Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Fitting it All In: Hallmark

This post is another Hallmark sponsored post. I am being paid by Hallmark to write it, but all writing, ideas and opinions are mine. Thankfully, Hallmark and I share the same idea--that little moments are to be celebrated and that good people, good efforts and good intentions deserve a spotlight. See Hallmark Life is a Special Occasion for more details, like them on Facebook, and/or sign up for their e-mail messages HERE.

This month Hallmark has introduced the theme of Inspiration. It began with the Unplugged Day challenge and ends with the idea of interviewing a friend to see how she tackles getting everything done during this busy time of year--back to school, new routines, meals, etc.

It's a question we, as moms, see all the time. In magazines, online, in forums, in books--there's a new movie dedicated to this very idea, and people in theaters will laugh at scenes like Sarah Jessica Parker arriving to work with pancake batter on her suit because--ha ha--we've all been there.

This is what women talk about over coffee. Like, "God, all I ever do is drive. To soccer practice, to pick them up at friends, to dance, to lacrosse, to cheerleading." And women nod their heads in agreement and then someone starts with how their baby doesn't sleep and how "Seriously, how do you have time to cook meals every night, Teresa?" And then Teresa says, "I haven't been out of these yoga pants in three days; how do you manage to put lipstick on, Sheila?" And Sheila suddenly feels the need to defend her lipstick by talking about how much time she spends with her kids and then looks over to April who runs six miles five days a week, so April's really going to get it. "I wish I had time to run," Sheila says. Poor April.

Here's the thing: Fitting it all in is like putting a square peg in a round hole. And I like to assume that everyone is doing the very best they can. That everyone loves their kids. That everyone chooses to prioritize in a way that works best for them.

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Yesterday's priority: Alone time on a solo walk in our neighborhood.

My fitting it all in works a bit like the Kentucky Derby. It's a constant race of horses that pull forward and fall behind. They all have their turn eventually of running free and confidently from the front lines, but the poor derby announcer’s frantic commentary is always changing:

“And Family Dinners is in the lead but here comes Sir Craft a Lot from behind with Jog in the Morning gaining quickly. Date Night’s coming in at fourth with Alone Time only five lengths behind. But wait! Family Dinners is falling in the far turn while Playing with her Kids takes the lead and here comes Writing at Night moving fast into third while Read for Pleasure comes down the center of the track!” And I would spare you the heart palpitations and tell you the outcome, but the race never ends. And that’s what makes it work. I never have to feel guilty for the poor horse that didn’t get his rose wreath because every horse has a chance to feel the hooves-slamming glory of First Place—even if it’s just for a little while.

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Laundry's falling behind by about fifteen lengths. But still in the race.


I'm interested in how different people approach this in life--how they prioritize and make juggling parenthood responsibilities work for their family. So I did my research. I called my sister, my friends, e-mailed my cousins. I looked to women who inspire me and I asked them what's most important--what they're not willing to give up and how they make time to fit it in.

I loved their responses. No one answered "being with my kids" because this is a given--the foundation of what we all want in life, and it should be assumed that any mom out there--whether she's single or married, working or stay-at-home, crafty, messy, clean, or a really good cook--makes choices that reflect her undying love for her family.

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And here comes Playing with Kids in a steady trot toward first place!

What was interesting in the varied responses was the common theme of making time for ourselves. It's the rule of flight: you have to put your own oxygen mask on before you help someone else with theirs.

It's why April runs and why Sheila takes an extra thirty seconds in the morning to smear a coat of Ravishing Red across her lips. It's why I sometimes turn Little Bear on for my kids while I finish writing or why my sister robotically laces up her shoes every afternoon--even when she doesn't feel like it--because she needs the space and the clarity of her own thoughts while her legs stride in motivating rhythm, fueling her to go and go and go. Heidi flips through cookbooks when she needs inspiration and spends hours in the kitchen slicing and simmering because she wants to. Because it makes her happy.

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Family Dinners makes a comeback, coming in at fifth and gaining.

My friend Abernathy makes time for relationships, no matter how busy she is. "I sacrifice sleep. I sacrifice work. Against my better judgment sometimes," she says. "Because I need to spend time with friends. It fuels me."

We will continue to search the Internet for quick meals, read articles on how to get our kids out the door, buy calendars that promise to help us sort out our lives because that's what we do. We'll be inspired by women who look like they dabble in a great many things, and we'll compare ourselves and forget that their lives are different and there are some areas in which they too feel like they're failing. We will feel guilty and cry some nights that we just can't do it all. And we are right.

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Work makes an impressive effort, holding second but falling behind a little.

No, there are not enough hours in a day to fit it all in. Our passions, our talents, our friends, our kids, our jobs, our list of to dos. And the answer to "How does she do it?" is probably always going to be "...the best she can."

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And Kids takes the lead again, several lengths ahead in the track.

We tackle the task of taking care of our families first by taking care of ourselves, and that looks different for every person.

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Exercise bows out of the race for a while, making room for Outside Play to gain more distance.

And if it looks like I'm crafting and baking and spending every hour reading books to my kids, it's only because those horses are currently in the lead while cleaning house and catching up on work fall close behind. Or maybe far. They'll catch up.

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Extracurricular Activities fell behind today: A friend took Lainey to ballet so I could catch up.

But we're all in the race together. Enthusiastically cheering on our horses as they fall behind, run ahead and wildly gallop to stay in the track.

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We're winning!

Do you have a secret that helps you fit it all in? What horse is currently in the lead and what do you prioritize to the top? Hallmark and I would love to hear how you do it.

249 comments:

1 – 200 of 249   Newer›   Newest»
Sarah said...

Haha I love the analogy of all the daily mommy/wife requirements being a never ending race. That kind of cracked me up because it's so true. I love your perspective on things. It is what we make it =)

- Sarah
http://agirlintransit.blogspot.com

Libby said...

This is lovely. The I Don't Know How She Does It film frustrates me, because it seems like it is making a mockery of families. I've not seen it in full, just snippets & stills, but it seems to be a film of unadulterated negativity, and so to see you so honest and positivie about balancing things is wonderful. If you don't have time to bake mince pies, as the book character laments... I would say--don't spend time smashing it up with icing sugar because that will take more time to clear up.

Angela said...

it's like juggling with those floaty scarves (did you ever do that in school?)...and sometimes JUST before one floats all the way down, I reach down and scoop it up and toss it back into the mix. Some scarves stay in the rotation more consistently, some dont. But, I do the best that I can. :)

Abs said...

