This morning I woke up and lay in bed making mental to-do list of the things I have to do today, and then fought back the urge to laugh hysterically. That’s sort of the norm for self-employed people I think, so I didn’t think too much of it.  I just wished Joe a good morning (noticing he had a similar look on his face) got up, made coffee and then went back upstairs to put on yesterday’s clothes (I’m a little behind on the laundry) and then put on my shoes and jogged two blocks to the grocery store to buy toilet paper.  (I didn’t jog for health. We were totally out of toilet paper in an emergency sort of way.) On the way back home I did that cheerful sort of "you can do it, there’s not that much" self-talk, then came in, presented the desperate family with the aforementioned paper (I did put myself at the front of the queue. I figured it was the least I deserved after taking the bullet and going to get it.) and then dealt with the mail, unloaded and reloaded the diswasher,  kicked a path to my office, answered some email, emptied my voicemail, went back to the kitchen, got more coffee, gave one sticky corner of the  kitchen floor enough of a wipe that I could stop worrying our wee cat would get stuck down to it, let Natalie in for my once-a-week round of inbox help – realized I was going to do pretty well in the face of the mighty to-do list, and then the doorbell rang.

It was the courier dropping of the final pages of my latest book, and as thrilling as it is to see it in almost book form, I realized I was going to have to proof those pages and with that, my head almost exploded.   I staggered back into my office, and because really, the only way out of a pile of work like this is through it, I opened up the next email. 

It was a really, really nice letter from a really, really nice reader who told me (get this) that I was an inspiration to her, and that she wished she could balance her workload and family as well as I do, and could I give her some advice on how I got all this work and the writing and the knitting and the blog and the housework and the family all juggled so well because she just doesn’t know how I do it all – and with that. I lost it.  Totally lost it. If my desk had been clear enough for me to put my head down on it I would have.  When I regained some sort of self-control, I realized that this is what I want to tell her- or anyone else who says "I don’t know how you do it all."


I can’t express that enough.  I don’t think I could do it all. The only reason that I’m able to make any of this work is because I’ve got priorities and low standards and no expectation of doing it all. There are a million things I don’t do.

This morning when Natalie showed up I had to warn her not to let the dust buffalo get the best of her, and I say dust buffalo intentionally, because my friends, that is how far we are past dust bunnies.  There is enough cat hair roaming the floors of this house that I could construct a whole other weird life size voodoo cat out of it, and that’s not the end.  Go ahead.  Ask me where my bra is, or if we’re out of milk because the answer to those two things is "I don’t know." and furthermore "I don’t care much."  I sort of feel like my sole responsibility to make sure that milk was on hand for everyone at all times ended the day I stopped nursing my youngest, and that there are lots of other people here who could care about that, not just me.  I’m not out of milk, we are – and that makes it equally Joe’s responsibility, or in the case of the 19 year old who polished it off, maybe hers. (For the record, that’s who went shopping for the milk this morning.)

I just don’t see any way that anybody could ever really do it all- especially if it’s all their problem. We’re all going to prioritize stuff differently, and maybe knitting appears lower on your list and the condition of the kitchen way higher, in which case my darlings… you should let go of what suits you.   I could have a clean house and finished laundry and toilet paper and matching towels all the time, but I think that to do that, I’d have to give up some knitting, or writing or being with my family the way I want to, and there’s no way that you’re ever going to tell me that I am ever, ever going to look back on this time and think that the time I spent talking with my kids, knitting beautiful things, writing books or earning a living was wasted, and that I could have been way, way more fulfilled by a shiny sink, a more intimate relationship with my vacuum,  or knowing where my damn bra is. There are only so many hours in a day, there are only so many things one woman can be responsible for, and I have to make choices, just like everyone else, and I don’t know how I would juggle it all and I don’t know how all this looks through the lens of the blog, but really,  no…

I don’t do it all.

Peace out.  

425 thoughts on “Juggling

  1. Oh my goodness, I thought it was just me. I’m so relieved. Steph, you are definitely an inspiration, even if you don’t manage to corral the dust buffalo. 🙂

  2. I have often in times of my life been asked how I get everything done (for some strange reason people ask me this when I bake something from scratch which I do often). I answer simply that I don’t do housework…seriously….I keep it clean enough to keep away the board of health and I am not a candidate for Hoarders, but I don’t worry if the sheets aren’t changed every week (we bathe daily so don’t worry!) or if the floor is swept daily (or monthly). I totally agree with you about setting our priorities…Thanks for doing this, too.

  3. Amen sister. As the old saying goes, housework NEVER goes away but all the really meaningful things grow up and move out etc.

  4. can’t give up the knitting — it’s what keeps me sane enough to get through everything else …

  5. Thank you!!! I also can’t do it ALL and I am glad I am not alone…. Thank you all!!

  6. As always, love your honesty! Housework long ago went to the bottom of my priority list. It’s clean enough, it gets cleaner when we’re having a holiday party and there are way too many more important and fun things in life than dusting or vacuuming. Happy knitting!!

  7. Judy at 4:35, you sound like me — from the homemade baked goods to the unswept floor! (And, yes, we shower daily, too!)
    Sometimes, it is the baking that keeps me sane!

  8. Another Amen. I have personally decided that I can define the “all” in “doing it all” however I darn well please. I think most of the world (at least the over-functioning female world) could use some variation of this lesson in priority-setting.

  9. I was going to say “Nobody does it all.”
    Then I thought about it and would say, “Anybody who does it all, has an empty life.”

  10. Someone once said, “No one ever lay on his deathbed and wished he had spent more time at the office.” Or cleaning. So prioritize whatever way seems right to you, and live it, girl!

  11. While I can find a bra (my girls need taming. ‘nough said.), I can’t always see the floor in my kitchen (I’d like to shoot the person who made it white…), and other things fall by the wayside. Whatever. I’m happy, we’re happy, I get to knit every day, and I spend a ton of time with my family. Priorities. We all have different ones.

  12. Ever seen a duck, swimming along all serene on the surface of a lake? Ever seen how fast and hard the duck is paddling, underneath? That’s how THEY do it, but like you, I can’t, quite.
    I’ll get to cleaning out the refrigerator, eventually. Tonight? I’ll go home, eat the dinner that my (blessed be he!) husband will make, and work on some things we think are more important. I figure if anything in the fridge manages to come to life, the seal on the door is tight, and it won’t escape before I have time to deal with it! Meanwhile? There are impending nieces who need blankets and friends’ kids who need shawls, and …

  13. I’m with you on the priorities. I’m much more the lick and a promise kind of housekeeper. Which is why the money I spend on a housecleaner to come in every two weeks is the best money I spend. I don’t care about clutter, but I try to avoid dirty. And when I don’t have time (or frankly, inclination) to do it myself, having someone come in that cleans the floors, changes the bed, vacuums and dusts for me, is worth the price of 1 dinner out in NYC.

  14. Amen! And that is why you are an inspiration to me, Steph….. because your priorities make sense to both of us, and it helps me make my choices wisely knowing that I CHOSE them, as you have. I think we both chose wisely.
    Barbara M.

  15. Wait. What?!?!? I DON’T have to do it all? I don’t have to juggle all these bowling balls? Oh, what a relief!

  16. If your kids are fed, clean,happy, and moving towards independence appropriately, and you are fed, clean, and managing….that is doing it all, by my definition! The house? It doesn’t need to be all that clean 😉
    I think it’s good…important, even, for kids to have to remember to tell you that we need more milk (or write it on the list…whatever), or the family will suffer,..all the family! And it’s good for them to be sent to the store. I send mine on their bikes!
    I admire you for how high your goals are, for being willing to drop the things that need dropping, and for the way you keep on trying, and then writing about it so humorously!
    Thanks, Stephanie, I, too, think you are terrific!

  17. Years ago when I had two toddlers etc. to cope with my grandmother asked how I got so much handwork done. I said. “I don’t clean house.” She laughed, but my mother said, “Your grandmother thinks you’re kidding.” Those toddlers are fifty now and we had a delightful Mother’s Day weekend including the MD Sheep & Wool Festival together.

  18. I think someone needs a “there, there” pat and a hug. There, there {hug}.
    I often wonder why we think we need to do it all. I realized this when I had a silly thought when our house was burglarized in November. My first reaction was to think “crap, the kitchen was a mess. What must they have thought about my housekeeping skills?” I was worried a THIEF might think poorly of my housekeeping skills? WTF?
    I think you hit the nail on the head. On my death bed I doubt I will look back and say “Gee I wish I had spent more time cleaning the house” — unless of course I die because I’ve been buried by a pile of dishes or paperwork. Which probably won’t happen. Probably.

  19. We love you, and your work, and your sense of humor, and your crazy life. I just wish that I lived closer so I could come and clean your house for you and make you some mac and cheese from scratch.
    Much love and homemade cookies!

  20. I’m still waiting for that magic day to come when the list of things I believe I can finish in a day and the list of things I can *actually* finish in a day match.
    I think, though, that my odds of meeting a leprechaun who will lead me to his pot of gold are much higher.

  21. Me neither.
    “a whole other weird life size voodoo cat”: This made me laugh out loud. I really needed that. Thank you.

  22. I just retired from my job because I’m sick of spending the precious part of my day doing something I’m not in love with anymore. Yippee! More time for the lovely things in life, grandkids, kids, husband, knitting, reading, enjoying the sun and I could go on…..

  23. I think I might need to print out those last two fuller paragraphs and carry them around with me. Its a great reminder not get get bogged down in the small stuff.

  24. Good for you! As an older woman who has felt the pressure of keeping a home the way others thought it should be kept, I have finally learned what is more important in life. I vow to leave as many hand knits as is humanily possible without shutting myself off from the rest of the world. And I feel good about it. The dog hair that I knit into my projects just adds a prsonal touch. I think that there are others who shold make this pledge.

  25. With my hands shaking from too much coffee as I write… write… knit sock while I think before writing… writing… writing more…
    I write here that I salute you.

  26. Thank YOU! I am in the midst of studying for a 10 month long class with a cumulative final tomorrow at 8 am (CTZ). I’m a little over half way through the material (skimming of course), and I only have 16 hours left, but I do want to get some sleep. At least enough so that my brain is functional enough to put this long studying to good use. I feel that I’ve pushed all humanity out the door just to get this done. I miss my toddler and wonderful, supportive husband (who’s bringing me supper!).
    But tomorrow it is done, only to see what’s waiting that I haven’t done in the rest of my life.
    Thank you for the reminder that we’re all human and need to make priorities we can live with.

  27. Exactly what I needed to read today! I think many more people than will admit it know what the dreaded Dust Buffalo looks like!

  28. I looked up from my computer on the dining room table only to notice the Christmas decorations are still hanging from the light fixture!
    Life is about living….

  29. For the first time in, let’s see, the oldest is 16 years old, so for the first time in 17 or 18 years I went out to buy a bra – $80 US???? I agree with your blog totally – and I have a lot of people fooled.

  30. I have a sister-in-law who does it all. I love her to bits, but it’s true – she’s the most tightly wound person I know.
    I, on the other hand, consider it a victory if none of my children run out of clean underwear and the dog gets fed.

  31. Congratulations on being so close to finishing the book! Can’t wait to read it.

  32. As all the other commenters agree – it is virtually impossible to do it “all” – so bang your head on the stuff that is on the desk and don’t worry about it. When it needs to get done it will. Besides – I have something in my fridge that isn’t smelling yet but has been in there for about 5 months now…too afraid to look. 🙂

  33. Thanks, Stephanie — I’m with you, and I have the relative sanity of not being self-employed. My motto for this year is to stop worrying about how to juggle it all and learn to love being a juggler.

  34. I thought, when I started working from home, that I would keep the laundry caught up, the house clean, the puppy walked…
    I failed.
    My friend, who has been working from home much longer than I said “Yeah, you can only do so much multitasking.” So now I do a load of dishes every day, wash at least 2 loads of laundry (on my way to and from the bathroom) and the rest is catch as catch can… except the puppy… because he pees in my shoes if I don’t get to him.

  35. Heck, I don’t even have kids and I can’t get it all done either.
    Two recommendations for those bad weeks (and dust buffalos, I have a herd too):
    The Roomba. (not the best vacuumer for everything but it WILL suck up the tumble fur.) If you can’t get one in Canada, you let me me know, I’ll send you one.
    Grocery delivery. I save this for desparate situations and when I want to order a 40 pound bag of kitty litter. But I will stock up on the basics when the cupboards are bare and I think I save the delivery fee by eliminating my impulse buys.
    Hang in there, we are ALL doing it this well! I dont’ know why we beat ourselves up so much. I don’t have a single female friend who doesn’t always talk about doing “a better job.” I’ve never heard a guy say that. Sorry fellas.

  36. OH yes oh yes oh YES! Anyway, who cares about housework? Few people will be remembered for their clean floors, a bit of dust never hurt anyone, and let’s face it, it’s BORING! Much better to fill your life with what you want to do.
    Though now my younger daughter is off at university I have had to take over the minimal weekly cleaning — and promptly realized that I had no idea how to manage the vacuum cleaner! But I’d rather learn Arabic and knit ….

