Getting it all "done"

Recently, Court asked me, "How do you honestly do it all?!" As happens in blog-world from time to time, we read the chronicles of someone's life (the tiny snippet placed in their blog!) and get it into our heads that they are perfect in everything they do, which leads (usually) to either jealousy and dislike, or unbalanced amazement and awe. Tammy and Eliyahu

Crystal at Biblical Womanhood shared this post about "getting things done" (or, not!) and guess what! I've been there too! ;) My face still gets a little red when I get an unexpected guest and have to invite them in to a house littered with toys, laundry, and dirty dishes.

One guest spotted the pan of (cold) pizza left on the kitchen table and said, "Oh! Did I interrupt your meal?"

"Ummm, no. Actually, we ate lunch a few hours ago. I just never got the leftovers put away. Yet..."

But I have stopped apologizing for having a house that looks a little... lived in... when people stop over. Do I try to have a dirty, messy house? No. :)

But I truly hope that none of my readers think that my house is always clean, our meals are always full-blown (ha!), and that I run around "doing it all"!

For starters, go back to this post, and look at the living room photos. Imagine the bottom two bookshelves completely empty, and toys all over the floor. And the cushion on the piano bench lying crumpled on the floor somewhere. That cute little race car rug gets moved and rolled up and played with, too.

Look at the bedroom photos, and forget about the beds being neatly made up. That happens like once a month. (Or, whenever I plan to take photos!) ;) And the cloth diapers that are all folded? Usually they're sitting in a laundry basket on the floor, and they definitely don't get folded before the next use.

Do I want to always have a tidy house? Yes! But I just don't invest the time and effort (all day nagging and fretting) to have a perfect house all the time. I try to keep the house clean, but remember that when Joshua says he could eat off my kitchen floor, that's only because he doesn't know what gets spilled on there. ;)

And as for meals, well, we've had taco salad twice this week, and the only side I served with it was a cooked vegetable. Joshua gets a packed lunch every day, and we usually just have granola for breakfast unless it's a weekend.

Do I try to make nice meals? Yes. I try to make sure we have a source of protein, some carbs, and some veggies at each meal. Do I make elaborate meals every day? No. We eat leftovers sometimes. I honestly can't spend all day cooking. I have gotten faster over the years, and I have my own little shortcuts. I don't spend 2 hours making dinner each day.

When we have guests, I make bigger meals. I make 4-6 different foods (usually) and it's all really nice stuff. This is partly because when we have guests, I'm cooking for 8+ people rather than 2-3. I love cooking and we love having company over. But it can take me the good part of a day to make all the food, and I just can't do that every single day.

I do have two little children, and they do require care. I do spend a good amount of time just doing things like changing diapers, giving baths, and nursing!

But in other ways, I have it really easy. Yehoshua still takes an afternoon nap. Eliyahu naps in the afternoon, too, and I get the option of either working on this website or taking a nap myself! And I know keeping a house clean for a family of 4 is much easier than when there's 6, or 8, or even more!

The children are old enough to play together some now, and they also help with the work. Yehoshua absolutely loves helping with laundry, mopping, or baking. Eliyahu loves doing dishes with me. We try to have a combination of play time (building with blocks, reading stories, playing "monster", etc.) and time spent working together.

Do I always acheive the perfect balance? Definitely not. But we're learning as we go along, what's most important and what works for us. 
 

My husband and children are far more important than a clean house or hot meal. But on the other hand, the house doesn't clean itself, and meals don't just magically come out of my oven!

There has to be a balance of work (to acheive meals, clean clothing, etc.) and time just spent enjoying each other.

 

I'll be the first to admit that I set high goals for myself. I have plans and dreams and ideas, and I never get close to actually doing everything I'd like to do.

While I have mental schedules and plans, I also realise that it's just a guide. I don't feel like I have to get everything done. Things get pushed to the next day or the day after. Believe it or not, a lot of days I don't have a huge long list of must-dos! And at other times in my life (like when I was pregnant or had a newborn baby) I set my "goals" for the day really, really low.*

Here are some of my thoughts on scheduling and getting things "done".

Some things can wait. Vacuuming can usually wait a few extra days, unless there's an urgent mess or guests are coming. Cleaning the bathroom is another thing that can wait sometimes, with no lasting effects. In my mind, dusting the furniture can wait for... a very long time.  Laundry may or may not be one of those things. Dishes, at least for me, usually can't be put off.

Some things shouldn't wait. There are things that take just moments to do, and I try to not let myself put those things off. For example, paying bills, starting dinner, putting away leftovers after a meal, or putting something back after using it. I find it's best to do the little, 5-minute things without delay. Then my mind is free to think about other things.

