When I started this blog, I thought I might include some tips about cleaning, cooking, motherhood, marriage, working, and juggling it all. I knew that I was not really qualified to give advice, but I thought I could at least share some things that worked for me. But, the truth is, a lot of the ideas I have used that worked for me were not my own. So, what is the sense of sharing those, when you can easily get them from someone who does it all better on Pinterest?
My kids were not potty trained at 18 months, my house is generally dirtier and messier than I would like, and I don’t make up new recipes that are worth sharing very often. I love “Mommy Blogs” and I read them and use their ideas all the time. I just am not equipped to provide a typical “Mommy Blog”.
My niche seems to be more in the realm of inspiration. Here is some inspiration for Moms out there – whether you work outside the home or not – you are not the only one who feels that juggling it all is hard. Actually, I would say it is impossible not to drop a ball fairly often. You have to choose which balls you are going to keep in the air and which ones might have to lie on the floor for a while.
I had an interview a couple years ago, and the interviewer told me that her priorities were “God, then family, then work.” I thought that sounded pretty good, and I am pretty sure she would have selected me for the job. But, her superior selected someone else. C’est la vie.
Still, her philosophy stuck with me. Do you see cleaning in that list anywhere? I suppose it could fit in the category of family. Don’t get me wrong, I want a clean home for my family. Laundry gets done every week. But we’re often piling up papers of artwork and whatever got tossed onto the dining room table and placing them in a corner of the table so we can sit down to eat dinner. But, we do all sit down and eat dinner together.
I work full-time and my husband stays home with the kids. I would like to blame the less-than-spotless house on him. Let’s face it – guys see things differently than women do. I have encountered men in all areas of my life who don’t understand what cupboards are for. They subscribe to the idea that every item you may ever need must be in view. Things that bug us, just don’t cause them the same anxiety. As much as we like to pretend men and women are the same – we are not.
That said, if I were the one to stay at home would it be much better? Maybe a little, but when I have had a week or two at home, when I have returned to work, the house is still not in ship-shape condition. It takes the expectation of guests for the real cleaning to get done, and even then, I usually notice a shelf full of dust or a severely smudged window that I missed.
Let’s talk about the mommy-guilt for a second. I am fortunate that I have a job that allows me to spend more time going to my kids’ events than most. For example, my children starting swimming lessons this week, and I got to attend the first lesson. But, that means I have to stay late several nights this week to make up the time – not because my boss requires it, but because we need the full-time income. This last weekend, we had beautiful weather. I spent a good amount of time cleaning, but then I felt guilty that I was taking the weather for granted and not sharing quality time with my kids. So I stopped what I was doing and we did an outdoor project. But, then I felt guilty that I wasn’t cleaning. It’s really impossible to win. If I had the choice to make over again, I would still choose the outdoor project, so I guess that is a win?
I read the Bible every morning, but often it’s when I’m blow drying my hair. That seems kind of weird, huh? But, that is what allows me to actually read the Bible every morning. I try to post on my blog at least twice a week, but that means I have to stay up late and forfeit some sleep. Sometimes that affects me more than others. Is that the right answer? I don’t know, but that’s the one that works for me right now.
So, my Mommy friends, find your peace. You may think your peace is in doing it all, but after years of trying to achieve that, I have accepted that I just cannot do it all and do it effectively. Some balls are going to drop, and having a spotless house is generally the first one. Spending time with friends is the next one, and that stings a bit more. My time with my kids is more limited than I would like. As much as I love having coffee with a friend, and occasionally make time for that, it just can’t be a ball that stays in the air right now. The list of balls that drop is long.
My son often tells me that he is full when dinner is over. I say, “Oh, well if you’re full, I guess that means you have no room for ice cream.” He points at his chest and says, “I left just a little bit of space right here for ice cream.”
As I think about it more, yes, work is a priority and a necessity, but only because it provides the financial resources my family needs. So, I think I’ll revise the list of necessary balls to keep in the air – God and Family. The rest is that little bit of space that is left for ice cream.