The Rockwood Files: Too much and not enough

rockwood files color

By Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3

It happened again yesterday. I went to the store for “just a few things.” An hour and more than a hundred dollars later, I pushed an overly full shopping cart out of the store and stuffed more than a dozen bags into the back of my SUV.

grocery-cartAs I drove home, I went through a mental checklist of all the things I’d bought: Milk, bread, cereal, lunch meat, laundry detergent. Check, check, check. I had all the essentials plus lots of other things that seemed necessary when I’d cruised through the aisles.

But then a maddening question popped into my head: “How is it possible that I have a car full of groceries and still have no idea what to make for dinner?” Has this ever happened to you? It makes me crazy.

I actually considered pulling into the drive-through of Chick-fil-A because the thought of putting away all those groceries only to drag them out again and cook something seemed like more trouble than it was worth. (Plus, what does one make with ingredients like milk, Tide with Bleach, bologna and Cheerios? I’m pretty sure you can’t put that stuff in the crock pot and come back home to anything that’s edible.)

I talked myself out of the fast-food drive-through mostly because it felt wrong to go out to eat when I’d spent all this time and money to bring food home. I put away the groceries and then stood in front of the pantry, gazing into it with a blank, hopeless stare.

That clueless feeling reminded me of those times when I look into a closet full of clothes and yet have “nothing to wear.” Men won’t relate to that feeling but women know it well. Even with a closet bursting at the seams, we only wear a fraction of what’s in there. And if the handful of favorite jeans and tops happen to be dirty, well, we may have to stay in a bathrobe all day because we don’t have a single thing to put on. Ridiculous? Yes, of course. But we feel it, nonetheless.

It’s the age-old problem of “too much and not enough.” I still don’t understand how those two things can exist in the same kitchen or closet or even the same universe, but they do.

Perhaps the most frustrating part of “too much and not enough” is far more personal than groceries or clothes. It whispers to the inner critic in all of us – that nasty little voice that tells us there’s “too much” to do and we’re “not enough” to do it successfully.

If only I was good at planning menus for the week, I wouldn’t end up with a shopping cart full of food and yet nothing to make for dinner. If only I was smarter about fashion, I’d know exactly how to assemble these random separates into an outfit that makes me look like I’ve got it all pulled together, inside and out.

But the truth is I don’t have it all pulled together. And some days are more chaotic than others. Just like the kitchen pantry and the bedroom closet, I am too much and not enough.

In times like these, I have to go back to the basics – back to what I know will work even when I’m short on time and inspiration. Jeans and a sweater to greet the day. And when the groceries are all put away and energy is waning, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for dinner will work in a pinch. It’s not fancy, but then again neither am I. I am too much and not enough and perfectly imperfect, just as God made me.

gwen headshot 2014Gwen Rockwood is a mom to three great kids, wife to one cool guy, a newspaper columnist and co-owner of To read previously published installments of The Rockwood Files, click here. To check out Gwen’s book, “Reporting Live from the Laundry Pile: The Rockwood Files Collection,” click HERE.

Five Minutes with a Mom: Cheryl Hatfield

Cheryl Hatfiled and her sons, cropped


Cheryl Hatfield

Kids’ names and ages?

Brock (13) and Zach (11)

How long have you lived in NWA and what brought you here?

I’ve been here 25 years. I moved here from North Little Rock when I was 18 to be a Razorback at the University of Arkansas and study Advertising/PR in the Journalism department.

Can you tell us about your work with the American Diabetes Association?

I work for The Mars Agency, who has over a decade-long relationship with the American Diabetes Association through candidacies and creative support. We have developed the Kiss a Pig event theme for the past 10+ years and help with creative design and materials, from flyers to decor to the event program. It’s a cause that is near and dear to our hearts and Kiss a Pig is a community event that we look forward to supporting each year. At The Mars Agency, we focus on creating impact. So what better organization to support than the American Diabetes Association?

For me personally, I have friends whose son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes the day after his 12th birthday. They had no medical or family history of the disease. No explanation or reason why to point to. Witnessing their battle with the disease over the last two years has really moved me, especially as the mother of a son that age.

