October 24, 2009

How I do it all.

I just made this: Chipotle Black Bean Chili and am going to sit down here for a moment to write out some things while I eat it.

I'm thinking about going vegan again. I can't decide.

We were supposed to try a new church tomorrow, but Ivy's been sick. It seems like just when we finally get back to life and on a roll, someone gets sick and we are set back again. Thankfully she'll nap all day long on hubby and I can do some things around the house.

Something I'm emailed a LOT by people: How do you do it all?

Answer: I don't.

If I've got a good thing going in one area, it means there are probably a bunch of other things being severely neglected in another area. I try to find the balance but...

Things gets so behind, and I find I am just taking care of what's on the surface and under my feet at that moment. So everything else in the corners and against the walls and behind the doors piles up and up.

I have four tiny (loud) voices wanting to tell me stories or to ask me questions or to just say Mommy Mommy Mommy Mommy Mommy Mommy over and over and over again while I make their meals and wash their clothes and nurse the baby and try to sneak in a little work (stuff to write) and sometimes what gets me through (aside from the caffeine) is the promise that after they all go to bed, I can finally sit down with quiet and eat dinner or watch a show and do some knitting or cross-stitching or reading or writing and you know what?

When they finally are all in bed and I look over them, pray over them, my heart filled to over-flowing, I forget about lots of the earlier stuff and hope hope hope they do, too.

Then I usually collapse, exhausted, close my eyes for what seems like MINUTES and awake to another day to do it all over again.

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  1. I contemplate the vegan thing often. but oh glory, I love me some cheese. so for now, i'll stick with quasi-vegetarian/vegetarian, depending on the month.

    I think moms need to feel more free to admit that "doing it all" often means doing everything in a mediocre, halfway manner. if we'd just accept that, we'd be free to embrace doing some things well. even if that means that on some days you go to bed having done nothing but snuggling your kids, or organizing your kitchen or merely making three meals for your family. those are BIG somethings!

    thanks for writing this! and feel better wishes to Ivy

  2. I think it's so important to remember that NOBODY, and I mean nobody truly does it all. When people ask me how I have time to do art projects with my son or other things, I tell them, "because that's what's important to me". And what's not important to me is whether I have a clue when the last time I cleaned under my bed or scrubbed my tub was. So I have a dirty house, and a happy family. And that's okay. :)

  3. I love your posts...I always say that don't I? ( : They are very real. Thanks, I don't do it all either. But I love my husband and my kids! You are such a great mom, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  4. So true for us all! My favorite quote recently is that God gives us the energy we need to do the things he's called us to do that day.

    Hope Ivy feels better!

  5. Oh, what a great post! I love how transparent you are. You pretty much summed it up for a lot of mommies.I think we all feel the same way, even if we all have different "things" that we put on the back burner. It's all about finding the glorious in the mundane and thanking God for everyday blessings! Beautiful post! {grin}

  6. Love the real post! Motherhood its full, its wild and its wonderful! What crazy life but would have it no other way!

  7. SO SO true. I've been working more on loving my kids and making sure to have good time with them...and the rest will come along as needed. I don't think anyone does it all (on their own)

  8. Hope little Ivy feels better soon :(.

    Yes, I understand this completely. And like Jen@Rollingthroughlooney said we do have to feel free to admit that we just can't do everything perfectly. Some things just aren't as important as others!

    Hugs to you, you are one awesome mama!

  9. If you go vegan again, wait until after Shane makes french onion soup because the cheese makes it.
    I love your honesty with this. It's never easy to admit that we aren't superwomen, but maybe if more of us did it, no one would think that they HAD to be a superwoman.

  10. It's nice to read this after leaving my dishes and floors and laundry to go spend the day with my brother, knowing that it would do my daughter more good than it would me.

    Why vegan? I can get behind vegetarian, but vegan...I don't think I could do it. The cheese. Oh, the cheese.

  11. Love this post. I only have 2 children, and have a hard time. I always wondered how you and my mother did it with 4.

    But we're human and we are not perfect, and we do not get everything done. I think at the end of the day the most important thing is that our children are safe, healthy, and happy.

  12. That recipe looks amazing. I might have to make it next week...

    I think we can all sympathize Steph, and I wish more of us were as outspoken about it as you. I know for me the first thing that goes (and almost always does) is the cleaning. I feel like as long as the bathroom is presentable for company, who cares about the rest ;)

  13. Your ability to handle all the craziness, and admit that some days you can't do it all, amazes me. It gives me hope that G and I may be able to handle a larger family, as long as I remind myself that some of the greatest moms still can't always do it all.

    I hope Ivy gets to feeling better.

  14. Sounds about like how I "do it all" ;) Hope you are able to find a church that rocks your world!

    I've yet to, but I think we found one that will be a good fit for now.


  15. Love your honesty, Steph. It is very true, and it helps to hear this is the case with other mamas, too. Just the other day, I felt so accomplished for finally washing the diapers and two other loads of laundry (which still all sit clean and unfolded in the livingroom, btw) but then I looked at the kitchen and it was even more of a disaster than usual. Other days, I feel like I'm super creative and energetic with the kids, but we have chips and guacamole for dinner. We can 'do it all' just not all at once. ;) Keep sharing. You're encouraging more people than you realize. xo

  16. I am so glad to hear that other mamas can't do it all, either.

    "If I've got a good thing going in one area, it means there are probably a bunch of other things being severely neglected in another area."

    Yes! Me, me!

