Why I’m jealous of men (it’s not what you think)

by Leah McClellan

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Jealousy is both reasonable and belongs to reasonable men, while envy is base and belongs to the base, for the one makes himself get good things by jealousy, while the other does not allow his neighbour to have them through envy. —Aristotle

It’s 10 am. Cup of coffee in hand, I sit down at my desk to backup my blog and finish this week’s post.

I slept late since I was up late writing—oh, the joys of working at home—but no matter. I don’t have anything urgent to do today other than polish the blog post and get it up.

But I’m hungry. I haven’t eaten yet.

Not usually a problem, but the only thing I feel like eating is a bowl of bran cereal with some ice cold almond milk poured over it. And I ate the last of it yesterday.

Alternatives are carrots, lettuce, spaghetti, or garbanzo beans in olive oil with garlic and hot pepper. I don’t think so.

I open a cabinet. A box of oatmeal stares at me. The kind that’s hearty and soul-warming, laced with cinnamon and raisins on a cold winter morning. The kind you cook.

It’s been 100 degrees in the shade and super-sticky humid for the past three days, and the last thing I feel like eating is hot oatmeal. I want cold cereal, dammit.

Peanut butter toast wouldn’t be bad, but there’s no bread other than the frozen loaf squished in the back of the freezer for a couple of years (a full freezer uses less electricity, right?).

So oatmeal it is. I crank down the AC and fire up the stove. I dump some oatmeal in a pot of boiling water, stir for awhile, and pour it in a bowl. I hope the almond milk is cold enough to cool it off, but it’s not. I pop the steaming bowl in the freezer and go back upstairs to browse through email and blogs.

Whenever I read stuff like Leo Babauta’s The Simplest Diet for Lean Fitness, I get annoyed. I roll my eyes. I might make noises like pfft and mutter things like Right. Good for you, Leo.

It’s called jealousy. But it’s not what you might think.

Sure, he says he cooks his own “steel-cut oats” in the morning, but what about lunch? Dinner? What about “a tofu-stir fry or veggie chili with beans?” What about the beans cooked “Indian style or Mexican style,” eh? Does he cook that, too?

Who does the grocery shopping in the Zen Habits household? I’ll bet his wife does. Maybe she does, maybe she doesn’t—maybe it’s a big ol’ family affair—but if he’s doing all his food prep (not to mention laundry), when does Leo Babauta have time to write and handle other business matters?

I hop over to Problogger. Same question.

Where the heck does Darren Rowse find the time to do all the stuff he does and go grocery shopping?

Yesterday I browsed through his book ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income and read some interesting stuff about how he got started. Sounds like he has an awesome relationship with his wife—the poster couple for a Peaceful Planet marriage.

I’ll bet she cooks, too. He’s got a fabulous business going, and maybe they eat out or order in a lot, but what about the early days? He held multiple jobs when he first got started in blogging, and somewhere in there had classes. Sounds like things were really tight and he worked just about non-stop.

How and what did he eat? That’s what I really want to know about Darren Rowse.

Where’s the book on that? How does he keep his house or apartment clean? What about laundry?

On to Copyblogger’s Brian Clark. I have no idea if he’s married or what (and I really don’t care). But look at all this stuff he does on the blog’s About page. I don’t see grocery shopping or meal preparation in there. Does he live in some messy little apartment and live on take-out? Or what?

How about Jonathan Fields? Another busy guy. Dude, what do you do for food? Does your wife cook for you? Get the groceries in? Do you eat out or order in?

Maybe it helps that he lives in NYC where you can pop out anywhere, anytime and find something to eat.

A bagel would have been nice this morning, but I’d have to walk or drive a half mile each way to get one, and when I’m starved and have work to do, that’s not a good idea.

Somehow I didn’t get the domestic gene that it seems most women have. Oh, I know how to cook, don’t get me wrong. Give me the guest list and I’ll rock out a dinner for 20 that’ll have Emeril Lagasse patting me on the back

It’s the day-to-day thing that I don’t get.

Never have. I don’t know how that’s done. I just want to work and somehow have healthy food in the kitchen, waiting for me.

“Honey, is dinner ready yet?”

“Almost, honey buns!”

Yeah, right. Why don’t I ask women for help?

Women will laugh at me. I know they will. They don’t get it because they got the domestic gene.

They laugh and tell me to set up a schedule and just do it because they do and they have kids. And they smirk. They don’t believe me when I say there’s nothing in my refrigerator to eat.

But do they mow their lawns? Shovel snow? Fix leaky faucets?

What would they do if they had rats in the garden like I did last year?

They’d get their husbands, dads, or brothers to take care of it, that’s what they’d do. Because that’s men’s work. Not here it ain’t.

Ah-ha! Here’s Chris Brogan. A Day in the Life with a whole paragraph devoted to lunch.

He says, “I go to Subway downstairs and get the salad. When I have a little extra time, I hit up a restaurant…”

OK that’s the trick. Live or work some place with a restaurant downstairs and eat out.

Chris Guillebeau…I know he’s on the road a lot. And I know he doesn’t eat meat either, so I’m sure he has his challenges.

I wonder whether I missed a tip or two, in his Empire Building Kit (read more on my affiliate page) about finding time for grocery shopping or cooking or at least slapping a sandwich together. After all, somehow he finds food without meat in it wherever he goes. And I know that isn’t always easy, having eaten way more Kartoffeln and Spätzle in Germany than I care to remember.

