How I “Do It All” With A Bajillion Kids
I don’t know how you do it!
Kudos to you!
How do you do it all?
I hear this all the time from friends and random strangers alike. My typical response is a smile and admission that I have no choice so, I just do. Just between you and me though, want to know my actual secret for maintaining an organized and balanced life? I don’t. I imagine that when people ask how I do “it all,” they are wondering if I am some kind of domestic superhero—cooking, cleaning, homeschooling, and serving my husband delicious sandwiches all day. To which I would gracefully reply, nope. (Although I do make a mean sandwich.) I’m not perfect, though–if I can be honest–I catch myself trying to be. Do I have trouble managing my expectations? OH yes. Do I compare myself to others? Absolutely. It’s easy to feel that I’m not doing or being enough when it seems like every other mom has:
- a perfectly decorated and spotless house
- a perfect homeschool routine that all of her kids love
- a perfectly easy, healthy, dirt cheap meal plan
- the best craft ideas
- the most stylish and minimalistic wardrobe
- a thriving side hustle or two
- time to workout everyday
- a totally chill disposition
3 WAYS THE GREEN-EYED MONSTER WILL TAKE YOU DOWN
You may have heard the expression: Comparison is the thief of joy. I would venture to say that comparison [in itself] is an objective and useful tool. When I’m shopping for a new car, for instance, I will compare at least two different models in order to make the best selection. However, comparison through the lens of perfectionism produces envy–the ultimate thief of joy.
1. Envy is a joy-killer.
Notice how you feel after scrolling through your social media feeds each day. Inspired? Drained? I can only speak for myself, but I sometimes find it tricky not to size up my life next to photos of amazing vacations, fun moments with happy, well-rounded kids, and romantic date nights. If you have ever completed a project from one of your Pinterest boards, I’m already impressed by you. I know that social media envy comes from comparing my every-day to another’s highlight reel. However, all envy needs is an inch.
2. Envy is a moment-stealer.
I can almost guarantee that my mother did not freak out about doing all the things with and for us, and I turned out alright, except for the occasional twitchy eye. Kidding aside–when I worry about how my mothering stacks up against that of my friends, Creative Mom, Fun Mom, Hot Mom, and Mom Boss–I miss out on precious time bonding with my kids and enjoying them for who they are.
3. Envy is a soul-sucker.
When I compare my life (my kids, my parenting, my husband, my house, my body) to that of someone else’s, I’m focused on what I think I lack. Nothing drains me faster than negativity, and I can’t fill my husband, kids, and community from an empty cup. Instead of trying to do it all, or have it all–my goal is to live my best life. How can I do that?
5 WAYS TO SOOTHE YOUR WEARY [MAMA] SOUL
Before you are a mother, or a wife, or whatever role you play, you are a person with a soul. The best way to drain your soul is to barrel your way through each day, all work and no rest. Even if you are in a season of life when you are not able to get as much physical rest as you would want (or need–mamas of newborns, I’m looking at you), you can take a breath or several throughout each day to recharge a little, and to re-focus.
1. Plug into the original Source of all power.
God sees everything, and He cares about the intimate (and mundane) details of our daily lives. When I lean into God for daily guidance, the day may not go exactly as I planned, but there is never a dull day.
2. Make gratitude a daily practice.
I don’t do this every day, but I sleep a little better when I take a minute to thank God for who He is, and how He has shown up in my life today. When I am thankful for my husband and children, for who they are right now. The most joyful people I know are thankful for absolutely every good thing in their lives. Joy does not mean I am always going to be happy, but when I am focused on how blessed I am, it is difficult to stay unhappy for long. [In this case, I’m referring to situational unhappiness, not clinical depression or a mood disorder.]
3. Grace, grace, and more grace.
There are no perfect people, and there are certainly no perfect mothers. When I mess up, I’m tempted to sweep my mistakes under the rug. It is hard to humble myself and ask for forgiveness. Thankfully, God grants me a fresh start every time I screw up. My plans for the day more-often-than-not get sacked by preteen hormones, toddler tantrums, and full moons (astronomically speaking, not anatomically speaking… for the most part.) When that happens, instead of following my inclination to push harder, I try to ease off the gas and do something fun, like a dance party or a movie night. When I faced the liberating truth that I can only control myself, stressing about everything outside of my tiny sphere of influence seemed like a waste of time and energy.
4. Don’t go it alone.
I tried to do motherhood on my own for way too long. I let my pride and insecurities draw me away from community. I realized my life was given to me to pour into others, and to be poured into as well. It really, truly does take a village. Friends are meant to provide perspective, support, and accountability. Plus, it’s much
less crazy more fun to talk to others than it is to talk to myself.
5. Cliché as it may sound, be present.
Yesterday is gone, and tomorrow is not a promise. My kids will likely not remember how messy the house was, or how often I was punctual for appointments, or how many times I messed things up or got them right. They will cherish the moments we spent together, enjoying each other. They will remember the dance parties, the game nights, playing chase around the house, baking cookies, and decorating our tree with our janky ornaments all on the upper half so the toddlers didn’t take them off and eat them. They will remember the times I slowed down enough to really see them, and allowed them to see me. So, that, mis amigos, is how I do it all with four kids. Four kids, not a bajillion. If I can do it, I am here to tell you that–so can you.
I would LOVE to hear YOUR pro tips on managing your sanity with multiple kids, and/or a crazy busy schedule. Leave a comment!
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