Here's my other little secret: Work hard. Seriously! When I really get a lot of "things" done, it's almost always because I put a lot of effort into it and didn't work slowly.

Have guides, not rigid schedules, and set boundaries. One if my "boundaries" is concerning my computer time. I only use the computer when the children are napping or asleep for the night. (Now, I just need to do better about getting to bed earlier myself!)

An example of a "guide" rather than a rigid schedule, would be that I try to get Joshua's lunch packed in the morning, any time before noon. I don't pack his lunch every morning from 8-8:30 am. (Some mornings, I'm not even out of bed yet then!) I just fit it into my morning.

Setting a time for some things is great. Most of us do have to live bits of our lives by the clock, like when we need to be somewhere at a certain time. And I've found that leaving only a 30-minute window for meal times is helpful (say, 5:00-5:30 pm for having dinner ready each night), rather than eating dinner at 4:30 pm one evening and 6:45 pm the next, because there's no set time frame.

In the next few days, I plan to share more specific cleaning tips or guidelines I try to go by. I also have photos of my de-cluttered kitchen to share. If you can glean anything helpful from my thoughts and ideas, then yay! But please don't think I "do it all, all the time"... because I don't! :)

*My best advice for having a new baby can be found here. I am not an expert! I only have two children. But with planning (working hard ahead of time!) and support, you can relax more while doing "nothing" (i.e. nursing, changing diapers, nursing, changing diapers, etc...)!

Comments

I liked your post :) I am still in awe of you and your family and think that you are one of the most efficient, wise, and Godly women I know, but it helps to know that you are human and you too have only 24 hours in a day ;P And I can definitely relate to everything in this post :)

Kris

Yep, I'm definitely human!! :) By the way, I got your email and will be responding (hopefully) soon. :)

Thank you! I'll be waiting :)

for sharing with the world that you are human like the rest of us. ;-)
I too, put high expectations of myself for a perfect house, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. My house isn't gleaming and smelling of bleach or Lysol every day but I make sure it is picked up and things are put in their perspctive places before DH comes home so he comes home to a comfortable atmosphere while I get dinner started.
Men don't have the same vision as women do. If we see a lint bunny on the floor we got to pick it up or it will drive us crazy where as husbands just walk right past it not even thinking. Same goes when dirt is tracked in on the floor or rugs, it doesn't seem a big thing for men but for women that small dirt or footprint will drive us crazy till we clean it.
With us having no children, my house should always be spotless...but it's not. Like you Tammy, it's lived in. ;-)
I will say, my laundry always gets put away as soon as it's done mainly because I love doing laundry, it's my favorite chore. My least fav. thing to do it dust....if you were to come to my house you would see a small layer of dust on the bookshelves and such. Eventually that will bother me too and I will clean it, but it hasn't bothered me yet, so....... LOL. ;-) One thing I am good at is getting the bills paid on time, our meals, dishes and kitchen cleanup. Those are a priority.
My DH is going away for 30 days beginning next week so I will be able to do all the major deep cleaning that needs to be done while he is away. Then he can come home in February to a perfect gleaming house, only to destroy it in one day...LOL.
Love,
Dawn

Men and women are different, but not always necessarily in the same way. (If that makes sense! lol) Joshua dislikes clutter, whereas I can stand some clutter if there isn't too much dirt. :)

My dad is very particular about dirt, and would notice "a lint bunny on the floor"! So would I. Joshua and my mom, however, are more like your husband, where they wouldn't notice a speck of dirt. :)

Before I was married, I wasn't bothered by a dusty house and definitely not by clutter! I had tons of "stuff" and a lot of decorations and clutter. And it was always dirty/dusty! I think maybe now I find a lot of joy in keeping a lovely home and it's about more than just "me". :)

Thank you so much for the I am human not perfect post. I am always reminding myself, that.. there are only so many hours in the day and I can only do so much. Unfortunatly I have to work full time and cannot be at home with my kids so I have less time to get the daily stuff done. (I live in the highest taxed state in the country!) I do have the 5 -10 loads of wash in one day. Dusting?? What is that? LOL. So there are days that I just look up to heaven and say please help me now. I think I get looked back at and told, it is just dust, don't sweat the small stuff.
But, Thank you for letting me know that I am not the only one with a "not so " perfect house. Even though you all have more time at home than me and you can't always get it done. Makes me feel better, cause I am usually beating my self up about having to work and I should have it all done.
God Bless!
Sue

You're welcome, Sue! Thanks for commenting! I am always amazed by women who work full time outside the home along with being a wife and mom and trying to get everything done! I get tired just thinking about that! :)

Thanks for posting this. In the blog world it IS all to common to view the little snippets on others' lives to be perfect. However, I think deep down inside we all know that the pictures of other ladies' well kept homes were cluttered or messy just before picture taking. Mine sure are!!

