Right Brain, Scatter Brain


“Cleaning and scrubbing can wait for tomorrow,
For babies grow up, I’ve learned, to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust, go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby, and babies don’t keep.”

(Ruth Hulburt Hamilton)

When she’s at home, my mother-in-law is a consummate housekeepr. Her trash cans are emptied daily (at least), her dishes are washed, dried and put away after each meal, and each night she straightens whatever mess her kids, grandkids, husband and in-laws have left.

My cousin Becky managed to design and build a house and parent two elementary age boys while living in a two-car garage for a year. She’s organized, calm, and her boys are well-behaved, all-around good kids.

My friend Tricia designs a summer-long program of chores, activities and recreation, down to daily menus for a balanced diet.

And then there’s me.

My laundry grinds to a halt mid-cycle and lays in piles of madness that grow every time I throw a dirty bib up the stairs.

I stick up my nose every Thursday, thinking, Aw man, it’s been a week already since I cleaned the house?

The dishes get washed at least every third day. But not necessarily put away.

And last week I took the kids up to the farm for a daylong outing, and I left the diaper bag at home.

My friend Jim chuckled when I related that. Then he quickly curbed it. “Well,” he said graciously, “you’re one of those creative right-brained people.”

Scatterbrained is more like it. And the more I think about it, the more I think he’s right—only there’s more to it than that. I’m scatterbrained because my attention is split in too many directions. School liturgies. Weekend liturgies. Music projects for publishers. New music projects. Novels. Short stories. Articles. Reading about writing. Reading in general. The kids. NFP recertification.

Oh yeah, don’t forget the housework.

Last weekend the readings at church said, “From those given much, much will be expected.” I guess that’s me. I just wish part of the bequest had been a brain capable of keeping it all straight.

2 thoughts on “Right Brain, Scatter Brain

  1. The Mom

    Kate, I too am a right-brained, scatter-brained mother. I can so relate to laundry and dishes being forgotten mid-cycle. Even as I type, the piles of clean laundry sitting crumpled up on the futon are growing and yet I have no time to sit and fold them lest the nine-month old try to climb the Christmas tree while I do it. There IS hope for us… I do believe that. I am just not clear of what that hope is yet. Perhaps these are the makings of good family stories to be shared during holiday meals in years to come… who knows!
    Molly Moore

  2. elizabeth


    Google “Flylady”! Her system really helps.

    I think that we creative folks have to learn how to say “no”. It is hard to do, but really, you must sometimes! If you are being pulled in too many directions, you will forget things. You will be too much like Martha, whereas we should be a balance of Martha and Mary. 🙂

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