And on that note, my jealousy fades away.

Jealousy is just a pissy little pity-party, after all. It’s just emotions that aren’t based on any facts. Irritation and frustration about something we don’t have that we imagine—rightly or not—that someone else does.

I have no idea how these guys do what they do and get fed—and I don’t really care. It doesn’t matter because this is my life, and if my biggest problem is figuring out how to plan my workday and eat the way I want to, that’s a pretty good life, don’t you think?

It’s all about problem-solving, not worrying about how other people do things.

I’ll bet Charlie Gilkey has some tips for me. He says, “I keep things relatively clean and ordered because I get overwhelmed by big messes to clean up.” I think he gets it. He keeps things clean and ordered for a reason, not because he got the domestic gene to do that or because he thinks it’s his role in life. Or whatever.

Something like me and cooking or meal preparation and grocery shopping or laundry. It doesn’t come naturally to me. I don’t know how to do it on a regular basis. And I don’t really want to, either. But I need to learn. And I will.

Unless I want to eat hot oatmeal on a hot day again, I’m going to have to figure something out.

Meanwhile, I’m off to the home supply store for some air conditioning filters with a stop at a garage for an oil change. Maybe I’ll have dinner out.

Comments are always welcome! And if you like what you read, please share.

PS Have any tips? I’ll gladly accept them even if you tell me to get a schedule and stick to it. That’s gotta be it ;)

Be sure to read the follow-up post: Don’t ignore anger: Embrace it, learn from it, resolve it

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{ 45 comments }

Darren Rowse

A little sure how to answer – or if you want an answer from me (sorry, I’m pre-coffee and was up half the night settling a baby) but a few ‘tips’ (perhaps the wrong word) come to mind.

I can only give them from my own perspective though from the experience I’m having.

1. Priorities – for me its about working out what you want in your life and then structuring your life around that. That doesn’t always come easy for me – I am not a particularly organised person and I’m certainly not naturally ‘domestic’ on some fronts – but I guess it comes down to at least identifying what you want from life and doing what is in your own control to achieve that.

2. Negotiation (self) – for me negotiation happens on two fronts. Firstly it happens on a personal level as I look at my priorities and work out how I’m going to achieve them. This can be a real wrestle at times – like I say, I’m not particularly ‘domestic’ and there are 101 things I’d rather do than clean the bathroom…. but I value hi-gene and want be responsible for keeping my house (our biggest asset) in order…. so I constantly wrestle with myself to do those things I don’t particularly want to do.

At times this has meant writing lists, setting daily tasks to complete, asking others to keep me accountable etc.

3. Negotiation (others) – negotiation may not be the right word here but for me, living in a family, it comes down to working as a team. I’m not sure ‘poster couple for a peaceful planet marriage’ is really a fair description of our marriage but we’re both reasonable people and while we have our fair share of spats over who’s going to do the dishes we’ve semi-regularly negotiated who does what in the house.

This has changed as our lives have changed. In the early days that you speak of in the post above V worked full time (quite long hours) and so in addition to my part time jobs, blogging and studies I structured my days so I did more of the domestic stuff. From memory, for quite a while we had a bit of a ‘roster’ system (newly married and needed a bit more structure in that area of our lives). Some jobs we took turns on (cleaning bathrooms, dishes, groceries) and some we always did (I vacuumed, she dusted) .

Blogging happened between everything else.

Over the last 9 years of marriage our life’s changed. Today we have 3 kids (5 and under) in the mix including a 3 week old so we’re in a new phase (something we’ve had to ‘negotiate’ and work hard on). My wife is on maternity leave so isn’t working which also changes the mix. This week I’ve cooked every night, she squeezed in a visit to the super market, I’ve looked after the kids from 7-9am while she gets a sleep in, she does the night feeds, I do the night settling….. life’s different.

4. Outsourcing – over time we’ve ‘outsourced’ different tasks. Really this has come from a mix of our priorities as well as our resources. We want to achieve, experience and do certain things and to be honest right now it doesn’t all quite fit in.

- As we have the resources to do so we have someone come in for an hour every week or two to help with some cleaning.
- I’ve brought in some help into my business to lighten the load on that front so I can spend more time with family.
- We probably get take out every couple of weeks.

All of the above goes into the mix to help us achieve what we want to do with our lives. There have been times we’ve not been able to afford it, others where we’ve wrestled with guilt over some of it, others where we’ve come to terms with the fact that by having someone help in a certain area we’re better able to do things that we consider higher priorities.

Not sure if any of the above helps but hopefully it gives a picture of how we make things work (or attempt to). The reality is that it doesn’t always work. I have days when I’m lazy, distracted or unfocused and need to pull myself into line (or need some accountability around that).

There have times where it’s all just worked nice and smoothly without much ‘negotiation’ and others where I’ve had to put systems in place to help me keep on track (schedules, rosters, lists etc). I find that even a week or two of following a routine is sometimes enough to snap me back to a good rhythm and then I can let the formal systems go a little and move on.

I don’t really know where you’re at but perhaps if this is a particular issue right now its time to do that. Sit down and work out your priorities and from that plan a weekly/monthly schedule to help you move towards those goals/priorities. In time you might find a new more natural rhythm.

Not sure that that is ‘the’ answer (we’re all different) but hope something in that is of encouragement?