What a great post! I have two secrets. Sit on the floor more. And never cut short late night chats with my kids.

Amanda said...

Laundry is never in the lead!

Selina said...

Wonderul post, as always. I honestly don't know how I do it... other than the way you said it - "the best I can." That's all I can give each day. I know my housework horse is usually in the rear, trying hard to catch up but never quite making it. And you know what? I don't worry about it. Because those horses in the lead - those are the ones that matter the most.

Denise said...

Wow this post made me cry!! Crazy. Fitting it all in is so overwhelming. This post really helped me feel like I wasn't alone. Maybe I will stop beating myself up and realize that I do the best I can everyday. For that I am certain!

Thanks Kelle!! This post really was amazing, and is something so many woman need to hear.

susan said...

Love it... I find it all true. Right now Pinterest and date nights are winning:) Having so much fun baking and making crafts with my kids. The house is loosing but my kids are happy and so is my Husband and that is all that really matters.

The Jammie Girl said...

As a Louisvillian I ADORE your Kentucky Derby analogy! So apt: huge field of horses/responsibilities, and the one that was the odds-on favorite going into this race/parenthood almost NEVER wins. And DoingItAll is a field horse with 50:1 odds who never makes it out of the starting gate :) Today I'm betting an exacta box with FormattingTheEbook and Cleaning, but you know HelpingWithHomework is a mudder who likes to come from behind, so I'll be at the $2 window ;)

Scott and Jean Lucas said...

This is one of my favorite post!

Kalen - Kentucky Cupcake said...

I remember in graduate school a student that was behind me in a different cohort asked us "more experienced" (haha) students how we balanced it all. Most of the students said, "Just find the time," and I chimed in and said, "I half-ass things sometimes so I don't exert as much energy and I can do other things I want to do."

Wasn't a popular answer. Admitting that sometimes we can't do things "the best we can" is okay too, I think. Sometimes we just do things enough to get them finished & over with so we can reserve our best for what matters most - whatever that might be at the time.

JAQY said...

I agree, this post was amazing! I am a single-work-at-home-mother-of-three-one-is-high-needs. It's nice to see some others struggling. My laundry has been like that for a month... the kids stopped looking in their closet. LOL

Janalynn said...

A million thanks for this post today. I need to read it, every day, to remind myself that it is OK, that I am not failing in my imperfections. My horses are just all in different postitions. Yes!

Heidi said...

Lovely! I love assuming that everyone is doing the best they can!

My recent efforts have resulted in me being sure to get up before Gabe each day. There's something about opening my eyes to the day and putting my feet to the floor before he's off and running that helps me center myself and start with a clean slate. It's hard for me because I'm a definite night owl; my 6:27 alarm feels very, very early! But it has been worthwhile investment!

nicole said...

The horse race analogy is just brilliant ~ great post. I find that if my "Rise and Shine with Prayer" horse isn't in the lead, then all my horses are lagging.

I never tire of pictures of Miss Nella ~ she is just. plain. adorable.

teal915 said...

I think time with the kids is in the lead right now. I have so much laundry and phone calls that need to be made. It's easy to "forget" about those things and take my kids on a field trip to meet the Sheriff or story time at the library tomorrow. The others will catch up eventually.

Michelle said...

I think this post should get an award. :o) It's a winner. Thank you for the gentle reminder (as always). I don't even have children and I still feel like I can't make time for everything... I have so much adoration for moms because of all of the other pieces they have to juggle.

Just beautiful Kelle!

KS Photography said...

Clever analogies. Love.

Trust in and obedience to God. That's how we (try to) do it. Every child we add on seems to solidfy the rightness in what we choose.

just jen said...

this post had me craving a Mint Julep and a big floppy yet fantastic hat, while my horses stay cool and fat in the stables and the house goes to hell.

Ange said...

Love your horse race analogy. Totally fits. Kid time always seems to be in the lead for me. I just try to do what makes me happy and TRY not to feel guilty about it. It's a never-ending race, so for me & my family, when happiness is the goal it all seems to work out. Great post!

Renee said...

I have no idea how I do it all, but a lot seems to get done and I do the best I can. For me, it's all about routine. As long as I stick to my routine, dinner gets cooked (almost every night), lunchs get made, laundry gets done weekly, and I make sure to spend as much time with my daughter as possible. Mind you, I work 8 hours a day and commute 2.5 hours a day. That doesn't leave much time for her, but I do the best I can. She hangs out with me while I make dinner, then we play, take a bath and go to bed. After that I clean up our mess and get ready to do it all again the next day. On the weekends, we always plan to go out and do something fun on Saturdays and spend Sunday inside doing laundry and just lounging around. It works for us. I will admit though, cleaning the house is bringing up the rear. I used to clean every week, now it might happen once a month or even longer. It's one of the things on the back burner. I also don't take as much time for myself as I used to, but I'm making an effort to change my ways. Monthy massages is one thing I've started doing. Another thing is spending time with healthy friends who are interested in keeping things relaxed...since that's what I need these days....as much relaxation time as I can fit in.

I wasn't as good about spending time with friends since my daughter was born last year, but now I realize I need it, so I'm making the effort to help myself in that way.

I love that you mentioned that we compare ourselves to the other women around us, yet forget that their lives are different than ours and we all feel like we're failing in one area or another. That really helped me put perspective on things. With the Facebook era, I find myself comparing my wifely/mothering methods to other people and vise versa. It's good to remind myself that we are all on different paths and what works for them may not work for me and what works for me might not work for them. Finding the balance for ourselves is what's most important.

And when certain people tell me that I need to do this or need to do that for myself I need to remember what you said..."We tackle the task of taking care of our families first by taking care of ourselves, and that looks different for every person." What works for them, doesn't work for me. I need to take care of myself in a way that works best for me. Thank you for this!!

As always your post has truly inspired me! Thank you! I love your Hallmark posts!

Here's to doing the best we can!! :)

Fire Wife said...

Excellent post! Honestly, I don't feel like I do it at all. But I supposed I make it work somehow, right?

Taking time for myself is a new revelation for me (only 3 years into being a mom, not bad, right?). I'm a better PERSON when I take even just a little time for myself.

Kelly said...

Slow and steady one would say. Just as we sometimes have to tell those horses. I guess I just realize that there are some things that CAN wait and some that CAN NOT. I try to prioritize those to fit my family the best. It doesn't always work that way, but when it does, everthing else just seems to fall into place and I smile, appreciating that tomorrow, well, tomorrow may be a different story!

