I Don’t Do It All


I Don’t Do It All

The number one question moms seem to get asked is, “How do you do it all?” In many cases, I get the question asked rhetorically, with a heavily emphasized facial expression that reads, “Better you than me!” Sometimes I think that my career choice as a stay-at-home and homeschooling mother to four kids begs that the question gets asked more often. I have to admit, I kind of enjoy it. I like that what I am doing can be recognized as thankless task with few short-term gains.

But I am here to let you in on a secret today…I really don’t do it all.

I had dreams of being the mom who did it all, gracefully and sacrificially, with the chore charts managed, always clean toilets, stocked freezer and fridge with fresh foods, a balanced budget, clean and nicely dressed children, and a super interesting hobby like baking bread or interior designing. Looking at that list now sounds exhausting! After adding our fourth boy to our family and beginning to homeschool, I realized that I had to stop doing some things and stop caring about NOT doing those things.

So now the chore chart is up and gathering dust. Sometimes I look at it and am reminded it is nice to have a clean fridge; maybe I’ll do that when we finish eating the packaged (not homemade) yogurt, 18 individual sized containers of guacamole everyone claimed they’d love for a snack, 10 different kinds of cheese (same flavor, just cut in interesting ways, thanks Mickey Mouse Clubhouse), a lone bag of baby carrots slowly drying away and four gallons of milk. If you are planning on coming over, let me know so I can quickly wipe down the guest/boys’ bathroom; that’s what counts as cleaning the bathroom these days. My dishwasher generally runs twice a day, but only because our progeny believes that each kind of food eaten during the day requires a different plate or bowl, as well as a different utensil. It’s really uncool of me to expect someone to use the same spoon with which they ate their cereal to eat their yogurt (ten seconds after the cereal is eaten).

The same goes for my washing machine. I tried to only run laundry twice a week, but that caused an uproar because that meant I didn’t have the proper clothes clean for the needs of certain days, like specific jammies for Nashville Predator game days and long socks for cold days, because, oh yeah, I have given into letting my kids wear shorts all year long. I also tried to sort clothes once only to realize that I had stopped buying clothes that were white or light colored, so what was the point of sorting? I used to answer “reading” when people asked about my favorite hobby but now it’s exhausting to even get into a book. My decorating skills are determined by what I find at the thrift store on Half Off Day and whether something has been broken by a stray hockey puck or football. Three of four of the boys can dress themselves independently and I have given up claim over their outfits unless it is Sunday morning or we are visiting grandparents. The means we usually appear in public with amazingly awful fashion choices — but hey, I’m letting it go folks.

Dressed up for our standards! Shorts in January.

Every few days, I see a great parenting article or comment about getting up before the kids and feeling refreshed and ready to face the day. Yeah, I don’t do that. And, since we homeschool and have no buses to catch or start time for school, we end up getting to sleep in until 7-7:30am everyday. I know that you all say that having that time by yourself is nice, but sleeping in is pretty great too. I get to start my day out in pjs until I need to see someone who doesn’t share my DNA and sip coffee while everyone else runs off their morning energy. We get our school done and then it’s off to play for everyone. If it is nice outside, they usually won’t come back in until well after lunch. I mandate naptime/quiet time for my own sanity, so the afternoon is generally pretty quiet for whatever needs to get done. I get the whole afternoon to make dinner, since they are ready to play after resting. It boggles my mind how some moms get home from work, cook dinner and do homework on top of everything else. In my mind, you are doing it all.

I get done what I know needs to be done.

When we need groceries, we go to the store together, dressed like we don’t own a mirror, but dressed. If we need to go to the doctor, we all go together. It’s what we have always done, so we do okay. If the kids spill rice all over the dining room during dinner, sometimes I’ll leave it until the morning when it’s easier to sweep up. I don’t do it all. I buy school curriculum from a company that tells me exactly, down to talking points, what to do every day of the year so that I don’t have to do it all. Sometimes, I get to sit during nap time, eat ice cream and write a blog post at a dirty dining room table because I don’t feel like I need to do it all anymore. I still have hopes, dreams and goals for how I want to parent and run the household, but I try to hold loosely to doing it all at once.

It took some purposeful breathing and walking away to let this go on.

The way you choose to plan your life, what is a priority and what is not, is almost impossible for anyone else to fully understand. We all look at each other, put our priorities in what we imagine someone else’s life is like and then we wonder how it’s all possible. Maybe instead we should focus on our own lives, how we can change, what we can give in on or what we can’t live without, and be content with the path we have been given.

Most likely, whatever you are doing makes you look like superwoman to everyone else.