  37. It’s always nice to see I’m not alone – many days I’m just happy to make through the day!

  38. I’ve never understood those people who change their sheets every week. After only a week they’re still clean. And towels? How dirty can they get? You’re just using them to sop up water off your clean self.
    Also, not drinking milk makes life way easier. Water comes right out of the faucet.

  39. I’m a good cook, a good writer, a decent knitter, and a dog rescuer. No one ever died from my food, I write for a living, people love the knitwear that I give them, and there are more than 500 dogs out there who are grateful that I gave them a second chance. I suck at housework (and that is why I have a cleaning service come every other week). You can’t eat off my floor but why would you want to. So yeah, your priorities are your choice and screw the rest.

  40. This may be my favorite post of all time. The reality is that we all must decide what we are going to do and what we are going to let go. Letting go isn’t a horrible thing as long as you are willing to live with it- sounds like you’ve made good choices!

  41. Thanks for the reality check. Also thanks for pointing out that it’s not always the woman’s (mother’s) responsibility to take care of the little stuff (even if it was you who ran for the toilet paper). We all needed a reminder.

  42. Amen! Although I think you would be well-served by hiring a professional cleaning person once/week to cut back on guilt and stress. Love your honesty!

  43. Thank you, thank you, thank you for taking the time to write this blog entry, Stephanie. Think I will print it out and re-read it when my inner-mother starts beating me up about all I’m not doing. love, Judith

  44. My niece tells me that I should hire someone to clean for me and then I could have that time to do things I enjoy. It’s very tempting…and I’d be boosting the local economy! 🙂

  45. A few years ago I bought myself a little sign that hangs in my kitchen, and it says
    “So I’m not Supermom – Adjust!” That made me feel giddy just to hang it.

  46. Thank you! I wish more women would write posts like this, so that they realize no one is super mom, and no one is super employee, it is a matter of prioritizing your life.
    My priorities tend to align with yours; other than the bra thing, I know where my bra is at all times — well endowed working-class breasts like their retirement support.

  47. I couldn’t agree more! At the moment, my house is a disaster, but did I spend today cleaning? No, I went outside and played in the beautiful sunshine with my precious baby girl.

  48. something I want to needlepoint on a pillow before I get too old to see the canvas:
    ” A Perfectly Kept House is the Sign of a Misspent Life”
    attributed (I think) to Mary Randolph Carter. That says it all for me —not that I don’t enjoy the look and smell of a spotlessly clean home, but I do have my priorities….!
    Cheers, Barbie O.

  49. Halleluia!!!(or however it’s spelled)My feelings exactly and it’s so nice to know I’m far from alone.

  50. Oh my. I so needed this tonight. Thank you Stephanie for bringing me back some perspective. xxx

  51. Oh man, thanks for posting this. Last night our dog hair piles finally got the best of us and came out of the bathroom to see my husband sweeping. That is when you know it has gotten out of hand!

  52. Well, it sure is nice to hear that you, the yarn harlot, whose grace and prolific nature I admire so, actually make decisions not to do things just like other humans. And you’re freaking right about the vacum situation! The only thing that troubles me is that you said “I don’t know where my bra is”- implying that you may just have the one. You deserve multiple support garments to ignore. 🙂

  53. This blog makes me happy. I have a different life from yours…homeschooling mom of 9 kids…and I have different priorities. But for some reason people think if you go to all the trouble of giving birth to 9 kids, you must somehow have this magic ability to “do it all.”
    So when people say, “How do you do it all?” I usually answer, “Why do you assume that I do?” I totally get it.

  54. No one does it all. And if they appear to be doing it all, I have a firm belief they are missing a hobby, a creative outlet, time for themselves.
    I don’t do it all. And it only gets to me when I really want to come home to a clean, put together house and not have a bunch of things to do. But I have little kids, dogs, husband, my passions and friends. Those are all higher on the priority list. 🙂

  55. Plus you have to carve out some time almost every day to listen to me harping on you about the gansey…

  56. Where are the “LOVE” buttons under each comment so I can click each and every one?
    And while I was saying AMEN with every word written I can’t help but be struck by the use of the singular ‘bra’. Earlier in the comments someone said that her girls needed help (support!). Now, I don’t have that problem…my girls just get cold and chapped if I don’t wear a bra, but that’s just me. And maybe this is all the reason I need to knit MORE sweaters!! Who’d of thought??

  57. I cut out a quote from a book (which book, you ask? hell if I can remember) that I pasted into my inspiration journal:
    “In the evening, I call Gil, my generous consultant on the Buddhist way. ‘Isn’t this what dharma practice might offer, a sense that no matter what comes one’s way, nothing, even tremendous loss, is unbearable?’ And Gil replies, ‘It’s not so much a matter of how we can manage to bear whatever it is. It’s a matter of learning which burdens we can put down. What’s extra?'”

  58. Huzzah prioritizing! It’s always so relieving to hear that it’s not necessary to ‘do it all’, that it’s ok to put off one thing in favour of doing something else.

  59. Good for you, Steph. I’ve taken the same position on my house cleaning. I had a contractor, a painter, & a carpet stretcher out last week. I told them about what they would see…dust animals, cat hair and non clumping cat litter tracked everywhere. I told them unless they see flesh-eating bacteria growing in my house, then I don’t want to hear about it. I keep down the clutter, keep things reasonably heathy…after that…I SO don’t care.
    Your priorities are in the right place…well done!

  60. I have decided that something had to give – I cannot do it all – so I gave up housework.
    the drawback is that my new kittens think it is funny to play with the dust rhinos and come out from under the bed all covered with euuuch!
    We solved the problem by having company come over for dinner once every other month or so – then we do an all day – everything gets cleaned monster clean up.
    Weaving, spinning, teaching, learning, fiber festivals, grandchildren and a full time job doesn’t leave time for housekeeping.

  61. Thanks..I needed that. I’ve been trying all day to do nothing but write out to do lists. And I can’t even seem to get to those. So right now I just feel buried. Emphasis on what’s important: I’m going to go home and snuggle with my cat, who misses me very much when I’m gone during the day. Sweeping up her fur will wait a bit.

  62. an inspiration, a role model–been there, been labeled that, and well, yes, but not the role they were thinking of. I’m with you, though I knit less, less beautifully; my accomplishments (?) and omissions are different, but just as real. I don’t care; my now 35 y/o says that she had a good childhood. that’s enough.

  63. Exactly. None of us does it all! I answered the same thing (“I don’t”) for the 8 years I was a single parent of 2 small kids. Dust never hurt me, and the garage got cleaned when I moved. We had food, laundry, and I made a living, and played with my kids. What more could anyone want? I do have to admit to being jealous that you can misplace your bra and not have it be an issue, however…

  64. Oh rats. This reminds me…
    We’re out of milk.
    And where did that bra get to anyway?
    (Also, we have the voodoo-dog equivalent of hair on the floor…so glad to know it’s not just me.)

  65. Kleenex ??- you don’t understand – I don’t buy Kleenex, we use toilet paper to blow our noses. SO if we’re out of TP, we’re SURE not to have any Kleenex.

  66. Just an FYI, (for further justification, not that you need any) but apparently the earth is surrounded by a gigantic cloud of dust.
    The moment I heard that I gave up on dusting, clearing out the dust bunnies (or buffaloes), or having an intimate relationship with my vacuum. I’d MUCH rather be knitting than cleaning something that will, in reality, never be clean.

  67. Thanks for your honesty with us. We appreciate it. We need it. The world judges us “right-brainies” very harshly. (Heck. I judge myself very harshly!) I have a sign that says, “My house is clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be happy.” Maybe it’s time to start believing it. Time also to bring my knitting back out WITHOUT a guilt trip. I’m not packing that bag anymore! 🙂

  68. There is never enough time in a day, in my life. For my crafts, knitting, cooking, cleaning, etc…. Hubby and I are currently in the 2nd week of a 2 week vacation, and I’m doing not much of anything. As I told my husband (as both of us do the same job,and are out of the home about 17 hours a day!), if the worst thing anyone will ever say about me when I’m dead, is “Her house isnt clean”, I think I can live with it. But then again I’d be dead and it wouldnt matter very much!

  69. I have to add a second post–I have a sign in my kitchen (given by my then 12 year old daughter) that says, “Home is where the cat hair sticks to everything but the cat”. We have 3 cats. They are prolific. My best friend Ellen says that I could just add water and have another cat, any time I wanted. 🙂 They are also worth it.

  70. PS I had to add. I dont have “dust bunnies or dust buffalo’s”. I have “dust Brontosauri”. Comes with the territory of having a large German Shepherd!

  71. Marilyn @ 5:28 – The best thing I ever did for myself was to hire a housecleaner who comes in twice a month. Like, if I were to be laid off tomorrow, God forbid, I would keep this person as long as I could, still. Find the things that are the biggest stressors for you, and get rid of them by any means necessary, is my motto.
    I think there is a lot of pressure on women especially to reach a social standard of perfection – with kids, with the home, with the way you look – and it’s mostly there to get in the way of you doing the things you really want to do, like finish knocking off that sweater sleeve.

  72. As to the laundry situation — while I know how attached you are to the heir of Sir Washie, we have found a laundry delivery service in Ann Arbor that, for the cost of two loads of laundry at a laundromat (we don’t have a machine in our building, and yes, I did the math), these people will pick up our clothes, and then bring them back clean two days later. It’s the only reason we have any clean clothes in our apartment. Or that they’re folded. Or findable. It’s given me so much more time to knit instead of cleaning the rest of the house ;).

  73. As always, so well said. I think that’s why we all love you so much–you identify with us so perfectly.
    Here’s to dust buffaloes!

  74. My Mum always said, and I agree;
    “Only the most boring people have a clean house.”
    You are a sage to cherish the important!
    Always love you.

  75. Bless you good woman! I haven’t seen my bra in a week and I contemplated telling the larger boy to just turn his skivvies inside out this morning ‘cuz no-one would be the wiser. I’m down a dust buffalo, but up a new hole in my kitchen ceiling and hearing that you fight the same fights somehow makes it all seem a bit more okay because I’m not howling alone in the wilderness.
    So thank you for that, truly.

  76. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. For giving us women permission to let go of the things that do matter and focus on what DOES matter to each of us. As individuals. The damn mud and debris covered floor will keep. The laundry can just keep overflowing it’s baskets(s). But I kept 2 preemies alive in an ICU all day and then my kids and I planted container herb gardens. I am going to knit now.
    So thank you.

  77. Which is why I love your writing. You are REAL. If you managed all the knitting, and planning Sock Summit, and writing, along with spending time on your obvious priority on family and friends AND had a spotless house and impeccable appearance at all times — there’d be little chance I could relate.
    But I’m there with you with the dust menagerie, laundry that gets out of control, and life that goes cattywampus at times.
    Best wishes for getting the high priority stuff done.

  78. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. For giving us women permission to let go of the things that don’t matter and focus on what DOES matter to each of us. As individuals. The damn mud and debris covered floor will keep. The laundry can just keep overflowing it’s baskets(s). But I empowered a new breastfeeding mom. I kept 2 preemies alive in an ICU all day and then my kids and I planted container herb gardens. I am going to knit now.
    So thank you.

  79. Thanks you, Steph! You are doing it all (all that’s really important). Laurie is right about the Roomba. That way you don’t go to bed with dirty feet (sheets last longer). Buy a refurb from Woot.com. I also buy toilet paper by the case so we only have emergencies about 3 times a year, and, my 17 year old son does the laundry. It often is tangled and wrinkled but it is clean.

  80. AMEN SISTAH!!!!!
    My phrase is “Life is too important to be taken seriously” That includes the laundry and the vacuum cleaner! Hugs to you and yours, Ms. Stephanie

  81. I work as a tutor, child-minder, and housekeeper to a mother of three. In my experience, women who *appear* to “do it all” have hired help. Between work, university, errands, looking after my cat, and my social life, getting my own housekeeping done is also low-priority for me. In fact, I think if my boss saw the state of my apt. she might fire me! 🙂

  82. That may be the best, most ,truest post I ever read on anyone’s blog anywhere, anytime. I have a dust mastodon if anyone would like to see it.

  83. Wait, so you jogged to the store without a bra? Just kidding.
    I get asked the same thing by well-meaning, head-shaking people. And I say, I clean enough to get by, or if I’m feeling really desperate, I pay someone else to do it. Then I feel better, and have more time for the important stuff.
    It’s good to lower our expectations of ourself once in a while.

  84. The darn computer ate the word “profound” after the word “most.” Dammit.

  85. Living in a house with two men, two dogs and two cats, you can imagine the herds of dust animals due to a severe lack of cleaning. I knit a lot of gifts and attach a tag with the fabric content and washing instructions to each one. Regardless of the yarn I use, I always add in 1% pet hair. I’d much rather have time to make the gift and learn to love the pet hair!

  86. Dust buffalo. I have them. (and you know what, I sometimes don’t care!). I’m just glad I’m not the only person who has them! Hang in there!

  87. Housework only comes before knitting in the dictionary. Amen to you sister.

  88. GO YOU.
    True story: research has shown that the only time the gender “leisure gap” (wherein men consistently log higher numbers of leisure hours than women) comes close to closing, is when women neglect/let go of doing the housework.
    Screw the dust buffalos, in other words, is what I say. They may roam free as nature intended.

