One of the most frequent questions I get asked is this: “How do you do it all?” (In reference to raising five-soon-to-be-six young kids, homeschooling, housekeeping, etc.)
The long answer I usually give is something along the lines of, “My husband is an awesome helper! We are a team and take care of whatever needs to be done. Our kids are also learning to help more so our family unit functions more smoothly.” (Which is, quite frankly, 100% true… I have an awesome hubby who steps in helps right from the moment he gets home from work!)
But wanna hear the more-real short answer? Quite honestly, most days I don’t, I can’t, do it all.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Looking around my house and examining my day-to-day life, I really don’t feel like I have it all together. Have you seen the pile of papers on my counter that still needs to be sorted through? And the reading lessons waiting to be completed by my five and six year olds? And phone calls and messages waiting to be returned? And the sink full of dirty dishes? And Pinterest projects waiting to be started? (Thank heavens my kids don’t have Pinterest accounts so they can’t see all the awesome things other moms are doing with their kids!!)
I most definitely do not have it all together. And to be honest, I don’t know if any of us do. (However, if you DO know how to keep it all together all the time, please feel free to share your secret because I would love to know!) And you know what? I’m ok with not having it all together! The times I feel most stressed out are the times I let the things I “need to do”, the things I feel I must complete in order to be a good mom, wife, friend, fill up my immediate vision and I lose sight of what really matters most: this time in life I have here with my kids.
How can we possibly fit cleaning, laundry, school/learning, exploring, creative outlets, food preparation, reading, nurturing, character building, life skills, socializing, and sleep all in one 24 hour period? I don’t know about you, but I physically can’t do it all, no matter how much coffee I consume.
Some days are picture-perfect, while (many) other days are filled with the “bumps” and “hiccups” of life. Unexpected injuries (like, hypothetically speaking, someone pushing their little sister out of a bunk bed, resulting in a broken arm and several hours spent at the ER, because that would never happen here… right…) and needs seem to pop up at the most inconvenient times. Our best laid-out plans and schedules need to pause while we tend to the most important issue of the moment, which often revolves around the little ones in our lives. (One of the many reasons my bedroom floor is usually covered in clean laundry, patiently waiting to be folded and put away properly.)
Some things in life have got to give and take the back burner while we focus our time and energy on what is most important. For some of us, the list of things to do seems never ending, growing longer by the day. And while we should make goals to try to get caught up (eventually), our number one goal should be to be present with our kids. Right here, right now. The laundry piles, dirty dishes, e-mail and Facebook messages, school lessons, shopping lists, piles of paperwork will always be there, no matter how hard we try to stay caught up. Our kids, however, are only here for a brief moment in our lives.
Everything can’t be a priority in life, so I’m learning it is ok to backlog things that aren’t as important as my children. Don’t be afraid to let the laundry get backed up a little. In fact, I challenge you to embrace the daily “messes” of life! Muddy footprints on the floor; healthy little bodies to run. Dirty dishes in the sink; full tummies. Sleepless nights; comforted babies. Full laundry baskets; even fuller hearts. Happy children; happy homes.
Yes, having Mommy Super Glue available for the times I am barely hanging on by a thread, trying to keep it all together, would be really handy. But going through the trials and experiences of daily life, learning along the way how to function and make our lives work when we feel like there just aren’t enough hours in a day, figuring out what our real priorities in life are, is way more beneficial than a quick-fix.
Because the best things in life take time and are more appreciated when all is said and done. 🙂