the laundry can wait : doing it all {?!}

I received a comment this last week, from a fabulously sweet gal. She wrote:

I’ve been blog watching (don’t like the word stalk) for some time now, and i LOVE all that you do. My husband and I are motivated to make our house a home, now that we’ve lived here for 8 years, have a 4 1/2 yr old, 2 1/2 year old, and I’m 20 weeks pregnant. But I have a question for you. How do you find the time with the kids? We struggle with this. My husband works during the week, and I on the weekends so we don’t need a sitter, but that leaves one person home by themselves with the kids, and little time to take care of projects. We don’t have helpful family, so we’re trying to figure out how to get things done, and where to start. Much LOVE!


How on earth do you have the time to do all of this with three small children? Tell me your secrets, supawoman! I love your style and taste and would love to try some of this, but I just don’t have the time. How do you do it all?

I’ve actually been receiving quite a few messages like these lately, and before I address anything, let me just say, I don’t by any means, know anything. Let me just keep it real here. I’m going to be brutally honest. I don’t have it all together. I feel like every day ends with me slurring out “there just aren’t enough hours…” while I stumble into bed. And the next day simply begins anew with the same exact cycle. The prospect of possibilities and the list left of the unachieved.

If I choose to view it that way. And I’m working on that.

The laundry pile looks like this. Because if something is going to suffer, it will be the laundry. But don’t worry…because that’s really nothing, compared to the piles hidden in the closet. It somehow gets dispersed all over the house, and I’m all, desperately digging through mountainous towers, spending about as much time as it would take to actually do the laundry. Freaking out, we’re always late, trying to dress three little squirming bodies in addition to my own, all so we can get out of the door.

When I show you photos of my finished rooms, they look purdy because I posed them that way, and I enjoy making things all “posey” for a photo shoot. But that doesn’t mean that real life is that way. {Not to mention that the person behind the camera is having a good day if she showers and gets some makeup on…I am the definition of shlumpadinka} My real life is far from that. I have three small children and a dog with bladder control issues. So just remember when there’s a pretty shot, that there’s tons of crapola (and sometimes dog pee) shoved out of the way just an inch away from the frame.

This is a MILD version of what the dining room looks like when I’m working on a project. On the richter scale of mills home disaster areas this is a 1. I wasn’t kidding when I said I struggle with balance.

So, let me start by saying, I don’t do it all. I fall hopelessly short in so many ways every day. And that’s okay. It has to be or I’ll torture myself to death. I struggle with being present because I’m a dreamer and a planner…and I’m learning to appreciate the smaller things.

So how do I do what I do? I’m going to give you a short run down of the things that are working for me…and the things that I’m still working on. This is kind of a hard post for me to write, because I have help. LOTS of it. And its hard for me to accept it, and I struggle with guilt, (guilt is the thing that comes deceitfully wrapped oh so prettily in a package when you meet your child for the first time) but I am absolutely endlessly grateful for all of it. And because I never want to be misleading, and want all of you to know that I by no means have it all together, the following is how I manage to get anything done.

I put my oldest two children in Mother’s Day Out at our church three times a week, from 9-1. This started two years ago. The decision came at a time when I decided that Aiden, my oldest needed some healthy school structure and I got over my guilt. {I struggle a lot with guilt.} And I decided there was nothing wrong with Mother’s Day Out. Jamin works there, so he’s always just one building over, if anyone ever needs anything. I did it first and foremost because I knew for us, personally, this was the right decision. It was healthy for my kids to have a nice schedule and exposure to a regular schedule with other kids.

Because design and writing has since then, evolved into this full time crazy kinda thing for me, that means I now have four blessed sacrament hours of easy time to work on projects and write. Malone sometimes naps in the mornings on most days. So, sometimes I kind of have it made for four hours at a time, three days a week. {This summer will be a different story.} But in the mornings, I try to get the things done on the writing side of things. And it has worked out beautifully, as my secondary passion has fallen into this preschool thing, quite seamlessly.

In the afternoons, my younger two are still napping. Aiden is up. Sometimes, I work on projects, and I get him to help me. He enjoys that kind of stuff, so its fun for him.

But I also stop, and put it down when my sweet man asks me to come help him draw or play. I know when it’s time.

My children are first and foremost, my most important priority. But I also love that they have a great day school they go to, and I love more than anything that I get to stay home with them, and pursue my second passion, full time. So, while the balance is sometimes almost impossible, I  realize I am living a very charmed and blessed life.

Here’s my dirty little secret: the thing that will make you hate me most, because trust me, I totally know how fabulously we have it made: My parents live nearby and, wait for it… bonus round: love spending time with my kids. They moved here from Colorado when I was about 6 months pregnant with Aiden. And we are spoiled rotten, because almost every 3 out of 4 Fridays, they take the kids to spend the night with them. I know. Hold the phone. Spend the night. And the kids love it. I feel braggy and horrible, even saying it. So, if Jamin and I have something crazy, like the kitchen, we’ve squeezed it in until they come back that following Saturday, after lunch.