  89. I want to email this to my mom, to explain why my apartment is always so messy. It’s exactly this.

  90. There’s an awesome book called “The dirt on clean” that really gets into our obsessions with hygiene over history, and how judging other cultures as too dirty or too fastidious while our own if of course just right is a really interesting way if defining what is “other”. Personally, I’ve only just started not caring and admitting to people that I eat food off the floor and don’t change the sheets for 3 months, and lots of people look guiltily relieved and say the same thing to me.

  91. In high school I was babysitting for a neighbor around the corner. One day we were sitting on the front steps watching the kids play when the neighbor across the street hollers over “Where do you find the time to just sit there?” to which the reply was “I TAKE THE TIME”. There are lots of days hubby will do his laundry because he’d like a clean pair of socks…wonderful, I say, here, do mine while you’re at it. Oh, by the way, he just left to do the grocery shopping while I take a little nap.

  92. I’ve always found that the key to juggling is only to drop the things that are unbreakable.
    And I drop them frequently 🙂

  93. I have given up trying to” keep-up” with what society feels I should keep up with…..setting priorities is the only way to live. So, hallelujah to you Steph, I too clean when I feel I cannot take the dog hair or sticky floors any longer or have a rare burst of cleaning energy. Life is too short to be cleaning all the time…..enjoy and move on!

  94. One knitter to another: I don’t know where my bras are either. Any of them. All disappeared.
    I was washing fleeces and hanging them out on the clothes line outside my apartment building today, since it’s an absolute gorgeous day. I got some looks from my neighbors. You’d think they’d have gotten used to my oddities by now.

  95. Boy, I needed that! Laughed out loud at the “voodoo cat” and “dust buffalo.” I LOVE that you don’t profess to do it all. It is so refreshing to hear your reality.

  96. Bravo. I don’t do it all either. I think “doing it all” is a horrible myth.
    You should buy another bra, though. At least one more, if not two. You’re worth it.

  97. “If my desk had been clear enough for me to put my head down on it I would have.” Does this mean your desk is cleared off enough to be able to PUT DOWN your head – Heck -I just have to bend my neck. Stuff on desk is about chin deep. 🙂

  98. You just completely made my day. I can’t wait til I’m in a better life position where I can be doing the some things that I want to be doing instead of the some things that I don’t. You’re my inspiration for that.

  99. You’re still my hero, whether you get it all done or not.
    Actually, I think you’re one of my steadiest relationships. After I come home from my crazy days, I find myself sitting down at my computer and praying to the universe that you’ve blogged. I don’t mean to sound like a stalker. You just make me happy, that’s all.

  100. Priorities: Yes. We all should have them. Today, I took the Christmas wreath down off the front door. It was very luckily a Fraser fir so it hadn’t lost its needles; it had just turned brown. I kind of matches your dust buffaloes. Your kids will remember the time you spent with them. If you sacrificed that for a spotless house, it’s doubtful they’d remember the ultra clean domicile in a positive way. I’ve found that it really makes sense for me to HIRE people to do what I don’t like or have time for. Hence, the cleaning ladies. It gives me more time to knit and I NEVER stick to the kitchen floor(lol).

  101. Been there too-and hey live and am always around since my 18 month old granddaugher lives in bloor west village. As a retired grandma more fully into knitting again-I have time to do whatever would make your life simpler if you fix this blasted sweater that is tormenting my soul. The drama is too embarrassing to put into words… (Had to resort to shawls and hats to calm me down.)I can pick up groceries, proof read your book,do your emails – organize whatever you want. I am willing to help even without the sweater fix. Really. I know of these moments in life and help can make a difference!

  102. We SHOULD all know that but it never hurts to hear it again from time to time!

  103. Your post reminds me of when my twins were infants and everyone always asked me how I did it. Well, I just put one foot in front of the other, did what had to be done at the moment and accepted all help when offered. We got through it and they are now finishing their junior year in college. My time is filled with things that used to take a back seat, but there still isn’t time enough to do everything I’d like. That’s just the way it is 🙂 Keep on keeping on!

  104. Loved the blog and all the comments. My personal solution is a dog that doesn’t shed and I always write my to-do list as the day goes along. That way, I can cross everything off and I “do it all”… Nobody has to define “all” but me! As for floors, I’ve been teaching quilting to friends in El Salvador who have dirt floors. Dust elephants no longer bother me much.
    Knit on, sistahs!

  105. I totally understand!
    If only I could convince the other people who live with me that they should be responsible for some of the work that needs to be done around here or that some days the thought of eventually being able to sit down and knit is the only thing that keeps me sane.

  106. Thanks. I needed that. I’ve been struggling with Super-mom syndrome lately. Who cares if I haven’t mopped my floors in two weeks? My son and I have been having “adventures” and playing games and making popsicles. When he’s grown up I don’t think he’ll remember whether or not the floor was shiny.

  107. Uf. As someone just at the nascent stages of self-employment, I just hope I have the stamina and ability to let things go in order to actually make it work. After pouring in so much work, it would suck awfully if one didn’t *quite* make it, you know?

  108. I know several women for whom it is really and truly easier to put the magazine back in the rack than leave it on the table where somebody else put it, and to clean– really scrub– the kitchen every night than to leave dishes in the sink. They are wonderful women with happy, fulfilled lives, and they knit but not very much (nor do they have pets). I have come to believe that the sort of happiness that I find in spinning and letting the books and papers pile up on my desk comes to them by having perfectly arranged houses. And so I say, to each her own– but visiting them kind of freaks me out.

  109. Two words: housekeeping service. Every couple of months is fine–you can keep it up between times. Only one problem: straighten up the clutter first. Sigh….

  110. I have enough German Shepherd fur in my house to make another dog. My husband thinks I should learn to spin because that might motivate one of us to sweep it up. In reality we have someone who comes in every other week to the cleaning that gets done. Motivates us to pick up too which helps.
    I love this “I sort of feel like my sole responsibility to make sure that milk was on hand for everyone at all times ended the day I stopped nursing my youngest, and that there are lots of other people here who could care about that, not just me.” I’m only responsible to make sure there is milk on hand for my nursling. The plus is there is always milk on hand. In a bind my milk makes great scrambled eggs. Knitting and time with my husband and kiddo are a priority for me.

  111. I’m looking for a similar post from married father freelance author who write about similar household issues. Are we women ever going to be free from this?

  112. Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for writing this. Now, when I–and I will–look over at my neighbours beautiful flowerbeds with tears in my eyes–and I will–I will have the strength to go on. Because you are right, no one woman can do it all. And, even though most of what I do is invisible to my neighbours, it isn’t to me. Today I wrote my 45, 475 word on my new manuscript. Pour me a double–I’m celebrating!

  113. My sister just broke her foot because it was tangled up in the vacuum cleaner cord. ‘Nuf said my vacuum is staying in the closet!!

  114. My mom worried a lot that her house wasn’t as clean as her sister’s (or the neighbors, or friends, etc). What my sister and I remember is that Mom was almost always willing to postpone housework to go for a drive, go swimming, or a bunch of other fun stuff of which we have many fond memories. When you’re gone your kids most likely won’t share stories about how the kitchen sink sparkled or how you could eat off the floor. They’ll talk about that impromptu picnic or the spontaneous drive to the lake. Housework can wait.

  115. <3. You can do it, whatever “it” it is you choose to do, in whatever order.

  116. YOU GO GIRL! I raised 3 kids, my 35 years is up, I’m officially a retired stay at home Mom and there are days when I don’t care how much pug hair is rolling around OR where my bra is either. And that’s really saying something because I met you in Atlanta, and I KNOW my bra is way bigger than yours, and I still lose it on some days!

  117. This is why I read your blog. I think its cool that you write books and knit pretty things and have a supportive family, but this stuff is the good stuff.
    Thanks for this reminder. There is plenty I could do, but I’d rather spend the time with my two boys (and the baby on the way) or knitting with awesome yarn or baking something that will make my pre-pregnancy size unattainable.

  118. You are my hero for telling the truth!! Know that we treasure each second you share with us because your time is so precious.
    P.S. I have a herd of dust wolves – perhaps I can send them up and they can take care of the buffalo??

  119. I have often quoted Eva Gabor. “Dahling, a man never notices the state of your floors, but he will notice how nice and rested you look after a facial.” Or knitting.

  120. “I’ve got priorities and low standards and no expectation of doing it all”–brilliant. I’m going to put that on a plaque.
    Awesome philosophy and one I can completely identify with.

  121. love it. i’m in total agreement. gonna go knit on the baby blanket, not clean the toilet.

  122. I’m recovering from a severe depression right now after trying to do it all, especially a job I didn’t like, long commuting, wanting a perfect house, homemade and healthy meals, getting my kid to all his activities, and studying for another university diploma.
    I had no social life, no time for myself, couldn’t sleep anymore, my every muscle ached, I had constant headaches and let’s not talk about the relationship with my husband.
    One day I couldn’t stand the idea of going back to the office anymore. Instead I went to the doctor and now I’m on meds and forced rest. I’m feeling so much better and start to function normally again.
    This is the 3rd time this happened to me but I believe that I finally got the message: you can’t do it all! I’ll quit my job as soon as I would need to go back to work. Life is too precious to waste it being unhappy but “perfect”.

  123. I was told in college that dust bunnies evolve into dust velociraptors. Dust buffaloes must be the missing link…

  124. I’m the oldest of five kids. When Mom was pregnant with the youngest, my parents put an addition on the house. Mom managed to get the first coat of paint on the trim in the new rooms before Becky was born.
    Eighteen years later, Becky went off to college. And Mom finally got the second coat of paint on that trim.
    My mother is so very, very sane.

  125. I have white cat with lovely silky hair that could be spun into yarn. But that would mean gathering it all up and who has time for that? I have a sweater (Laura’s Cardigan) to cast on and tomorrow I’m jack hammering concrete and continuing to build a fence and…
    I hear you sister Harlot! 🙂

  126. Thank you for the wonderful post! It and all the comments that followed made my day! Can’t wait to read your new book – while the bunnies, buffaloes, and green refrigerator alien entertain themselves.

  127. thank you. thank you with deep, deep gratitude! it gives me permission to like myself a little bit more when i know i am not the only one “failing miserably” in the home maintenance department, while the yarn and fabric cover just about every surface in the living and dining room.. so far, i seem to be keeping it from seeping into the kitchen.. but only just! now if i could only get “the man” to understand that this is ok and maybe even the norm!

  128. I read this entry to my husband, we both laugh muchly as we can so relate. He comments that your post seems to have an awful lot of singular references to your bra. His solution is that you could buy a second bra and then have twice the chance of being able to find it. I informed him that as a person who does not have to wear bras he does not understand that what you are really saying is you do not care where you bra is, you do not want your bra. Bras are social obligations, not pleasurable choices, I tell him. To which he responds “I don’t like to wear clothes but I wear them anyway.” Well, I can’t deny the logic there.
    I hope this amuses you at least a bit as much as it amused me.

  129. Amen.
    I had a million things on the “to do” list for today. And when a friend invited me at the last minute to spend the afternoon going to see wee lambs and fleeces from their mammas, I said yes. Nothing on the list got done. It will all still be there later. I had a great time and refuse to regret it.
    Babies grow up too fast, children lose interest in spending time with their mammas, then they move away. I want to enjoy them now. Dust buffalos will wait.

  130. Bravo! You are still an inspiration and reading your blog always cheers me up or makes me think. Thank you. Looking forward to your next book. They are really great. cheers

  131. Luckily, I grew up in the 60’s and the bra was optional then – and has been ever since for me! So that is one less piece of laundry to do and one less lost piece of clothing to find!

  132. Hahahaha….Brilliant. I have a home studio and have been getting prepped for the start of my own hectic “performance” season (which lasts into September and starts TOMORROW!) and the house has been complete chaos – except that I have higher standards for cleanliness than my housemates. At least I convinced my 6 year-old she could earn spending money for the gigs I’m dragging her to over the next month if she cleaned the house (she even cooked spaghetti one night). But I have to agree with you – these shows, my family, the beautiful weather – have all been more important than sweeping, mopping, laundry, etc. I get so sick of people who find out what I do for a living, how long I’ve been doing it, and still have the nerve to look at me and ask “so what are you really going to do with your life? You should go to school.” (Even though I do have a degree and have traveled the world several times and run my own successful business).
    That being said, the first thing I thought of when I read this post was: I would totally be your personal maid in exchange for yarn. Hands down.
    Keep on truckin’! You are happy – and that’s something.

  133. I have dust buffaloes too. I just didn’t know what to call them. Thank you so much for being human and not putting a clean and tidy house above all else. You rock, babe!

  134. I think your priorities are fine but for pete’s sake buy a second bra! It will make your life easier.

  135. Gals, as a single guy who lives alone I can say you’re not the only ones doing the juggling act. When asked how my day is going, I’ve been known to say “I feel like Gallagher — with a few too many bowling balls and chainsaws.”
    In my kitchen is a tile trivet with the words I try to live by: Martha Stewart Doesn’t Live Here.
    However, Steph, have you tried spinning that cat hair? When my little purring hairballs were alive, I used to say that I knew I needed to vacuum when there was enough loose hair to knit a kitten.

  136. That has been my mantra for years. I apologize to no one for it. Especially my ocd sister in law who always tries to make me feel guilty for living this way, but never succeeds.