Tiffany said...

Right now my workout horse is in front, he faultered a little last week, and I felt off because of it. I enjoy the time of clearing my head and not having to think about anything except breathing in and out.

Justin, Chandra, Madelyn, Catharine and Elizabeth Martin said...

How do I do it...I love this analogy of a horse race...it is true. At the moment, baking, time with a friend, and kid's to the library's story time are all tied for first while my house and laundry are falling very behind! But, it's ok. :) Thanks for this awesome post. Such a wise woman ;)

Dani said...

This is a PERFECT post...one that I too would like to do over at my blog. I suddenly become a single mom 2.5 months after my baby who is now one was born. My husband decided he couldn't handle it. I'm 27 and by path took a a complete 360...I work full time..full time mom...crafter...cook...dog walker...baby driver...errand runner...you name it it's all me...But I have yet to find my balance...I've yet to find my me time..

Karly Jaco said...

I needed this post today...I constantly have the same battle...what to prioritize ...what to let be behind. etc. I try to get done what's most important...

it's tough when you are expected to "do it all" I struggle all the time...

Great post

D & DB said...

my sister-in-law told me about your blog. and had me read nella's incredible story. thank you for sharing that! (i know it was a long time ago and i am just seeing it...) but i just wanted to say that it is a beautiful story.

and also that this post made me laugh/brightened my day!
have a good one :)

Dani Bree

Team Lando said...

I love it. Running is up there for me right now, with a big race. (Baby playing and husband hanging-out-with are a given.) Cooking gains in the fall, but running suffers.

This is a fav post of mine.

Joni said...

I am SO very lucky to have a husband who picks up where I can't. Usually it's housework and laundry. I cook, he does the dishes. He spends his Sundays in front of the TV watching football....BUT he does all the laundry during timeouts and half times. I gave up the "do it all" battle a long time ago! My priority is my special needs son and some days, there is just no room for anything else.

M. Larson said...

Kelle, I love this horse race analogy because it makes perfect sense. I've always felt that way but never had the words to properly express it. Thank you! At the moment, exercise and work are winning out but craftiness, errands, and meal planning are falling behind. It takes some of the pressure off knowing that they will get back around to the front in due course.

Theresa said...

Sleep. Sleep is what helps me get it all done. I may not always go to bed as early as I should, but when that happens, I make sure that when the girls go down for nap, I do. If my batteries aren't fully charged NOTHING gets done.

And the thing I'm the most protective of is Eat, Drink and Be Merry night. At least twice a month our home is the hub of social gatherings of great proportions. We gather a bunch of our closest friends and cook a feast together, sipping on wine while slice, dice, simmer, and of course taste test. Our daughters dance around the living room until their eyes grow droopy. Our herd of family and friends tuck them in and sometimes sing to them before we go back to our merriment, dancing, singing, talking and snacking the night away. The girls godparents usually wind up sleeping on our couch and the next morning we all make breakfast together and play with the girls.

I know when I'm in the winter of my life, I'll look back on Eat, Drink and Be Merry nights and realize how much all of our lives were enriched by those times. Some of the most treasured memories I own, and -I'm sure- my daughters will reminisce and recall how magical it was to stay up past their bed time and be a part of it all.

Lovely post, Kelle.

Jessica said...

When friends come to my house they are instantly on my heels. Especially my friends with children. Why is your kitchen so clean? You look soo skinny. Is that seriously a ham in your slow cooker? Are you freaking kidding me?? What they don't see is me scrambling on my hands and knees wiping down the kitchen floor while Kade is preoccupied- taking everything out of my purse. Or the fact that I'm losing weight because my toddler simply refuses to be put down. I'm carrying twenty pounds with me, all day long. Sometimes, I do the dishes one handed. There are so many things I want to do but as a single mother don't have the ability to: go back to school, join a book club, go to bible study on Tuesday mornings. The fact is, I don't do it all. I do what I feel is important and worth my time. The floor is clean because Kade enjoys eating whatever is left on it. There's a ham in the slow cooker because my amazing mother came over for coffee and insisted on putting it there for me because she knows I work the graveyard tonight and will be rushing to get dinner done before I have to leave Kade with the sitter. No one can "do it all." It's important to do what makes you happy, and it worth while :)

Thank you so much for the post! I needed this reminder today :)

silvertag said...

I try to write a list everyday of what absolutely HAS to get done and go from there. Today I might need to work on school work, but by Saturday laundry is a necessity. It works most of the time. I think we all feel overwhelmed from time to time and that's ok, as long as we can get grounded again and start over. I love that you are so openly human.

Suzanne said...

It's different for everyone.

For me, it's my "binder" with CLIENTS, PIANO STUDENTS, HUSBAND'S WEBSITE, BLOG, and HOME tabs.

At the very least, I feel organized. I might not cross everything off on those daily goal lists, but at least I know what I'm up against at a glance!

Julie O said...

I put God first, and everything else seems to neatly fall into place...

The Fischer Family said...

Another beautiful post! Shared it on Facebook for all my girlfriends! Have a great week!

Heather said...

I so needed to read this today--thank you. Your analogy is right on point!

When people ask me this question, my answer is always the same: "I don't." It's an illusion. If you look behind the curtain (or the laundry room door), it's a little scary in there. As long as my kids feel loved, anything else can wait for tomorrow...or the next day.

Covey and Justin said...

If it can wait until they are asleep to do it that is what happens. Family dinners are high priority because of food allergies but thankfully we homeschool and cooking can be considered both math and science and reading so we manage to get it all done. We also have a couple of standby dinners like oatmeal that only take a few minutes. Vacuuming, don't even get me started--whew! Vacuums are absolutely the BEST WAY EVER to put little girl hair into piggy tails and to keep the floors clean :) The kids have their own little dustbuster and their own duster and their own rags to "help" when we clean. And who says scubbing the bathroom should be a task? Fill up the HUGE tub with suds and three giggly kids and let them clean while I tackle the vanity, toilet and floor. Three clean kids and a clean bathroom--voila! Folding clothes? No way--wrinkly warm things straight from the dryer is absolutely the best way to go :) My little ones are 1, 3 and 5 so we keep plenty busy round these parts.

Lovely Love said...

