Spring here means everything needs to be done at once. Weeding, taking care of baby animals, and preparing for gardening season absorb most of my energy, but there’s still all that basic life stuff that needs doing – family time, groceries must be bought, dishes, laundry, meal preparation, errands…none of that goes away.
I outsource 2 major to-dos in my life – summer lawn care, and the big housekeeping work. While doing them both myself would save me about $3000 dollars a year, I invest in these items for a reason – my lawn is huge, my tractor is ancient and perpetually breaking down, my tractor skills are lacking, I don’t really enjoy mowing or weed whacking, and my weekend time is pretty compressed anyway. As the only adult living on the premises, I have to make choices. For me, it’s a spend that allows me to spend more time doing the things I want to do.
Same with having the house cleaned every 2 weeks. It doesn’t last, and of course I end up wiping down surfaces and vacuuming in between, but it does mean that I don’t ever have to scrub the bathtub out, and for the most part, I don’t mop floors. These are two areas I consider drudgery, and I pay to have them handled.
Everything else though, is either me, or my small army of amazing volunteers. My neighbors plow me out in the winter. I weed and plant incessantly, and feed and water animals twice a day (I also feed and water the smallish people, but not so much on chicken and duck feed). My ex does major yard cleanup, leaf blowing, and the occasional assembly of things, as I am schematically challenged, to put it nicely. One of the moms helps me prep and paint. I’m so lucky to have a lot of support.
Still, this time of year requires ruthless prioritization. Stuff has to get in the ground. Weeds spring up overnight. When the CSA kicks in come early June, Friday evenings post-pizza will be spent processing foods and planning meals based on what bounty was available. I’m pushing to try to get my guest room painted and set up, as it’s been a storage hole for over a year, and I’m sick of looking at it.
And the smallish humans require attention too – generally, and for all of the end of school year activities that start up around this time. This year both kids are transitioning to new schools, so graduations and celebrations abound. There’s also a lot of daily mediation required, such as around the screaming fight that broke out over who sings ‘What the World Needs Now Is Love, Sweet Love‘ better on the ride to school yesterday. At least the irony was amusing, if not the assault on my ears.
I employ a multi-step evaluation process at this time of year in order to figure out what I should be doing. Like the old-fashioned structure pioneer women used to define their priorities, this decision tree is invaluable if you are not sure where to put your energy. It’s perhaps not as simple as:
Wash on Monday,
Iron on Tuesday,
Bake on Wednesday,
Brew on Thursday,
Churn on Friday,
Mend on Saturday,
Go to meeting on Sunday
But it is clearly the modern equivalent. I mean, I don’t have a butter churn or actually know how to make beer, and I don’t go to any meetings on Sunday, mostly preferring not actually interact with people on weekends. Ironing is definitely a non-standard activity as well. But otherwise, exactly the same.