forgives my sins. Who forgives my failures.

If they can accept me as I am, so can I.

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