Oh thank God! Your friend Abernathy made me feel sooo much better about myself! That's what I do too! At least once a week I need to get out of the house and spend time with friends! I come back home feeling happy and refreshed! I love being social :) and I too will sacrifice to make it happen. The house being clean is a priority for me as well. We live in a very small space, so if it is not clean I feel like I'm drowning in the mess. Clean home = happy momma which in turn = happy family. I also make sure that I home cook meals at least 3 times a week. I always make my husband lunch for work and make sure I watch at least an episode of something once a night and every friday night we have dinner with my mom. That's about it :) but i have a lot of goals and a lot of dreams that will surely get a turn too ;)

LuvRedd said...

I loved this post. Often, when I read your blog, I seriously have these soul moments. Essentially, you put into phrase what I've been feeling or wanting to express, things I had never said outloud. That's soul talk right there :) Thanks for sharing!

Quiltin' Jenny said...

Oh, Kelle, this is SO dead on! Sometimes when I read your blog I love it, but other times it makes me wistful for things I have missed out on doing with my own kids - for the pictures I didn't take or the crafts they've outgrown.

As the kids get older, some horses pull ahead. Getting enough rest jumps up to the front, only to lag again when your teenager has the car out. Right now cooking is pulling up to the front after years of languishing close to last (just in front of clean bathrooms!).

The way I do it (aside from, as you so beautifully stated, the best I can) is to know that there is a season for each horse in the race. When they were little, keeping the house up and cooking a fabulous meal mattered so much less. Now that they are in school and have their own lives for so many hours a day, those things have more time. And they pay off when the kids say, "Can Billy come over?" and you know that there are groceries and a clean place for Billy to sit so he doesn't go tell his mom what a slob I am.

Thank you so much for these posts. Although you don't change who you are, I can tell that these Hallmark posts with their jumping off points bring something extra out of you, and I'm really enjoying them. It's a great fit for someone who truly does celebrate every day. Thanks for sharing that and for reminding us of what a gift we really are given every single morning.

Lissa said...

I fit *most* of it in by rotating the same dinners throughout the month (although we're now leaning towards fall dishes and less grilling). I like making casseroles and eating leftovers for the next night. Other than that, right now the kids are young enough that they're not involved in too many activities. The youngest is 2, so he gets to come along basically :) The older one (4) I'm letting him explore all different activities, but one at a time. That leaves mom and dad each a night of golf (and dinner and wine!) and the weekend for whatever comes up!

My priority now is being outside. In Michigan that is my priority all summer - and yes, I've declined events b/c the weather is awesome and not going to last and I'm not sitting inside a building for the better part of a day when I could be at the pool :) Now, it's switched to if it's not raining and decently warm, we are getting in those last few park playdates, trips to the farms and slipping out for an extra 9 holes of golf :)

Kellie said...

i love the horse race analogy!! it's pretty much perfect. i never can have everything finished at the same time. if the house is clean, the laundry is piled to the ceiling. if i've been feeling crafty the house is insane and so on. this is my friend holly's favorite quote (i'm sorry i have no idea where it originated) "Moms do the best they can with the personality they have, the husband they have, the children they have, the finances they have, the morals they have, and the time they have. No two family situations are the same, so why compare?" i always try to remember that i never see the whole picture.

Angie said...

It's definitely the time I take to workout. It's so hard to pull myself out of bed at 5am when all I really want to do is nuzzle into my husband's chest and sleep for a couple more hours. I never, ever regret my workout, though. It makes me feel like a strong, capable mama when I take that time. And, that's what I want my kids to see although, I do feel the mama guilt quite a bit.

Definitely being more intentional with my kids not just expecting them to play together on their own but to play with them, hearing what they have to say, watching them figure out a puzzle on their own, to be the one they go down slides with, swing with, monkey bar with..I want them to remember that. That they were always the most important and that they had a mama who played with them.

Great post, as always!

XOXO,
Angie from Ohio

Jennifer said...

Oh I just loved this. I want to hug every word and remember it for always. There is so much truth to all of what you wrote about how us women handle everything that we have on our plates - and we all do it differently and to the best of our ability. THanks for making smile today and breathe a bit easier about how it looks for me and even what I do to make time for myself. Oh and by the way, the movie you mentioned as actually really good. It made me feel normal and human and I related to her ALOT. (o: Just sayin'.

FEAS613 said...

10 years ago I received this email from a friend - this post reminded me of it and thought I would share -

"The Rest is Just Sand"
A philosophy professor stood before his class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks, about 2 inches in diameter. He then asked the students if the jar was full? They agreed that it was.So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He then asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous "yes".The professor then produced two glass of water from under the table and proceeded to pour their entire contents into the jar - effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed. "Now," said the professor, as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The rocks are the important things - your family, your partner, your health, your children - things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, your car. The sand is everything else. The small stuff."If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the rocks. The same goes for your life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out strolling. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party and fix the tap. Take care of the rocks first, the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."

~Beth

Rach said...

I love your blog!! I read it religiously everyday. Being a mum is a constant balance and juggling act. I feel like each morning I reassess each day and make the most of it.

Rachel Vancouver, Canada
http://barren1979.blogspot.com

PradaPrincipal said...

So work has won all this week - mainly because a mortgage and private school tuition must be paid- 70 hours worth, ouch! But the 'bed-time story' horse, though a straggler was always in the race. We do the best we can. At least we HAVE horses, no?

Stephanie said...

Kelle, totally love this! It is so easy to question ourselves daily with all of the, how I am going to get this done, how am I doing as a mom and wife, what next, etc. but it is so nice to be reminded that truely, we are doing the best we can. Thanks for this, I believe you just lifted all of our spirits!

Wiggwam said...

I came across a blog through another blog through a friend's blog and have been following you religiously. I think because you speak the things on my heart. This one was spot-on. I LOVE your analogy of the horse race...how it is never over but we keep adapting and changing to keep up with the needs around us. And, rather than comparing ourselves to others or feeling inadequate, we just need to support each other so that we can feel positive about whatever it is what makes it work for each of us.

Betty said...

Great post!!! As a homeschooling mother of 4 with one on the way and on bedrest with a high-risk pregnancy, I've had to really think about what is important and what needs to get done. Most days I feel like I flop in at least one area. But for me, my relationship with God is like the center of a wheel for me. Out of that, stem all the other "spokes" in my life. If I can just make THIS my one priority, there somehow is balance in the other areas of my life. So, reading my Bible and other devotional books makes a HUGE impact on my days.

