I get asked often, by friends, family, and even sometimes complete strangers, “How do you do it all?” I’m sure the thought of meals and laundry and school and everything else for so many kids seems completely overwhelming to most. Honestly, it can be some days.
Here’s my secret: I don’t. We live in a world where everyone sees the best moments of our life, but rarely sees the real part of it. Yes, my kids are very well behaved in public, but that’s definitely not always the case at home. Who wants to see a picture on social media of my kids arguing? Of course you’ll see the ones with them smiling and playing together. Those are real moments too. My house is almost always picked up, but rarely truly clean. It’s my reality right now, and I’m ok with that. So, now that you know I don’t “do it all,” here are are a few things that do help me to accomplish whatever it is I actually do in my home.
I have help. I may have a lot more messes with so many little ones around, but that also means I have a lot more hands to help. Starting while they’re young, I’ve tried to instill some sense of responsibility in my kids. My four oldest, including my three year old, have job cards with their tasks to be done after breakfast each morning, including simple things such as making their beds and picking up toys, but also things like sweeping the kitchen floor and emptying the dishwasher, with each task assigned according to the child’s abilities. And of course, when my husband isn’t working, he’s a great help with things too. I may do well keeping up with the mountain of laundry most of the time, but I’m awful at keeping the sink free of dishes. He’s the absolute best at helping out with that!
I make compromises I’m comfortable with. For me, messes all over the place all the time make me crazy, so we try to enforce the “clean up your mess before you make a new one” rule around our house; but I’m way more relaxed when it comes to something like mopping the floors. Sadly, not sure I remember when I did that last. Most days, lunch is served on a disposable plate. I hate to be wasteful, but it saves my sanity a little with the dishes and also makes it easier for the kids to help with cleanup. It’s what works for us in this season of life. I believe that letting a few little things be done with less than perfection helps you accomplish more of what really matters.
I’ve got plenty of Jesus… and coffee. I probably should’ve mentioned this one first, because for me, it’s the most important. I cannot get through my crazy days with the enormous responsibility I have of teaching and raising up my children, among other things, without my faith. There is a noticeable difference in my days when I don’t start my day with some Jesus… and continue it with Him. He brings a peace to my home and myself that nothing else can, as well as countless times the strength I need to get through the bumpy moments. Coffee is of less importance, as you would imagine, but still… it helps! Besides keeping me warm in the winter, it’s one of few things that are just for me so I do cherish it… even if I sometimes have to dump and refill it because I don’t often get to sit and drink it while it’s still hot.