“How do you do it all?” It’s a question I have been asked a lot over the years. I understand why people ask. I wear a lot of hats. I’m the mom of 7, an adoption advocate, a homeschooler, a professional blogger, a special needs momma which means I’m also a chauffeur for all the kids’ appointments and classes, and thanks to the invention of freezer meals, I manage to keep my family fed.
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It sounds like I’ve got things pretty together, right? Like I’m one of those organized people that others envy? Except that that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Naturally, moms with less kids than I have who feel like they are dropping balls all over the place look at my life and ask how I manage to do everything. From the outside looking in (as long as they aren’t looking too closely!), it looks like I might have some advice to offer that might help them to find the secret of accomplishing more in the 24 hours we are all given in a day.
The truth is, I don’t do it all. That’s why those who are closest to me never ask this question. They know how many times I’ve forgotten something or my kids show up to piano lessons without their piano books or how often the kids are wearing unmatched socks and don’t even have their hair combed.
My laundry pile is enormous. My tipping point for doing a load is usually when we have all run out of clean underwear.
I forget to pick up milk so the kids are often disappointed after they pour themselves a bowl of cereal. I sometimes feed my family popcorn for supper.
My house is always a disaster. Always. There is a room that I shove things into when I know that company is coming over and that room has gotten to the point where it’s hard to see the floor. I pile paperwork in the kitchen until the piles fall over and then put the papers in bags and transfer them to that room.
I lose paperwork on a regular basis because of aforementioned problems. I spent three hours yesterday looking for a paper that is time sensitive and I am already months behind in mailing and never found it. It made me feel like a huge failure.
I don’t just drop the ball when it comes to housework either. I show up for appointments on the wrong days, forget friends’ birthdays, rarely return phone calls (I never even listen to my voicemails), forget to reply to emails, lose emails because I have tens of thousands of unread ones, get behind on work deadlines, always owe library fines, wear a hat when I don’t have time for a shower or even to comb my hair, and sometimes lose my temper with those I love most because I’m feeling overwhelmed.
I’m drowning over here! Send a maid, a masseuse, a laundry folder, an errand runner, a babysitter, a chef…most of all, send chocolate! I feel as overwhelmed as the next mom and certainly don’t have anything figured out. I’m just doing the best that I can and hoping it all works out in the end.
The things I do manage to get done are not without help. I barely manage to stay on top of the bare minimum for my blogging career and to do even that much, I have an amazing tech guy, a friend that babysits my kids one full day a week so that I can work (and she teaches them art so I also can wipe that off my homeschool to-do list!) and when I need to, I hire designers, formatters, VAs, etc. to help with specific projects.
In the rest of my life, I have a husband who is an extremely hands-on dad and I couldn’t do this parenting thing without him. I have friends and neighbours who help run the kids places and a mom who helps when she can with the kids and even with laundry when it piles up so high that I can’t see my way out of it. One of our older sons babysits our younger kids once a week so that my husband and I can have a date night. And I have the most amazing support system. It is small, but it is mighty.
For everything else I need to do but don’t feel that I have the energy or the capacity, I rely on God and He has been faithful to help me do more in His strength than I could ever do on my own.
I don’t think any mom truly has it all together no matter what their life looks like to the outside world. Sometimes, I forget that and it magnifies my feelings of failure to compare myself to others who look like they do manage to do it all. But I think that we are all just doing the best we can with what we know.