  137. as a very overloaded full time physician, wife, mother, and overseas volunteer who knits, spins, and sometimes weaves, i am frequently the recipient of this sort of admiring comment. blows my mind, because they have no idea that my house is a dust-dinasaur haven, we are probably down to the last roll of TP, and the milk may be spoiled. i just look at them and think really???? how could you possibly be so fooled? nonetheless, i am in awe of your creativity and outlook. has helped me through many a time when I needed to laugh…….

  138. Thank you. This week has been kind of rough, in a good kind of way. You see, it’s my first job in over 2 years and I haven’t found my routine yet. I sure hope it’s not permanently lost. It wasn’t much, but I usually got to most things sometime during the month.

  139. I’m with you baby. Sink is full, laundry overflowing, more of MY hair than the cat’s is tumbling across the floor, but these socks I’m working on are so turning out perfect and this beer is so nice and cold and….

  140. O hells yes. Bras are over-rated, except when preggers and nursing and there is pain otherwise. First thing in evening: get home and whip the thing off. First thing in morning: try to find it.
    Lovin’ read you be you.

  141. My standard response to this question? Smoke and mirrors.
    Spending your time consistent with your values and beliefs is SO much easier than trying to meet some other fictitious standard. Even when it does require avoiding the dust buffalo and hoping you remembered to put the load of laundry in the dryer because you are out of clean underwear 😉

  142. I. Love. You. Once again, you’re exactly spot on. I read once that the happiest families usually have sticky floors. Makes sense to me; who cares if the kitchen floor got washed today, I’m going to spend my free time with my knitting and my family. (Probably in that order.) 🙂

  143. I think it’s admirable that you admit what your life is really like. And just think, in the midst of it all, you jogged to and from the store, which is the healthiest way of dealing with stress (granted, lack of toilet paper is a strong motivator……lol).

  144. Word.
    My next door neighbour constantly says that to me: “how do you do it all?” Which usually results in hysterical laughter followed closely by falling down into the fetal position and quietly weeping.

  145. (which, in my small town, means the above scene makes it into the local papers…usually page 2)

  146. This was the best blog post ever. Thank you from the bottom Of thus exhausted momma’s heart. I keep trying to compare myself to these blogs that I see and feel unworthy because I am not perfect. It’s nice to know that I am not alone

  147. Huzzah! Thank you! (goes to bookshelf and selects a new suspense book to begin reading in bed next to sleeping husband….)

  148. At work tomorrow we have a workshop entitled, “Balancing Work and Home: Learning to Juggle Multiple Demands.” It’s scheduled for an hour. I have a feeling that the instructor will come in, tell us that it is impossible, and then turn on her heels and leave. That will leave us 59 extra minutes to work on our lists to-do lists.

  149. It’s been said before but I’ll say it again: Your next book should be a book for moms. The moms who don’t knit (yet) need to hear this too.
    Also, if you leave the vacuum out all the time, anyone who stops by assumes they caught you cleaning and that’s why the house looks like a bomb went off.

  150. You know, I knew I liked you, and today you reminded me why.
    Thanks for being just like the large percentage of the female population that actually prioritizes things CORRECTLY and recognizes our choices as what’s best for us.
    I am finishing my first year as a teacher after putting off school and work to raise my children. I taught five different grades this year and returned to college full time in January (my knitting has gone by the wayside…temporarily).
    During this time, my daughter experienced her first year of college, and I experienced my first year without her. I traveled to watch her play soccer and stayed behind to watch my son play in the band.
    People look at me and wonder how I do it “all,” but like you, I don’t. My house is a DISASTER. We go out to eat because there aren’t clean dishes or vittles in the fridge.
    I think you have chosen wisely, which is why your husband, children, and readers love you.

  151. Your timing is impeccable. My baby is six weeks old today, and in the past seven hours all I’ve managed to do is breastfeed, dress him, dress me, change the cat litter and knit an inch of sleeve for a baby cardigan. Reading this post made me exhale and stop fretting about being ‘productive’ – changing nappies and rocking a baby to sleep is being productive, I just have to remember to see it that way. Just so long as the cat fur tumbleweed doesn’t suffocate us in our sleep …

  152. No matter what you may think, you are still an inspiration to us all with your complete honesty.
    Sometimes when I get upset over the state of the housework my husband will remind me that it’s no important, that we are, and our toddler son is, and our unborn daughter is, and nothing – not even vacuuming – will change that. Then he’ll hand me my knitting and a cup of tea and leave me alone while he washes the dishes for us.
    My mother always said to me: “No one can do it all alone, and no one should ever try.” With you watching out for all of us, at least we’re not alone.

  153. THANK YOU!!!! None of us can do it all and we all have to prioritize, and I’m so glad you said so! Your “realness” is what makes you so wonderful and I love how you organize things and be honest with us, and share your life!

  154. I call ’em dust dragons, because they’re long snaky things that lurk in dark caves (under furniture) on piles of…stuff. Luckily I’ve never caught one breathing fire.

  155. Maybe you should start a bra of the month club and put one in with the next sock pattern…

  156. love your choice of priorities and standards!
    I got one of those fancy vacuum robots, who (we call her Lotti, she’s a who) can cope with the dogs’ hair. Everybody is able to set her loose in a specific room before leaving for office or school. she’s self-docking and recharged when we return home. can you imagine how cool that is?
    just remeber to throw things you want to keep in a laundry basket beforehand..

  157. This is why I love your books and blog – you’re REAL! Sometimes I look at other blogs – let’s call them Martha Stewart clones without the fraud – and feel myself shrivelling up with inadequacy – thank you for being so honest, and U look forward to seeing you knit up something amazing with some of that cat hair xxx

  158. Preach it! I love your blog, because you are a real person, but you also have an incredible sense of humour when it comes to writing about what you do. You might have a day that, when I write about it, would set the audience to yawning, but when you write about it, you have us all in stitches.
    I have to say, though, I haven’t started my vacuum cleaner in at least a month, there are dust ecosystems around the house, and I have a pile of laundry almost as tall as me. But I’m busy dealing with stuff I care about – I’ll get to the laundry later!

  159. Thank You! Living myself in a household with two freelancers and being knitting obsessed, THANK YOU for putting it out:
    it’s about priorities!
    All the best of luck and keep on going!

  160. Love it! What you do, Stephanie, is make us all feel better about NOT having housework at the top of our list of priorities too. Thanks and keep knitting and writing and blogging – housework can almost always wait…..

  161. Swap out “dog hair” for “cat fur” and “fixing computers” for “book writing” and we share the same life. I think that a spotless home is overrated. Besides, I’ve never had allergies and, perhaps, if I’d let hay grow in the house, my daughter never would have gotten hayfever.

  162. Perhaps what we need to hear instead of ‘It All’ (meaning everything, in an over-achieving ideal) is ‘All that you do.’ All that I do undertake, I try my hardest; but I do make priorities that are mine alone, in line with my values.

  163. Sorry if this was already mentioned (frankly, I only had time to skim the comments!) but I recently printed this old story up at work to keep my head from exploding.
    Google ‘The Mayonaise Jar.’ It’s a great little anecdote for overwhelmed people like us.
    Get out – enjoy the sun. The cat hair will wait as long as you need it to.

  164. Amen to that. All of it. Of course in my house you could eat off the floor! Unfortunately that is to be taken in the sense that there´s more than enough there…..
    Our dust bunnies are affectionately known as the wooly mammoths and that does give a reasonable idea of the extent it gets to at times. There are days when I do have to excavate the kitchen worktop before cooking dinner but we’ve managed very succesfully to not starve so that’s fine. Our friends keep coming back for more dinners, so it obviously hasn´t affected the (false modesty aside: high) standard of cooking. Our kids´ friends are still welcome to sleep over even if the house is a bit of a mess and I´m confident they will later remember the fun they had at the countless sleepovers (up to 7 strong on the livingroom floor) and will not be bothered much by memories of aforementioned wooly mammoths. And yes, I’d much rather knit (thankyouverymuch). Let´s face it, that house is there to serve us and not the other way around. And even it gets it´s share of TLC at times (like your lovely ´wool room´ makeover). I´m currently revelling in the fact that I shifted my winter wardrobe, woollens washed, dried and stored with moth moth repellent and did the tiwce-yearly wardrobe muck-out and reorganisation. I know exactly where everyting is (while it lasts)!

  165. Oh and I almost forgot: I´d much rather you write a blog entry than clean you kitchen. Invariably your posts add considerable joy to my day!

  166. Oh and I almost forgot: I´d much rather you write a blog entry than clean you kitchen. Invariably your posts add considerable joy to my day!

  167. A dear friend, years ago, said about housekeeping “Don’t worry, it’s because you have little kids. Once they’re grown, just a few hours a day will do it.” I’m still laughing. (We’re still friends.)

  168. I needed this post early last week… I let my MIL’s comments about how dirty my windows and sills were (as well as a whole list of other jobs) nark me into submission! I must have been on a low ebb because I usually ask her Why the rush? Will the world will stop turning if they don’t get done? But instead I sulked for a week before finally giving in and cleaning them inside and out, my nets and draw curtains were also washed in a feeble attempt at a two fingered salute. I think I kinda fell into her trap there :0( On the bright side I still have jobs on HER list that aren’t done but they can wait til I’M ready ;0) Pity it won’t teach her not to be so rude as to point them out!!!

  169. It’s not weather you can do it all, it’s if you know what’s important to you and can accomplish that which matters. This morning I got my garden in which doesn’t help me with the 40+ pages of edits I need to tackel by noon but I feel satisfied and I know I can get the edits done on time (esp while in a better mood). 🙂

  170. Bras are way over rated and I believe you can spin buffalo fiber . . . just saying . . . as I wonder off to see how much I can find, have a sweater or three to make

  171. Oh, Bravo! Is it ok that I love you, even though I don’t actually know you, in the normally accepted conventional sense of the word?

  172. Hiring a cleaning lady takes the pressure off thinking about keeping the house in order and frees up precious knitting/writing/editing time -actual income producing activities. And you may even find your bra and the hidden roll of tp that could have saved you an emergency trip to the store (leaving more time for knitting/writing/editing!) Wasting time on tasks we don’t enjoy is counter productive to busy days. Mechanical solutions to unpleasant tasks simplify our lives. And it just feels better to sit down and knit in an orderly environment. Just suggesting.

  173. Thank you, I have 4 kids six and under and I struggle with this all the time. All I want to do is Knit too!!!!!!

  174. I’m with you Stephanie! But you are an inspiration to me since you do have your priorities straight. I keep things this side of the cat sticking to the floor and turn the lights down if company comes a calling. After all, dust just comes back two seconds after finishing the dusting. And, besides, it is much more satisfying to dust when there is real substance! The dust that then returns is nothing compared to what was cleared away!

  175. My dust demons can chase away your dust buffalo for you. The demons ate the bunnies when they started gathering in large groups.

  176. My dust demons can chase away your dust buffalo for you. The demons ate the bunnies when they started gathering in large groups.

  177. My mother always said that a house should be clean enough to be healthy, and dirty enough to live in. And, yes, Mum was a fanatical knitter, too! She said that without knitting she wouldn’t have been nearly as sane as she was. As with so many things, I have found that she was right! I find myself wondering if dust-bunnies can be spun into yarn…….

  178. How refreshing! We spend so much time feeling bad and having Martha thrown in our faces as the epitome of what a woman and mother should be. I’m tired of feeling that I could figure this all out if I “tried harder” or was “a better person”. I have three healthy kids, a roof over my head, a job and a happy attitude if I allow myself to knit instead of making things “perfect”, and that is just fine!

  179. Just yesterday mid-stream of folding laundry, I decided it was more important to sit and knit in the last 15 minutes before the kids were home from school. In that moment, I knew knitting would help my psyche much more than folded laundry. Juggling priorities. We all do it.

  180. Thank you for writing this. I feel no more guilt about the dust buffalo I cleaned out from under the bed last week.

  181. Thank goodness you don’t do it all. If you did, you wouldn’t be the Yarn Harlot we’ve come to love! 😀 Can’t wait for the new book – love the title!!

  182. I read this post immediately after listening to a podcast about Calendar Management. Would it surprise you to know that successful CEOs fill in their calendars to fit their priorities – and the recommended priority #1 is Family?
    Relax, you’re doing it right.

  183. Thanks Steph!!! A fews years back I earned my masters degree and an old friend asked how I managed to juggle, work, school, family, house, and little did she know, knitting. I told her the same thing you just said – I didn’t! No one suffers if all the laundry is not done. By the way we established the smell test for laundry. The only person who really cares about the dishes in the sink is my mother-in-law and she does’t live here. I told her that somethings got to give and I learned to depend on my family. It’s our house! My house hold functions better now. We all have our jobs and I knit a whole lot more guilt free. I must say that reading your books and blog helped me realize that knitting is not optional in my life and that other things are. And that’s OK! Thanks!!!!!

