How Does She Do It All?
Everyone Always Asks Me, “How Do You Do It All?”
By Courtney McCarville
Well, I didn’t always used to “do it all”, I was once a working mom. What I mean is, I worked outside the home full-time and my unpaid side hustle at home included being a part time cook, cleaner, taxi driver, diaper changer, etc. As a devoted teacher, I put in hours and hours of nurturing and teaching other’s kids (basically raising them, right?! I loved it, don’t get me wrong) but homework still had to be done, dinner made, baths given, and then laundry and dishes done when the little people finally hit the pillow and hopefully stayed in bed and asleep! Weekends weren’t for fun and rest, rather they were for catching up on all the little things that didn’t get accomplished on the week nights. Blah!
I share this with you, because it was after 12 years of teaching, 9 of them in which my own family started growing at home, that I tuned into what I was being called to do: stay home and raise our children. It had always been in the back of my mind, but I didn’t dream it would ever really happen. God knew I was giving my all to my vocation as a teacher, yet I struggled to be the best version of myself as a wife and mom. After those long days in the classroom, I had little left to give to the ones who needed me the most.
So, the last two years I have been at home raising my children and believe me, I wear many different hats that are quite exhausting, but ever so rewarding! I have learned a lot about myself and how to wrangle in some of my OCD tendencies so I can be truly present in my kids’ moments and actually enjoy them. I know, sounds kind of harsh that I might say “actually enjoy them”, huh?! The truth is the truth. When I was focused on all the tasks I thought were of utmost importance, like keeping a highly clean and organized house, I lost sight of the joyful moments in parenting.
As I am typing this, I am truly realizing how quickly it all flies by. I have also found that it’s building greater character for our family, as a whole, if I recruit help from the other 3-4 capable humans in the house to share the load. Daily chore charts have been simple yet very helpful. And let me be upfront right away…..the one key thing I have learned over the last 2 years is this-to let go of what you are comfortable letting go of and don’t feel guilty about it! For me, its dusting and having laundry put in drawers right away. Mine now sits for at least 2 days before finding its home.
This is what it looks like and here are some things I have learned to let go of.
I ask myself these questions: Who is actually going to come over to the house today or maybe any day this week to see this mess of ours and can’t personally relate? Can dusting be put off one more week or one more day so I can get a power nap or run an errand that has higher priority? Would anyone notice if my floors aren’t mopped? Can I live with laundry being on the couch in piles until tomorrow?
I’m constantly in my head about whether or not something is truly a priority, because no matter what, some things really are important (to me anyway) and some things are just “busy work” that aren’t necessary. For example, if I know the lawn and leaf pickup crew is coming on Wednesday morning, no matter what, the lawn needs to be mowed before then. Deal, I can handle that. I know my husband likes the kitchen sink to be clean and would prefer no dirty dishes inside, so I try to keep on top of the dishes from breakfast, 17 snacks, lunch, and afternoon snacks (or I use the paper plate hack). Having the house tidy before bed and all beds made in the morning is not something I waiver on. It’s what makes things run smoother for me, which ultimately makes the whole family run much more smoothly. You get it?
At one point early in my staying home months, I tried a little post-it note schedule to help me stay focused and keep my tasks to just a few house cleaning items a day, so we could have FUN and create precious memories. I believe it went something like this:
Monday: mow, mop floors, trash out
Tuesday: toilets, dust (kid job), vacuum
Wednesday: wash day
Thursday: toy sort and put away, take a NAP
Friday: free day to catch up or do NOTHING other than prepare for a fun weekend!
Daily goals still work well for me, so that I feel accomplished in my work as a stay at home mom. Two of my four kids are back in school full time now and I know this routine will change and what I do on the daily will also change. I’m ready! I’m ready to find little ways to free up time from cleaning and busy work so that I can truly enjoy these wonderful, amazing, energy sucking, dynamite kids we have been blessed with.
Now when people ask me, “How do you do it all?”, I say, “I don’t do it all. I do what matters most for us, let go of things I’m comfortable letting go of, take a guilt free nap and recruit helpers!”
So instead of comparing yourself to others and whether you are “doing it all”, see if you can identify what matters most to your family and prioritize your time. You’re worth it!