Here’s our secret: we’re not perfect. We might take a photo or two when our house looks spectacular and post about it, but within hours if not minutes, our toddler will make it a mess again. Then you chose to either stop doing your household chore, train your kid to clean it up, or finish that chore and put off picking up toys for later. Then you’ve got to get dinner started. But you can’t stand the thought of making dinner until you clean and put away all your dishes from previous meals. If your child is fussy, sick, or needs any sort of extra attention, everything on your list of “things to do” gets pushed back. And those “things to do after the ‘things to do list'” gets pushed back even further. Needing to run errands? Well then you better have your crockpot game down, or else you better start thinking of which restaurant you’re going to pick up burritos or a pizza from for an easy dinner.
And if you’re a unfortunately a perfectionist like myself, when you get home you’ll still make the kids a well rounded meal with steamed zucchini on the side, and compromise your health and just eat pizza, telling yourself: it’s just for tonight, I’ll eat better tomorrow. Then the baby goes to bed, and you come back downstairs to sit on the couch with your hubby. Now your time to do what you need to do can begin, you think. I’m alone. No kids. No noise. But then you realize- oh, I haven’t put dinner away yet. Or if your hubby decides to do it for you, maybe even the dishes too, you realize how grateful you are for a hard-working hubby like yours, and you just want to sit and watch a movie with him. And your list of “things to do” just keeps getting pushed back even further.
If you feel like your life never stops, I’m right there with you. Over the past year, I’ve learned how to juggle a home, a husband, a toddler, a pregnancy, and a small business. To be frank, and honest, I don’t do it well. If you were to walk into my home at any given time, you won’t find a picture perfect home with immaculate floors and not a single dirty dish in the sink. Our home has life. It’s lived in. That’s how I view it.
I sometimes catch myself thinking: oh man, I can’t wait to get over the baby stage in motherhood and get to the point where my kids can actually help me get things done.
Don’t get me wrong- my toddler doesn’t go one day without learning to help in someway. I’m teaching her everything I can about keeping a home. But the reality is, things take longer. Much longer. I can wash all the dishes in a jiffy if I’m left completely alone. But 99.9 % of the time, I’m not alone. And as a mother, my desire shouldn’t be to be alone. It defeats the purpose of having children. And they don’t deserve a mom that can’t stand to be around them. There’s no love there, which they constantly need. And whether you realize it or not, you’re always training them. If you’re finding yourself pushing them away, you’re training them to be distant, to be negative, and invaluable. So all that to say- I keep my daughter right by my side. I just have to swallow the fact that things will take longer to do. Prioritizing is so important at this stage of motherhood. But the point still stands- I still can’t wait until my daughter can help me, really help me. Until then, I must realize that I won’t have it all together. I won’t do life “so well.” As a matter of fact, I might never do it “well.”
God never gives us more than we can handle. I have to remind myself that every day, if not multiple times a day. I can do it. And the times I feel that I can’t, I look to Him. He gave me a wonderful husband that has helped me when I needed help the most. As well as family and friends that live close by and are always more than willing to help.
It also seems like the times we don’t read our bibles everyday, or forget to pray, the enemy is there ready to jump in. Make you believe you’re weak, that you can’t do it. We must always press in Him, especially us frazzled moms. Mom life is hard. We can’t do it alone, or we’ll drive ourselves nuts.
As far as running a business while being a devoted wife and mother, it’s a whole other ball game. I’ve spoken to other moms that own small business and gotten some tips, as well as developed some of my own. Most of us work when our kids sleep, like during naps and after bedtime. That’s what I hear the most. Three things I realized with this routine:
1. Naps and bedtime better be routine, because uninterrupted sleep is key.
2. Work fast at night. Don’t dawdle. I need as much good sleep as I can too. It’s so vitally important. It’s like the gas you need to keep your car running.
3. Don’t forget about your spouse. Don’t forget your most important roles. Those foundations are the glue that keep it all together.
These things apply to all moms, really. Whether you own a business from home or not, we always find things we need to get done, don’t we?
Here’s an excerpt from a book I recently read: (well let’s be honest, skimmed through)
“Cleaning the house when you have young children is like shoveling rain. On days when I attempted to pick up the clutter, a tornado of toys and messes following right behind me. I didn’t like living in the baby and toddler chaos day in and day out. It was hard to think clearly and positively when my house was in a constant state of disarray. My wise mother (who somehow always knows the parenting struggles I’m fighting) thoughtfully framed for me a poem that was her favorite mantra as a young mother:
“The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow, for children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow. So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep. I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.”
(Stop and Smell Your Children, by Leah Spina, Ch.19 – My Happy, Messy Home)
The title of this book was really was the ‘take-away’ message of the whole book: just stop and smell the roses, or in other words, your children. Yes, it feels so nice when your house is spotless, but is having a clean and perfect home the best way to enjoy your time with your kids? On that same note, don’t think for a second that I live in a constant pigsty. I’ll never stop cleaning and never stop showing my kids how to help mom clean either, that’s just a basic function of life. Just remember to enjoy this time with your kids, this short time we have been given with them. Involve them in everything you do, even in cleaning up your home. Don’t fret about what didn’t get done, just try your hardest to do it tomorrow. Love your mess, see it as a home that is loved and lived in. Take lots of breaks. Play with them, laugh with them. Make sweet memories that will last forever. After all, that’s what you and they will remember, not that one time Mom finally finished decorating a bookcase or sorted through the hallway closet. Those things aren’t things to be cherished. Your kids are.