  184. What a perfect post for today. I don’t work for money right now. My hubby calls me “the good deed doer,” and I’m fine with that. But somehow I can’t get it all done either. Right now, I’ve ruined my right hand for a bit by overdoing the painting (walls, not pictures) and can’t even knit. This is a crisis.
    My daughter came home from college as a vegan and I may have to sneak out for a burger soon. How does one keep cooking in a way that one has never cooked before? Well, let’s just say a few new cookbooks were needed around here. We’re making it, but it is definitely interesting.
    I just go one day at a time. What will become more work if it doesn’t get done is the priority. If a living creature will suffer, it gets done. If I will go to jail if I neglect it any longer, it gets done. Everything else can wait.
    This week I used the dryer. I can’t remember the last time that happened. I just didn’t have the energy to hang one more load. That would have meant that the things on the basement line would have needed to come down. And, I’m not the only one who does things around here.
    One day I hope to master the art of letting it go until someone else notices, but they just have such a long timeline. One day. Maybe soon.

  185. Do it all or not – you are still an inspiration to many women, knitters and mothers out – keep up the good work!

  186. So I can stop fretting about the fact that I’m not entirely sure whether or not I have a carpet? Bless you. (The daughter is fed, I’m casting off a hat, and I don’t give a damn if we have milk or not — there is beer.)

  187. I knew it, I knew it!! No one does it all, I salute your bravery in admitting it to the world. Shooing dust buffalos away as I type!

  188. I love it. Thank you for the laugh today. I’ve reverted to “vacuum dusting” at my house. If it can’t be done with a vacuum cleaner with a little brush on the end, it probably isn’t going to get done.

  189. Someone asked me recently how I ‘do it all’ (in response to some handmade clothes on my blog). My response was a speedy, cheerful and shameless “I don’t”. I think more women should admit it 🙂

  190. Why are we all facilitating our kids to have free time? I say this as I endlessly clean up my livingroom. Perhaps we should go back to the old family model where the kids start helping with chores at a very young age. They continue to grow in this role and assume responsibilites and jobs and child care, etc. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS????? The answer is “Absolutely Nothing”. I read a quote somewhere that said “When did the children take over?” Women these days are nuts. We “liberated” ourselves into working full time, house keeping full time, and being in charge of everything FULL TIME!! There is no need for this. We are only facilitating our families to be self serving and to not have responsibility unless they want to. Times gotta change.

  191. I think there is something in the air. As I come home from work with the thought of “extra duties” hubby says he is off tomorrow (Friday) Yup the boy hasn’t taken any time off and has to or else he doesn’t accrue more time off.
    This morning as I am running around the house getting ready for work, emptying out the refrigerator, making breakfast gathering things for work. Hubby says “on the way home stop off and get hamburger rolls” and I ask if he wants macroni salad as well. Yup. I then rush out the door because we have nothing for my lunch. I head to the grocery store get my lunch, why didn’t I think to get the damn hamburger rolls then? It never occurs to the dear man to get the hamburger rolls and have dinner started or ready when I get home.
    He has the day off and I am getting the hamburger rolls and macroni salad.
    Like I said there is something in the air.

  192. You know if there is someone out there who CAN do it all I would love to know because it sure as hell ain’t me. I do what need to so I can do what I love. I don’t try to do everything. Let the dust buffalos go and enjoy life. It is too short not to. 🙂

  193. Thank you thank you thank you for this wonderful post. I have a full-time job and an active volunteer life, and I’m a quilter, a knitter, and a beginning spinner. I also like to read books. The mail will sometimes pile up for weeks at a time, and about twice a month, I roar through the house sweeping and mopping (two humans, five cats, 1300 square feet – sort of necessary). There is so much I want to do, and then I read a post like this, and I know that I am wealthy beyond words in the choices I have in my life and that I should be incredibly grateful. Thank you for helping me keep things in perspective.

  194. I so get this. I’m a professional writer and professional cook because neither one alone pays the bills. Two teen boys. A dog and four cats. No, the house is not clean, in fact it’s a wreck. the kitchen is clean because I can’t stand it not to be, but everything else gets a swish past now and again. Give up knitting, or time with my kids? When that is the only thing preventing me from going right off my rocker? I don’t think so. Knit on, pet the cat, maybe the fur will stick to the kitchen floor and give the place a whole new look?

  195. My mom’s got a magnet that says, “a clean house is a sign of a wasted life.” There are so very, very many things more important than housework, and it’s refreshing to hear someone acknowledge it openly. Plus, you just made me feel way better about the semi-disastrous state of my condo. So, thanks!

  196. Amen! I have this bit of embroidery on my wall, and it hung on my moma’s wall before:
    “Cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow,
    for babies grow up, we’ve learned to our sorrow,
    So quiet down cobwebs, and dust go to sleep, I’m rocking my baby, and babies don’t keep!”
    Their growing up is beautiful, but it is all fleeting. I tell people that I can have a clean, organized home when I have an empty nest. Right now, I’m enjoying all the feathers!

  197. Just to let you know…that dust buffalo you have…yeah…well…his brother resides at my house. 😉

  198. I grew up in a spotless house, my (younger) sister’s house is spotless, mine is “lived in”. As my mother says, it is not dirty it’s just “too much stuff”! Huh. Good thing she (now 86) lives 2000 miles away!
    I will say my mother has told me she wished she spent more time with my sister and I playing instead of cleaning. My sons won’t be hearing me say that!
    PS I am on a cleaning rampage as we are having a young couple move into our house at the end of the month. It is really distracting from my knitting and sewing hours!

  199. PPS a new book to add to my Christmas wish list! Looking forward to reading it!
    Right now I am reading one chapter a night in Free Range Knitter. Some books are worth reading more than once!

  200. I can’t construct a cat, but with 3 dogs I figure I could easily add a 4th with the current state of dog hair on the floor.

  201. I don’t do it all..and I’m single. And it’s nice to know that even married people with kids have to do emergency two-block runs for toilet paper. If I were smart, I’d stock up and store huge trays of toilet paper in my storage space downstairs. But I don’t. I buy yarn. Silly me.

  202. Yeah well I have priorities too–when I get the notion that things aren’t up to snuff, I take a gander at the plaque on the wall in my kitchen:
    “Housework Makes You Ugly”
    and I decide NOT to be ugly . . .

  203. Thank you…you have finally given me a suitable name for the monstrous thing lurking in my basement…a dust buffalo. Yes, that’s EXACTLY what it is!

  204. I completely understand. I figure the house is doing well if I remember to take out the trash and recycling each week (or at least when the outside garbage cans are full). I try to keep the kitchen clean, but that is mostly because I won’t make dinner at all if it is a mess.
    I am not self employed, so my job is just the standard 8+ commute a day. I could do more, but I have priorities. It is gratifying to hear that you don’t do it all (even though I expected as much, because you really don’t talk about housecleaning except to say you aren’t really doing it).
    Personal priority lists for all!

  205. I am amazed that you work all that much and still have time to spend with your family. Who cares if your house is a mess, I can’t see it, I just have to take your word for it.

  206. You have no idea how pleased I am to hear you say all that. I am self-employed, as is my DH. I have 3 small children and a passion for knitting. Today I found myself in sobs on the shoulder of my youngest child’s nursery teacher. I had left it a bit late to send out his party invites and none of his friends could make it. Not one. I have failed to any single part of my life justice this week. Nice to know that other people struggle with getting things all done. I also had to rip out my nearly complete cardigan. I am now embarrased, with puffy eyes, a disapponted 4 year old, and a pile of crinkly purple yarn. Hugs to all of us x

  207. We’ve named the rolling balls of cat hair Glen, and insist he’s our third cat, as there is so much of Glen around it must constitute another cat.
    Coming home one day, I opened the door and a gust of wind blew a huge hair tumbleweed towards me. My husband happened to be walking by. “Awww”, he said “Glen missed you today.”

  208. Well said! Although, I think I am additionally impressed that that you jogged to the store without a bra – ouch! Seriously though, I do wish my love of family, knitting and cleaning (and sleep!) didn’t have to crowd out a career the way it does.

  209. Thank You! You are an inspiration, not because you juggle it all but because you tell us you don’t! It’s nice to have the reminder that I am not responsible for earning the $$ to keep our household going AND keeping it clean. You help put things in perspective. Thanks.

  210. It makes you an honest, real person. I respect you even more for that! I love your books. You always make me laugh when I need it most…thank you

  211. This is exactly what I find inspiring about you. Your ability to prioritize, and drop the things that are less (un-) important to you is wonderful! Thank you for frequently sharing a glimpse into your particular chaos…it helps!

  212. As we still deal with the effects of the furnace fuel spill in our house a year ago, I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to say enough is enough and I’ve run out of ideas. I’ve just about given up on the contaminated stuff still stored in my garage because we just got word last week that all of the concrete that was poured in the basement rec room last year needs to be jackhammered out and re-poured. This means that NOTHING that was down there, read 2000+ feet of space for stuff, can be unpacked and cleaned because there’s nowhere for it to go once I’m done with it.
    Add to that the fact that it’s tourist season again and the float planes are in the water, the camps are opening up and I’m once again moving out of the half cleaned house to the little cottage at the lake for the summer and letting the contractor have at my house again.
    But last night, instead of installing the new sound system in the living room, cleaning and packing up at least the sewing room stuff, not to mention the balance of the rec room stuff, I sat down in the living room with my striped cardigan being made out of Paton’s Pure organic coton and watched Grey’s Anatomy. My wonderful husband stopped unpacking the new speakers and retreated to the basement to watch hockey so I didn’t even have to keep looking around him to see the TV.
    Priorities, my dears, priorities. The world really is a wonderful place if we just stop to smell the flowers, grass and cherry tree blossoms on a regular basis.
    It’s still cold here in Kenora but the sun comes out tomorrow. I actually passed somebody mowing their lawn last week. It smelled like heaven.

  213. Thank You! I just got to work after one of those weeks where I KNOW I haven’t seen enough of my kiddos- the 2 yr old told me “I miss you mommy” when I dropped him off a day care. I run a high school theatre program and a few weeks a year are tech . . . I work very late. Other weeks I am out the door when the bell rings.
    It feels wonderful to be reminded that “doing it all” is a myth . . . that we are all lucky just to be doing it at all!

  214. You are truly an inspiration for me. It makes me feel vindicated that some one else places priority on knitting over a clean house. Thank you so much for being you.

  215. Steph,
    I love you.
    Terry (who doesn’t do it all either, but suddenly feels less guilty about that).

  216. I’ve been a reader of yours for several years, but I think this post made me fall in love with you even more. Really. I kind of know all this about you, after years of reading, but I love that you’re SAYING it. I have two overlapping chronic illnesses that make it nearly impossible for me to do normal, daily tasks. I have two part-time jobs, and I literally spend at least 2 weeks out of each month unable to get off the couch. I knit like a maniac, because I love it but also because it’s something I can still DO. My house is always a wreck, but instead I can produce beautiful things and spend time with my husband and furry children and I value that tremendously. Could I have a cleaner house if I put down the needles or played with the pets less or spent less time cuddling with my husband? Sure. But those are the things that are important to me, and with the limited time I have available where I’m a functional human being, that’s how I’m going to spend it.

  217. YEA!!!!!!
    Thank you for your kicking post!
    It’s so good to know that others feel the same way.

  218. If I lived in TO area I would totally volunteer to come over and clean up your house. I guess I’m one of those odd people that find a clean house gives me more mental clarity and once I have that under my belt then I truly feel like I can tackle anything. But without a clean house to back me up I start to come undone at the seams. Sure I can put it off for a couple of weeks but much longer and I start to get this panicked look in my eyes like the apocalypse is coming and I don’t have my exit strategy mapped out yet.

  219. So long as the health department isn’t going to come in, it’s all good. Hang in there!

  220. Looking forward to reading your book when it gets published.
    Like the old fridge magnet says “A spotless house is a sign of a wasted life.’

  221. Button seen at convention: “Treat your dust bunnies as pets.”
    I use the dust buster when the drifts of kitten fur start to wander under their own power, but there’s nothing better than hanging in the living room chatting with my teen, watching a movie, and knitting or quilting, and then he stops the movie so we can talk about something that comes to his mind. That’s the best kind of “housework” a mom could ask for.

  222. BWahahaha. I mopped my kitchen floor yesterday for the first time since Dec. 1, the day we moved in. I’m sure if my mother knew she’d wither me, but ha! I don’t care any more! I’m free! Hahahaha.
    The times they have a-changed…..

  223. My favoritest mother-in-law (I have two at present) years ago sent me a framed needlepoint motto – “Dull people have immaculate homes.” It is the first thing anyone entering the front door will see. I try to live up to it daily.

  224. Now if I could just get the other adult and near adult size humans around here to read and sign your manifesto. I keep telling them if they are waiting for me to do it all they are going to wait a damn long time, but it just doesn’t seem to sink in. Maybe their standards are even lower than mine (heaven help the people they partner up with in later life).
    Guess I will get back to fixing the downstairs toilet – even my husband has failed to be interested in that job, even though it involves parts and tools and everything. I just feel lucky the plumbing supply guys were in a good mood the day I was there…

  225. You buffalo knows my buffalo. I’m an avidly knitting single working mom of a toddler… The house is clean enough my kid doesn’t stick to the floor, we have food to eat, and the dishes (sans dishwasher) get all done at least once a week. She has her jobs (cleaning out the lint trap in the dryer, putting clothes into baskets, watering the plants on the porch) and I have mine. I’m decided I was going to hang out with her, knit, read a little once in a while, see friends, and paint when I could. And have enough unscheduled time to spontaneously meet up with others. PRIORITIES are the ones I set. I don’t care what others think.
    Priorities means choices. I happily choose to play instead of dust. I choose to go for walks instead of wash all the dishes each night. I choose to read her/my books instead of worrying about what someone else might think. Good enough, is good enough…
    Thanks for putting it all out there and letting me do the same!

