Monday, March 4, 2013

how do you do it all??

I read a blog post today that got me thinking - and I couldn't get these thoughts out of my head!

I've had a lot of people over the years say they don't know 'how I do it all'.....referring to our large family and my music studio, and it's been happening a lot lately since I announced that we'll be having another baby.

I usually answer back something about how we ALL do it all..... everyone has lots of stuff - responsibilities, goals, things they have to do, and things they want to do.  We all have the same 24 hours, but we choose (or sometimes do what we have to do) in our own 24 hours.

I also make sure to say I don't 'do it all'.  If I did I would be fit enough to run a marathon, my house would be full of beautiful handmade things, and I would have a master's degree certificate on my wall.

I do what I am supposed to be doing right now.

And I have to say, the Lord makes it all possible.

But, I'll let you in on a big secret.

When I look back on my first couple of years of marriage I laugh.
My kids and I have had some great conversations about it.

I was a really bad cook.
I made a lot of simple meals (chicken nuggets, frozen lasagna, etc.) until I learned how to cook.
I didn't make balanced meals at first, and I made some really yucky meals.
But I had the desire to learn, and I've experimented a lot over the years!
I have to say - I'm a dang good cook now, and we eat well balanced and very healthy meals!

I didn't clean my house very well.
I cringe that I'm admitting this, but back in those early early years I would hide my dishes in my oven if someone was coming over because I didn't want them to see my mess.

I was completely unorganized.
I rarely made it to church on time, my 5 piano students felt challenging, and I was thrilled if me and my 2 little girls were dressed before my husband came home for dinner.

My point here is that I didn't 'do it all' back then.
I did what I could and it was enough then.

I received a letter from the city recently saying our water would be turned off at 8:00 a.m. one day, and remain off all day.  It happened to be a day that I had a lot of things going on.

I needed to be prepared so that my day would run smoothly.

I was up early already doing the paper route, so I got everyone else busy.

We made bread, got dinner in the crock pot, got everyone bathed and ready for the day, got a load of laundry washed and in the dryer, a load of dishes finished, and we even cleaned the house spotless (including bathrooms)..... by 8:00 a.m.  I got my kids to school on time, and then I had the rest of the day to not stress because we had no water!

I'm not trying to brag or hope that you'll say I'm amazing.
Actually I'm trying to show that it was a TEAM effort.
I never could have gotten it all done without my whole family, and that's how every day runs.

I can't always count on my husband or my teenagers because they are just SOOOO busy.
They really do what they can though, and are so willing to serve me!
My best helpers at the moment are my 12, 11 and 8 year old girls.
I'm so blessed to have such willing helpers!

People have asked how I keep my house clean with so many kids (not that it is clean all the time - but I sure want it to be, and I'm so happy when it happens to be clean for a minute when someone drops by!!).

The best inspiration comes from desperation sometimes!

When I was homeschooling and teaching 40+ music students every week I really struggled to get things organized and know what my kid's responsibilities should be.

After much prayer and pondering, I was inspired to use stations...........  everyone has a station every day (now we have an older kid with a younger kid, which is the best way to train young kids to clean the right way).  Stations rotate every day. It's worked for at least 15 years now!

When we first started stations I had a list of things that had to be done in that station every day, and they didn't leave until it was done.

They don't need their lists any more, but sometimes we pull them out if they start slacking off.

At our house these are the stations:

*Upstairs (includes entry way, dusting, straightening, vacuuming, upstairs garbages, and vacuuming stairs)

*Kitchen (includes clean dishes, dirty dishes, wiping down counters and table, washing out the sink, wiping down appliances, sweeping, and mopping)

*Bathrooms (toilets, mirrors and sinks cleaned daily - more thorough on Saturdays, including mopping, and scrubbing bathtubs and showers)

*Downstairs (includes music room, hallway and theater room - straightened, dusted, re-organized, swept, and vacuumed)

*Laundry (on weekdays they just sort the dirty laundry and maybe wash a load or 2.  This is a big Saturday job - we have A LOT of laundry!)

It takes about 15-20 minutes to finish a station - longer on Saturdays.
There are some weekdays that stations get neglected -it's just the way it is.

They are always required to keep their rooms clean (you wouldn't believe it if you saw Tanner's room right now), and even on the busiest day everyone helps clean the front room and the kitchen.

Like I said, it's a TEAM effort, and everyone is expected to pitch in.
They all want more time with me, and by helping around the house they give me more time to spend with them!

So you see, I don't 'do it all', but I do what I can and what I must.
I am hard on myself, and I compare myself to everyone else around too.

It's hard to see people who are so good at exercising, or who are constantly giving service to others, or who have beautifully immaculate homes, or who grow an awesome garden, or who are constantly creating amazing things, or who always have spiritually uplifting thoughts.

But I think we should look at all the great things we do and see that it's enough.

Because really, we're just God's hands......... we're just doing what He needs us to do right now.
And He will make it enough.

good things:
peppermint tea
a new catalog with summer clothes!!!


Lisa said...

I get it... AND I think you're amazing. Fun to read about the stations and such willing helpers. Love those 8-12 year olds!

Heidi said...

I love this- especially your closing thoughts about the tendency we have to compare our weaknesses to others strengths. I found myself doing that even as I read about all of your amazing structure in keeping things clean :)

Annie and Family said...

As I read this I think angels were singing in the background (just knowing you are human makes me feel so much better). Ha ha!

Jamie said...

I love all of your ideas. You are always so inspiring!!

Erika said...

I have really been struggling to feel like I'm a good mom/housekeeper/cook etc. I read what you said about when you just had the two girls and how life was for you then. That's exactly how it is for me now. I have to tell myself that there's a time and a season for everything and this is how my life is right now. I will keep struggling trying to figure out how to cook and organize better and things I am supposed to be doing with my girls.