People often ask me how I “do it all” – book writing and blogging and kids and marriage and full time work and community and conferences and figuring out new ways to make chicken.
Here’s the obvious truth: I don’t. And what I do manage — I don’t always do very well.
When I was writing the book while working full time I basically stopped doing ALL OTHER THINGS.
That included dishes and cooking and laundry and some days personal hygiene. We all just existed in a state of semi chaos for about 10 months. But it was OK because we’d agreed as a family before hand and we were in it together. All the way. That meant Pete made more time in his schedule to cover things at home and I stole every single spare hour I could for writing.
This worked because I LOVED WRITING THAT BOOK. And because it had an end date.
This season we’re currently in sees me dialing back in some areas so I feel less torn between commitments and more present in my family, my full time job with (in)courage, and my living room and the Legos that never seem to let up.
There’s no one size fits all when it comes to figuring out this motherhood gig.
And because I believe so very sincerely that God has given us dreams that don’t end in the labor and delivery ward, we just lean into the tension of finding out how to follow the Father God who calls us deeper and further into the Kingdom and we bring our kiddos with us.
Because that’s the beauty of calling a mother to Kingdom work – she brings her kids with her – and models for them what it looks like to hear the call and to FOLLOW IT. Toddlers and temper tantrums all in tow.
I think therein lies the key – is your family a part of this call you’re following? Are you all in it together? Even the crazy days. And believe me they will come! Because if you’re in it together you can do all kinds of wild and wonderful adventures and then emerge and embrace the quiet days again.
Until it changes again tomorrow. And then again the next day.
This roller coaster called life that is always best when ridden with the people who love you best and who you love doing life with.
We give each other our best and some days that looks like a clean home and a sane mother and some days that looks like take-out and book deadlines and unwashed hair. But I belong to them and they belong to me so we share all the things and figure out the best way that works for our best.
I work full time from home and all three of my kids are in school at least 3 days a week. On the 2 days Zoe is home we have a nanny who helps us. And because she is so good to me, she also helps with dishes and laundry and teaches my daughter how to bake bread. The fact that she also loves arts and crafts is the biggest bonus of all time because these are not things I particularly enjoy.
I also don’t coupon or meal plan. It’s shocking how regularly I am shocked to discover that my people will need to eat EVERY SINGLE DAY come 5:30pm.
That’s keeping it honest friends.
There are MANY things about balancing the need to work with the needs of a family that are challenging and I don’t know anyone who gets it right all the time. Whether they work or stay home or work from home or homeschool or whatever life looks like for each of us. I just keep showing up and trying and am so grateful for a good sense of humor and people who help get it done.
There’s no shame in asking for help. Or admitting you need it.
I have friends with husbands who are deployed and they say that having someone come over to help coordinate bedtime while they go out for a few hours to read a book and sip some coffee in quiet is essential to their survival. I believe them.
And the majority of my friends who are well known bloggers ALL have help. Whether that includes virtual assistants who manage their email or publicists or good friends who plan their PR or schedule their travel or simply the high school girl down the road who comes over to supervise cleaning and meal prep. Everyone has some kind of help.
So if you’re feeling overwhelmed because you can’t do it all, you’re not alone.
No one can do it all. We’re not built that way.
My friend, neighbor and bestie, Lisa, took care of all three of my kids for several hours on Sunday afternoon because Pete had a work function and I wasn’t back yet from the Allume Blogging Conference. And while I was thrilled to be reunited with my tiny people, I was also exhausted. And set them up on the sofa with Netflix and Chinese takeout while I took a nap.
I love how Money Saving Mom so disarmingly states on her about page that, “I’m not doing this alone.” And then shares the names of her entire team and their roles – proving that there is no secret formula to balancing it all – there’s just the honest admission that we can’t and that we need people to help us.
I don’t see what is gained by any of us pretending that somehow everything runs flawlessly behind the scenes.
Especially when behind-the-scenes at my house included an announcement at breakfast this morning that one of my three had a messy accident in the bathtub last night while I was out introducing the three-year-old to Frozen on Ice and no one could remember if it had been cleaned up yet or not.
That’s exactly the kind of news one looks forward to hearing while drinking one’s hot chocolate. Not.
But if my sharing can help at least one person let go of expecting so much from themselves then it’s totally worth it.
Some nights I write blog posts when the kids are finally in bed. And other nights I watch my new favorite show, Selfie – it’s “My Fair Lady” meets the social media generation. Let’s be honest here – most nights I watch TV rather than write blog posts. Because I’ve been running on empty for a long time and it’s time to fill back up again. This is the book I’m re-reading again for what has to be at least the twelth time. Stories are my love language and I need to fill up on them before I can write anything worth reading.
More and more I know what I can manage. But maybe more importantly I know what I can’t manage.
And I think that’s the biggest win of all.