  226. Thank you. Today was one of those days as you tried to get to an open window in your teenagers bedroom and realize your feet are never hitting the carpeting due to the mounds of clothes. i need to remember, I can not do everything for everyone and not include me somewhere in that equation. My knitting is me. My spinning is me. And that is enough.

  227. I hired house cleaners. They’re not a luxury, they’re a necessity. We eat ok, the laundry is clean but not folded, and we don’t stick to the floor. For now that has to be enough.

  228. Oh Stephanie, how much better you just made me feel.
    I’m a mom to 4 young kids, my husband and I own our own business, I have a shop on Etsy, and just this year I started working outside the home to make ends meet.
    As I’m sure that you can well imagine not a whole lot of cleaning or sleeping happens on my end, but I have a wonderful understanding family.
    So I say PBLT! to everyone to comes into my house and turns up their nose at my dust, (you know who you are…)

  229. Yeah Stephanie!! I am retired and I feel my house will outlive me so the heck with it. I do things I want to do. I volunteer and knit and read. Ho rah for us.

  230. I have always preferred gardening, knitting and reading to house cleaning – our compromise is to have someone in every two weeks. Keeps my husband (raised by a fanatical housecleaner)and me (raised by a gardener who chose floor coverings that didn’t show the dirt) happy. Also, buy box milk – keeps a long time and there is almost always one at the back of the cupboard!

  231. Thank you for sharing this. It’s just what I needed this week as I am challenging myself to lower my standards of cleanliness in order to do more of the things you speak of!

  232. That is an excellent way to look at thing. *I* am not out of milk, bread and toilet paper. We all are.
    Ditto on what the others said “please continue to not do it all, you are an inspiration to us”.
    Thank you for a wonderful blog 🙂

  233. The people in my life who spend the most time cleaning are the people who are the least fun to be around. One is my stepmother, who washes the dishes before she puts them in the dishwasher (which means it’s really just a sterilizer), and the other is a co-worker I’ll call “Missy” who once told me she couldn’t help me with a rush project because she had to clean out the cupboards in the break room. I was also told that, when Missy’s kids were teenagers, they came to another one of Missy’s co-workers (happened before I knew her) to ask if she stood behind her kids with a dust rag and a vacuum cleaner when they got ready for school in the morning like Missy did, presumably lest they leave any puddles of water on the counter or a stray hair hit the carpet. I don’t have kids (I do have a dog and cat who shed profusely), but that’s not how I’d want them to remember me.
    Unfortunately, I am cursed by being reluctant to clean anything unless I can finish it the same day, which explains why I haven’t been able to even start cleaning my totally messy study for months. Since I have a dog that enjoys tearing up paper on the floor (especially TP, which is why we keep ours in a basket mounted high on the wall instead of on the roller), I’m sure you can imagine what it looks like.

  234. Actually, Steph, I think that this is part of the reason that you are inspiring to many… Maybe I’m wrong, but I do feel that you are fairly realistic about your life. You tell “us” about the things that don’t necessarily go as planned (that’s part of the humor!), and have mentioned various concerns, issues or problems even if not on the blog.
    As someone who is finally starting to come to terms with the fact that I *can’t* do it all, I find it very helpful to hear your stories. 🙂

  235. I married a man, not a house and when children came along, against my better judgment by the way, I figured I owed them 18 years of undivided attention.
    So, now my son doesn’t know how to pick up a house, but he can do laundry and cooks like a dream. My daughter has expensive tastes, but can make ANYTHING out of nothing and be happy while doing it.
    Overall, I think it worked to have a dirty house.

  236. I like the Flylady system at Flylady.net I clean and unclutter stuff for 15 minutes a day so that leaves more time for me and my knitting. No cleaning like crazy on weekends more playtime. Dust elephants are down to a minimum.

  237. Thank you for such a great post; I have loved reading the comments. Every evening I usually want to eat food I’ve/we’ve prepared from scratch, and I want to knit AND get to bed early and there just isn’t time for hoovering or dusting or cleaning the floor. *Trots off to knit a housekeeper*

  238. I really needed to read this today. I’m getting married in four and a half weeks and my fiance and I have entered the stressed-out-bickering-over-minute-nothingness phase. I heart you, and thanks for admitting to what most women refuse to admit to.

  239. I totally could relate to your email. I have four kids and the last two are fifteen months apart, I was asked all the time, how I do it! Work, take care of my kids, keep a clean house and find time to knit and spin. I Don’t! I don’t think about it. I just do it. And I am as anal as they come because I am a perfectionist. My kids had to be bathed every night, house clean before I go to bed, no dishes in sink, etc, etc. I would get up at 5am to do what I needed to do for myself before the others woke up. Now they are grown, youngest is 14 and I have the time, but don’t do all the things like, clean, etc, Just want to knit! haha
    BTW we have no milk in the house either. Not my problem

  240. I’m with you 100% – here, though, it’s lambing/kidding that takes priority over clean dishes (of course, just about anything will take priority over any type of housework with me!). Then there are more fleeces to skirt, yarn/roving to dye, knitting – and most importantly, my son and husband. But it’s nice to know that there are others of us out there that don’t have perfect houses, that others worry about the pets sticking to the floor, that the other day, when it was 80 degrees out and the only clean jeans I could find were my flannel lined ones – well, as much as I don’t mind being unique or an individual, it’s nice to know that I’m not the only one with dust buffalo issues!

  241. Good for you! You’re right, you shouldn’t have to do it all!
    When I was young, my mom was a single mom working full time on her feet all day. As a teen, I helped with all aspects of the household: cleaning, laundry, cooking, grocery shopping and even helping to pay the bills. (With mom’s money of course; she did make enough to support us!) And all that started at about age 13.
    Now I look at my husband who seriously didn’t even know how to use a washing machine until I taught him at age 29! His mother did all his laundry and cleaned the entire house. He did learn to cook, only because his mother wasn’t very good and his dad worked long hours. But she would follow him around the kitchen with a washrag! (I know because I’ve seen her do it and she’s done it to me in her kitchen. She seems more concerned about how the kitchen looks than it’s function.)
    Anyway, my point is, anyone who does absolutely everything for their kids is really doing a disservice to the child. Maybe kids don’t have to be responsible for an entire household; but I’m glad that when I struck out on my own I already knew how to cook, plan a meal, clean, do laundry properly, and balance a checkbook!

  242. When boyfriend freaked out upon seeing my cat puke on the dining room table, bitched about the bottom of his socks being black because my floor was dirty, and blasted me for keeping my toothbrush in the shower where “do you know what kind of germs and bacteria” live?”, I thought to myself, hmmm, maybe it’s time to make housekeeping a higher priority.
    So I bought a vacuum cleaner, floor steamer, and a new toothbrush after we broke up.

  243. If I couldn’t find my bra I’d need to worry more about jiggling than juggling.

  244. I have an entirely different life, however, I get the “I don’t know how you do it” comments too. And I usually think to myself… “Um, have you seen my house? Also, have you noticed that while you have perfect make-up, a mani/pedi and new highlights, I do not have any of the above?” Priorities… it’s the only way to trod through!

  245. Amen !! (Sorry to add to your list, but I couldn’t resist raising a glass and sending a “woo hoo” from this corner of the world. This is why we love you..)

  246. Another choir member. My sister-in-law loves to clean. Maybe I should invite her to visit more often.

  247. That was great, as was the timing. I just finished one deadline and am getting ready to go out of down in 5 days and trying to wrap up a bunch of obligation for myself and my kid that fell in the same space on the calendar. I have post-it lists coming out of my *ss. My laughter is a bizarre high pitched frenzied noise. Thanks for the perspective.

  248. I USED to be known back in the day as “Pam Perfect” because I was doing it all. At the time, I was married to a demanding man and had two sons. It is an unwritten rule that the more chores one (me) assumes, the more others (them) will slack off, as if to say, “Hey, if she’s that stupid…let ‘er.” Pretty soon I was staggering under the load and deeply, deeply unhappy — never mind angry. I chucked that husband (not that anyone reading this should view it as a recommendation) and have since been happier than I thought possible. The moral is: delegate responsibility without wavering & stop filling the void of undone chores. Dust buffalo will never kill you but stress might. As a cancer survivor, I can tell you Life is short, and we ALL deserve time EVERY day to relax and ecjoy our knitting.

  249. Hmmmm, cleaning or knitting???? Yeah, I agree, the knitting wins out. Perfection is soooo overrated.

  250. Amen, from a former single mother of five. I’m still their mother but they are married and have children of their own now.
    You are an inspiration because you remind me that I am human and have the right to enjoy knitting. Without guilt. And for that I thank you because my life is so much calmerand joyful since I took up knitting again last year after a long hiatus. Bless you, my dear.

  251. My two orange cats exactly match my lovely new bamboo floors. Because of the camoflage factor, I’m not aware of the dust buffalo until they’re big enough to trip over.
    Adding my AMEN!

  252. As a LYSO, designer, & sole bread winner of the family (who apparently is expected to do all those house cleaning things too…) all I can say it Thank You. (my dust buffalo thank you as well)

  253. Honestly, I find you an inspiration for not pretending that you CAN do it all. And furthermore, emphasizing that that’s not what is important. Thanks for reminding us all of what’s relevant (knitting, of course…oh, plus people).

  254. What I wouldn’t have given to have been able to print this out 20 years ago to hand to my MIL; thank you for writing it. It took me years to realize that her finding fault with my knitting time that wasn’t spent making a white-glove-spotless house was due to a deep insecurity on her part–it was all about image for the sake of the judgmental vague unknown someone out there.
    But she’s come around the last few years, to my relief and our growing friendship. And now, no, you can’t buy chemo caps at Walmart. She’s tremendously grateful for hers–and one of them arrived yesterday that was knit not by me at all but by one of my friends she’s never met. Knitters do that. Thank heavens for a friend who chose not to spend those hours cleaning her house!

  255. ‘Scuse me, I forgot to add the obvious: congratulations on your new book, and may the proofing stage pass quickly and well!

  256. Thank You, Amen, and Shout It Out! Is she a new reader? Don’t take this the wrong way, I never did think you “did it all”, but that’s why I keep coming back. After finding your blog about 3 years ago, I went back and read every one of the previous posts all the way to the beginning. You made it clear that a spotless house and wearing a bra were not high priorities. Your family, knitting and writing are. I feel better knowing I’m not the only one cleaning or laundering in a panic or out of desperation!

  257. You make it sound like you accomplish everything you do by putting housework low on your priority list. I also put housework waaaay down there on the list – you can write your name on most of my furniture (isn’t literacy a wonderful thing?) and the only reason I know where my bra is is that I wear the same one every day because I only do laundry on months with R in them.
    In short, my house is a disaster. However, this disaster has not given me the time to organize various international knit fests, write books, maintain a (fabulous) blog, raise a family, run a couple of K a day, attend weekly knit nights, spin, card, design and knit more in a week than I can in a day, even though I knit as much as I can, as fast as I can and put knitting very near the top of my priority list (I even knit during staff meetings).
    So I agree with the person who asked you for pointers. There’s got to be more to your success than delegating milk buying and ignoring dust bunnies. And I want to know what it is!

  258. Whups – I meant – “knit more in a day than I can in a week” – not the other way ’round! Actually, it takes me about 3 months to knit a pair of socks – you make a pair a month PLUS all the other things you knit and spin! Come clean – have you cloned yourself?

  259. I paused in the midst of my once-a-year total vacuuming to read this and laugh with joy. Even though now it’s just me and my cat, I still have to do that stuff and make art and work part-time and, well, you know. And I only do the all-out stuff once a year — if I have to. My drapes have now been de-furred, and my sense of humour restored. Hugs!

  260. I have way less on my plate than you do, and I still can’t do it all. I’ve somewhat given up, and lowered my standards, and that bugs me, but like you said, there are so many hours in the day, and I’m too old to put cleaning before family and friends and knitting and spinning and weaving and all the other things that truly make me happy. I just wish I could have a clean house, that would be nice, ya know?

  261. A thousand million thank yous. I especially related to “kicking my way to the office.” As long as the cats get fed, rubbed, and littered they don’t care how much I knit or that the knitting is everywhere.
    For some odd reason, my bra is the only thing I can find in the morning-it is always in its drawer-maybe that’s punishment for torturing me all day.
    Knit on, Sister

  262. I love you for being so real! I have an apartment full of dust buffaloes. Perhaps there’s some way to turn them into an odd art project?

  263. Bra, what bra? Another zinger post, full of the truth. Love the “voodoo cat.” What matters is what matters to you and the ones you love.
    Eve from Carlisle, MA

  264. Great post! Our place isn’t perfect but it’s (relatively) clean… okay I confess, I do like a clean sink at night. I’m lucky to be in between clients so I have some time to be knitting and tidy at the same time. I just wanted to say, some people need order… visually, at least, to feel happy. And us clean freaks aren’t all boring, I promise. The great thing is finding out what makes you happy and then surrounding yourself with it. Whether it’s mounds of yarn, or cat fuzz, or minimalism. Whatever floats your boat, honeys.

