I am asked a lot, “How do you do it all?”
I am just superwoman. That is all. I have been gifted with 48 hour days, self-cleaning floors, and brainiac kids who just LOVE to do school work and get all the chores done.
Yeah right, If only!
Actually, I don’t even know what ‘it all’ is. I guess the accomplished stay at home, homeschooling mama would be up by 5am to feed the baby and get her day started, read her Bible and pray for 1 hour every morning, have a spotless house, no dishes in the sink, kids with fresh hair cuts and unstained, rip-free clothing.
This woman would always look put together, wear a spotless apron in the kitchen, along with high heals. Her hair would be washed and done, her makeup flawless, her finger nails would shine like justice and she would have the fragrance of a rose. Pregnancy would never slow her down or add pounds to her backside.
She would have 3 fresh cooked meals ready at perfect intervals each day, served hot and on good china at the dining room table. She would serve super healthy, homemade snacks at least twice a day with fresh milk from the family’s dairy cow and in the kitchen you would find no sign that cooking was ever done, with the exception of the bread dough, made with freshly ground wheat, rising in a warm oven.
An accomplished mama would sew all her kids clothes with the precision of a professional seamstress and laundry would never pile up anywhere. All clothes would be pressed perfectly and organized by color in each child’s drawer. All socks would have their matches.
She could wrangle a snake, catch a mouse, and change a tire. An unexpected event in her day wouldn’t cause her to detour. She would reset her schedule and get back to work, not missing a beat.
This mom would have a strict schedule, in 15 minute increments, posted on her bathroom mirror to keep her from any dilly dally, along with a memory verse reminding her not to be lazy, though she will find time for tea and a good book sometime in the afternoon.
Not a spec of dust would be found in the accomplished mom’s home, nor an out of place toy. Carpets would always have those fresh vacuum lines and floors would shine, freshly mopped. Not a pile of newspapers nor bills will be spotted and electrical cords coming to and fro will be invisible to the naked eye.
The sounds in her house would be either silence, Christian music, or the piano, of which all her children would be exceptional at. Her kids would be math whizzes, never complain, and get everything done in the time allotted. They would wash their hands and behind their ears regularly, their teeth would always be brushed, and their hair freshly combed.
Her husband would come home to a house that smelled nice, a beautiful woman who was there to wait on him, well groomed kids, and a yummy dinner. Mama would put the kids to bed at 8 with no fussing or whining and stay up with her husband for a few hours and have ‘mommy & daddy’ time. They would be fast asleep by 10 so they could be up by 5am the next morning to do it all again.
In the words of Elizabeth Bennet, “I never saw such a woman. Surely she would be a fearsome thing to behold.”
Expecting yourself to be the picture of the woman I described above is silly. We can never hope to accomplish that. To think we should expect ourselves to always be perfect in everything will leave us feeling discouraged and hopeless. We will end up tired and unable to be the mothers and wives we ought to be.
First: Ask your husband what things he would have you get done first in your day. Make a list of the things that make him feel good when he comes home and work on perfecting those.
Second (and maybe this should be first): Get your kids in line. Children that obey are much happier and happy kids make happy homes. When you have a child who fusses when you tell him “no candy” it dampens the mood of your home. But when your child says, “okay” when you say no and he runs off to play you will see an improvement in the overall feel of your days. Your child is happier knowing his boundaries. He didn’t have to fuss or whine for anything. He was able to move on and happily go about his business.
Third: Decide what is truly important and what is just a small thing. Remember that you aren’t a robot and neither are your kids. You are all different. Teach your kids how to get their jobs done, even jobs they don’t like, and then let them tweak the way they do it to suit themselves. Doing it all yourself won’t help your children learn anything but laziness, but making them do it exactly as you would will only teach them disdain for helping out with jobs they must learn to do, and it will be a pain in your tush because you will be frustrated and constantly re-doing everything.
Fourth: Don’t freak out when things don’t go exactly as planned and don’t look at it as getting ‘backed up’. Feeling backed up will cause discouragement. Just make a written plan and start again. If that doesn’t work, make a new written plan. Don’t go back and look at how unsuccessful you have been.
You may think from reading my blog that I am put together and I get everything done. That isn’t quite true. Actually, far from it, I just don’t blog about my faults too much.
I have the child rearing thing down and we try to take an easy going approach to life – those things do make my days stress free. However, my home is not the picture of perfection. Here are a few confessions for those of you who don’t ‘see’ me in homemaking action.
My kids may get the laundry done, and I may get up, get dressed, and make my bed every morning, but you should see the dust on my ceiling fans and shelves. I have small boxes where I hide stuff when surfaces get too junky. I am queen of the swipe and stuff, taking everything off the desk and throwing it into a box. The desk is instantly clean! But then I have this box sitting around needing to be gone through.
My flooring is made up of baby toys and Match Box cars and our schooling area is usually littered with ripped up crayon wrappers.
My walls need washing and pictures need to be straightened.
I am really bad at remembering to wipe down my appliances and my baseboards probably haven’t been washed in a year.
There is more but, alas, I am done poo-pooing myself. I do pretty good for a mama of 6 and, since my main goal is a stress free home, a happy husband and smart, happy kids I think we are right on track.
So, work I must on those things needing my attention but when I don’t get it all done I just think back to the wise words of Miss Scarlett O’Hara.
“I can shoot straight, if I don’t have to shoot too far.”
No, wait, wrong quote.
“Fiddle dee dee… I won’t think about it now, I’ll think about it tomorrow, when I can stand it. After all … tomorrow’s another day.”