|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.|| |
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...)!