Leah McClellan

Thanks Darren,

Appreciate you taking the time to read and offer suggestions! It’s the priorities–that’s exactly it. And I think what got my brain addled enough yesterday to write about this (rather than wrap up the post I originally had planned) is that I am an organized person, ordinarily, and my first year of working from home (in a long time) has been anything but that. It’s all about adapting and figuring it out as I go–like anyone has to.

Priorities–I can’t do everything. Life changed by my own choice (divorce, moving, bought my own house etc) and I’m doing exactly what I want to do (freelancing–editing mostly but some writing too and it’s growing). I’m so happy I could cry sometimes. I’m a great “employee” in most ways but I’m not managing the office building very well–that’s what I’m seeing here after giving it some thought and reading all the comments. Can you imagine working in a company where the employee kitchen or cafeteria or restrooms are erratically stocked with supplies? No system for task responsibility? I’d quit my company real quick!

I think I’m going to write out daily and weekly tasks–I’ll think in terms of being my manager and have a little talk with myself–here’s what you (I) need to do. Seriously, if a friend asked me for help on this I’d whip it into shape real fast. So I just need to get objective, create tasks, a calendar and just do it. Also work out some kind of system for food–never had one. With the previous double-income situation, well, eating out or buying prepared things was common and everything was different but it’s not in the budget now (and only one employee :).

Outsourcing–yep. I haven’t had it in the budget to hire someone to mow the lawn or come in to do even spring cleaning (and I still have piles of crap to sort out from the ex-marital household), but that’s where I’m headed.

Where I’m at–irritated with myself enough to do a rant! Priorities–my two dogs and a cat with medical issues and my work. That’s it. Might have to drop some stuff, like the veggie garden or watering the flowers (obviously, I know, I know). Even thought of selling the house–it’s a bit of a fixer. When will I ever have time to paint? Oh, right. Outsource. An apartment would be easier but that brings more work with taking the dogs for walks rather than letting them out back to do their duty….

Thanks–this is very helpful. And no, it won’t always work perfectly but that’s life. I really do wonder how other people do things on the homefront when running a business from home, and I see I just have to look at it from a task or management perspective. Thanks much for your input–I’ll have to do a post in a few months about how I got this all together into a very peaceful situation–at least most of the time! :)

Sheila (@stinginthetail)

Damn, can’t see this well enough to read and comment…. shame – the sidebar on the left is completely obscuring the first three words of every line. And most of the Submit button

Amanda Pingel

Ditto here: I made it through the article with the top 1/3 of my screen, but I’m not likely to be coming back. I hypothesize (since this writer seems to be reasonably intelligent, and not the sort who would deliberately block 2/3 of her readers’ ability to, you know, read) that it’s intended to be a sidebar off to the side of the text? But has never been tested on smaller screens (like on my 11″ netbook) for the author to realize that it’s not off to the side on many monitors.

Or you know, maybe it’s just a big ol’ middle finger to netbook-users. But I’m going ot hypothesize ignorance rather than malice.

Leah McClellan

Hi Amanda,

Thanks to you as well for calling this to my attention! (please see my other response to the issue). Thanks also for hypothesizing ignorance rather than malice. It’s hard for me to imagine how or why anyone would intentionally add a plugin to offend netbook users or prevent anyone from reading a blog with a theme of peaceful, compassionate living, but I guess they’re out there!

Have an awesome day :)

Leah McClellan

Hi Sheila,

Thanks so much for bringing this to my attention. I installed the share plugin that was floating on the left only a week ago and hadn’t heard from anyone that it was a problem. I repositioned it to below the post now, and hopefully that will fix things. Also contacted the plugin developer to see if he has any solutions, since I really do like the left float.

Thanks!!

Ryan Stephens

Interesting that you yearn to know these things, Leah, but probably not uncommon – in fact, I feel like they’re pretty fair questions. And kudos to you, Darren, for taking the time to shed some light on your own situation.

I don’t know if it’s comforting for others to see that you have to make time and prioritize the mundane as well, OR if it’s overwhelming that some people are capable of squeezing so much in.

Either way, this was an interesting post, but can we PLEASE get rid of this REALLY annoying hovering FB/Twitter/Google + Stumbleupon bar?

Ryan

Leah McClellan

Hi Ryan,

Thanks much for stopping by. I guess everyone is different. I find it useful, personally, to find out how others do things–even if they do far more or less than I normally would–just to get ideas. And based on the responses, it’s definitely not an uncommon thing at all; obviously some people have some great systems in place and are able to give me ideas, or they’re also struggling, or else somewhere in between.

Thanks for letting me know about the hovering bar that shouldn’t have been hovering! It’s normal placement is a left sidebar float, and I didn’t realize it was problematic for some viewers (I installed it only a week ago). I let the developer know about it and moved it below. Hopefully it’s not causing a problem now. Thanks :)

Panah

Great post and an awesome comment by Darren. Outsourcing is key. Don’t forget using robots to do things around the house. Robomower, iRobot, … :) I am a Pomodoro nut. So that helps too :)

Leah McClellan

Hi Panah,
Definite yes on outsourcing and robots. I would love a Robomower–brilliant! I’m going to start saving now (or at least outsource the lawn duty). That would be too cool. Never heard of Pomodoro but looked it up–definitely checking into it. Thanks much!

Robin

I believe everything is a learned skill. Grocery shopping is not a gene. You do it or you don’t. Pretty basic stuff.

There’s really hope for you! Plan three meal each week (to start) make a grocery list that supplies material for those three meals. When that becomes something you manage efficiently bump it up to 5.

