How many times recently have I read the question on various blogs “How do you do it all?” Generally, the answer is, “I don’t.” But yet, we keep asking even after hearing the same answer repeated over and over again. So, why do we think we should be able to do it all?
Well, a lot of us have a problem that isn’t really a problem. Our problem comes from the fact that we used to be able to do a lot more. Many of us were stay at home moms. While we held this position, before we became stay at home homeschooling moms, we could generally get a lot done. Even when we had a baby, after a few months, we were back to conquering the laundry, vacuuming the house, and getting dinner on the table. We often also managed to do fun things with our kids like go to the park, go to storytime at the library, or make homemade playdoh.
Then, we got a full-time (or at least part time) job called homeschooling. Now, we spend 4-6 hours a day teaching stuff while still trying to do laundry, vacuum the house, and get dinner on the table. Beyond this, unlike if we were to get a job out of the house, all of our children are still home with us, making a mess all over the house while we are at our new job. Some also work from home or do homesteading which adds to the work load.
When our expectations don’t match our reality, we feel unhappy. The Huffington Post ran this article recently about Generation Y and why we are unhappy. While I don’t agree with everything in the article, the premise holds true for us mamas as well. Our ideal (our green grass with unicorn vomiting rainbows, if you will) is a vibrant marriage, a clean and artfully decorated home, the perfect curriculum which makes our children happily skip to our beautiful and organized schoolroom eager to learn, while we nurse our baby who is wearing cloth diapers and then feed our family a nutritious and gourmet dinner which they do not complain about. Oh, and we all exercise everyday and wear our adorable, put-together outfits in small sizes and have time to do our hair every day. Amen.
OK, maybe you don’t have all of those expectations, but even if you have just a few and then have real life happen some days, you’re going to feel disappointed and sad. As a pretty happy person whose house isn’t always clean or decorated and whose kids aren’t always happy and regularly don’t visit the park and whose baby is wearing some Luvs right now, here’s my advice.
1. Set your priorities. Our household priorites after baby were kids, school, dishes, and laundry. Everything else was gravy.
2. Know your season. Now that Micah is 7.5 months old, I can get more done. When he was a month old, it was all nursing and frozen pizzas.
3. Refresh yourself. I have a lot more to give when I’m not running on empty. If I have a weakness right now (and I do), this would be it. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and TV don’t do this for me. I need quiet time in the Bible and time to create and time to read good books. Those are the things that fill me and energize me.
What things do you NOT do?
What things refresh you?