We understand you’re a Kiss a Pig candidate for the ADA gala. Can you tell us a little about the event?

kiss a pigAbsolutely! The American Diabetes Association of Northwest Arkansas’ 13th Annual Kiss a Pig Gala will be held on March 14th at the John Q. Hammons Center in Rogers. Voted as the #1 Charity Gala by both CitiScapes and Celebrate magazines, and ranked as the biggest gala in Arkansas and nationwide for the ADA; Kiss a Pig is a unique and exciting event with this year’s special entertainment by The Wallflowers and themed “KAPOW”. The event features community leaders raising funds and awareness for diabetes education and vying for the chance to kiss a pig live at the event to thank it for producing the first source of insulin for people with diabetes.

People can support the KAP campaign by contacting me at to purchase a table or tickets or donate a live or silent auction item. Or by making a 100% tax deductible donation via my personal fundraising page:

What does a typical day in your life look like?

Oh my…there really is no “typical” day for any mother, is there? :) But I’ll describe a usual weekday with the boys. I wake up around 5:30AM to get myself (and our dog, Skipper) ready before getting the boys up and to school. Zach goes to McNair Middle School and Brock to Woodland Jr. High, so the morning drive to school starts early! Then I drive the I-49 commute to Bentonville, where I work at The Mars Agency. My client is Walmart, so the day usually includes several meetings at the agency and at the Walmart Marketing building where we brief projects, brainstorm ideas, develop strategies and review work. Never a dull moment and always a fun challenge! I drive back to Fayetteville, and on Mondays and Thursdays watch my oldest son play basketball for the Woodland Cowboys. Then it’s home to help with homework, cook dinner, take care of the dog, and hopefully squeeze in a minimum 4 mile run on the treadmill (I’m training for a Half Marathon in March). Off to bed hopefully by 10pm and then back at it the next day.

What’s playing on your iPod right now?

Maroon 5 (V and Songs About Jane), Snow Patrol, and Florence & The Machine.

What’s the best part of motherhood for you?

That’s a big question. I think the best part is when the boys show kindness, gratitude and love. Last year I spent Mother’s Day at a basketball tournament that Brock was playing in. A couple of days later, I came home to find a handwritten card from him saying how much he appreciated me sacrificing my Mother’s Day. And he had wrapped (in construction paper) his Cadbury bunny from Easter that he hadn’t eaten yet as a belated gift for me. Not gonna lie, I cried. What 13 year old does that?

If you could vacation anywhere in the world this winter where would it be?

Italy with the boys. It’s on my bucket list.

What’s something you have always wanted to learn?

A foreign language. I’ve studied French and Italian, but never to any depth. I’d love to be fluent in another language.

What are three things you always have with you?

1. My mother’s rings with the boys names on them

2. My mobile phone

3. Black eyeliner pencil :)

What’s one of your favorite guilty pleasures?

British Cadbury chocolate and red wine. No better flavor combination exists on this earth.

One word to sum me up …


Calendar of Events: February 2015

A Little Princess

Date: Feb. 5-8

Time: Varies

Location: Arts Live Theatre, Springdale

More info: Click here

Elvis Lives!

Take a musical journey across the life of Elvis Presley during this concert extravaganza that pays homage to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Elvis Lives features four talented artists who each portray Elvis in one of four eras: the 1950s, the ‘60s, during his movie career, and his final concert years. If you love Elvis, you must see this show!

Elvis_Lives_TNEWDate: Feb. 6

Time: 8 p.m.

Location: Walton Arts Center

More info: Click here

Chocolate Games (Grades 6-12)

Love all things chocolate?  Join Fayetteville Public Library’s Chocolate Games!  Teens will have the opportunity to participate in multiple games and activities, all involving chocolate! Games range from ‘Guess that chocolate bar’ to ‘Pudding Pictionary.’  Snacks will be provided and, of course, chocolate. For grades 6-12.  Registration is already underway.

Date: Feb. 10

Time: 5:30 p.m.

Location: Fayetteville Public Library

More info: Click here to read about/register for this event. Click here to see more FPL events in February.

Ooh la, la! (Jackson L. Graves fundraiser)

This chocolate and wine pairing dinner at the Garden Room in Fayetteville is a delicious fundraiser with proceeds providing funding to improve the quality of life and care of neonatal and pediatric patients and their families in critical care situations.

Date: Feb. 12

Time: 6:30 p.m.

