How I Do It All…Secrets from a Perfect Wife and Mother

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source: Jenn & Tony Bot

This post was first published last year on my personal blog, but it seems like an appropriate reminder now:

That title sounds like it belongs on some gimicky ebook or late-night infomercial, and let me assure you that this post will NOT live up to its name!

Lately I’ve been getting a lot of emails and comments asking me how I do it all. There must be something in the air because I’m noticing a lot of other bloggers talking about getting those same kind of emails.

Tsh @ Simple Mom had an awesome post last year (while I was still composing this one in my head…) in response to that very question, and she hit the nail on the head. The key is that no one – NO ONE! – can do it all. It’s simply impossible. For every activity that I do, there’s another that I am choosing not to do. For everything I accomplish, there’s something else that is left undone.

And so here is a summary of what I do and what I don’t do…

I do… I don’t…
Maintain a blog network Get everything done that I want with them
Homeschool my girls Spend lots of time playing on the floor
Work full-time Sleep 8 hours every night
Do fun arts & crafts with my girls Do any arts & crafts for myself
Meal plan Make homemade meals every night
Pray…a lot Do daily devotions
Like a straight, clean house Insist on perfection

I don’t always get to be as flexible as I’d like to be or get much time to bake, which love. I do, however, get snappy and tearful when I try to do too much and end up exhausted.

But honestly, when it comes down to it, I think the thing that makes the biggest difference in getting so much done is that I don’t leave the house. Seriously. We go to church and run errands on Sundays, and a lot of weeks that is the only time I go anywhere. I’m not complaining. The truth is I’m a total homebody and I have a lot on my plate, so I’m okay with it.

There’s no doubt, though, that going anywhere, plus the time it takes to get everyone ready and in the car, plus the time it takes to get everyone settled and recovered from the outing, takes a lot of time. If you are going on playdates, to sports and other activities and running errands throughout the week, then of course you don’t have time to do everything that I do while I’m sitting on my butt at home. And that’s totally okay!

(Note: In the year since this post was first written, my husband has also become a stay-at-home dad, which also gives me a ton more time to focus on work during work hours without also having to balance all of the responsibilities of a stay-at-home parent.)

Don’t get me wrong. I love being a work-at-home mom. It fits my personality and my parenting style (I’m not really a “get down on the floor and play” type of parent anyway), and I enjoy what I do. I think I’m more disciplined, and more appreciative of the time I do have, than I would be otherwise, and I think it’s made me a better wife and mother for the most part.

BUT, I hate the idea that anyone would try to measure themselves against me as some sort of standard. I am so not perfect, and there are plenty of people who would rather be baking or playing with their kids or going to meet a girlfriend for coffee or whatever.  I refuse to speculate if one is better than the other because I firmly and confidently believe that I am doing exactly what God has called me to do (well, not the snapping at my family part, but you know…), and as long as you are confident in the decisions you’re making for your family, that should be enough for you too!