Then something I've learned over the years, is that if I start to become a grumpy mom, then there is too much on the plate. That's where I re-evaluate, cut out activities, pull everyone back in, and we break out a frozen pizza. I don't know why there is so much pressure to have the kids in so many activities that end up destroying real family time and driving the mom insane. I don't know that the children are really happier being so busy. But the bonding that comes from hanging out with each other, reading stories or playing board games, cooking together, or watching a video together....those are priceless.

I have also seen that the more we eat dinner together at the dinner table as a family, the more full our love tanks are. There is really something special about that.

Right now, it's hard for me to stay on top of everything with my limited activity, and I totally mess up everyday, but somehow, the Lord redeems the day when I stop and savor, be thankful, and ask for His help. He's helping me be less stressed about things and to see beauty even in the pile of laundry. But it's a work very much in progress.

Abby Taylor said...

I used to apologize for the toys scattered about to anyone who came over. But now that I have a 2 year old and a 1 year old, I've stopped apologizing. If it comes up, I tell them honestly, "This is how we live now." Whatevs, I work full time and would much rather PLAY with my kids than pick up a mess they will re-create in 30 seconds!

Life is good! said...

my children are all adults now. some with children of their own. while they were young i drove them to school, picked them up from school. if they forgot something i took it to them. i went to all of their events- baseball, football, basketball, plays they were in, everything. my house may have been messy, but it waited until my kids grew up. and you know what? there are days it still has to wait because i have grandchildren now and there are still events to attend. i also will go to lunch or out with a friend above a clean kitchen or bedroom. of course it helps if one has a hubby such as mine who doesn't complain!

Sarah said...

As a full time working mom to 4 year old triplets, I can't fit it all in. As frustrating as it is, I realize it and try to accept it and do the best I can.

There is always some part of the house that needs to be cleaned or organized. My husband and I try to do something with our girls each weekend, which means that not much gets done around the house.

I would love to go to bed at 9:00 each night but I end up working on photography or my blog. It's the only time of the day that I really have to myself.

Megan said...

I love this post.

Laundry is ALWAYS falling behind in my race with toys being put away not far behind. I always make sure the dishes are done and the house is CLEAN, but clean and organized are two different things. And organized, my house is not.

My husband always asks why I don't go to bed earlier because I'm always complaining how tired I am. But when the girls go to bed, that's the time that I concentrate on ME and what I want to do...whether it's watching tv, blogging or finally getting that shower in that's 4 days over due.

Misty Pratt said...

I'm realizing more and more that is HAS to be about me first. As you said, putting your own oxygen mask on first. Without a healthy, sensible Mom, my kid would be flailing. And it's taken me 2 years to get to that point. I am finally remembering the simple things - lots of water, healthy snacks, vitamins, 10min deep breathing, and exercise as much as I can (usually only 2-3 times per week!) And you know what? Things are looking up!

medina family said...

A wonderful analogy!!! Right now, Family Time and Home Cooked Meals are winning...Exercise At The Gym is about two weeks behind and losing speed fast. Can't wait to see who's in the lead next week....I expect Crafting For Fall to catch up soon.

Summit of Glory said...

One word - multi-tasking (or is that technically 2 words?!) Lovely words, Kelle. xo

Beans said...

This post defines how I feel all the time-and I know I'm not the only one. I'm always saying to my girlfriend-you're always making great dinners! And we are having sandwiches and Ramen again. Along with her always being outside playing with her kids and I'm inside buried under laundry. I need to let the horses trade places more often.....thanks for the inspiration! I love this post so much!

Lyndsey Lucas said...

I finally had to let go of the ideas of the mother I thought I had to be. And I had to become grounded in what really matters, that I have a healthy and happy husband and son. And we are a healthy and happy family. In the end that is all that really matters. The piles of laundry, the dishes in the sink, are just things. Who does it really harm if every now and then we all have pb&js for dinner anyway?

My most favorite black stallion "Hugs and kisses" is in the lead today. Thanks for sharing. Its nice to know I'm not the only one who fails to win the race sometimes.

Joan said...

the fact that anyone would ask "how do you do it?" shows that they still think somebody out there has it all together. um, no. it's just like you said. one mom runs, one reads, one puts on lipstick, but that doesn't mean she "does it all" or that she has it all together. no mom does. that's the beauty of having friends you can be real with, women you don't have to pretend in front of. women you allow to come to your house when it's a mess and don't bother apologizing. because they know. they get it. nobody can do it all. that's why that movie title is so paradoxical. you keep going because you have to. you do as much as you possibly can because you want your kids to be abundantly blessed. you just do it because there's no alternative. you are mamma bear and you will spend your last breath nurturing those cubs. there's no how-to book, no secret recipe. we do, we try, we fail, we try again. mothering is the greatest challenge and joy of our lives. so it's not really so much about how much we do or reaching some kind of goal. it's an everyday kind of thing. a splendid, simple, amazing journey that never ends. a life well spent knowing we gave all we had and that that was enough.

Kelly Cach said...

Ugh....I don't know if I can answer this question. I feel like crying. And I DID cry about it alone two nights ago when I went to bed with the thought, 'I am a lousy wife and mother'. My first inclination is to say, "I'm not. I'm NOT doing it all. I'm barely doing ANY of it.....except sustaining a life." I use that excuse with my husband all the time, "Hey, I'm sustaining a LIFE, what are you doing?!" Haha! Nora still nurses because she can't (or maybe won't) drink from a bottle or a sippy cup, so I'm pretty much out of commission for my family in all areas. Sorry, just feeling so down on myself lately. I really needed this reminder that we ARE doing the best we can.

And ya know what? I just realized I'm kinda grateful that I don't/can't do it all. It makes me less judgmental and way more empathetic and understanding. And it makes me love my mama friends even more! Now, if I could just feel that way for myself.

Loved your analogy....sooooo much! Especially because I grew up wanting to be a horse jockey---hahahaha!

Love to you today ~
Kelly

Jessica Lawson said...

Thank you for summing it all up! This is totally true. As a mother of 4 children, I can totally relate!!

Jess said...

Another thought provoking read Kelle!There are never enough hours in the day but even if we had more more we'd still be the same I'm sure

Meredith said...

I think the recognition that we just can't do it all every day is huge. Shortly after our daughter was born, my husband and I sat down and identified which household tasks were most important to each of us and allows us to relax--for him, it's having dinner ready (or at least a plan identified). For me, it's having the living room picked up so that the visual clutter is gone and I can relax. Knowing that those are the two most important "chores" to accomplish every day helps me to prioritize, and see where I can relax in other areas.

lovemy3 said...

