Monday, July 1, 2013

"How do you do it all?"

I get asked this question kind of often.  To be honest, it's pretty embarrassing and makes me a little uncomfortable.

I know people (and it's mostly women that ask) mean it as a compliment but I never know what to say.  Whatever I come up with in my head at the moment sounds wrong, so I try to deflect or smile or try to deny that I get lots of things done or change the subject entirely.

 ripening blueberries (which I recently covered with bird netting)

The other day I decided to really think about this.  I know I get a lot done in a day and to some it may seem effortless, but it doesn't feel that way to me (especially as I get older!).  I'm no more special than you or anyone else.  I don't have any super powers (although a little spider web action from the wrist would make catching chickens much easier).  There's no fairy dust or secret third hand.  Promise.

Here are some of the thoughts that came to mind....

~  It's one thing for me to look around and wish that things were more organized or cleaner or that the garden was less weedy or that the produce on my back stoop would process itself.  I can even put things on a list (either a mental one or a paper one).  But it's another thing all together to actually do it.  Sometimes I feel lazy.  Sometimes I want to spend time doing something else.  But if I want it to get done, I have to do it.  It sounds super simple, but it's huge, friends.  Nike is on to something.  Just do it.  This mentality doesn't work for everyone, but it works for me.

a rare photograph of me at work (courtesy of Miriam)- weeding the blueberries and trying desperately to work on my farmer's tan

~  I am pretty obsessive about completing things.  If I start a project, just try to stop me.  Oh, don't get me wrong- I get interrupted like the dickens- but whatever I'm working on is like a magnet, pulling me back until it's done.  I don't know if this is a nature or nurture kind of skill behavior, but being in the habit of finishing what you start makes a big difference.  You gain confidence to tackle the next project when you know you'll actually complete it.

~  I don't do it alone.  Jamey is a true partner in life and plays a big role in everything running smoothly around here.  The jobs and chores around here are divided up, usually based on our skill level.  Also, I haven't picked up toys in YEARS.  Training your kids to help out around the house from a young age is so important.  They are a great help to me.  Eight hands stringing snow peas make it go so much faster than only two!

~  I'm a homebody.  This is a major part of how/why I can get a lot done.  Could I do everything if I was out running around every day?  No way.  It's a choice our family has made.  In order for things to run smoothly and for everything to get done, we have to be home most of the time.  This doesn't mean we never leave, but we're careful how we decide what we'll commit to or leave the house for.  There's no right and wrong here.  There are pros and cons to both.  Just don't expect to get as much done if you're not home on the ranch (so to speak).  Working moms, you AMAZE me.  I honestly have no idea how you get done what you do.

Sam reading behind our mound of wineberry bushes

~  Chaos and disorder make me unhappy.  If I'm unhappy I snap at my children, I'm ungrateful to my husband and I have trouble thinking about anyone else.  I know what works for me and that is to put in the hard work, time and effort that it takes to do the things that lead to a happy home (for us- each family is different) .  I'm making a choice if I chose to slack off and become unhappy in this way.

~  My kids are older.  Granted, the youngest is four but four is OLD compared to two-day, three-week, and four-month olds.  If you still have littles to take care of, don't you dare compare yourself to anyone else! Your job (as wonderful and as sometimes monotonous as it may seem) is to take care of them (and yourself).  The only reason I got done what I did the summers of 2009 and 2010 (when Miriam was a newborn and one-year-old) was because Jamey had summer break and was home to help!

Older kids mean more freedom to start (and finish) projects.  It will happen.  They will grow up.  And it's okay to both miss it AND be thankful for it.

~ And last, but certainly not least..."I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13).  What would I do without my Lord and Savior?!  I would be lost.  All my efforts and my life take on a whole new meaning and purpose when I recognize that I am on this earth for a reason- to glorify God and to extend love to others.  "We love because he first loved us" (1 John 4:19).  The miracle of it all is that I did nothing to deserve His love and grace except to believe (and He loved me before that, too!).  His love is fuel to finish this race and finish it the best I can.

