Giving Credit Where Due

My friend recently told me that I don’t give myself enough credit.

This was after I’d told her that I think she gives me too much credit for what I get done around the house or in my writing or whatever. I had been lamenting that I felt as if I’d never actually finish writing a book. That one would never be published. That somehow I was wasting away my entire life not getting things done in the tiniest blocks of time I have to get things done.

Even as I write this, my infant has only just fallen asleep on the office floor and my preschooler is downstairs doing . . . well, I don’t even know what. He doesn’t have school today, so it’s the three of us plus the dogs. Usually I don’t get to write on these days, but today is a rare exception.

So, back to the online lamenting.

I know that it’s all a matter of perspective. She sees what I show–the progress, the movement, whatever. She graciously fills in the blank spaces with “caring for a baby” and moves on.

And while that’s not untrue, the caring for a baby takes up an awful lot of time, I see things just a bit differently.

I see the book review that’s been sitting in my drafts for two weeks because things changed and I don’t know how to upload a featured image anymore.

I see the books around the house that need some tape reinforcement.

I see the OTHER books that need reviews written. And books that need to be read so they can a) be reviewed or b) returned to their rightful owner.

I see baskets of laundry that need to be put away because they’ve been sitting in the living room for days. Both unfolded for days and now that they’re folded, still not put away. Plus the basket at the end of my bed that needs to be emptied and the regular clothes that need to go back down to the basement.

I see a hundred tiny things that need to get done, each of which takes only a few minutes (except folding laundry . . . that seems to take hours. I suppose that’ll happen when I wait until seven loads accumulate and need attention . . . ). And because I see all those things, which I know happens in EVERY. SINGLE. HOUSE. EVER., I still struggle with giving myself credit for the things I DO manage to get done.

Like keep everyone fed and alive for another day.

Or going for a run and doing a workout.

And feeding the baby.

Or ACTUALLY getting the dishes done once today.

And changing the baby.

Or taking the time to fold that laundry even if it doesn’t get put away.

And feed the baby again.

Or checking in with my friends to see how they’re doing.

And did I mention taking care of the baby?

So maybe it doesn’t really matter HOW MUCH I get done or what the real state of my house is on any given day or the fact that after three weeks, I still haven’t managed to get Memoirs of a Geisha off my desk and downstairs in the DVD case where it belongs despite the fact that I walk by it at least six times every day. Who knows? After writing this, I just might remember to take it down when I go.

I suppose there are plenty of other people like me. Even you. Perhaps we struggle to give OURSELVES the appropriate credit for what we DO accomplish because there are always so many more things to do. So many things in life are never ending. Eating. Dishes. Laundry. Mowing. Shoveling. Sweeping. Vacuuming. Work. School. Day after day, the same things and the to do list never seems to end. There is never a day when everything is finally TO DONE.

I can find that to be really disheartening sometimes, especially as one who is intrinsically motivated (and I definitely want to talk about the struggle of being an intrinsically motivated writer!), because I find satisfaction in getting things done for the sake of them being done. Don’t get me wrong, I love praise just as much as the next person, but that external reward isn’t usually my driver.

So perhaps it’s time I play nicer with myself and give credit where it’s due.

Now you’ll have to excuse me while I go pick up the baby. He’s not sleeping anymore . . .