In my early years of motherhood, I asked a wonderful woman at my church how she “did it all”. She has two well-mannered young men, always manages to look amazing & stylish, taught our class at church with her husband, and was/is beloved by all who know her. I was exhausted and bewildered as a mother of three toddlers praying for the day when I could “do it all”. Her response was simple. “I don’t,” she said, “And you can’t.” She explained there are always going to be things left undone, and you just have to make priorities. I think of that conversation often as I make daily choices and life goals.
I make a decision everyday to be the best mom I can be for these little people who are growing before my very eyes. I go beyond in simple ways like cutting a sandwich into a silly shape or hand-making birthday invitations inspired by Pinterest. But making those choices means that other things get left undone. I’ve had projects sitting on my to-do list for years, and my floors are usually dirty.
Just because you can’t “do it all” doesn’t mean you can’t do things well. I balance the lines between keeping my kids busy with activities and making sure they have free time. Planning my meals saves my sanity on busy weeknights, but I have learned to acknowledge that even a sandwich is considered a homemade meal. Connecting with my husband one-on-one is just as important to our marriage as it is to good parenting, but that means time away from the kids. The bottom line for me is making intentional choices.
Here are my rules for “How to (not) do it all”:
1. Give more hugs. Even when it’s way past bedtime.
2. Cook at home. Together. Even when it’s messy.
3. Be organized. But be flexible.
4. Spend time away from your children. Be excited when you’re reunited.
5. Use a self-timer, and get in the pictures.
6. Dance. Explore. Stargaze. Read. Play. Laugh. Make wishes. Clean later.
7. Learn to say “no”. But say “yes” as often as you can.
8. Make your own rules.
As my kids get older, I find I am better able to manage the household, keep things organized, plan and execute our family activities, and pull off some sense of style most days. On the outside, it may appear to some moms that I “do it all”. While the overachiever in me still tries, I assure you that is not the case. If, one fine day, another sweet mom asks me how I “do it all”, I’ll tell her the same thing I learned all those years ago.