You can totally do this and you DON”T need a wife for it. Honest.

Also – I’m a little giddy that I’m commenting on a blog right behind Darren Rowse. ;)

Leah McClellan

Hi Robin–I totally agree with you about the learned skill. Nope, grocery shopping is not a a gene, but it sure seems like it sometimes!

You’re right–it’s the planning I have to do. I wrote out a longer response to Darren with some details about why I’m having this adjustment (working at home first year etc). And I’ve never had a bunch of meal ideas to shop for because I used to eat out a lot or I had time to chop veggies and cook etc–breakfast is usually a no brainer as long as I’ve shopped. I haven’t always eaten as healthy as I’d like, either (vegetarian all my life but my lazy default–a box of pasta and jarred sauce–is just something I can’t handle anymore).

Just have to get a system in place and stick with it–thanks!

Joshua Gordon

Go get ‘em Darren. I love it.

I’m a stay at home dad who is also juggling a website and freelance work. Sarah (my wildly hot wife) also stays home, but with a 2 year old and a 7 month old, things can still get pretty hectic.

As far as groceries and cooking? Tag-teaming is where it’s at. For us, priority setting and negotiation are both HUGE deals – that, and we’re willing to ask for help when we need it. A few weeks ago we all got sick at the same time. Messy – thank God for grandparents.

Provocative post, btw. Props.

- Josh

Leah McClellan

Hi Josh,

Appreciate the reminder that it’s about priorities–yep. I’m just going to have to take some time to work out a system and that’s that. I really need to because I can’t stand myself anymore lol And making a public announcement about it and getting all these great, helpful comments has given me just the push that I need. Kind of like being willing to ask for help when I need it! No grandparents here but heck, look at all these great suggestions! Good luck with your challenges as well–no kids or spouse here but I do have two dogs and a medically-involved cat and yada yada–it’s priorities. Looking forward to posting results in a few months. Thanks :)

Nicole/MadlabPost

I found this post via Darren Rowse’s tweet and must say, it’s a nice read. I especially like how you summed it all up with “It’s all about problem-solving, not worrying about how other people do things.”……..classic!

I’ll have to keep your quote in mind when I find myself feeling jealous is something, someone or a group of people.

Leah McClellan

Hi Nicole,

Thanks so much! It really is about problem-solving. The jealousy–well, I try to pay attention to what I’m feeling because it will always point me in the right direction. Why should I feel jealous of anyone or irritated over what I read? It’s because I’m trying to do something that others are doing (work from home) and I haven’t quite figured it all out yet. Most of the business side is fine, but this area of my household stuff needs work. I know intellectually that anyone else in my situation has gone through more or less the same thing, and it’s just a problem that has to be solved.

Yep–if we’re jealous we just need to look within to see what needs some work. Good luck :)

Kelly Brough

I thought I would leave a woman’s perspective following Darren’s thoughtful post. You see, we all have to balance priorities in life and we don’t all have the domestic gene just because we’re born with two x-chromosomes. My husband will happily confirm this based on my oftentimes dismal domestic performance. However, we have two careers and three kids (under 8) and a house without hired help. So we take turns, we manage a shared calendar, and we go for it.

There are lots of simple things that can help on the organisation front. I am exceptionally disorganised, particularly when it comes to all things domestic and I probably don’t do my fair share around the house. I do get the kids clothed, fed, shuttled to school, activities and even bathed. Some days I have help, others not. And some days I’m out of town and my husband does it all. Since it seems that food is your challenge, I’ll share one example, the rest is up to you … put away your jealousy and find your self-reliance. That’s how those who make it do.

First, meals can be planned in advance. Spend 15 minutes with a cookbook and a shopping list … you’d spend at least that much preparing a blog post. I can highly recommend the BBC Good Food series – all simple with ingredients that are easily accessible plus free online. Group your shopping list by meats, vegetables, canned goods, chilled and other groceries. That’s how the store is organised. This is not rocket science. And when my husband sees this post he’ll be astonished that when I must, I actually pay attention to our livelihood.

Now if you have to throw in swimming lessons, child care pickups, and ballet drop off all within a 15 minute time span at different places, that’s another story. Perhaps you would say no problem, because of course men are supposedly born with a driving gene, but what about the packing all the right gear gene – woman’s work? I don’t think so. Mom’s and Dad’s achieve this equally the world over.

Good luck with your adjustment. The one thing I do agree with you on is that there is an adjustment to working from home which often requires far more discipline that being in an office where structure is provided for us. I’m less than a year into it myself, but find the the freedom liberating and well worth the other juggling. I’m not a blogger, but am an entrepreneur so I feel the weight of success or failure on my shoulders. You can do it and I’m sure you’ll find your rhythm.

Leah McClellan

Hi Kelly,

I really appreciate your thoughtful response. I agree–it’s all about planning. And no, I don’t really believe it’s about a gene or that men or women naturally do anything, it just seems that way sometimes (and it’s a fun way to write about it :). It’s social learning, skills, priorities, and so on. For me, it’s just something I’ve never worked on so I’m not good at it. If I focus on it like I do anything else–how did I learn to play the guitar, speak French or German, ski, skate, surf, and so on? It’s not a gene, it’s a desire to learn and lots of practice.