But you know what? I’m also a wife. And while home stuff is a blast for me, I think that…I’m sorry. Scratch that. I KNOW that sometimes, Jamin would rather go on a date. Or simply veg and watch a movie. And we do that, too. Because we never get any time together. And our life usually looks like this:

Little man was mad because he put on my golashes, and then couldn’t go anywhere…so then he stood there and fussed for a good ten minutes. kind of epitomizes this child.

Last but certainly not least, I have a wonderful husband. I gotta say, I know how to pick ’em. We are a team. He picks up the laundry.He unloads the dishwasher… He supports what I am doing 100 percent because he is wonderful and believes in me, and without him, I could do nothing. Sometimes, at night, he takes care of the kids while I finish up a job or post. This is both of us working together. And that’s just kind of how I’ve managed to do what I do.

I still struggle with balance on a regular basis. I tend to be a workaholic, and even writing this post makes me realize how good I have it in both worlds. I feel terrible writing it out, because I know real life isn’t this way for lots of people. [Did I mention I struggle with guilt?] But we’re all on our own, separate paths, so I’m also learning to appreciate my own.

I’ve actually had quite a few prego people out there ask me, how in the world I do this. Let me remind you, I wasn’t doing ANYTHING when I was pregnant. I planned out a nursery, and was completely content with just that. Props to you just for getting your wonderful body that is baking a HUMAN out of the bed in the mornings. That in itself is an accomplishment! I remember how badly my body ached. Even my ribs hurt. All of the time. Pick out your bedding and then reward yourself with a pedi. Then bribe your hubs to paint for you. You deserve that!

And for the sweet gal who asked me where to start? Start small. On the weekends. Ask a friend to trade kids with you, or get a teenager to come over and play with them while you get a few things done. If weekends don’t work, resolve to work at night, occasionally. Find what works for you, and what you’re comfortable with, and roll with it. If you have a passion for it, you will find a way, but don’t pressure or kill yourself. Write out your goals. And make a plan. Have a schedule, but be flexible. And most importantly, take the time to enjoy the process.

Again, I by no means know anything. These are all general, and I realize that. In fact, I’m going to start listening to my own advice. 😉 This is just what I am doing, personally. But most importantly, I love spending time with my children. They’re only young once, and I don’t want to look back, and kick myself over something I hate I missed out on, or did. {I’ve had a few God moments, where he’s spoken to me clearly about this.} There really are only so many hours in a day. Life isn’t always what I want it to be, and it certainly isn’t all about projects. I’m learning to lower my expectations, and roll with it.

And in the meantime, the laundry can certainly wait

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Responses to the laundry can wait : doing it all {?!}

  1. Holly says:

    great post! We have 4 kids in our house and if my blog readers see a clean room then that usually means that there are others that look more like real life! We definately let the laundry wait alot!

  2. Jenn says:

    Love your transparency here! I completely identify!!!

  3. Val says:

    Oh, my. First, I love your blog. Makes me laugh out loud.
    Second, my children are a little older, but I run an in-home daycare, so I’ve both been there, and am still there. And I know no one wants to hear this, but hold on, cause it does get better. One day you’ll wake up and realize you’ve showered every. single. day. for the last week, and made dinner 4 times, and got at least 6 hours of sleep every night, and you’ll laugh with delight. And then you’ll cry because your babies are all grown up now. But eventually you’ll just be glad you get to eat regular meals again.

    • HAHAHA Val! I know I will. That’s why its so vicious to us moms! I feel like that already with not being able to believe how big they are…I guess that’s why I’m personally trying harder not to let it slip through my fingers. 😉 I need that little reminder and love it!

  4. Thanks for sharing the real life and letting us all know that it takes works. I applaud all mothers out there. I personally don’t have kids and am in awe of all that mommies do. I have 3 beautiful, crazy head to toe nieces, age 2 and under, and they keep me spinning. Blessings to you.

  5. Hi, sweet friend! Wow, look what all I missed by going to the beach for a week. Beautiful blog look, how exciting. I had to do a double take to be sure I was at the right place. Thanks for the sweet comment & all your support. Looking forward to ya’ll coming to ATL too. there is plenty to get into here.

  6. Can I just say that I love your honesty and admire you so much. I love to read your blog…it’s real and beautiful! And, I can relate. My life looks very much like yours {without the very amazing blog} and it really helps to know that there are others out there juggling their lives…making choices…putting their families first, and doing what they love. It’s not perfection but it’s lovely.