Now that my middle one is in preschool. I try to fit socializing/down time with my exercise. I walk with a friend while my son is in preschool. I strap Hailey into the stroller...she gets her nap, I get exercise and some mommy time! I feel better physically and emotionally!

maggiek95 said...

I am only 16 and don't have to juggle kids, laundry, or cooking a great meal for dinner but I just moved. My Junior year to a new state and city. What do I prioritize the most? Friends, family, and smiling. It is truly what keeps me going. Now way, could I wake up know that my friends and I send each other sweet notes for our lunch via phone. It is what keeps me pushing through each day. The I love and miss you is what puts a smile on my face and well everything else just falls in place behind that.
Love your blog.
Maggie Kelly (threetimemovers.blogspot.com)

The Whirling Dirvish said...

there's no doubt that a horserace is the best possible analogy for being a mother. I think the best answer I can give for how I "do it all" is that I don't. I don't do it all. I do my best to "do it all" but I never get "it all done". My girls are my life and my husband is my guy. The only thing I will ever "do it all" successfully is love them. Fully. Deeply. Passionately. For now, that will be enough.

Patti said...

"There is a regular tension between things that are urgent and things that are important — and far too often, the urgent wins."~ Charles Hummel, Tyranny of the Urgent

As a mommy to ten, there is always something urgent. Always. Life is indeed a balancing act- today we were frantically helping Kenzie jam pack boxes into the van while trying to help Josiah set a wedding date so travel plans could be made...while Lily, covered in oatmeal, needed a bath and Jack needed cereal and 5 home schooled kids needed Mama to teach. All between 8 and 9 a.m. :)

So hard to be pulled in every direction, and truly every day there's a different horse winning! I'm still learning and tweaking things and praying to improve my juggling skills. I think the thing that has helped me most in this season of life is to take off the Super Woman cape. I really can't do it all, but I'm learning to be content in giving life my best and really trusting in the grace of God for the rest.

Such a sweet inspiring post:)

Mia said...

It is so hard to fit it all in, and will only get harder. It all started with becoming pregnant in nursing school. Now I am done, and waiting for a phone call so I can start work. My husband is in school at the #1 public school for his major and is very, very busy. The cleaning that gets prioritized is laundry and dishes. As long as everyone has clean chonies and stuff to eat with, I'm happy. Dinner is a priority, and I need to start making breakfast and lunch one as well. When I'm not sick, I do in home workouts with Rowan in his jumperoo, or something else that keeps him contained. He enjoys P90x and INSANITY as much as I do. Family time is hard right now. I'm in school online, and my husband is in the classroom most of the day. Tonight, he won't be home till probably 8. Oh, good, that reminds me, I don't have to thaw any meat out. I can eat leftovers. I rarely get time to myself, but am enjoying it right now, there is a 7 month old asleep in his room, and a husband that is somewhere at the University of Arizona, getting his education on. I think I'll sew a cushion for my old highchair.

Andrea said...

I spend a lot of time frantically paddling below the waterline attempting to glide along the surface, swan-like. Thank you for reminding me that sometimes you have to just stop paddling and read Aliens In Underpants a few hundred times more and forget about the ever growing pile of laundry.

Andrea x

nanny bee said...

I was employed outside the home during my children's college years. I adopted the mantra that "I am not superwoman". I knew I couldn't do everything well. Now I am a stay-at-home-or-not grandmother. I needed to stop working to recover a feeling of good relationship with the people I love and the people I care about. I love being available to my children and grandchildren. I love your race analogy and feel much like you do. There are so many things that keeps me busy and every day is a competition of the things I love doing and the things that need doing. What I love most about not being employed is relaxing when someone stops me to talk...I love not having to rush away.

Kalee said...

Eating lunch at my desk, running on my lunch hour, and crock pot dinners. That's how we free up time for dance lessons, trips to the swimming pool, painting, baking cookies, and cuddle time in general.

Thanks for the post!

mrc-w said...

I sent "Cooking-Horse" to the glue factory, haha :)

Whitney Barthel said...

I <3 this analogy...running with it, I would say 99 percent of the time all my horses are either grazing or in a total stampede! It's hard to tell which one is winning at any moment, they are not organized enough to race...but exercise is definitely in that back of the pack!

Jene said...

As a women's libber and baby boomer we bought into the idea that "we could do it all." So I did, and farily successfully. I cooked from scratch, made my children's baby food, sewed all of their clothes till they were 5, was on PTA, was room mother, den leader, Sunday School teacher, and had a part-time job. My kids are grown and now it is time for them and thir significant others to find their way. Just breathe...It's all good!

Hillary said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post! I was just trying to describe this catch-up feeling to my husband last night.
I have a mantra, which I translated to French to help it sound a bit fancier (and disguise it, so I can post it at my desk at work). In English: today is just today. In French: Aujord'hui c'est seulement aujord'hui.
You can take this any direction you choose: bad day? Today is just today - tomorrow will be different. Good day? Today is just today - enjoy it and be present.
I'm thinking about a tattoo... :)

Maria said...

Organization is in the lead of my race. I will sacrifice a couple of hours of sleep just to have everything set for the next day.
Clothes laid out, lunch made, to-do list on the counter, dinner ingredients at the ready...I wasn't always like this, mind you. I've spent most of my life in a constant state of confusion, forgetting things & rushing to get everything done at the last minute.
I'm learning that it is so much easier to be prepared & to leave myself lots of gaps in the day, if possible, for the unexpected.

Lydia said...

I'm learning that I can't do it all. I used to be over-committed up to my eyeballs. I allowed my first pregnancy to give me a reason to cut back. Family, friends, and very little "extracurriculars." Being a minister's wife has added a new set of pressures (the perfect dish for potlucks, shower gifts for people I don't know, etc.), but I'm trying to remember my focus: family, friends, then extracurriculars. Remembering to put in some time for myself? Easier said than done!

Chase Your Dreams Photography said...

Reading your post I have to agree with you. The Kentucky Derby race analogy is really a great one. Sometimes one will win over the other and most of the time nothing is really perfect, but we are all doing our best! I think the only thing we need to keep in check is if one thing is really overtaking everything else by leaps and bounds; like overtaking our time and energy to the expense of everything else. That usually is not good! Have a great day.

Taylor said...

This was a great post...you are exactly right when you said how does she do it? the best she can...love that! Right now I feel guilty bc im in nursing school and instead f picking my girls up fom daycare at 2 when nap ends i leave them there until 4 so i can study and get stuff done around the house but then the weekend comes and the kids take the lead and i know one day i will make it up to them!

