On “doing it all”

A SAHM friend of mine recently went back to work part time a couple days a week. She was lamenting to me how overwhelmed she felt. She made a passing comment, “I don’t know how you do it all.” (meaning work full time + mama)

The answer, of course, is I don’t. I don’t even do half. I’m lucky if I do a quarter, some days an eighth, of what needs to be done. I’ve learned in the past eight months, that when it comes to motherhood, prioritizing is key. That often means dishes stay dirty for many days, and clothes stay unfolded on the couch for much too long. It means my house is usually less than presentable, my cupboards are often bare, and we eat take out more than I’d like to admit.

In my opinion, “doing it all,” is overrated. I used to feel bad that my house is a wreck, and I don’t always get to make A’s baby food fresh and organic, but feeling bad about it doesn’t automatically make my house clean, fold my clothes or stock my fridge. It wastes valuable time, time I’d rather be spending with my family.

I’ll admit, it’s not always easy. Sometimes I get caught up with anxiety that I can’t get everything done. I have to remind myself to take it day by day. I ask myself, “What needs to be done right now?” It’s usually not nearly as big a deal as I made it out to be.

For instance, this week is “Teacher Appreciation Week” at daycare. Each day has a theme for what to bring. Yesterday afternoon I was PANICKING because I hadn’t got anything yet. Actually I was having a full on meltdown because John leaves for Indianapolis tomorrow, and all the stress I was carrying came out as “I HAVEN’T GOTTEN ANYTHING FOR A’S TEACHERS YET.” But that’s another story for another post. Anyway, I had to remind myself to take it one day at a time, and I just made sure I had what was needed for today.

So that’s what I do. I clean when I can. I cook healthy meals when I can. I draft blog posts during downtime at work (like now!). And in between I do whatever time allows me. Because I work full time, I have to savor every second I have at home with A. So if that means I spend more time playing than cleaning or writing or doing laundry, I’m okay with that.

We don’t have to “do it all” to be a good moms. We don’t even have to do half of it. We just do what we can, when we can. So far, A hasn’t loved me any less because our house isn’t always clean. And that’s good enough for me.

One thought on “On “doing it all”

  1. I always feel like if the kids are fed and cleaned at the end of the day and Bub has his homework done then it’s all ok. I would rather Family Movie Time than anything. But unfortunately I can’t just leave dirty dishes because the way my husband is. He would not be happy if he came home to a dirty kitchen after he spent the day cleaning it. So I’ve found a balance of Getting Things Done and hanging out with the children.
    It’s tough though when you live with someone who spends his day doing schoolwork and taking care of the baby who then goes to work for 8-10 hours at night to not feel like you are not doing enough.
    And I completely missed the first day of Teacher Appreciation Week for my son’s school but I don’t know if she minded. I headed out to Target and picked out what I needed for the rest of the week and had it ready so I didn’t have to think about it. I could just popped the day’s gift in the book bag and move along.
    And this comment got long.

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