I do know my way around a grocery store rather well–I’ve mentioned some of my challenges in some other replies. Yes, it’s about the lack of structure too. I’ve been working from home for about a year and there have been all sorts of ups and downs and adjustments in recent years (and for awhile there not sure whether to buy food or pay bills–that’s how tight it was). On the plus side, I suppose my lack of interest in food makes it easy for me to maintain a healthy weight! lol But I do like to eat properly for health so I’ll be working on a plan. It’s all about priorities and practicing what we want to learn. Thanks so much :)

Steve Somers

The domestic Gene… man I think I missed that one. Being a newby work at home dad the house work is my biggest bugbear (well no matter how I try to do it, it’s not quite up to my darling brides standards, let alone if the brides mother drops by).

Shopping and cooking are the easy parts, it’s all the rest that takes the most work.

Leah McClellan

Hi Steve,

Like I’ve been saying in my replies to others, it’s all about priorities and deciding to learn a skill and practice it. Even though I know how to cook, my lifestyle has never included a need to prepare regular meals at home, whether that was due to working at a “regular” job, because I was married and he cooked pretty often or we went out a lot, or I was traveling, or I just didn’t care and had a budget that allowed for eating out or getting stuff at a food bar for take home or whatever. Working from home is just a new ballgame for me.

Good luck with that standards thing! I have some women friends who are fanatics about keeping the house clean–OY. I love a clean house but I’m happy with just basic cleanliness :)

Verilliance

Surely you’ve come across the famous Judy Syfers essay, “Why I Want a Wife”? Here it is http://www.uic.edu/orgs/cwluherstory/CWLUArchive/wantawife.html

Leah McClellan

Hi Verilliance,

Yep, I absolutely had it mind and did my best to not sound too much like her. Yes, dammit, I want a wife! ha ha :)

Jon

I will just come straight out with it!

It’s a big pile of steamy mess lol, i’ve been working from home for over 11 years now, software development was a big part of the early days but now days it’s copywriting…

Some days you feel like your spinning plates, and other days you feel like your spinning ;)

I look at my early years when i did software development/affiliate marketing and such and I think that I just worked way way too many hours. Then I went through a stage where i barely did 3 hours a day ( those were beauties as the funds just kept coming in regardless )

As for cleaning, I do it as I move around the house. No set time, just as I walk from here to there to get a cup of tea, take a shower, blah blah…. do it

And yes I mow my lawn.. though I don’t do it as often as I should… im pretty sure the neighbours tend to glance over and must think .. when the hell is he going to do his lawn, it’s starting to resemble something out of Jurassic park by week 3 ( but I never was a gardner )

Some days i get into a groove and work from 9am to 5, have dinner and go back to work .. those are great… Other days ( most actually ) I start around midday and work till around 5 or 6.. have dinner or go to gym then have dinner and I feel I have got enough done.

Dinner I cook, dishes i do ( again all in between.. no set time )

I used to work weekends, now i make a rule not too.. go insane otherwise.

You will and im sure you already have.. found your own groove.

The upside is… if I want a day or two where I do nothing.. I will do that. Though I do try to avoid slacking off too much otherwise its even harder to push yourself back into it all again. Even if it is a small project ;)

Leah McClellan

Hi Jon!

“Big pile of steamy mess” lol Glad to hear from others, like you, who have been doing this for awhile. One point you made that strikes me as particularly important for me is this:

“As for cleaning, I do it as I move around the house. No set time, just as I walk from here to there to get a cup of tea, take a shower, blah blah” This doesn’t work for me. But it’s important that you mentioned it because it clarifies or stresses (to me) my need to set up a system and a schedule for tasks. I get distracted very, very easily but I can focus for extremely long periods of time on one task–it feels like it’s the only way I can do things. But I can’t do a little of this and a little of that–it’s one or the other (I’ve tried, believe me). Meanwhile–maybe I’m writing a 30 page ebook or something over a period of days–dishes pile up, dog hair is all I can see on the rugs, there’s no food in the house, and things start falling apart. So I see I have to set aside blocks of time every day to focus on household management and do “first things first” (my cat gets pills every day, for example, and I can forget which I don’t dare do or he’ll throw up because he’s on chemo for lymphoma and in remission, doing great, or if I mess up my dog’s food schedule someone will poop in the house lol)…

Thanks about the lawn–I do love gardening but I think time spent on that will have to be cut–or outsource! Definitely about priorities. Thanks so much for your input :)

Amy @ Taste Like Crazy

I found this via a share on Google + and I love it. Love. It.

My comment… expletives fixed to protect the innocent:

“I love it. It’s well thought out. She totally told a story and pulled me in and yet it was a post about [trucking] blogging which normally BORES ME TO TEARS!”

I write two blogs.

One is a “life” blog and the other is a gaming site and I have two kids: a four year old girl and a two year old boy.

I stay at home and take care of them and I write when I can. Sometimes life gets very overwhelming. What’s helped me is doing a schedule. Since I have finite categories, I write A on Monday, B on Tuesday…you get the idea. My gaming site is much easier than my life blog since my gaming site is only about The Sims 3.

I had to tell myself that the internet and Twitter and Facebook and Google + and whatever else is tossed at me is actually less important than my sanity and my husband and my kids and I’ve had to reevaluate how I look at blogging but, in the end, I’m more productive now that I’ve set goals and limits to mah interweb time.

I don’t have answers for you cause I’m still wrestling with my questions but you’re on the right path, my dear. And your writing style? I could go on and on about it.