  265. I grew up in a house where the fanatic focus was on house cleaning/laundry/everything spotless. How I wish I had memories of my mom dropping the housework to do something fun. We had to completely clean our rooms and fold laundry and help do the rest of the house every Saturday before we were allowed out to play.
    Stephanie’s lesson is one I learn over and over again in my life, as I am a working single mom with a perfectionist personality. But it is a lesson well worth learning. Newly surviving cancer (last year was hell) has made a huge impact on me. Life really is short, and when I was sick I definitely was not thinking about all the floors I didn’t wash or vaccuming I didn’t do. I thought about my darling daughters and how glad I was that I had, years ago, stepped off the career track to be home with them while they were growing up. During my barrage of tests, surgeries, chemotherapy, and waiting for appointments, seeing their sweet little faces in my mind’s eye and memories, was one of the main things that got me through some tough stuff. That and knitting.
    So .. love your family, your friends, your animals, your knitting, your work, and anything else you are passionate about.
    And the cleaning service every other week is pretty good too.

  266. HIRE A HOUSEKEEPER!!!! And don’t say you can’t afford one. I have given up other things in order to hire a woman one day a week. She is marvelous!! She cleans the bathrooms, the kitchen, the baseboards, the ceiling fans. Gets the cat hair! I decided if I could get a cleaning lady for what I earn in one day, it was worth it to me. Cleaning is not a high priority with me and I just don’t get there! Takes the pressure off!

  267. Maybe someone else has mentioned this before me (I don’t have time to read all the comments, LOL), but I believe it was YOU that said, “Dusting takes same arm movement whether it’s been a week or a month!” Let the buffalo roam–they’ll keep the cat company when she’s stuck to the kitchen floor! 😛

  268. We all have times in our lives that there are more straws on the camel’s back than the camel can carry. Reading this makes me appreciate my family and friends that can help me keep my perspective and make me laugh. You’re right. We can’t do everything but we can make a stab at what matters.

  269. From one lady who can’t do it all to another… I have a suggestion about the dust buffalos (‘cuz I get them, too)… Get yourself a Roomba – you know, one of those robot vacuum cleaner thingys. Honest to the Yarn Goddess… The thing is a huge help. Totally pays for itself the first time it restores even a modicum of sanity and assuages the guilt about not vacuuming more than every 2 weeks!

  270. Today is the sort of day where I’m still in my jammies at quarter to three, so:
    Thank you.
    Thank you.
    Thank you.

  271. Thank you, thank you, thank you for saying those things. I think, as women, we all feel so much pressure to be perfect, to be good at everything. We should have a spotless house, clean well-behaved kids, a full-time meaningful career and be able to accomplish whatever other task we set ourselves, without complaining or looking tired. I’m self-employed as well, and usually have 2 or 3 contracts on the go and frankly, I just care more about hanging out with my family, getting my work done, and having some quality knitting-time that I do about dusting or washing the kitchen floor. And yet I constantly find myself apologizing to people for my house being a little messy. Like they must all be perfect and I’m not. And I swear, if I hear my sister tell me how embarrassed she is when she has to discipline her kids in the grocery store for fighting, because she feels like it must make her look like a bad mother (when, in reality, she’s usually rushing into the grocery store on the way home from work, after picking up the kids from school, and they’re tired and who’s kids don’t fight occasionally?) my head might just explode. It’s so important for women whom we admire (like you, Stephanie) to remind us from time to time that they aren’t perfect either, so that we can all just relax and forget about the dust bunnies and get on with our lives, imperfect as they all are.

  272. I call the dust dragons and happily let them embiggen themselves while I work, go to school, knit and deal with Little League (year round, hubby is a board member). And this summer, I doubt I will do much different, despite no classes, because I’d rather read a few books that have nothing to do with my degree. LOL
    You are an inspiration. Thank you!

  273. Advice about “doing it all” I would give after I echoed “You can’t!” from times the light bulb has gone on for me:
    Flylady says that perfectionism is a form of self-abuse. Love yourself enough to figure out what’s really important and let the rest go.
    Make lists and prioritize. David Allen says our brain is like a RAM computer: it will only hold just so much. Making a list gets it out of RAM where you can deal with it (or chose not to).
    “Conquering Chronic Disorganization” by Judith Kolberg helped me get organized using *my learning style” (which is not what I thought it was).
    Know you’re not alone, nor is this new. I began making attitude adjustments in 1978 when I had an infant and 2 outrageous teenagers and read “The Creative Woman’s Getting-it-all-Together At Home Handbook” (1975). In it Jean Ray Laury wrote about an artist-mom, who said “This morning, just as I was trying to get the kids breakfast, make coffee for my husband, see that lunch was in the refrigerator and gather my class materials, my mother-in-law dropped in. She walked in (gingerly), looked around the kitchen floor and observed, “You know, Marilyn, over at your sister-in-law’s you could just eat off the floor. I looked up and said to her, “Oh you can eat off the floor here too, you know…look, there are some raisins, here are some cracker crumbs, a little dog food, and there’re some Cheerios.”
    Whoa! I realized I’d unconsciously built the mother-in-law into my head (shudder)! When did this get to be *my* job, not *our* job?
    I continue to make attitude adjustments. It keeps me satisfied and contented with my life at 72. Who’d have thought I’d ever be able to write that!? 🙂

  274. Woman, if you’re that worried about where your bra is (NOT), at least have fun with it…go knit yourself one!

  275. Can’t wait for the new book.
    I always think that when people say “I don’t know how you do it all”, what they are really saying is “how can I be happy? You seem to be happy, so tell me how to do it.” And a lot of time what they are asking is “How do I get a Joe?” I don’t know if you are happy but you are definitely funny and I appreciate the joy your writing adds to my life. The theme that comes through most for me in your writings like this one (and the one where the woman asked you how you could go away from your kids for work) is that you expect the adults in your life to behave like adults, yourself included. For me that’s what makes you an inspiration.
    “Life size voodoo cat” – I’m going to be happy all day.

  276. Put me down for one more, “Amen, Sister.” I took the day off work today. My boss–also a wife and mother–asked me if I was going to do something fun. To which I replied, “No, I just need to try to get my house in some sort of order before it falls down.” And she said, “Could you swing by my house when you’re done?”

  277. I HATE dusting. You do it toda and then you have to do it again tomorrow. I have my husband of 30 years convinced that Dust Protects the Finish. Also, if he wants the dust removed, he should go ahead and remove it.

  278. I totally agree with you Steph. The day my husband called me ‘just a woman, and go bake something’ – I heard a big SNAP in my head.
    The housework was not important; – only my 2 boys, my friends, and my hobbies=knitting, swimming, yoga, and LIFE !!!!

  279. Great post, Stephanie. It made me think of a day years ago when I was taking a Saturday class to brush up for an entrance exam for a university program. My husband looked after our two young children for about 6 hours (he rarely did this, he was great on doing housework, but the kids were my job). When I got home, he told me it had been a good day and he’d gotten a lot done. I asked him what he’d done. He said, “Well, I . . .” and then a strange look came over his face. He couldn’t think of a single thing he’d accomplished, even though he’d been busy all day. That was the end of the “Why isn’t such and such done, what have you been doing all day?” comments.
    I did get into the univ. program, and at one point I realized I needed to spend all day both Sat. and Sun. in the library to finish a paper. When I came home on Sunday evening, there was a fire in the fireplace and the children were bathed and ready for bed. My husband met me at the door with a glass of wine and led me to a seat by the fireplace. It was a very satisfying moment, and I realized that the muggles can learn, after all, once they’ve had the experience.
    Rave on!

  280. You are a huge inspiration to me, and it is my goal to be self-employed, doing what I love, just like you. You’re so wonderfully real and human, and that’s what we love about you. My house already has dust-buffalos, so I really hope that if I attain my self-employment goals, I’ll make enough to afford a cleaning lady!

  281. And I can’t wait for the BOOK!!!! I’ve had mine pre-purchased for a long time!

  282. At the bookstore today, I saw the magazine Where Women Create, and I thought of you and this post. I’m guessing that the Pearl-McPhee household is not next up for that magazine, huh? Actually, the whole concept of that magazine seems slightly fraudulent to me. Women who actually create stuff also have time to create cozy, colorful, creative spaces for themselves to be creative in? I kinda doubt it. I create amidst dust and piles of books. So do most people I know.

  283. Steph, I love you. I may not knit like a fiend or even get a chance to do it every day, but what you’ve said here is exactly what I need to remember. The only yard(meter?)stick I need to measure myself by is my own. Thanks for reminding me.

  284. When people ask me how I find time to knit – I just tell them that I always find time to do the things I like. Like baking, knitting, napping….and sometimes I might decide that I want to vaccum too!

  285. We call them dust Harveys in our house, and yup, they are left to sit there and grow bigger while we do what really matters.

  286. I’m tremendously fond of Heather Bishop’s tune (in French; she’s from Manitoba yet makes the effort, bless her) in which she describes her dust…sheep.
    Which of course sound tremendous in French.
    Les moutons.
    I think we share a certain set of priorities, and it makes me happy.
    Thank you for the books and the blogging, and the family and these times you write about!

  287. Four words, Get A Cleaning Lady. Works for me even though I don’t have your busy life, I can’t imagine life without one…ciao

  288. Another “Amen” from this corner. Re: dust: if it sits long enough, it is easier to dispose of since it can just be rolled up like lint from the dryer (ask me how I know).

  289. Thank you. I needed to read precisely these words at precisely this juncture. Thank you.

  290. This is fantastic! My favorite is the milk. Also, reading the comments helps cement it’s a wide spread sentiment. Having two wee boys, dyeing yarn at home, on and on and on it’s hard to keep the shit together. Currently there are 5 loads of laundry to be folded, clean dishes to put away and dirty ones to be washed. Piles of junk everywhere! But I finished reading Anne of the Island and knitted on the shawl in the sun while the boys played. I’m sure I’ll remember that more than having a clean house. And really, with a 1 and 3 year old boys how can you have a clean house? Thank you for being real

  291. Thank you for your honesty! You’ve helped countless women who read your blog to smile at their dust bunnies or dust buffaloes.

  292. Well said.
    If any woman with a family, house, full time job (yours is writing), part time job (for you: sock summit, etc) finds the secret to a clean house that doesn’t involve employing a cleaner and living off take-away, I wish she’d share it. Me, I just want to be inocculated with a tidiness gene.
    You’ve only got one life. Dusting is not a priority.
    – Pam

  293. Don’t do it all perfectly; be you; we all love you. And dust buffalo, singular? I could show you a stampeding herd. And thanks for reminding me about the milk. Making a shopping list now.

  294. I loved this post and laughed out loud. I have to share it with my sister, who is not a knitter, but I’m sure will appreciate it nonetheless.

  295. You are my hero – in knitting and in attitude. We will be remembered for what did not what we left undone when we do what’s important. I juggle a lot and occasionally spend several days shoveling out – okay, that’s fine. Life is short, knit much!

  296. This brought tears of joy to my eyes. Which is nice, because the blurry vision makes my own dust buffalo less noticeable.

  297. sometimes i sing this to myself to remind me not to fret:
    oh give me a home,
    where the dust buffalo roam,
    and the puppas and kittas play,
    where seldom is heard that vacuuming word,
    and the knitting needles click away all day…..
    just added one more to our black and white pet menagerie. the downstairs of our house resembles the great plains…..

  298. I admit I’ve always been envious of your knitting & writing abilites…the fun your family has. But now, I have to also be envious of the fact you can go w/o your bra? Life just isn’t fair!! LOL!!

  299. Bless that admiring fan (who you entirely deserve by the way), and bless you for the honesty and great good sense.
    The most treasured bit of advice my Mother ever gave me, despite always seeming rather dismayed at my chaotic domestic arrangements, was that the housework would still be there if and when I got home/around to it, patiently – loyally even – waiting, and never to worry about it.

  300. Amen. I especially agree that others are capable to enter a grocery store and buy some milk or toilet paper, when needed. Now, I think the last time my husband was in a grocery store was in the late 1980s. (seriously.)

  301. I haven’t read all the comments you have received, but I am sure most of them have said what I am going to: Join the Group! When people say, How do you do it all? I respond with, I don’t keep house!

  302. Once upon a time I homeschooled my kids. I used to get the “I don’t know how you do it all.” comment all the time. I finally did a blog post literally listing all of the things that I didn’t have the time, energy, or desire to do. I think it was liberating for women to realize that there is no way you are ever going to do it all.
    Also, you can do a lot, but you can’t do it all at the same time and in the same stage of life. Now that I’m not actively nursing or carrying a fetus, I have a lot more time to knit! Hooray for babies who grow!

  303. You’re still awesome. I may have only met you once and chatted via email a couple of times but I love you, all the same. I think I would even if none of those things had happened – and really, they were minor – because you just so totally rock. So go on with your bad self and your dust buffalos!
    It just occurred to me that I don’t know if ‘go on with your bad self’ was a saying in Canada like it was here 30 years. If it wasn’t, an explanation: bad means good.

