How Do You Do It All?

Having It All

I often am asked, “How do you do it all?” I never know how to answer that question and it usually occurs when someone notices my kid throwing a tantrum in public so I wonder if they really mean it.

Honestly, I don’t do it all and even when I am accomplishing a lot I still feel like I’m falling short.

Sometimes it seems to be happening all at once. Sometimes just two dance classes a week land you in traffic for an extra 3 hours. Sometimes there’s a fight in your daughter’s school so you are taking off work to volunteer in the classroom. Sometimes there’s a lice outbreak and you need to do daily checks to see if the little pests hitched a ride that day on the hair train. Sometimes you are working two jobs and your husband’s working three.

Then there are other times when you are putting all your extra beans into something to see if you can make it grow and possibly sacrificing other areas too much.

When life is moving so fast and you have to check three times to make sure you actually put the baby in the car you can think, “This is too much.”

Maybe it is.

One minute a child is driving me nuts and the next she brings a feeling to my heart that swells it with pride, but because she drove me nuts, does that mean I’m a bad mom?

We are bombarded in our society that if we go on vacation we will be happy. Really good wine, that will make us happy. A new car will solve it. What if I move to another city or buy a trendy blouse?

Life is funny, and weird and exciting and a lot to deal with all at once.

I guess it’s ok to feel all the emotions that come with life. I guess if we are feeling them that can indicate to us we are alive. I’d rather feel something than nothing.

Can you do or have it all? For the past two weeks I did… well sort of. I had some warm and loving time with my children, success at my work, for a few hours my house stayed clean and one day I got to exercise. I even went on a date with my husband.

I think the lie we are fed is you have to have it all at the same time. That if you are not in a constant state of happiness and bliss with a clean house, well behaved children and a fat bank account, something must be wrong.

Maybe one day the house is going to be messy, but you are going to have an extra 40 minutes to drive your daughter to ballet. On another day that floor is going to be spotless, but the kids watched too much TV. Sometimes your husband may be working way too much, but you can finally afford to buy some extras without feeling your cutting into rent money.

What if doing it all means one day you did one thing right and the next you did two?

Recently I’ve found cleaning to be grounding. It’s a completely foreign feeling as normally I hate it, but the feel of a freshly washed floor under my feet which is a direct and finite result of my physical action makes me feel in control.

I’ve found I need to choose what’s important for both my short term and long term goals and not allow real or imagined failures, overwhelm or guilt stop me from taking the next step upward.

Life has actually gotten more hectic since school started. I don’t understand the idea that the kids being in school makes things easier. Homework, lice outbreaks, school meetings, after-school activities, my own job, it has all ramped up to a rather high pitched roar of activity.

This week I kept all the plates spinning by finding one thing I could control. I could wash the floor.

This week I was totally in control of one thing.

Maybe next week it will be two but for now I’m going to feel the floor beneath my feet.

Feel the floor Beneath your feet


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8 responses

  1. I think when people ask us how we do it all it’s a compliment. I often get asked that myself. I tell people my life may look perfect but sometimes I just cry. That makes them laugh, but then I say yeah I was serous.

    When I get like this… (The ugly cry) I move on and say it’s okay I can’t get the laundry done or yeah my daughter just drew in permanent marker on my leather couch.

    Because it’s okay. It’s just stuff.

    I love my hectic life and I’m glad you share yours. Makes me feel normal.

    • I think I would totally lose it if a sharpie decorated my leather couch… If you remained somewhat chill after that, you are some kind of superhero!!

  2. My answer to the “how do you do it all?” question is always “a lot of help:)” And I know what you mean about cleaning giving you a feeling of accomplishment – I’ve been experiencing that the past week (it could be nesting – #2 is coming soon….).

  3. Best answer I have for that question is..”I don’t.” My life is as crazy as everyone else’s and it is a constant tradeoff. The best present one of my friends gave me was letting me see her house on a ‘regular’ day when she was not expecting company. Who wants to be perfect anyway?

  4. How interesting that you mention cleaning the floor is what makes you feel in control – even if it is that one thing. We recently moved from a two bedroom condo into a four bedroom home. This means not only do I have two more rooms to manage, but one additional bathroom, a bigger kitchen, larger hallways, and another living room to keep clean. All this on top of everything else that needs to get done to keep our household together. What I have noticed however, is when I’m getting to that point of not giving a damn about the dishes or the laundry or bathrooms, the floor is the one thing that has to be clean in order for me to be ok with letting the rest wait. If the floor beneath my feet is clean, I don’t feel like every thing else is hanging over my shoulder. Weird, isn’t it?

    • I bet having more space is at once refreshing and overwhelming! I would kill for the closet space but don’t think I would like the added surface area to manage!

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