Leah McClellan

Hi Amy,

Thanks so much! I don’t normally write about blogging or business, but somehow the post I was working on just wasn’t feeling right (something about ego identity lol). I was totally bored with it, and suddenly what I was feeling at the moment is what I felt like writing about, and that was that. I do warn people on my About page, after all, that I’m on a journey just like everyone else, and I’ll use myself as a case study once in awhile :)

Agree on the idea of a schedule, and that’s what I’ll be working on. So many great ideas here in the comments! And I checked out your blog–cool design. Found the post about “sucktitude” I so get it :)

Thanks so very, very much :)

Nicole Rushin

I have no profound answers for you except to say I feel your pain. I am, obviously female, but do not balance the domestic things well. I forget about food and unfortunately suffer from bouts of low blood sugar that give me terrible headaches and fatigue. Luckily for me, I now have a room-mate who recognized this. I would work through lunch but he reminds me – ‘You have to eat.’ And we eat oatmeal even when it is hot because it is just good for blood sugar stuff. I know of no profound answer to this malady. I hate grocery shopping and maybe this stemmed from cooking too many meals for a husband who stopped coming home to eat them. Oh well, if you get your answer please share it with me. I would love to know how to get over this aversion to grocery shopping. I don’t think it is either a male or a female thing, but I guess a priority thing.

Leah McClellan

Hi Nicole,

Thanks much for your thoughts. Glad I’m not the only one! I’m the same way with food. I’m not sure if I get low blood sugar (I should probably check with a doctor though it was ruled out a few years ago), but I think I must because I do eventually feel sick and get really shaky if I don’t eat though it depends on what I’ve eaten previously. I really have to balance the protein with a lot of veggies/fruit etc and not too much of the processed carbs because they just don’t last long though they’re a quick fix. Tough as a long-time vegetarian–you’d think I’d have this worked out by now but have had a lot of life changes over the years. Cereal is great in the morning with the almond milk for the protein but I need more than that later on, and I need to do some serious planning.

I don’t usually mind grocery shopping so much. It’s that I haven’t been planning meals properly so I buy the right stuff and make a good list and sticking with it. All these comments have been really helpful–yep, priorities–and I’m going to work on a plan this weekend and stick with it or revise as needed. I’ll report in a few weeks! Thanks :)

melissa ward

This post ticketed me to death… I have often said I need to get a wife do take care of the house stuff while I work. A little background: I started my business while in the middle of a divorce. I wanted to be able to put my kids on the school bus and be home to get them off. Not the usual premise for starting a web development firm, but it gave me something to strive for. I had no “plan b”.. I took out the garbage, killed the spiders, did the food shopping and cooked the meals, all while marketing, promoting and building my business. My schedule followed the school and custody schedule. I worked when no one was home and tried to give the girls my attention when they were. I am not organized by nature and not big on “to-do” lists. I flew by the seat of my pants for a few years, but it worked. I managed to pay the mortgage and spare a little each month to hire someone to come in and do the “heavy” cleaning. My point is, there is no magic system – its life, you just do it. Yes, look at people who do it well and see what in that works for you (toss the rest)… I have learned much in the last 12 years, the biggest things to ask for help when you need it. Wonder woman looks great on TV but the practical application doesn’t work in real life (but I do still want an invisible plane) This post ticketed me to death… I have often said I need to get a wife do take care of the house stuff while I work. A little background: I started my business while in the middle of a divorce. I wanted to be able to put my kids on the school bus and be home to get them off. Not the usual premise for starting a web development firm, but it gave me something to strive for. I had no “plan b”.. I took out the garbage, killed the spiders, did the food shopping and cooked the meals, all while marketing, promoting and building my business. My schedule followed the school and custody schedule. I worked when noone was home and tried to give the girls my attention when they were. I am not organized by nature and not big on “to-do” lists. I flew by the seat of my pants for a few years, but it worked. I managed to pay the mortgage and spare a littl
e each month to hire someone to come in and do the “heavy” cleaning. My point is, there is no magic system – its life, you just do it. Yes, look at proposals who do it well and see what in that works for (toss the rest)… I have learned much in the last 12night years, the biggest things to ask for help when you need it. Wonder woman looks great on TV but the practical application doesn work in real life (but I do want an invisible plane). y scheduleroom followedhedule.Now 12 years later,I’ve learned to write lists and make lists for my girls. I scheduled life around

melissa ward

Clearly doing this via DROID was a mistake… sorry.

Melissa Ward

Reposted with a[ppoligies:

This post ticketed me to death… I have often said I need to get a wife do take care of the house stuff while I work. A little background: I started my business while in the middle of a divorce. I wanted to be able to put my kids on the school bus and be home to get them off. Not the usual premise for starting a web development firm, but it gave me something to strive for. I had no “plan b”.. I took out the garbage, killed the spiders, did the food shopping and cooked the meals, all while marketing, promoting and building my business. My schedule followed the school and custody schedule. I worked when no one was home and tried to give the girls my attention when they were. I am not organized by nature and not big on “to-do” lists. I flew by the seat of my pants for a few years, but it worked. I managed to pay the mortgage and spare a little each month to hire someone to come in and do the “heavy” cleaning. My point is, there is no magic system – its life, you just do it. Yes, look at people who do it well and see what in that works for you (toss the rest)… I have learned much in the last 12 years, the biggest things to ask for help when you need it. Wonder woman looks great on TV but the practical application doesn’t work in real life (but I do still want an invisible plane)

Leah McClellan

Hi Melissa! No problem with the droid posting difficulties–it happens. Laughing about needing a wife–absolutely. And the invisible plane would be great too.