  304. THANK YOU for posting this. Seriously. I work a full time job AND try to help my husband run a business. My house is covered in dog hair, my dishes are rarely all clean, and laundry is that pile in the corner of my bedroom where I’m (mostly) sure it’s all clean. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one.

  305. Amen! My priorities exactly. I figure that at the end of my life I will be happier if I have read more books, knitted more, spun more fiber, spent time with friends and family, than having a house beautiful. But we are all different and each person has different priorities. The important thing is to know what you care about and do it with passion!

  306. Yeah, I work from home as well. At least that’s where the paperwork is born. I’m a community health nurse. If I don’t do the office stuff, it looks like my patient died or at the very least, that I don’t care. Not true. I always care, just not about the paperwork so much. Would it look bad it I said I’d rather be knitting (or spinning, or felting, or weaving…) I don’t even want to talk about the stuff growing in the back of my refrigerator. I’m proud to say that none of my patient’s died or got sicker because I finished that last row.

  307. I’ll match my dust buffalo against yours any day. When I vacuumed our bedroom last week (and I only did it because we were going to have house guests for the weekend) I was vacuuming up large chunks of dog hair from Bear, our 17-yo dog that was sent to the great dog house in the sky in mid-January. The week before I had vacuumed the cat hair off my chair, and it was the first time in months that I had been able to knit without picking balls of cat fur out of my yarn.
    I need a maid.

  308. Just, simply, thank you. This could not have come at a better time. For THIS, you are my inspiration.

  309. That was the most gratifying commentary on “not doing it all”. You said it perfectly. This is a conversation I have with my sister often. We get caught up in thoughts about the woman who are organized, clean kitchens, etc and then we remember that we’d rather be knitting and spending time with family and friends.
    Thanks for stating so perfectly. I think I may frame your words and point to them the next time my kids say, “there is no good food in the house”.
    Have a great day! (and I’m looking forward to your next book)

  310. Thankyou. Thankyou. Thankyou. Why are high school home economics teachers not teaching us this when we are 16?

  311. I think my daughter sent this to me for a reason. I will admit I am one of those over achievers. My house is fairly organized but I knit when I want to and I quilt when I want to and my family gets the benefits of my doing so …maybe I should tell you I only have 2 cats and me the rest of my family is spread all over. Maybe when I live closer to them I’ll be a little less organized

  312. here here!!! and I’m happy that I’ve raised my three and loved my man….they know me and I know them.
    This was certainly a teary-eyed start to my morning, as after reading this, I went pish! to all the appologies I’ve made in my head for the messiness of our house.
    Homes are for free expression,
    NOT for good impressions.
    Don’t know where I got this, but it’s posted on the wall above my computer so I don’t get so down on myself.

  313. …Steph
    Because out small house is not ours (a rental) we have to at least try to keep the dust buffaloos from getting so big they scare the voodoo cat hair balls our two cats emit from fighting.
    There are days when it just gets to be to dangerous and I do attack them. But, other than that, I would rather knit, spin, talk to my hubby and get ready to go to Canada….

  314. I sometimes think that those women who can ‘do it all’ have a family terrified of her, and they take care of a lot of tasks and errands out of fear. (Good old fashioned top-down hierarchy, as opposed to community.)

  315. you stated, “I don’t know how all this looks through the lens of the blog.”
    to which I answer in Rav’s LSG vernacular,
    I love you so hard right now. 😀
    This blog post validates me in so many of my choices. You have changed my self image for the better since you began blogging!

  316. Hooray! You put into words exactly what I am feeling this afternoon. My little girls will remember Mommy spending time with them snuggling and playing outside, but they won’t remember how often I mop the floor.

  317. AHA-HA-HA-HA!! Thank you for making me laugh; let’s hear it for minimum standards and lower expectations! Mother was a “clean freak”, and we were never really close after she figured I was tall enough to stand on a chair to do the dishes. My daughter & I are best buds, especially now that she’s grown. Yes, let’s set human priorites, let’s try not to stress over harmless dust buffaloes.

  318. Surrounded as I am by over-achieving, highly-driven people and having a self esteem that is extremely influenced by outside forces (or what I think the outside forces are thinking…a crazy cycle, I know) you remind me to remember that not all priorities are mine (thank GOD!) and that all people have stuff and my family is happy and my knitting is happy and my dog is happy and so are the dust buffaloes roaming the vast prairie that is under my bed. And that might be the longest sentence I’ve written in an equally long time. And bras are highly overrated. Although trying on one that promises to increase your cup size by 2 sizes is a very cheap form of entertainment…

  319. I’ve been letting your post and the comments marinate over the weekend ….
    Many of us spend a lot of time inwardly feeling like failures because they aren’t “doing it all,” focusing on the shiny veneer on others’ lives and feeling small in comparison. What we often don’t realize is that some of these same people are looking at us and thinking the same thing.
    It’s so much easier to admit our foibles and celebrate honestly how well we’re doing, whether it’s at knitting or writing or keeping our homes clean or just managing to get up in the morning and find matching socks.
    Thank you for helping us all feel like people defining our own priorities, not failures.

  320. Perfect. I, too, have had people ask how I do it all, and of course I tell them: “I don’t!” My house looks like wild monkeys live here (I have two small boys, so in a sense, wild monkeys *do* live here). I had a friend ask whether our hard wood floors collected dust and so did I dust mop them once or twice a day? I couldn’t stop laughing long enough to answer…

  321. That’s why we all have different priorities as you mentioned. I usually ask myself “How important is it?” and most times I can convince myself that the housework can wait – and pick up my knitting!!

  322. So happy you are managing as well as you do. I really enjoy your blog. I congratulate you on knowing where priorities should lie for yourself. Self knowledge is a wonderful accomplishment in life. Knit on.

  323. I don’t remember when it was; but I read something you wrote (maybe here, maybe in a book) about how cleaning house wasn’t at the top of your priority list. In fact, that there were all kinds of things above it on the list…. and I have to thank you for that. My house is messy, I just live that way. I’ve been known to get it all tidy when I’m having a few folks over; but for my family and friends they just have to deal with it. I get crap from them all the time about being messy. Honestly, you freed me from feeling guilty all the freaking time because my table had stuff on it, or my laundry wasn’t all put away, or my kitchen floor needed mopping.
    Thanks. Seriously.

  324. Yarn Harlot…I have just found your blog…I don’t know where I’ve been. I’ve been reading the archives for a few weeks now and I have you to thank for multiple guffaws, snorts, and multiple read-alouds to my office-mates on lunch break. And, thanks to you, while knitting fairly non-stop for the last decade or so, I am now knitting my second pair of socks. I am now a believer.
    Thank you!

  325. Wow, I needed to read this post. I have four kiddos under 4 and I work fulltime. My house looks like…well you can imagine. And the fact that my husband is home all day with the kids only makes things even more hectic….We clean and like magic it gets dirty again.
    I am constantly asking myself, “What is the point of cleaning up for it to just get dirty?”
    This post helped me realize…I need to change my perspective. I’ve been cleaning less, but beating myself up on the inside for not having the tidy house I had prekids.
    Now…I think I’ll go home and knit and play and leave the guilt behind. Thanks for the inspiration fellow clutter bug 🙂

  326. Do guys ever have it this hard?
    I sometimes feel disappointed when I read about the situations that women in my chosen career (PhD in Engineering) face, and I really hope hope hope that I don’t have to put up with the same things.
    16 hour days of work hurt, and it must be really hard since Joe is in the same situation.
    My fiance and I invite people over every so often so we have to clean the house. We seldom clean it for just ourselves.
    Molly : )

  327. Ironically, as I was reading the wonderful comments to your amazing post, I burned half of dinner. Sometimes the universe sends us multiple messages!

  328. Brilliant entry, absolutely brilliant. And I say this after a 15-hour workday that was punctuated by a stop at a coffee shop in between meetings to…knit.
    And I made our *houseguest* buy the toilet paper over the weekend. He called from the grocery store — what was I supposed to do? Say no?
    I think not.

  329. Apparently, as evidenced by the 404 comments above me, WE ARE NOT ALONE. Why do we think that everyone else has a home cleaner than ours? (My mother’s house, is of course, the exception; it is ALWAYS clean.) People see the whiteboard in my kitchen with my grocery list and weekly meal plan and say, ‘Oh, you’re so organized!’ and I laugh because that meal plan is a week old and I have been giving my kids shelf-stable almond milk in their oatmeal because I haven’t been to the grocery in ten days.
    It’s good to be among friends.

  330. I am recently divorced, facing foreclosure on my house, have 3 kids from 2nd grade to 9th, am recovering from a devastating injury after 2 years of PT, moving in a month to a temporary field study, moving back(?) (whatever that means) to the area for another school year in August, studying for the GRE to get into grad school, keeping the 160 yr old house looking “perfect” for house showings, and cleaning out 7 acres and 4 barns worth of my ex’s crap while trying not to break down hysterically, and planning my soon-to-be-8 year old’s birthday party. Right now.At least, exams are over.
    I am just crying with gratitude. Because we are out of milk, bread, and I made lunches with halves of steak rolls for school today. I have to run to the bank and return overdue books and pay missed band uniform fees, and then the kids come home and the driving starts.
    I needed to hear your words today. As the unopened mail piles up and I have no grocery list planned and the rain keeps making the weeds grow higher.
    Thank you so much!

  331. When the day comes that I leave this life, my gravemarker will NOT say, “I wish I had kept a cleaner house.”
    Long live the dust buffalo!

  332. Did you hear that? That was the standing ovation here at my loving, messy house! Bravo Steph! Bravo!

  333. Well, I was just wondering over here why I can’t do it all, and you’ve made me feel better. Thank you.
    My favorite sports bra was missing for a week. Turns out I’ve got DH or kiddo (who knows who it was?) so well trained, he hung it up to dry because it was a bra! (There’s no padding so it would have been fine in the dryer. I just assumed it would come back from the dryer. Nope. Don’t change the rule, though; that would confuse!)
    Bravo to you and your dust buffaloes.

  334. Thank you SOOO much for writing this – now I know I’m not alone, and can go and enjoy my day in a happy place filled with yarn, paper, glue and creativity (that is, after I’ve gone to buy the milk!)

  335. People always comment on our house being so clean, but what they don’t notice is that we hardly have anything. Funny how getting rid of/not having much stuff = clean!
    I’ve got as many icky spots to clean in my house as the next gal, but I also choose others and other things over cleaning. Such an encouraging reminder to focus on what we decide is important in life!

  336. Are there any corrections for the Snowdrop Shawl?
    I just started it…
    On Chart 1, 2nd row from top – left – 8th stitch -there seems to be a ‘chicken foot’ stitch that doesn’t have a corresponding one on the right.
    Should they be ‘evened up’?
    Should I disregard the one on the left?
    Or just leave it? But that seems uneven to me.

  337. I couldn’t quite get past the photo of the skeins, which are mesmerizing. That’s the kind of skein that sits in my stash forever, because nothing is good enough to knit with it. However, I think the shawl was worth it. Absolutely stunning! Great job, start to finish.

  338. they get ripe–takes 5-8 weeks. I wear one of my two bras into the shower when we both get dirty–I leave it there to dry. Not having a TV leaves all sorts of time for life.

  339. YAY Stephanie!! You’re juggling just fine (and I’m sure Ron would take the buffalo off your hands if you asked……haha)

  340. I am a few days behind in my reading — Dave had to have hand surgery.
    I really needed to read this.
    I did not read all 420 comments, so someone else may have said this. But. To those who ask ME “how do you do it all” (and I’m not even famous, I just try to juggle my household, my business, eldercare and a few other responsibilities) …
    I always answer:
    “Nobody ever asks a man that question, do they?”
    Because a man is not supposed to juggle work, home responsibilities, taxes, pay the bills, do the bookkeeping, be the taxi driver, remember the birthdays, care for elders and kids, write lovely thank you notes, go to the bank, go to the post office, fuel up the car, walk the dog and ALSO care if there is dust under the couch and give a damn whether or not there is enough milk for people who are damn well old enough to go to the store and get it for themselves.

  341. I’ve really never understood those people who want to “have it all”. It’s always seemed like the “it” in the phrase refers more to “the responsibilities” and less to anything anyone would want. Kudos to you for figuring out a system that works for you, and ignoring any naysayers out there.

  342. Here’s an NPR article about a British short story where the man is worrying about things.
    This is the part that made me think of your post:
    “Actually, the worrying — that’s the real work, annoyingly,” she says. “It’s not doing the stuff, is it? The actual work is the thinking and the feeling.”
    Of course, some men may be perfectly happy to help — stopping by the grocery store, for instance. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that the worrying is equally distributed. And Simpson says that brings a chance to turn the tables a bit.
    “It’s fun. Just try it for a couple of days,” Simpson says. “Just role-play, don’t announce it. Just see what happens — you know, if when people say, ‘Oh, where is the milk?’ and you look slightly puzzled, and say, ‘Oh, I don’t know. Where is the milk?’
    “And just leave it. Because eventually someone will have to buy it.”

  343. I laughed until I cried, recognizing how much we expect and how little we can actually get done.

  344. I just wanted to say that I’ve come back to read this post at least twice more now after having bad days of trying to do it all, or at least most of it. Thanks.

Comments are closed.