So.  That's me and the combination of reasons and circumstances that allow me to do what I do.  The next time someone asks me, they may just have to pull up a chair and, more than likely, soon they'll probably regret that they asked in the first place. Pin It

12 comments:

  1. I get that statement a lot too and I always reply that I don't get it all done, but like you said, that answer doesn't quite feel right. I do get A LOT done because of the very same reasons you do. I think many in our culture want to have it all and do it all, but are not willing to actually put in the time to make it happen. We are a microwave society....want everything quick & easy. Women especially say that they get tired just hearing how much I sometimes do in a day and to that I say, "yeah, me too!" because I am exhausted by the end of each day--every day! When I am faithful to use the time God gave me wisely, He makes a way for me to get what needs to be done, DONE! Thank you for your post. It helps to know that there are others who find this statement frustrating!

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  2. This is so true. Every bit of it!!!:)

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  3. I love this post! I get asked the same thing all the time and you truly make good points. Even with grown children you still have to stay focused and home!

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  4. Beautiful words to read on a Monday morning. I find this very encouraging as I try to be filled with the Spirit and do what I can for my family and home. Thank you for sharing.

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  5. Your post today is a great encouragement :) I'm sure many many more readers will profit from this too! Thank you:)

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  6. My usual answer to that question is, "I only do what I love." Which is true, if I didn't enjoy it all I wouldn't be doing it:) Kids, farming, family, seeking God. Great advice!

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  7. We could be twins. People say that to me a lot, and I also don't feel like I do a lot. It's just a matter of needing to get things done and organizing a timeline to make it all happen. For us, we have no phone and I don't watch TV or go out since we are 4 hours from town, so that does add a lot of time to my day that others don't have the luxury of. If I stayed off the laptop, I'd probably accomplish a LOT more! I can only hope my life and efforts glorify Him.

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  8. It is so sad that most mothers today are unable to gain satisfaction from staying at home. (I know there are moms who do not have the choice, but I have heard many others say, "If I had to stay home all day with my kids I would go crazy.") Should a woman choose to bring children into the world, raising them is the most important job she can ever have. (Unfortunately, the mother at home has never been given the credit or support she deserves.) I personally feel that the mother going out into the work force and leaving home has contributed greatly to the disintegration of our modern society.

    You being at home all day with your children is one of the hardest jobs you could have. The fact that you do accomplish so much means you are willing to give it your all even when other choices sound easier. It takes a lot of personal responsibility to work so hard 24/7. But because you're willing to do so, you have created a wonderful family unit, happy children and a loving home for your husband.

    I got pretty preachy here but your post shows you've done some serious thinking about this topic (thanks for sharing) and worked things out so that you're living a life that is fulfilling, gives you satisfaction and brings you happiness and joy. Can't beat that!

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  9. Thanks so much for this wonderful post. I do work full time but I have a vegetable garden, love to cook from scratch, quilt...on and on. I always have a project going. My husband has always been my very best friend and partner and our girls are older so there is more time to devote to what I love to do. I too am a homebody and I used to think there was something wrong with that...but no more, I embrace it now. Thank you for reinforcing my own personal choices and making me feel good about the way I live my life!

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  10. I get the same question! I think it's because, in my case, people have forgotten how truly helpful teenagers can be! Yes, I have a six month-old at home, but I can still sneak out to the garden, or pull out the sewing machine, or do any of tho things that I never really felt I had time for when my oldest was only five. I'm not the only one minding this house day in and out-- it's a team job. God placed each and every one of us here with our own unique talents and gifts. I am pretty sure He expects us to us them, no matter what our age!

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  11. YES! I love this!!! You are so right, hard work & dependency on Jesus. I shared this post on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/thebishopbunchblog

    I am your newest follower and biggest fan!

    Blessings,
    Janiene
    http://bishopsfamilysite.blogspot.com/

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Just a friendly reminder, if you know me personally please try to refrain from using my name. There are those who may try to locate me, break into my pantry and steal my pickled beets. Thanks:-).

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