  7. Tote says:

    Some very good advice.


  8. amanda says:

    thanks so much for this amazingly honest post! I am wife, but not yet blessed to be mom, although my mom husband is a youth pastor so i am a “mom” to many teens. I enjoy the free time I have now to pursue crafting/decorating/making my home beautiful/ etc because I know when I have little ones it won’t be like this. It’s encouraging to see how you get it all accomplished. You have an amazing home and since I started reading your blog my house has really become my home. You have inspired many craft projects and sewing curtain projects that have turned out quite well! I love your home and blog!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Yarnista says:

    I completely understand where you’re coming from. I get asked that question all the time: how do you do it all? How do you run a business, have three kids, see your spouse, blog, travel for work, etc?

    The answer is I DON’T. It’s not possible. Something WILL get pushed to the wayside, and really, better the laundry than the children. Better the dishes than your spouse. Better the vacuuming than your steady source of income.

    So, yeah… love my house, but my house is LIVED in. Which is exactly what it’s intended for.

    Thanks for this post!

  10. LOVE this post! Even though I have one little person to take care of, hiring a mother’s helper one day a week has been my saving grace. She folds my laundry, organizes whatever I ask her to and she loves playing with Ridley. It frees me up to get projects done.

    I’m totally remembering this word for the future: shlumpadinka {LOVE it!}

    And love you too!

  11. Tonya says:

    Hi! It’s me, the “suck it up, buttercup” mom. And I guess that’s kinda my way of looking at my own life. I have three kids, 10, 8 and 6 mo. And I homeschool the two oldest. Without help. Family is here, but my kids are numbers 4,5 and 6, so the inlaws are over it. My mom passed away after battling brain cancer when my oldest was just 4 months, and she would have been the bomb as a grandmother! We were so close, but she went home, to the best home, and that’s just the cards I’ve been dealt. And I’m okay with that because I choose to see my entire life, and all the blessings it entails, as just that. A blessing. That being said, ‘Creating’ time is rare, but I am everso grateful for you ladies that open up your homes and families and faith and creativity for the rest of us. I have been inspired. Awakened. Encouraged. Entertained. So, I thank you :)

  12. I have to second the love on ‘Shlumpadinka’. Love. It.

    There came a point some time last year when I got so down and depressed about everyone’s gorgeous houses on their gorgeous blogs with their well-behaved children posed darlingly in the porch swing with little Fluffy, that I had to swear off for a while. Then I realized that other people might feel the same way. Shoot, I always posed my pictures too. So I got up one morning first thing and walked around the house and took pictures AS IS. I felt like I was standing up in a meeting in a room with orange shag carpet saying, “my name is X and I have a messy house and kids who drop socks all over the floor” when I posted that post. People sure appreciated it though. (c;

    • Candi says:

      Totally agree with your post. I have had to stop looking at blogs too because I was starting to feel like a complete loser! LOL. Like you though I have to remember when I post on a social network or blog you want to make sure everything looks perfect but we get so caught up in that “perfect” look that we forget that isn’t “normal”.

  13. Laura says:

    I just have the ONE kid & I struggle with balance! And I’m sure once I finally get into a groove that allows me to acheive said balance (if that ever even happens?), another kid will come along & I’ll have to start all over. :) Thank you for being so transparent in this post…it’s nice to see other mommies’ “realness”! It’s definitely a tough job, and I’m sure I don’t even know the half of it yet. :)

  14. Jen says:

    Love these kinds of posts!

  15. jami nato says:

    my inlaws do the same for us too…every friday night, my husband and i feel like we hit the lottery. and all our friends hate us. ha.

  16. Melissa says:

    Thank you SO much for this! I really needed to hear that I’m not the only one struggling with keeping up with everything. I am the proud mom of boy/girl 8 yr old twins that are such amazing little people! I recently started back to work after being a stay-at-home mom for the past 2 years (laid off from a major corporation after 10 yrs) and I feel like I’ll never get to the end of my to-do list. I am a very organized person but can’t seem to get my life organized again after so many changes. I’m grateful for my amazing husband of almost 18 yrs as he helps to balance me out. It’s comforting to know there are other mom’s struggling just like me! Thanks for that!

  17. Candi says:

    Thanks for posting pics of your real day to day life. As a stay at home mom of 3 when you see pics like yours posted all that the guilt does hit like “how does she do all that” “what am I doing wrong that I can’t” so thanks for posting pics that show that we all have those mountain mounds of laundry and the clutter of 3 kids.

  18. Lauren says:

    Thank you so much for this honest and real blog post! All these wonderful blogs always show such beautiful homes and clever projects and it looks like the blogger has the perfect, got-it-all-together life. It can really get discouraging for us “normal” people. But to hear your story and how you manage is really refreshing! Thanks, again!