2:30 AM

Erasing Time

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

Have you ever wished time did not exist?

Have you ever felt there were just not enough hours in the day?

Me too. I think I'm in the middle of a quarter-century life crisis. My previous "Bad Mother Award" Post was just the tip of the iceberg. There is sooo much more. And it all has to do with time.

I've heard about some people having mental breakdowns. I'm not sure what that entails but I sure do feel I've had one everyday this week. I feel I have 50 million projects on my head and they all need to be done simultaneously and thus they all get half-done. Everything in my life only gets half my attention. I have no more time to give it except for that. Thus my mental breakdowns. I'm sick of everything being halves and not wholes. I just can't handle it anymore.

The problem starts with what I perceive to be an, immodestly put, Brilliant Idea. I MUST do this Brilliant Idea NOW! Thus I push everything else back to the waiting shelf while I tinker on it. But that darn shelf is sooo overloaded already with shelved things and people that things start popping off and bonking me on the head forcing me to deal with them and interrupting my present tinkering. Well today as I threw cooking stuffed tomatoes and bell peppers onto the shelf while taking down the vacuum cleaner, because Hubby popped off the shelf bonking me on the head to remind me to do it, the whole freaking shelf gave a mighty groan and broke to smithereens. And let me tell you, the crap that came rolling off that shelf was not a pretty picture. Now I am chin-high in all the ideas I've ever had for my life and no where to put them.

Are you with me now on the level of my mental breakdown?
I spent the day lolling around not knowing what to do with myself. Every time I looked around at the pile I'd pick up something interesting and turn it around in the gleam of my eye but then with everything piled around it it no longer seemed to hold it's appeal. My kids of course having their own labeled stairs and slide up and down that shelf could tell it was broken and were happy to run amok no longer having to be told to wait a moment while Mommy does this or that. So they ran amok throwing my shelved items hither and thither. My friend here in Al-Ain called in the middle of this shelf collapse. Wanted to know if I wanted to meet her at al-Ain Mall. I looked around at my invisible mess, my physical mess the kids made, and the fact that it would take us a half an hour to get there and told her the truth about the time. She said by that time she would have left the mall so there was no point to bother for now. *sigh* ahh...alhamdulillah said my mind as I hung up. It would have been awkward anyways with me so messed up mentally to make good conversation. I don't think I would have withstood the pressure of acting normal. I would have broke down crying in the middle of BabyShop's Super Sale bemoaning my broken shelf for all and sundry to hear. Yeah soooo glad I was able to keep it in the house.
I messaged my husband a few times about the state of my mind: not good. In the evening he finally called me and offered to take us out for dinner since it was an emergency day.

Mentally for me this was like I just went shopping for new shelf supplies, stronger brackets, bigger screws, a power drill, a slab of steel for the shelf instead of wood. I now had the tools.

So Hubby surprised me with taking us to Pizza Hut. Better yet was when my son fell asleep for the entire meal! Those of you with kids, yes I hear your hisses of envy. Daughter contented herself with discovering the joys of the Parmesan Cheese shaker and trying to copy her father's eating habits. Which left Hubby and I to start building my shelf. Deciding what should go back on the shelf and what should be tossed in the trash, what needed to be organized into boxes and put to sit, and which priorities should be on the actual to-do list. I guess it was almost like a Spring Cleaning of my life.

I have to focus first and foremost on Islam. Because first I am a Muslim, plain and simple.

Next I am myself. I have to take care of myself as in clothes, showers, grooming, weight, etc...

Third and Fourth tie as I am a Wife and Mother. I have to do what wifely things need to be done like the ever difficult for me cleaning and cooking etc... and for the children the Homeschooling and playing and giving love etc...

Now Fifth and so on are where it became hard to make decisions and I felt like that power drill just wasn't gonna be able to fix my shelf after all.
Who am I?
What am I?
A writer?
A designer?
A landscaper?
A blogger?
A business CEO?
An Artist?
Which ones goes to #5?
WHICH ONE!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!?!
The choices!

I talked about each subject with my Husband and even asked my daughter's input. I got a few leads but will have to continue this on another post....

For now I will just say the shelf is THERE again, waiting......

16 intelligent thoughts:

Faith in Writing said...

I loved this post!!!

To be honest with you, I think I had a crisis like this, for MOST OF LAST YEAR!! I was a first time mum, I was dealing with my rubics cube of a husband, I was dealing with the juggling act that is cleaning(or not, lol), mothering, wifing and writing. I was writing 4 books and didn't know which one to devote my newly precious spare time to.

And then my father in law's death sorted it all out for me. I just thought, ok, I've gotta work out what is most important and work on that in my limited life time. It took me a long time to incorporate the cleaning thing, as it seems so back seat compared to creative pursuits which can be so demanding, especially when ideas come to you suddenly, but i've got it happening at last, i think.

