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.


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!



  1. Wow, you posted my thoughts exactly! Although I don't have a blog or teach fitness class I do have 2 kids that I homeschool, teach the 4-7 year olds in Sunday school, try to work out 3 times a week after my wonderful hubby gets home, plus try to keep our house clean, cook, spend time in His Word, and lots of other things, I know exactly what you mean! Thanks for your uplifting and encouraging blog! I'll pray for you!

  2. Wow, you posted my thoughts exactly! Although I don't have a blog or teach a fitness class, I do have 2 kids I homeschool, teach the 4-7 year olds in Sunday school, try to work out 3 times a week after my wonderful hubby gets home, keep the house clean, cooking, and lots of other things, I know exactly what you're saying! Thank you so much for your uplifting and encouraging blog! I'll pray for you!

  3. Seaweed & RaineJanuary 29, 2013 at 9:27 AM

    Yep. And now I'm going to bed so I can get up early. :)

  4. i'm so glad that you posted this! i'm always trying to ,ake sure everything is "perfect" before anyone comes over, all the while i'm missing out on time that can never be regained. it's nice to know that i'm not the only one who frets abt it!

  5. Wow! I really loved this post. Somehow I always feel like I am the only one who has laundry on the floor and the to do list just never ends. Thanks for sharing.

  6. oh, sweetie. i needed this today. this sounds so much like me. :D thank you for sharing and being so transparent.
    sending love and prayers your way!

  7. I needed this today too! I can completely relate :) thank you for just putting yourself out there day in and day out. You're authenticity is refreshing. Praying for you :)

  8. I really loved reading this :) This sounds A LOT like me and I only have a 4 month old to take care of. It's really nice to read that other women aren't "perfect" though. Thank you so much for posting! :)

  9. Mandy! I still think you're super woman....but I totally relate to this post. I'm a night owl too, David actually gets up with our boys to get them ready for school - every. single. morning. God is so good to bless us with supportive husbands. I don't get it all done either, but I sure couldn't without his help!

  10. Thank you for your honesty. I think it is so easy for us to get caught up in comparing ourselves to others, which causes us to feel inferior. When we read a blog, we only see the pretty pictures that are posted and not the chaos that is going on behind the scenes.
    karla @ www.bluegrassjewelrydesigns.com

  11. Thank you for posting this. It is just what I needed today.

  12. Thanks for making us THINK!! I love the song by Wayne Watson, "Water Colored Ponies". It seems to put it all in perspective. I've been a wife/ mother for 22 years, and I promise that you will "Get it all done" one day, but, then one of the kids will get the stomach virus, and give it to you, then there you'll go again!!! Take courage, keep laughing, love your man, and your kids won't even remember that you forgot to clean the corners:-)

  13. 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.

    there is so.much. here to respond to, yet this (above) DUDE.

  14. Thanks a bunch for this post. Very encouraging. :) I myself melted half a plastic mixing spoon and lost my checkbook this past week!

    Also, I am so excited about this! I have been reading your Thanksgiving posts and praying about welcoming more people... it's hard since I do thanksgiving dinner back with my family, 6 hours away from where I live now. In the last few years, we have always had various college friends of my brothers who lived too far away to go home. They aren't joining us this year, which is great cause they get to go home, but I was getting sad because I couldn't think of anyone else to ask!

    Turns out one of my brothers has invited several of his friends who are for various reasons in a hard place and don't really have anywhere to spend Thanksgiving... so they will Lord willing be spending it with my crazy family! In a by no means picture perfect setting. But I am so excited! :)

    I hope and pray that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!! ~Frances

  15. This is so very true. I was once asked the same question and I answered with that high pitch hysterical laugh, thinking yeah right. One day at a time with God leading. If you would like to check out our craziness, come on over, http://jebgafrisk.blogspot.com/ , thank you so much for this post

  16. Disqus generic email templateOh, thank you Mary- you are such an encouragement to me! Thank you for your prayers! :)

  17. Disqus generic email templateThank you for your prayers and your sweet comments Jenny- it’s so good to know I’m not alone!

  18. Disqus generic email templateI definitely agree! It’s hard to avoid comparison when we can see so many more people than ever, and you are right, blogging is usually less realistic than real life. Oh, and thank you for understanding the chaos! :P

  19. Oh yay! How awesome that God had it all arranged like that! I’ll be praying for your Thanksgiving! Thank you for sharing your sweet home!

  20. Disqus generic email templateIt’s so hard not to laugh when people ask that because we know exactly how crazy it is! heehee I will def. check out yours too! :P lol!