No, there’s no magic system, but any sort of system will help. There are so many things I’ve been juggling that I didn’t mention, but now I’ve got more free time and I’m not using it well. Seems I need to consider my priorities and set aside some blocks of time daily to take care of daily things, then some weekly time slots for other stuff. I just don’t have any system whatsoever, and as my business is growing and I’m getting busier (this is just my first year of dedicated 100% freelancing at home though I dabbled for many years while married and working somewhere else) I just have to figure something out. This stuff just drives me crazy–I’m not a perfectionist, but I do need to eat, clean the kitchen, and vacuum once in awhile. Not because I think I should but because I can’t stand looking at messes for too long. And though I like to joke “Why put dishes away from the dishwasher? Just use it as a cabinet and when it’s empty fill ‘er back up” I just really can’t stand dirty dishes on the counter waiting for some space :)

Thanks :)

Jane of Australia

Leah,
Oh I can so relate. I’m not reading any obvious comment about an other adult under your roof. This means you are right. It ALL falls to you. Every single thing.
I’ve taken to some practical steps to get it all done.
Shop online. Pay the delivery fee. It get’s the milk etc into the house. Sure you have to put it in the curpboard but you can do that. And buy 2 of everything.
Re order when you are down to one, not when you run out.
Put paper on the fridge butak a pen to it. Write on it.
Buy stuff that’s quick n easy (that you like) buy stuff that takes some work but not massive attention. Then buy some basic ingredients. So you can get creative when you want.
My freezer is full of basics. Bolgnaise sauce that can become many different meals. Pasta I cooked and packed up into meal size portions. Ditto rice.
Bread, butter, juice and milk are in there also. I make a large slow cooker (it is winter here) of soup, portion it up and freeze it. Buy mega size bathroom supplies.
Shop as if you are a large family.
Give yourself permission to not get it all done. Accept that. My courtyard garden is at death’s door. I’ve gone back to school and if that’s the price for these weeks, so be it.
Are you familiar with the theory of Shakespeares sister? What? You’ve never heard of her? …I don’t wonder, she was busy making lunch, doing the laundry and going to the store while he was free to develop his talent…
Mostly never give up, and keep on writing about it.

Leah McClellan

Hi Jane,

So glad you can relate and glad to hear from so many women who seem to get it. You’re right. No other adult here. I do have two beloved dogs who are healthy though they have needs, of course (not to mention poop cleanup in the yard!), and a precious cat who has lymphoma but is in his second remission over a period of 3 years. It’s been topsy-turvy here for a few years post divorce (including two other cats who were medically involved and have passed on now), and yes, I’m responsible for everything (which is cool and nothing new, really, but add running a business! Woo-ee).

Your tips are great. I’m going to refer back to it as I work on my plan. I want to do the freezer thing–definitely. Need to make a list of all my supplies and basics etc and place it out to check when running low or down to 1. Yes, I do buy some things in bulk like bathroom supplies, for sure. Give myself permission to not get it all done–good one. Think I’ll make a list and mark some as top priorities–stuff that drives me nuts if it’s not done, and other stuff that’s not so important. And just stick with it.

Yes, have heard of Shakespeare’s sister (English lit major here :) and Wordsworth’s sister Dorothy–oh yeah, for real. She did a lot of his work. Did a paper on WB Yeats, too, and all teh women in his life. Don’t know if Maud Ginne cooked and cleaned but probably :)

Thanks so much!

suellen

I think this was the most important sentence on your blog:

“It’s all about problem-solving, not worrying about how other people do things”.

Work out your biggest issues and find ways to fulfill those issues so they dont remain problems.

If i may add, I am no domestic organised person either. To have food in this house, i go online to do my supermarket shopping and have it delivered. I choose between fresh and easy to cook foods, so i always have something healthy ready to prepare.
The rest i let it work itself out and it seems to fall into place.
I think you will find as you put your mind to it, you will be able to work out how you wish things organised for you too.
take care
sue

Leah McClellan

Hi Sue,

Thanks–I agree. The main point here really is about the nature of jealousy and that it’s all about problem solving. I love the idea of ordering online and having things delivered. I buy so much fresh, though, so I’ve never really considered that. But there’s plenty that’s not fresh, so I’ll have to take a good luck at things.

I think my main problem is just coming up with a nice variety of meals that I know how to make that are simple. I’ve always wished for a food pill! Like a giant vitamin or something. I like eating but what a pain sometimes :) And yes, putting my mind to it is the key to all this.

Thanks :)

Siobhan

It is actually easier when you have kids. Suddenly, you really have no choice, and you are doing for someone else – someone you care about (love to bits, actually) who totally relies on you. I am scared of spiders, but when my arachnophobic daughter has a spider to deal with, I leap fearlessly into action. Having kids to care for makes loads of things that used to seem hard look ridiculously easy.

I was going to suggest online grocery shopping, too, but someone beat me to it.
Now that you have gone so far as to write a rant about it, you may get the energy to get over this problem. One way to overcome it is to turn a basic self-care plan into a routine you don’t have to think about. So it won’t occupy consciousness or emotional energy. The other way is to be more zen – think about food more. Make cooking and eating into a pleasurable, indulgent, relaxing activity, and be present in that moment.