So, I ended up with this:
-I feed me and baby girl as soon as we get up, change her nappy
-I try to vaguely clean up the house by 10am. That means, the kitchen is washed up and tidy, clothes have been cleared from the bathroom and I've put a load of washing on.
-Then, with some sort of order in the house I start on my writing. I write for 2-3 hours, playing with my daughter as she wants me, but she plays nearby me a lot now too.
-Then I try to shove something together for dinner about 3pm. I end up showering anywhere from midday to 3pm, sometimes even after my hub comes home from work after 4. But I think you've just got to start with the basics in the house and it clears the rest of your mind. Otherwise you're sitting there looking around at the mess and saying to yourself :OH MY GOD!!! It's like a hurricane has hit!! How embarrassed would I be if anyone came to the door.
-Also, I think just designate one day a week to cleaning the house. I try to do the floors on a Wednesday now, and it's working out ok. I also make sure no clean washing is left in baskets and is put away that day, so at least there is one day of tidiness!! lol.

And as for the writing, I know you want to do a million things at once. I can see that just from your list of blogs. I'm even just doing one blog now although I have 2 -feel free to look at my cleaning blog anytime, it may amuse you, but I don't want to make your shelf any heavier :)

My advice with the writing though is to just pick one thing you want to concentrate on, and trust that God will give you what you need for the other projects at another time. I work on Word and have other windows open all the time while I'm writing my book, where i just jot down the ideas for the other stories until I can get to them later (Ie: next year maybe!!).
And in my current Word doc I always, always make notes for things to add etc in red text, then as i scroll through i can see where i need to add things or go to another part and add something there.

Just make it as simple for yourself as you can.

Be the Muslim you need to be first, then be the other things, then for number 5, JUST PICK ONE for now. Pick one and achieve what you desire in that, and then go to the others later. Decide what you really want to do NOW and do that. Maybe move some of the stuff on your "shelf" into a box for a while and close it up, put it in mental storage... away from you.

And, yes, I always crave for no time. Time IS the enemy, but I guess without it we wouldn't be so driven to achieve anything, because then we would be limitless.

Lisa said...

Dearest Brandy,

I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss you terribly recently Brandy. But, I knew in my heart that you were also finding it difficult to manage time, and I worried a little that you were overwhelmed with homeschool, pirate short stories, and landscaping. And I'm glad you let the intense blogging take a backseat. This really is a job in itself. Know that we'll always be waiting right here for you!

And it's funny, but just a few months ago, didn't it seem like you had tons of time for things? But, once you stop blogging as much, you get so far behind, that it's hard to jump back in. And maybe the Spring months bring us out of winter's darkness, and we just want to gravitate to wide open outdoor spaces. And just be.

One of the things I've noticed is that on some days I'll visit all 250 blog links, dear Brandy. And post on all three of my blogs. And comment on comments. And then the day will be over.

When that day ends, I still haven't found a job. I haven't left the marriage. Youssef is no better off.

So I've been re-evaluating, and trying to spend at least one day a week completely blog-free. Baby steps.

I don't blame you one bit for having a breakdown over the broken shelf. I think most of us would have taken a few hours to peel ourselves off the bathroom floor after something like that. And imagining your level or organization Brandy, it couldn't be easy to watch the kids trampling over things you made such an effort to keep dusted and placed neatly.

I think the first priority must be what makes you happy for #5. Are you happier landscaping or writing for instance? Is money a consideration?

Blogging if it makes you in any way sad, should take a backseat. And for that matter, so should anything that you find unfulfilling or stressful.

I have been creating 2 goals per week in my journal. And that seems to be working a little better than the days when I tried to do 50 things at once.

I do think you can have it all. But, everything in moderation.

For the cooking, look for some time-saving methods. Do an easier, but seemingly difficult Salmon in Reynolds wrap bag. A crock pot with pot roast or beef/lamb stew that requires basic assembly, and then gives the house a great smell all day.

For the kids, do things in advance. Freeze things that can be thawed during homeschool.

One of my favorite things is when I make roasted chicken, I always freeze chicken stock for soup later on. I always have it on hand, and just need to cut veggies.

For the cleaning, make a schedule to do just a little everyday. And then have one big cleaning day, maybe on husband's off day when he could potentially go out and play with the kids. Get some supplies that speed the process like Swiffer. When you are talking on the phone with your friends, just walk around and dust.

You are so great with multi-tasking, I know you can do it, dearest one.

I've never liked to be overly scheduled, but last week I finally started "scheduling" blogging and other activities.

I really believe that you can do it all Brandy. You have a supportive husband. You have wonderful children. And you always have Allah.

We will always be right here. I love you endlessly.

Safiyyah said...

Salaams Dear:

I, too, love this post. Excellent imagery and metaphor :)

Everyone has given you excellent feedback dear sister. A person who has ADD/ADHD will from time to time experience this. When these times come up, you must always go back to the drawing board. In your words, figure what will come back on the shelf.

For real: will the WHOLE WORLD fall apart if you don't do certain things? We must prioritize. Wish lists are nice. I have a very long one. I'll probably never get them done, or maybe I will ... but the point is that I don't pressure myself.