Have a good day,

Trixie

Thanks for your comment, Trixie! You're right, people only see through a little window called a "blog" and in reality, every day is full of many ups and downs. My house (on a good day!) looks perfect, horrible, and perfect again, all in one day! The only time it stays looking like the pictures is at night! ;)

Yay! I've been waiting for SOMEONE to speak up on this. I'm still in my pajamas at 9 am on Friday, and I was beating myself up over it. My house is a disaster because I haven't felt well enough when I get home from work to clean it, and my poor husband just doesn't know what to do! It is good to know I am not the only one...

Andrea, I think we all go through rough times like you described, where we just can't get out from under the mess/work! That seems to happen to me once or twice a year, where I really just have to have some outside help for a day or so to get me back on my feet.

I wonder if you have any friends or family who could come lend you a hand for a few hours? It's amazing what even 30 minutes of help can do, for the mess and for one's spirits!

We don't want balance to become a noose. And in some times of our lives things feel off balance, but they are right where they should be. I love your computer time boundaries.

And especially with young kids, plans and boundaries work better than down to the minute schedules.

I am glad to see you don't allow perfectionism to stifle your spirit.

Warmly,

Beth Dargis
www.encouragingcoach.com/wordpress

Thanks for your comment, Beth! I enjoyed perusing your website -- thanks for sharing! :)

I especially like the idea of having "guides" and boundaries rather than rigid schedules. Makes life feel more manageable! Thanks for posting about the "real" mom that you are!

Thanks for commenting!

Rigid schedules work for some people and in some seasons of life. I seem to continue adjusting the outline of my day to suit my present needs :)

Tammy,

My first visit to your blog was yesterday. I've really enjoyed reading it! Your boys are precious. I can't wait to look through the recipes! :)

Johanna

Hi, Johanna! Welcome to TammysRecipes.com! Thanks for your comment! :)

whew! What a relief! I loved this post :)

Loved the post Tammy, spot on! :)
God Bless,
Michele

Tammy, very well written. :) Great post!

~Tanya

Michele, Tanya, and anonymous,

Thanks for your comments :)

Tammy,
I don't think I've ever thought you were "perfect"-- I mean, who is? But perhaps I've thought several times.. Wow, she really is organized! She does accomplish a lot every day. Perhaps that is true some of the time but not 100% of the time. I know you and your family are only human ;) But I still look up to you! Because you've given us some great tips, recipes etc.. that have really helped me. You are an encouragement to me even in all your shortcomings. =)

Thanks, Jaclynn!

I think that is how I view people, too. I used to sometimes think that just because I couldn't IMAGINE someone ever being snappy or having a bad day, that meant they really didn't do those things, ever! Now I know that no matter what, people are human and it's just not good to put them on a pedestal and think, "Wow, they're perfect"!

Hello Tammy,

My name is Julie, I'm Deb's daughter-in-law. She just told me about your site, and thus far, I LOVE IT! I can't wait to try some of your recipes and review your other notes.

I particularly liked this article. Kurt & I have an 8 month old baby (which I'm sure Deb told you all about) and I just became a stay-at-home mom. It was one thing with just Kurt & I, but now with a little one, my priorities have done a 180! I had a hard time finding my balance between childcare, playtime, cooking, cleaning, Kurt time, me time, etc...I think I finally found my groove, sounds much like yours. I too set high standards for myself and sometimes get too caught up in crossing everything off my list for the day, that I forget to just stop and enjoy my baby or myself and then I get drained in 3 days (or less). I've had to teach myself that just because I'm home now doesn't mean the house has to be perfect ALL the time, and not EVERY meal has to look like it came from Martha Stewart! I've come to find LOTS of JOY out of daily caring for my family, but it took learning to accept some disorder to acheive peace (if that makes any sense).

Thanks for listening!

God Bless,
Julie Huber

Hello, Julie! Welcome! :) I just visited with Deb the other day! :) I've known about your baby since before he was born. ;)

Actually, a funny story: Deb had told me the two childrens' names you had picked out, and then later, she called and told me you found out you were having a boy. I said, "Oh, okay, a little Timothy!" and she had forgotten she told me the names, so she was shocked and asked how in the world I knew what he was going to be named. ;)

Anyway, thanks so much for your comments! I completely understand. :) Children are life-changing... in a really awesome way! :)

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