This post has been ‘in the making’ for quite some time, as you’ll see by some of the references. It’s still not quite ‘perfect’. I don’t know that it will ever be. Life & raising children: it’s always a work in progress.
Do you know Natalie Merchant’s song, the one that goes, “no this child will be gifted” … I hear it playing in the background. I had ‘zoned out’ for a bit. It was a looooong day. Let’s just say when everyone else gets to enjoy the ‘fun’ of parent-teacher conferences & a four-day weekend or special trips to skiland or out of town or other family centered, parent centered activities, I become a ‘single mother’ for around 10+ hours a day. The Natalie Merchant song has ended. Now I hear “I want to love you madly” … I’m starting to recognize this playlist as the one I asked for when our ‘little mama’ was born.
I wish I knew how to answer the question of, “How do you do it all?” or “I don’t know how you do it” as a statement. The simple truth is that I don’t. I don’t do it all. And it’s still exhausting. There is nothing ‘easy’ about being an entrepreneur, running your own business, taking care of clients and taking care of a family. Some days I don’t know how I do it either. With a little bit of grace & compassion for sure. Don’t we, as mothers, all just look around sometimes & think that someone else has it ‘soooo together‘ & it must be so easy for them? I would say, in most cases, it isn’t. There is always something that each of us are going through. In my case, having a very young family & running my own business – I’ll be honest, there just aren’t a lot of us in that boat. It’s a very small boat I share with a few other friends & we paddle furiously to cheer each other on. There are a few who have one or two kids (or possibly three on a rare occasion). Many more who don’t have their kids ‘all in a row’. So my thoughts on ‘how I do it’, may or may not apply to you … but since some of you have asked, here goes:
1. I have had to learn to let some things go. Ouch. But it’s the truth. My kitchen (during the day) will never be spotless or pristine. I am okay with that. As long as we clean up after ourselves & keep it manageable, we are doing ok. We just have to do what we can.
2. I ask the kids for help. We pick up toys together. I have them put away certain items of their laundry (yes, even the 3yo). “Here are all of your socks, please take them to your sock drawer.” (And, btw, this means I let them do the task themselves. I don’t “fix it” while they are there. I try to give them tasks & responsibility that can be done any ol’ which way. I try not to criticize their way of helping. I don’t think that’s good for any of us.)
3. We adopted Kristin’s clean before screen time motto lately. Loving how that works.
4. I try to focus on certain tasks, on certain days. 1-2 loads of laundry is an ’every-day’ thing but some business items & some other household items I try to regulate to certain days of the week.
5. As hard as it is, I take time off to rest & rejuvenate. The timing is never perfect. I always have things to do. Always. But when someone says they want a movie night with popcorn, we make it happen. Even if it is 3 days after the initial request
I want to be funny like this mama is, when she explains how she goes about life & her day. I want to be introspective like this dad & his thoughts about where he is in his career. Amazingly, I feel all of those things. I just don’t have time to put them into words* – – so here is my advice to you while I have a 15 minute stretch … do what you can, with what you have, where you are. Stop comparing yourself to those around you. Motherhood is hard. Even harder today than it was two decades ago. There are things our mothers will never understand about our lives just like there are things we will never understand about theirs. There is a certain amount of stress that comes with ‘always being connected‘ – turn your phone off, hide it in another room, shut your laptop and your ipad (yes, I know some of you have all three!) and play. Take time for uninterrupted play. I promise you it feels so much better when you do this.
What do you to manage your day? How do you, ‘do it all’? Tell me in the comments.
*just to prove that point, I cannot for the life of me find those links right now. So … there ya go. Truth in writing. Happy Monday.