Jenny D said...

As a new mom (4 months old!) this has to be the hardest adjustment. No one tells you how hard it's going to be making it all fit together. I like to look at it as a puzzle. Each thing that needs to be done is a piece. The puzzle will never be complete because there will ALWAYS be something new that gets into the mix. I'm thankful for a wonderful husband that cooks dinner at least twice a week, and thankful for a job that understands that family always comes first-so when I'm 20 minutes late b/c I had to pull over in a high school parking lot to nurse my son on the way to childcare-they are OK with it. Although, I am still looking for that money tree that would give me more time with my boy and my home. If anyone has it or finds it-PLEASE share! I yearn for the weekends when there doesn't have to be so much routine, and then it starts all over again.

FANTASTIC post-I love reading about your day to day triumphants and struggles-Thank You!

Lauren@ "Happiness is..." said...

Kelle I just have to say thank you. you were a direct answer to my prayers today. I've spent the last several months beating myself up because I can't do it all. I'm one of those "my baby doesn't sleep" mothers and I'm not going to lie...it's been rough. I have fallen behind on so many things, friends, etc... and then I look at other mothers who have 5 kids and seem to be able to get everything done. Just this morning I was in the shower thinking to myself....Why aren't you better? Thanks for the reminder that we all have our own strengths an weaknesses...that I just have to focus on those strengths and do the best that I can. God bless you.

Natalie said...

Your Kentucky Derby analogy is perfection!

The method that has been working for me lately (because what works changes often around my house) is to devote all my time to playing/cooking/crafting/reading with my kids when I get home from work. Once they are in bed, I spend 45 minutes doing things around the house - you'd be surprised what you can accomplish in 45 minutes! After that 45 minutes, the rest of the night is all mine to relax with my husband, or do whatever I please!

TheHouseWifeRookie said...

Gosh, I needed this post! Thank you, thank you!

Jenn said...

So true and such an amazing analogy. I parent, I wife, I work, I homemake and I be. every.single.day. What saves my sanity is stealing the odd moment to myself -- extra long handwashing session while hiding in the bathroom or sitting on the floor in front of the dryer while folding laundry or just taking the dog on an extra loop around the block -- and catching my breath. I step back from the things that frustrate me and try my best to remind myself that in 5 minutes, it won't bother me. I leave work AT work when I leave at the end of the day because I spend far too many hours there and not enough at home during the week. I try to enjoy every tantrum and think that my little guy won't be doing that when he's 18 (I hope!). I breathe deeply, count to 10 when needed and try to exhude patience. Family Meals is leading this race (lately) but Tidy House is not even in the running!

The Sandersens said...

This is always something I struggle with. What to get done today and what to give up to get something else done. It really is a race and one horse always has to win at any given time, but think of it like this there is always Nother race and maybe a different horse will win next time. If your hose is messy it's lived and loved in. If there is laundry to do then maybe an outfit that was in the back of the closet will e rediscovered. Or if work has to get done the kids are using their imagination to learn how to play. I just try never to feel guilty for how the day went I just try to improve the next day.

Kerrie said...

I think you are so spot on! As of recently "be kind to yourself" is taking the lead and "get to the gym" is a few legs behind.

cakebake said...

Love this post. It's definitely got everybody thinking about how they do things. Me? Sometimes I do what I need to do and sometimes I do what I want to do (as long as it doesn't get me in big trouble! ha). I decided this school year that I'm NOT going to stress myself out about trying to do everything because that only takes away the energy that I could be using to do something amazing! Thanks for the post, Kelle! It truly is inspiring.

Sarah said...

being from KY, your derby analogy makes me happy. I have no trouble fitting in the kid stuff. I homeschool, we play and craft all day. ANd because of Facebook and texting and unlimited minutes, I make sure I get my girly chats in daily. My husband and I have a monthly date night and we work in extra romance when we are not exhausted. My biggest problem is cleaning. I have 2 lists, one daily and one "when I get the chance" My goal is to knock off 1 WIGTC and 5 daily off most days. And sometimes I do, but lots of times I don't. But i keep telling myself that one day soon these 4 heathens will be more helpful than messy and then I can sit around and watch TV while they clean...right??? :)

Becky@IfTheseWallsSpoke said...

I loved this post, I love the analogy! Sleep and time for myself are always in last place, but I find (big shocker) that when I put those things closer to the front...everything else hums along a lot smoother. We all prioritize, like you said. I have a hard time judging people who don't do it just like I do :) Working on it!

Annie said...

I really like this race analogy. Especially that there doesn't have to be one winner. Well written, fun to read.
I'm working on finding the balance. I remind myself of the priorities: in the evening when I get home from work I typically like to go through the mail and get settled for the next day, but instead I put that all aside and focus on my kids until they are in bed, then tackle the mail, etc... Because I only get to see them for a short time each weekday. I also make up for that on the weekend. I include them in the house chores (laundry, cleaning, cooking, etc,...). They are learning life skills AND we get to spend time together!

Prayer girls said...

Creativity is my outlet, my oxygen, i need it. But not just any creativity, it has to have something to do with design. I'll retouch pictures from a design point of view, i'll decorate my house from a design point of view, even clean my house making sure design is present. I'm a little OCD when it comes to neatness, but oh my! how have i let my kids take over that. I still try to keep my house clean and organized, and it's frustrating at times not having all the time i need. The best is when they're sleeping, endless possibilites...although sometimes sleep will look most tempting.

Yuki

Elena said...

My only secret is that I refuse to feel guilty. I stay at home with the kids and some days are productive and some days are not, but all the days are filled with as much joy as I can squeeze in there. No room left for guilt.

MeganMR said...

I don't think I have any secrets. I do what I can and what works for me. I am a working mother with a semi-disabled husband and a 17 month old. I recently bought myself an hour a day by making a change in my daycare provider. People without children don't really understand how much someone like me values an hour in a day. This is not just any hour, but an hour more I get to spend with my family. An hour less in the car commuting. That one hour a day adds up to 5 hours a week. When you are a working Mom, 5 hours a week is HUGE! I do plan one night a week to play softball, which I have been doing for as long as I can remember. It's a mere 2 hours a week and it's always a struggle finding someone to watch the little guy that day and get dinner made, but I do it. It's frustrating making the puzzle pieces fit, but I manage to make them all fit then I get my 2 hours of "unplugged" playing a sport I've loved to play since I was a kid, and that makes the puzzle SO worth it!

janine said...