Location: The Garden Room in Fayetteville

More info: Click here

Legally Blonde The Musical

Date: Feb. 13-15, Feb. 19-22, Feb. 26-March 1

Time: Varies

Location: Rogers Little Theatre

More info: Click here

Fayetteville Mardi Gras Parade

Date: Feb. 14 (Fat Tuesday on Dickson, Feb. 17)

Time: Parade is at 2 p.m., starting at the Fayetteville Square

Location: Downtown Fayetteville

More info: Click here

2nd Date Formal Wear Consignment Event

second dateMom Prom dresses anyone? :)

Date: Feb. 13-15

Time: Varies

Location: Embassy Suites, Rogers

More info: Click here

NWA Home & Tech Show

Come see the industries newest trends for remodeling and building the home of your dreams. Find the Gnome; win a prize, bring the kids to Lowe’s Build and Grow, visit in-house demonstrators and learn techniques from growing iris’ to designing your kitchen.

Date: Feb. 13-15

Time: Varies

Location: John Q. Hammons

More info: Click here

Camelot at Walton Arts Center

Recount the time-honored legend of King Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot, and the Knights of the Round Table in an enchanting fable of chivalry, majesty, and brotherhood in this four-time Tony® Award-winning show.

Camelot_TNEWDate: Feb. 17-22

Time: 7 p.m.

Location: Walton Arts Center

More info: Click here

Laughter and Libations: A night of food, drinks and comedy improv

Trike Theatre fundraiser event. Enjoy food by Downtown Bentonville food trucks, hosted beer and wine, entertainment by Phunbags Comedy Improv. This event is for adults 21 and up. Tickets are $75 each or $700 for table of 10. All proceeds support Trike Theatre’s education programs that annually reach over 25,000 young people & families.

Date: Feb. 20

Time: 6:30 p.m.

Location: Avondale Chapel & Gardens

More info: Go to or call, 479-464-5084.

Celebrate Black History Month

Join members of Delta Sigma Theta to celebrate Black History Month with stories, a craft and food.

Date: Feb. 21

Time: 10:30 a.m.

Location: Fayetteville Public Library

More info: Click here

Soldier On Service Dogs fundraiser at Mt. Sequoyah

This is a non-profit that helps veterans suffering from post traumatic stress disorder — or traumatic brain injury — by pairing them with a service dog for free. Click here to read more about what they do (and how you might help by raising a puppy).

Feb. 22

Time: 2-6 p.m.

Location: Mt. Sequoyah Center, 150 N. Skyline Drive

More info: Click here

Pitch Perfect Sing-along

PitchPerfectA lead-up event to the VoiceJam Festival in April! The audience will sing along to a subtitled screening of Pitch Perfect, first released in 2012 and directed by Fayetteville native Jason Moore. The competition finalists will also be announced at this event!

Date: Feb. 28

Time: 8 p.m.

Location: Walton Arts Center

More info: Click here


A great event to help fund Alzheimer’s research. Chilirhea is an event for all ages. Bring the family and experience over 30 different types of chili, live music, a silent auction, and a lot of fun. This year is the 10th annual event, now located at the Fayetteville Town Center. Join us on February 28, 2015.

Date: Feb. 28

Time: Noon to 6 p.m. (chili served from noon to 2 p.m.)

Location: Fayetteville Town Center

More info: Click here


Special events at the Springdale Public Library

Ms. Frizzle Presents…Wacky Weather

Saturday, February 7, 2:00 pm

Ms. Frizzle visits again to show us how wonderfully wacky weather can be! Craft project to follow.

LEGO® Club

Monday, February 9, 4:30 pm

Kibbles & Books Therapy Dog Reading Sessions (Registration is required)

Wednesday, February 11, 5:30 – 7:00 pm

Designed to increase confidence in young readers, as well as offer therapeutic benefits to children with special needs. Please call the Children’s Department at 479-750-8180 to register

Valentine Make & Take Craft Hour

Saturday, February 14, 2:00 pm

Craft fashionable cards and boxes to celebrate St. Valentine’s Day.

Beautiful Girl Retreat

The 7th annual Beautiful Girls Retreat, a two-day, overnight getaway for girls and their moms/leaders will be on March 6th and 7th at the Doubletree by Hilton, Bentonville. This non-profit has the mission to create and host a teaching event that is truly community-based, interdenominational, and to inspire young women in character, identity, and self-esteem. The theme for 2015 will be “True Beauty”. The keynote speaker is Erin Davis, author of fourteen books on girlhood, purity, beauty, and parenting. The second day will be filled with creative breakout sessions, tea time, visual arts presentations, a fashion show, and more. This weekend provides girls and moms with a time to get away and be refreshed and encouraged. Tickets are on sale now.

Date: March 6-7

Time: Varies

Location: Doubletree by Hilton, Bentonville

More info: Click here

beautiful girls retreat

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