  21. Wow. I stumbled across your blog this evening on Facebook and read this post and cried. I am going through the exact same thing in my life right now and am trying to Pray it Out so that I can see where God really wants my time and energy. Thank you for being so honest and transparent. :)


  22. Thank you for sharing this, Mandy. I'm a single gal, and even I get and feel overwhelmed with daily life. And there are times when I feel bad because, well, because my daily life is not that difficult! I do meditate on Proverbs 31 a lot, but let me tell you, sometimes it encourages me, and sometimes it discourages me! Talk about mission impossible! But I'm learning, bit by bit. I made a post about a small part of it, kindly read it when you have the time and let me know what you think, I'd love to get opinions from married ladies, like yourself.

    LeeAnne, Style N Season

  23. Oh, thank you for your encouragement! It’s so good to hear from a momma that’s made it through! :)

  24. Awww, you're sweet! :D I'm so grateful for the awesome men in our lives! Love how they love us by meeting our needs and even in things that aren't needs! So awesome!

  25. I so understand. I have 7 kids and lots of interests. My day seems like it never ends. But it helps to stand back and look at the whole picture, Until all the children are bigger I will probably always feel like this, but there is a way he enjoy there busy days and feel blessed and peaceful instead of stressed out. l am hoping to master this art one day:).

  26. Great post--thanks for sharing. I think so many women feel this way, self included, but feel they shouldn't. I agree with you ---it is the people that are important and sometimes I forget that. It always makes me sad when I get to the end of a day and look into one of the children's eyes and think "where have you been all day."

  27. Wow,so real and genuine.The struglee women face is to always try have it together it is so impossible to achieve and i thank God for blogs like this and others that offer a snippet into reality and not fiction.I get weary too and i have two children,as i haven't got family around meit can feel intense and lonely so i feel encouraged knowing i am not alone.

  28. Mandy, I often feel like this too, and we don't have any kids! We do host a lot of things at our house because we're in full-time ministry...and I always want things to be perfect. A couple weeks ago, I had a total melt-down, just sobbing, so frustrated that I can't hold things together as I'd like and can't project the "perfect" image. The Lord really spoke to me through these words of Amy Carmichael, written as a word from the Father:

    "Thy journey may be restful; if thou art inwardly at rest nothing outward can disturb thee. Peace always under all conditions--that is my word for thee. Do not let it slip. Do not drift away from it. Hold it fast; for it is not a vain thing for thee, because it is thy life."

    Doesn't that sound SOOO amazing: "peace always under all conditions." So hard sometimes to believe that is His promise. I am finding that when I don't have peace it is usually because I have put a whole buffet of things on my plate that He never asked me too, or I am trying to live up to some standard that Martha Stewart created, not Jesus Christ!

    Thanks for sharing your heart on this. I love your blog...but if you stopped writing tomorrow I would know why! :) Your words are always genuine, sweet, and I see your desire to bring glory to our God!

    Love you, sister!

  29. Mandy, I needed to hear you say this! I have tried to put this same thing to words many times over. I feel like a constant failure and only see what I did not get accomplished in each day. Just this Wednesday at church a sweet newer member of our congregation told me that she was telling her sister in another state about this Proverbs 31 woman that does it all, meaning me. I told her that I don't do it all I was actually invious of her! I am a big mess that tries to smile through it.
    I am a 2nd year homeschooling mom of 4 girls 7,5,2, and 5months baby. I cook because it is cheaper than eating out. I sew because it is sometimes cheaper than clothing 4 girls. My house is controlled chaos with mismatched furniture.
    I tell myself that I can do ALL things through Jesus Christ that gives me strength. i also remind my self that the Proverbs 31 woman didn't do all those things at the same time but in the right season. Thank you for helping me know that I am not alone in this struggle.

  30. I often have the same feelings, of I just want to get through my list, so I can call it "a good day!" And then on the many days I didn't get my list done, I'd be depressed and grumbling. My husband's advise has been... "just be glad you have things to do".. WOW! That changes the perspective. I'm healthy enough to make a list to work off of, I have friends, people that need me and kids that I can spend hours thinking about now that they are all out of the house...It's all about Perspective and relying on God for Priorities for each day!

  31. Hello! Just discovered your bolg and love it! We have 3 kids, homeschool & love healthy eating & fitness as well :) Plan to make your posts part of my devotional readings too :)


  32. This really blessed me. Thanks for sharing, wow. I am married and only a mom of two with a full time job, treasurer of my church and many other titles behind my name. Always feeling overwhelmed, never taking time to slow down and feeling like one day I'm just gonna crash...your story is so true and encouraging. God bless you and give you strength and wisdom as you face each day.

  33. Love this post! :) Thanks xx You're a true blessing x

  34. Just what I needed to hear today! Thank you. Cindy


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