The “Jo Bucket”

A year or so ago Kalissa came to my house and said that her “Craig bucket” was running empty and could I watch the boys so they could go out to eat.  I remember those days as a young family- wanting and needing adult time away from the kids to recharge and remember exactly why you were married and in this life together.  I said yes and off they went.  I was so happy to be able to help.  Having a full “spouse bucket” is so important.

Well recently I have been looking at my life and have started to realize that I don’t always have a full “Jo bucket”.  My own personal time bucket was running on empty.  The other day I had to step back and look what was up with me.  I’d been a little cranky.  I’d been a little touchy.  I’d been tired….Along with that I’ve had increasingly more commitments..Rosie is still pretty needy…the kids and grands have been more needy…my health things have been happening…I’ve just had a lot.  I’ve had more kids at childcare with late starts and snow days and teacher in service days.  My “Jo bucket” is running a little empty.

I haven’t sewn on anything for me.  I’ve only sewn for causes or commitments.  I’ve not cross stitched since I had the flu a couple weeks ago.  I need to change my sheets on my bed.  I need to just stop and reorganize so many of the things in the house.  I do really, really well keeping up and then gradually the dining room table gets covered.

The kitchen island starts filling up with things I need to get to.

The laundry room starts to get too many projects in it.

I did some reorganizing in the living room only to find things needed to be taken here or there but rather than getting taken and put away, they sat.  They got loaded onto the dining room table.  AH…after awhile, all of this starts to drain on me.

I don’t consider myself an organized person.  I don’t consider myself neat…I don’t consider myself on top of things…but, I do have a threshold that once the laundry room, dining room table and kitchen island get to be needing help, I’m doomed to get in a funk.  Once all of my sewing and crafting go to only charity or gifting sewing and I don’t touch cross stitch…I get in a funk.

When Kramer was around here… he could tell that I was in a funk.  He would tell me he’d do dishes and I was to go sew.  Nowadays, he isn’t here to tell me and my plate is fuller than ever so, I’m finding out…I need to tell myself to “go sew”.  I need to tell myself “say no”.  I need to tell myself “don’t commit”.  I need to tell myself “life isn’t all work”.  I need to take a day of the week and recharge whether that is cleaning off the island, the dining room table or the laundry room.  I need to sew or stitch something for myself once a week even if it means I don’t get a charity quilt sewn…or a craft for the childcare kiddos put together….or a baked treat for the kids or an email taken care of.

Now that Kramer isn’t here it’s easy to grab a sandwich and eat it while I fold laundry…and then I don’t even stop to eat.  Even a little break like eating is needed and I often need to remind myself of that.  “Jo-Eat at the table…don’t eat while working”.  AH…it’s one of those habits that is easy to fall to the wayside.

I have a wonderful amazing family.  I have wonderful kids and grandkids but I do have to figure out a way to balance them a little more too.  As a dedicated mom who has put the kids first 95% of her life, it’s hard to say “Wait.  My ‘Jo bucket’ is running on empty”.

I think all of this is a bit of cabin fever….I think it’s all a bit of overbooking myself.  I think it’s all just day to day of a busy life.  I think it’s my job…working 50+ hours a week at childcare is a lot.  But seriously, it’s time for me to take a day or an evening and fill my “Jo bucket”.

Happily, that’s exactly what I did this weekend.  I didn’t sew much.  I didn’t cross stitch much but I get lots of other things done.  The dining room table and island are manageable.  The laundry room is slightly better.  I’m caught up on blog posts.  The taxes are prepped.  I kitted a couple cross stitch projects.  I spent time with Rosie.  I made a pot of soup (it’s really good too).  I did about 10 little errands that needed to get done.  It’s EXACTLY what I needed to do…RECHARGE and not feel behind.

How are you doing on your personal “bucket”?  Are you running on empty?  What is your threshold of tolerance that puts you over the edge?  Please tell me I’m not the only one that does this to themselves.

With that…I’m off.  I got caught up and tonight I’m having a little bit of me time…shall I sew?  Cross stitch?  Hmmm.  I love having things finished enough that I can choose.

17 thoughts on “The “Jo Bucket””

  1. Judith Fairchild

    Yes, I find I have to take me time. Often it’s just getting out of the house to wait for the bus to drop the girls off. Other times it’s having a totally by myself day to do whatever I want. I got that day today. Yes the house gets noisy,messy and I get cranky. But then I get that little bit of just me and Jesus time. And all goes right withy world.

  2. I absolutely was guilty of allowing the ‘bucket’ to get too empty. I say was, as I retired 7m ago. I spent decades working 50-70 hours/week. Your girls can attest that being an RN is demanding and we often take it home in our hearts and our heads. I slept less than 5h/night for nearly 20 years!

    If I may make a few suggestions to help? Can you put a basket at the base of the stairs so that anything around that belongs up there is immediately put in it? Then when you go upstairs, it goes with you and gets put away. This is an example:

    On the kitchen island I see a lot of fruit. Can you find a bowl or basket you love, put it on the counter and that’s where fruit goes as soon as it comes in? Then the bags go straight in the trash can and it’s all in its home.

    Is it time to have your movie night w/Karl ritual become permanent? Maybe 1st/3rd Tuesday is movie night as an example. Something super fun to look forward to. Nothing else can happen because you’re off to relax in great company and have some laughs. Laughter is soooo good for the soul.

    You’re doing an amazing amount adjusting every day with schedules for all those childcare kiddos-I can’t imagine!

    It’s good to take care of yourself and fill your tank. Hugs from out West!