  17. I could do vegetarian, we eat that way about half the time. But, oh, the eggs. And the cream in my coffee. And the cheese. I'd be the cheatingest vegan around.

    I do know a few people who have gone vegan who feel really amazing.

    And once again, I feel like you're in my head. Applause for your honesty!

  18. I loved this post. It sounds so much like my life. :)

  19. i can totally relate to everything you wrote!

    i think that you are doing it "all" because you are doing exactly what God has called you to do and to be, a wonderful mommy to your four sweet blessings! i think you are doing an awesome job!!!

  20. This definitely resonated with me too, Steph. Your profound love for your children is evident in every post and I'm sure they'll never doubt it. Beautiful thoughts!

  21. No one can really do it all.

    And that's a good thing.

    My favorite thing about you (and what makes me come back here day after day) is your raw honesty...and open attitude about the reality of parenting and it's lack of perfection but overflowing amount of love.

    You sing the song of a true and devoted mother...and it is one I love to hear and try to mimic often.

  22. Mmm, I feel like that too -- you wait for those moment when they sleep and when you finally do go to bed it's never for long enough -- but it's all so incredibly worth it that you go and go!

  23. Also, I did a year long stint as a vegan and I've considered doing it again :)

  24. I get asked that a lot myself, and my answer is usually: Diet Coke and a really supportive and fantastic team behind me (husband, mom, boss, etc). It takes a village to raise a baby and it takes a village to be a happy and healthy and grounded mom/woman/wife.

    (I'm new here but I love it. You're inspiring in the way that is refreshing and genuine. You know, the best way.)

  25. No one can do it all - but you sure make it look like you can. Big Sister has been sick too. Sorry about Ivy.

  26. You don't give yourself enough credit. But I totally believe that motherhood is ad-libbing it at all times. Some days we nail it, some days we don't.

    I think we need to go to out for burgers again before you go vegan again!

  27. Listen: if you go vegan, we may break up. That is all.

    Love you. Love burgers. Love cheese.

  28. Exactly. You've put it into words beautifully. Hope Ivy takes a long snooze on her daddy today :)

  29. "The China Study" is a book I buy for all the people I love in my life (and for total strangers who are dealing with health issues). It's a GREAT read for anyone wanting to live a healthier life or who may be straddling that vegan fence.

  30. I have thought of going vegan again myself, but I've done so well eliminating red meat that I think I'll stick with what's working for now. So much change in this year already for me.

    As for doing it all, heh. We are a lot alike. I get it a lot, too. I tell them one simple phrase I don't ever let myself forget "I do what I can, when I can." And that's really it. I just put my nose to the grindstone and carve out whatever I can for the day, and that's all I can do, you know? A little here, a little there, it'll get done. Our kids need us more. *hugs*

  31. I was vegetarian for awhile and I often think about going back.

    No one does it all. It's not possible with out a staff of some sort IMO. I think getting through each day is a great accomplishment in it's self.

    I didn't know you did cross stitch! So cool!

  32. You are my hero.

    No really, in all honesty, I admire you so so so so much.


  33. Okay, I've never contemplated going vegan! LOL

    You constantly inspire and amaze me. I always wonder how you do it all. (And I don't believe you... I still think you do it all. *smile*)

  34. All i can say is AMEN! Thank you!

  35. Dear Steph,

    I love this post. It cheers my heart when we, as women, are able to admit that we are only human, and that life is a rough journey, albeit highly rewarding when we truly see all that we are blessed to experience.

    I love this quote by G.K. Chesterton, and I think so much about mothers (and women in general) and parents whenever I remember it:

    "We are all in the same boat in a stormy sea, and we owe each other a terrible loyalty."

    May more of us be more open and honest about ourselves.

    It cracks me up when people post pictures of their homes sometimes. You get to see... MAYBE their counter top in one small corner of their kitchen... Or MAYBE this one amazing dining room/buffet... Or MAYBE even a nightstand... You know what I mean.

    What I am dying to see is someone else's three/four overflowing laundry baskets full of dirty clothes (hey, three kids, one husband, and myself add up to a whole lotta weekly laundry!). Or someone elses side wall overflowing with those reusable grocery bags filled with miscellaneous junk that has been gathered at the last second because someone's coming over and it must must MUST be hidden from site! Or, what about someone else's unmade up face or twisted up hair being held up with a broken pencil?

    Do you remember when Jaime Lee Curtis did that article where she was photographed without make up and in her underwear and had no alterations done to the picture, and she went on to talk about how movie stars are just as normal as the rest of us, only they have people they pay to make them look like a million bucks every so often? That was a HUGELY amazing magazine moment in my mind.

    Here's another quote that I would love to place on a little sign outside of my one day house:

    "If you've come to see me, come on in! If you've come to see my house, make an appointment!"

    I think about a year ago, MckMama did a post about how she manages to do all that she does. It was a great post. A part of it was similar to what you've written here, but she continues on about some of the things she actually does do to help life run more smoothly. I bookmarked it and look back on it from time to time. Take a look see:


    Blessings, Susan

    P.S. Sorry. This comment is embarrassingly long, but I just had to get that out. Maybe I should have just blogged about it :O) Ha ha ha.

  36. Women are mutitaskers. They are biologically predisposed to take care of family, hearth and home while also doing the hunting and the gathering. They can't help it. Although they are underappreciated and underestimated, they do it all and most likely always will.

  37. Well, I had to quote from you at my newest post on balance: "Balance and how you can't do it all, at least not all at once." Thanks for providing this reminder that no one's doing it all.


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