Leah McClellan

Hi Siobhan,

I can imagine how that works when you have kids–unless we’re talking about a self-centered, neglectful sort of parent. I’ve had dogs and cats over the years (6 total though I only have 1 cat and 2 dogs now), and I’ve done stuff for them I could never have imagined doing before–out of love.

Yes, have to make a plan and a routine for exactly the reason you mention–I don’t need the issue in my consciousness or emotional energy. What motivated me to write about it was, in fact, a product of meditation and getting in touch with what’s been bothering me–my lack of a routine and an eating/domestic stuff plan. Then I thought back to things I’ve read and, well you read the result.
Thanks :)

Deborah Turton

Jumped over here because of Darren, I enjoyed your post and style very much Leah. I have enjoyed reading through the responses, obviously love Darren! And I really do appreciate your challenge of having to do everything yourself’, BUT Leah, it seems to me you only really have yourself to think of, you don’t have to do ‘everything’ AND care for everyone else’s needs and wants within the household also – like most of us have to!

You have some great coaching here from some very caring readers, you don’t have my sympathy but I will be back to read more!!

Cheers!!

Leah McClellan

Hi Deborah,

Thanks so much for stopping by! Wasn’t Darren gracious to help out here? I really appreciate his response and all the others. What I have to do is really clear to me now and I’m feeling really motivated. As you might read in some of my responses, it’s true that I don’t have children or a needy spouse or anything like that, though I do have two big dogs and a cat with cancer (wonderful that he’s in remission again; I almost lost him a year ago just when my other cat died after a four year illness). But we all have our different challenges. One of my main points here, really (as I mentioned to Sue and a few others) is about the nature of jealousy though I didn’t focus on that so much. It’s all about problem solving :)

Definitely don’t need sympathy–I’ll take a house cleaning service and a personal chef though! lol Look forward to seeing you around :)

Amy Putkonen

I want a wife. My husband and I tag-team it. Loved Robin’s suggestion of starting with three meals. We have sort of gotten out of the habit of cooking (dining out a lot) and I would like to get back to it. We use Our Groceries, an iPhone app, to help us to remember the milk and other things. It was cool reading Darren’s post, which I am guessing was sort of unexpected. This blog is a good find! I’ll be back.

Leah McClellan

Hi Amy,

Planning the three meals is a great idea, I agree, and your iPhone app sounds cool. I could keep a list going on my Treo, even if it’s just something simple on Word or a spreadsheet or something. Hmm good idea–thanks! Yes, Darren’s post was definitely unexpected and much appreciated!

Ken G

Golly gee, what a fantastic subject but I sure don’t know any good reason for writing that. I’m divorced and my ex has since died. I just plain and simply did not like what I went through in marriage even though my wife excelled in doing all the things wives do.
For most of my working life I’ve been self-employed. I was sick of it because I just tired of catering to people. Yet when I worked for others long hours came easy where doing work for just myself didn’t have the same motivation. I got tired of keeping one eye on a person’s wallet and the other on what I was doing. Eventually I just walked away from that lifestyle even though I question if I might have been past due for a serious mental examine.
I was into old cars and love being creative so I always had a dream of working on my own cars as if they were art work. I’ve been written about my artistic nature so in my mind I keep the focus on living as an artist.
What I’m attempting to share is that I interpret your words somewhat similar to the way I live. Writing is an art which I believe an inner drive to show the world what an artist feels in inside themselves. I’m guessing that when you’re really into what you’re writing, mowing the lawn or what’s to eat doesn’t enter your mind. And how many times have you considered that you wouldn’t be divorced if you had been happily married. The reason I write this is I appreciate being single. It might be fine to have a mate or a partner but even just friendships require responsibility. Being single eliminates that. Even having pets fit in this category for me as I’m thinking my dog will be the last pet for me.
There has to be a time in every person’s life when they get to go for there own dreams and live their life their way. For me that’s a priority I keep on my mind.

Leah McClellan

Hi Ken,

I think you understand exactly how this is for me: yes, when I’m writing or designing an ebook or whatever creative work I’m involved in, it’s very hard for me to break my focus and go think up something to eat or spend any amount of time preparing it. In the same way, if I’m mowing the lawn and doing yard work and all that (which I really enjoy), that’s where my focus is, and to come inside, take off muddy shoes (or whatever) wash up and fix something to eat–it’s just this huge shift of focus. Then it takes awhile to re-focus on what I’m doing, and a lunch break will be two hours or something, which is ridiculous.

So…the solution is to do the preparing in advance and schedule time for shopping and freeze stuff and all that. There are, most definitely, many advantages to being single! Good luck for you and reaching your dreams as well.

Ken G

I am definitely not into the preparing part Leah. I’m more into appreciating my insane attitude rather then buying into what society promotes as sanity. It is more enjoyable entering the unknown for me as I can face life easier just the way it comes to me. ‘Be in the now’ might express this best.

Preparing seems to structured to me even though I usually have a picture in my mind of what I’m trying to achieve. Of course my mind is where my life takes place anyways so I am into enjoying the use of my own mind to better enjoy my own life. I’ve made decent money in my life but didn’t enjoy life as much as I do living on next to nothing most of the time. If there’s nothing to eat or little to eat I’m more cautious and appreciative with whatever I have to eat. When I had good money I took this sort of thing for granted but now it’s more like fun when I struggle and search for creative ways to survive.

Main point is being aware of appreciating your own life and doing the best that can be done to stay on a path of enjoying your own life is what’s really important.

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