My friends say, "When are you going to do this...or that." My response, "Ah, some day." lol

Don' let people places and things rent space in your head.

My biggest advice is ONE BLOG! Well, okay, maybe 2 - the All Muslimah one.

Love you Brandy!

Mrs. S said...

I suggest taking the IBM approach my Egyptian friends recommend...Inshallah. Bokra. Ma'alesh.

I'm a super control freak and I try and keep this in mind whenever I start stressing out over things I can't control (like getting stuck on the subway or not calling my MIL because I'm swamped at work). A) I get a good laugh, because I think of my uber-laid back friends, B) It puts in perspective that Allah wills (or not) all things and with his grace we have tomorrow and C) If there is no tomorrow then it’s okay, because…fish naseeb.

You’re amazing, Ms. Brandy, and I only wish I could be as 1/10 as creative as you!

3rd... said...

I never was able to understand how is the world you were able to read through all the blogs, write multiple blogs of your own, reply all the mail, AND lead a real life (I mean the life we all lead outside cyberworld).

I can't find the time to do all the things on my shelf, and I haven't even got kids. So please recognize how much of the things you want to do you already DO manage to do.. I think its really mindboggling!

Anonymous said...

I know this doesn't apply directly to this post, but I read some of the others.

And, obviously, you don't need ANOTHER thing to take up time, BUUUUUT...

I found this blog and it's helped keep me in perspective about life - we are never the ONLY person struggling with something or doing something or feeling like we're not good enough.

So, if you ever need a boost up and need to know that other moms are doing things that they can't believe, just visit this site:

I hope it helps!

PerplxinTexan♥ said...

After a recent occurrence with my MSA and the an ex-best friend who resurfaced on Thursday I had a breakdown.

An actual breakdown tears, sobs, no appetite- the works. Being sick didn't help of course. It's those moments where you think "why me" or perhaps "if only I could re-do..." those foolish moments of weakness, moments if being ungrateful. I too am guilty of such claims. Of course I slept of the confusing tangle of pain and awoke with clarity. I think to myself now would I appreciate the moments I now have if it wasn't for the moments I had then? Most certainly not.

Sometimes life sucks but, it takes some good to make bad and some bad for satisfaction. Every moment is worth having, and that's why Allah swt has given them to us. There is not rose which does not come from thorn and no thorn that does not come from roses. You hate some moments but, it's those moments that make you appreciate those which we love.

Like my daddy used to joke with us 'from sh*t comes flowers.'

Anonymous said...

Been there...done that! After awhile I just felt like I was spinning my wheels. I have a husband, children, I am Muslim and my faith demands time and attention too. One day I just rebelled and said no more! I am not going to try and do everything anymore. What I learned is that when I am thinking of a project or new idea I ask myself how it benefits my life TODAY. That benefit could be that something makes me happy-simple as that. I know as a Muslim that I am not promised tomorrow so I'd better be living in today. As a result, I have taken a complete uturn and found out things about myself that I did not know existed. For example, I am happy when I cook a new dish at home, when I CAN wear a favorite dress, try a new lipstick color (in my home of course) and just spend time rolling around on the floor with my kids. I am much happier now doing a whole lot less!

Anonymous said...

Who you are can not be summed up with the labels that exist outside of yourself: writer, designer, blogger, artist: all labels and things you do but not who you are. We human beings tend to want to attach these labels to ourselves to show the world our talents and prove our importance but what we miss is that WE ARE ALREADY IMPORTANT. Who you are is within you.

Anonymous said...

Hey Brandy,
you know I tried to figure out how to be a follower of your blog so I don't always have to post anonymous anymore but I can't find your follow button. I tried subscribe but it always says that page no longer exists? Weird right? So anyway, I have a blog I started on here now so check it out maybe we can communicate that way.

Anonymous said...

Asalamu Walaikum Sis,
Wondering if you would like to participate in this carnival:

Anonymous said...


Ya Allah i need help and need it bad......i have difficulty managing things with new born twins..... an running 2 bizness's......not to mention writing a novel.......when you said that thing about never being born ..........i thought that same thing today.........

the most underated job in the world is being a mother......

as usual cant finsih tyoing what i wanted to type....

someone needs my

i have turned into a cow......

Daud Khan said...

Salam alaikum wa rahmatoolah sister.

Congratulations for your blog! I have just put a link for you in mine.I think I can learn a lot in your page. Thankyou for your sincerity, your words and all your work in the path of Allah. I ask to Allah to him acept it from you.

Fee aman il-lah. Peace and Blessings upon you.

Anonymous said...

Asslamu Aleikum,

As a biploar sister and new blogger my jaw dropped in amazement when I read this post and also when I saw just how beautiful, inspirational, and all-around GREAT your blog is. Please keep writing and inspiring us all. :)

Sacrifice4Allah said...

The quarter century crisis is real! lol. I'm going through it myself!

Loved the post Brandy MashaAllah!

Excel Management said...


nice to follow your blog, I am from Malaysia..

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