Monday, November 21, 2011

i so can't do it all.

I often get asked by readers and friends in real life, "How do you do it all? Fitness classes, having four children, homeschooling, cooking, cleaning, volunteering, design work, remodeling, projects, blogging?"

The answer I give them is usually a laugh with the response that I don't sleep and I never get finished with anything, but I was thinking more about it and I think this is a better answer:

I don't do it all. 

My desire for this blog is to be uplifting and encouraging- basically for it to be a positive place to come and have community with other women. My goal here is always to be transparent and honest with you guys, and I so don't want to give the impression of being something I'm not, so here's my answer to the question in more detail in case I have. If we sat down to chat over coffee, here's what I would tell you:

I can't do everything I want to get done. I have a constant list of things I'm not getting to, and sometimes it overwhelms me, and I get massively stressed out.

I think if you came over to my house at any given time, you'd see an orderly mess. I can't ever get a perfectly clean house. Like ever. I always have at least two loads of laundry to fold {which is actually a big improvement over my first years of homemaking! lol!}.

source: pinterest
So when I say orderly mess, I mean I can get the house picked up in 45 minutes, but there are always toys out, dishes in the sink, and clothes on a floor somewhere. It's never to my internal desire of cleanliness. I can't keep up with 3300 square feet and four little kids unless I do it all day long.

My floors are never perfect. I try to keep actual food off of them ;), so they are swept/vacuumed mostly- but if you came over you'd probably see a milk spot or three under the table, because they don't get mopped as often as I'd like them to.

Some weeks my toilets are clean, some weeks they are dirty. I try not to look too hard.

I am not a morning person. I've always been a night owl and a late riser, and it was making me sleep only 5-6 hours per night. Add in 1-2 hours of exercise a day, and all the other duties I have, and the lack of sleep was just wearing me down.  After vacation two weeks ago, we decided we have to be early people, because the lack of sleep was actually really hurting our productivity. Even after just a week, it's made a huge difference in how I feel every morning.

I really feel like I work constantly. We don't have television, and we rarely watch movies anymore, so once I get home in the evening from teaching fitness classes, we eat and then I go straight back to working on blogging and housework. Every day.

I love blogging, but honestly, it's a ton of work. I wish I could say I schedule my day out, and only spend one or two hours doing it, but it wouldn't be true. So far, I've done everything here, which meant losing many hours figuring out html and css and spending crazy amounts of time in illustrator making things just right {and I'm never done!}.

I love teaching fitness classes, but sometimes it's hard to have to be somewhere at the same time every day.

I homeschool, but I've never felt any sort of torture like it. I wonder what I'm doing wrong, why they can't get it, why am I doing this to myself, and then end up thinking about taking them to school, and know in my heart that this isn't the right time for us and that. I end up crying out to God that I'm not made for this and somehow He brings relief. Sometimes it's that my husband helps out, sometimes it's that the lightbulb suddenly comes on in their brain.

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I guess I'm doing lots and lots of things. When I make a list of what I've actually done in a day, it's really a pretty good list. When I take a step back, I realize I've gotten a lot done that day. My problem is, all I can ever see is what is not done.

I want to run the race, I want to be the Proverbs 31 lady that does it all.

I try to be everything I can be, and sometimes it's too much for me to handle.

My husband is the sweetest man I've ever known, and he is constantly trying to ease my burdens. He changes diapers, helps with dishes when he can, helps them with school work and me with homeschooling, and has insisted I hire help with cleaning the house. I love him so much. He is the picture of Christ and the church. He lays down his life for me all the time. I'm so very blessed to have him as my husband.

I am working on doing less, and living more, and it's a constant effort. I want to be a faithful daughter of the King, a good momma, and a good wife- not necessarily a productive woman. When I do too much, I lose my joy in there somewhere, and that's my red flag that I can't keep at it anymore.

I'm so, so not perfect. I'm grumpy when I don't sleep, I cry when I have too much to do, and I lose patience easily when I'm overwhelmed.

I've figured out to some extent that I have to accept that things will not be finished. That I will never conquer my to-do list.  And I'm learning that when I focus on God, that things that are less important seem to fade out.

When I start to focus on Him, I stop looking at myself and what I haven't done. I'm not anything in the grand scheme of this life- He is all of it. When I look at the big picture, I think, what will I remember in 10 years? 20? Will I remember that I got five projects done, or that I played with the kids at the park? What's more important?

Will I remember that my house was messy when everyone came over for Thanksgiving? Or that we had the best time visiting and seeing each other? What's the most important thing here? People or a clean house?

Sometimes I get it right, sometimes I stress about it too much.

I've been praying that God will give the priorities I need, that He will show me what is the most important thing each day. I know the days I start with Him are the best ones. He gives my joy that doesn't happen without Him. And I can tell a difference! I don't believe that God won't give you more than you can handle. I think that this life is more than we can handle, and we have to turn to Him because of it. He has to be our source of life- for everything.

I'm still learning this, and I hope you guys are okay with that. I wish I had 10 steps to tell you of ways to become more organized with your life, but I'm no expert. I'm just a momma/wife/child of God that's learning and experimenting just like you.

I'm so thankful for all you- thankful that we can have this amazing little community across the world! That we can be honest and transparent and look to Jesus for help together- how awesome is that!! God is so good, and it's so cool that He chose us to live in this time for His purpose. It's crazy!

Please pray for this learning-momma-wife-wanna-be-Proverbs-31-lady that God will show me how to be what He wants me to be. I so desire that His will be accomplished and His glory be reflected in my life. Ahhh, it's just so heavy on my heart. I want to get to the end and be told, "well done, good and faithful servant."

Thank you for listening, and for giving me the grace to be less than perfect. I love you guys!

Mandy
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