  3. As someone who has chronic pain, I can’t do very much before I’m exhausted. I get down and disappointed in myself when I see how much other people get done. I feel left out and lonely when people around me are going and doing things I’d love to do. I have to work really hard to combat that, to realize I’m taking care of myself, not being lazy.

    You are smart to realize when your bucket is running low and take the time to refill it. Even when all activities are ones you want to do, you still only have 24 hours in a day. Take care of yourself ❤️

  4. You are not alone! My Lin Bucket is so empty I’ve worn a hole right through to the floor! I know I need ME time, but I’ve been in such a funk that I haven’t touched my sewing machine in months except for some emergency mending and one Christmas gift that required THREE tries before I got it completed! Thank God I had enough fabric for three makes! I’m spread too thin and can’t stop my brain from ruminating on “have to” long enough to focus on “want to”. But, you are right, I need to take care of ME and that means sewing things I want for a day and then getting back into the routine fully refreshed. Thanks for your timely reminder!

  5. I am in the same position…….no time for me. It’s not one person or thing that takes my time but phone calls from kids, parents, errands, helping my elderly parents, staying in contact with friends, being a member of two quilt groups etc etc every week seems to be full and the days fly by and it’s time to think about dinner before I know it and I haven’t sewed or done anything creative. It’s hard for me to try to make me time because it’s no one thing or person that takes my time. There is nothing scheduled for tomorrow but the rest of the week is booked. If I figure it out, I’ll let you know.

  6. Tuesday is my me day at Tuesday Sewing – at a nearby church with quilting friends. Sometimes I get a fair amount completed, sometimes I mostly talk. Always the day is good. All that “stuff” is still there to do when I return home. Everyone needs to take care of their bucket.

  7. My husband is retired as am I. Last year (2019), we fell into the habit of getting up in the morning, running errands (including lunch), and messing around most of the afternoon. I put a wall hanging on the quilt frame in December 2018 and it sat there all year. Everything I bought last year just got dumped in the quilt studio. In January of this year, I set about organizing the quilt studio and getting projects organized. I told my husband that we need to arrange our schedule so that I have more time in the studio. So far, it’s worked out pretty well. I have quilted two tops, finished piecing one top, and finished quilting the wall hanging that had been on the frame for a year. Yes, we all need “me” time.

  8. Jo, you just amaze me with all that you do accomplish week in and week out. I aspire to be as creative, inspired and able to take projects from start to finish as you are. Case in point: I still have a denim quilt I was making for my son in 4th grade sitting in my “to be finished” pile…he’s 42.

    But, I totally get it. Life gets so cluttered with GOOD things that the BEST things are often crowded out.

    Thanks for talking about your empty bucket. It has reminded me that I need to examine my own bucket and perhaps patch a few holes.

  9. I told my husband last weekend that my bucket was empty and I had nothing left to give. Lucky for me he stepped up and pampered me and I’m much better now. We’re all human, Jo, and need to refill our buckets now and then. Once we’re drained, we’re not doing anyone any good, not even ourselves.

  10. I still remember sitting in the Drs Office years ago getting a lecture regarding the need to say “NO”. Dr. Steve even had me practice saying “no”. It’s one lesson that has stayed with me for more than 40 years. Being a people pleasure that was a difficult lesson, but my nonstop life style was adversely affecting my health. I learned to say no and others stepped in who could do the job as well as I did.

    Stand in front of a mirror and say “No” like you mean it. Best of luck and remember others can do the jobs as well as we can. Keeping you in my prayers.

  11. I’m glad to hear that you took some time for yourself to do what you needed to do to feel more in control of your surroundings. Busy is fine, but when the overwhelm takes hold, something’s got to give!

  12. I am renewed and restored by having empty spaces and clean surfaces. I learned over time that I am calmer and happier with MUCH less stuff. You have kiddos around that require a certain number of “things” but maybe assess how you feel if you clean out one shelf or drawer at a time? If that helps, work through them slowly and you gradually have only what you love and need. I will never, ever live long enough to use all of the fabric I own to sew all the quilts that I’d like to or complete every project that catches my eye. I’ve gotten better at saying to myself, “I have enough” and walking away from crafty temptations!

  13. if i could find the bucket, maybe i could tell if it’s full or empty!!!!! i’ve been trying to actively choose all my committments, to my children, my grandchildren, my husband [[humm, am i missing from that list?!!!]. realising that i’m making a choice does make a difference, but that “me” time, down time, whatever you call it, is still something we all need. this is a time of year for my family that there just isn’t any extra time, not even for a tiny bit of sewing, so i try to keep a crochet project going so i’ll have some type of creative outlet that i can pick up and put down. i do my quilting on the kitchen table so i need enough of a time slot to make it worth taking it all out and putting it all away, hoping to get such a slot in another 2 months!!!!!

  14. Last year was an entire year of no bucket refill time! This year is starting off much better! My husband and I take Sunday afternoons to refill our buckets! We try not to go out unless it is to go for a walk. I love to stitch or quilt and he likes to work on his hobby. There is no housework except for a load of laundry or two.

  15. Carolyn Sullivan

    I like to make lists of the things I need to get done. EVEN if I only get 3 out of 10 things accomplished I’m “batting 300” and they pay those ballplayers a lot of $$$$ for batting 300……but it also gives me a sense of accomplishment when I can cross things off my list.
    right now I’m cleaning my coffee pot :)

  16. Jo, you are so NOT on your own in feeling that your bucket is empty! If I start to feel overwhelmed with everything that needs doing, I make a list – but I make sure that I include things for ME, be it sewing, crochet, or just watching something on catch up TV. Spending some time in the garden is the best for me. Sometimes we just need to take a step back and recharge – the dishes, cleaning etc will wait. Sending hugs x

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