This past few days, 'looking after myself' has streaked ahead into 1st place so that I can get rid of this stinking cold and cough and not pass it on to my family. 'work' is practically out of the race as a result but 'reading for the heck of it' and 'loafing around with the kids' have made impressive comebacks!
*love* this analogy x

Bree said...

The race horse comparison just totally nailed life as a mom. I loved every word of this post and will keep this idea with me always. We are all doing the best we can!

Hazel said...

I'm not a mother yet, and I have to admit that sometimes watching those that are scares me, would I do a good job? Will I be too tired? I guess a lot of this stems from a fraught relationship with my own mother, underneath my fear is that I want to be a better mother than her. I guess it's silly, cause I know my husband is already a great father and he does a lot of stuff around our home anyway. So I shouldn't let the fears win over, cause I'm pretty sure I'd regret not having a child. But hearing these stories gives me an idea of how you get it all done!

Life with Kaishon said...

I wish I had a secret.
I just washed the chicken I bought for supper in the sink because by accident I got Spicy Tyson chicken strips when I was supposed to get bourbon and my kid is going to freak out : )
Isn't that funny? I acutally washed the chicken before I baked it. I hope all the hot stuff come off. I am crossing my fingers.

Molly said...

Lately, I've been feeling incredibly guilty for working. I have been dissecting our family budget for a tiny sign that maybe, just maybe, I might be able to give the 8-5 a big fat goodbye.

Alas, we're not there yet and although it makes me sad I just have to keep truckin' along until we're no longer sinking in the deep end of debt.

We recently bought a new house and it has a gorgeous new jetted tub. For four months it has sat empty and unused. But I had finally had enough one day. I told my husband, "I am going in the bathroom to take a bubble bath. Under no circumstances will you enter this room."

I used luxurious bubbles and lit candles and turned on soft music. I came up with a positive mantra to repeat until my brain was quieted. I soaked there until the water turned cold and goosebumps formed.

When I got out I was pruned but relaxed. I vowed that I will do this once a week. It's my me-time. However simple it is. I need it.

And yes, my husband did wonder what I was doing in there for so long.

Emma said...

I love the horse racing analogy.....it really is spot on! Your post was amazing but it's really heart warming to read all of the comments and thank god that it isn't just me that has an untidy house but a very happy and well balanced daughter! We have really busy lives and what keeps me sane is scheduling in weekends off. I turn off the phone and laptop and just hang out with my girl doing whatever she wants to do be that staying in front of the TV all day or heading to the park! xx

Kristin said...

Thank you so much for this encouragement! A little pep talk in the middle of my day! One of my priorities is sleep. No staying up until midnight for me. Currently in the lead is Supportive Wife with Making Time for Myself coming into second after being in last place for way too long. Thank you for the reminder that we are all just doing the best that we can, the best we know how to do.

Ally said...

Thank you! I don't have kids yet, I've been married going on 3 years and the circle of friends my husband and I have all have kids and are constantly looking at me asking when. I know some of it is just because they are soo happy and want that addition for me. But part of me gets upset and hurt because I'm just not ready. I feel like I'm constantly barely keeping my head above water as it is and adding kids to that gives me an anxiety attack. I've felt guily the past couple months getting the looks from people not understanding not seeing where I come from. Hearing that so many moms have to take time for themselves first before they can give themselves to their family is a releif. That when that time comes I don't have to be supermom and that there are people out there who understand and support each other as we all stuggle to keep our balls in the air juggling everything!

Nicole said...

The analogy you have made is perfect. In fact, I think I am going to send this blog post to my husband so he better understands why I jump around to different projects, priorities, etc! Perfect..thank you!

Also, this morning... I decided to fold my 1 yr olds laundry before going to work. I guess I traded that with putting on ANY jewelry and brushing my hair, cuz I forgot to do both before going to work. HA! Good times.

Thanks again for making me feel "not so crazy" .. and actually "right on track"!! :)

Jensen and Jamie said...

Just amazing. I've read your blog for over a year now, and have never actually commented. (Always mean to, but just never actually do..) But, your post was just amazing today. Thank you!

Alicia said...

keeping a healthy balance of everything is so stinking hard! now is not a good time to ask...we're super busy up in here, but we all do our best. :)

kelly said...

hi... :-)
I have 5 kids...13, 10, 8, 5 and one..
I try to bake everyday, i cook dinner everynight, i wash 7 loads of laundry a day...sounds awesome right>>>???
I have right now, 4 hours of folding laundry on my couch, the showers havent been scrubbed in two weeks, I have chipped nail polish on my fingers, I havent dusted in months, Im too scared to look under the couches, and last night I found a half eaten apple in my daughters wardrobe....
and to be honest my shortcomings make me laugh, I know I cant do it all, but my children would much rather have time with me than live in a perfectly clean house...this we all as mothers know for sure..
have an cool day...
kelly

Angella said...

Kelle, thank you so much for this post! I absolutely needed this. I had a long night with sick kids and had to cancel plans to stay cooped up at home. (And I didn't want to be home with dirty dishes, floors and laundry glaring at me) I was feeling overwhelmed that I have 3 little boys who still need so much of me (they're 4, 2 1/2 and 1). But now I'm challenged and encouraged to tackle our daily races again!
When I look back on 'good' days, I notice that I laughed more with my kids and didn't sweat the small stuff. And it helps when I plan some of the day ahead of time. Sometimes, it's just deciding the night before what we're going to have for lunch or if we're going out to the park.

Michelle Ott said...

Your horse race analogy will be copied onto a plaque someday. You'll be able to buy it at Michaels or the cute crafty store in town. I think every woman who reads this will say you've hit the nail on he head. You've a way with words...

Love is all you need said...

This post rocks my world! The race goes for big things in life too. At some stages throughout life there will be things that are more of a priority than others. The key is to always watch your race from the stands and not on the horse so that you can have a clear view of the bigger picture.

Farmgirl Paints said...

wish i had an answer to that question. right now my sheets are in the dryer and i have about 5 loads of laundry to be folded. dinner isn't going to fix itself and it's back to school night! so it goes. making lists help. setting aside certain days/times to do certain things. if it gets too outta hand i become paralyzed and get nothing done.

Kellie said...

What a perfectly written post! i just had a total meltdown last week while talking to a friend on the phone because i am feeling this overwhelming mommy guilt as i make the final push to finish a half marathon in october. but with that extra training means family time, bath time, reading books at night, dinners, church etc all fall to second or beyond. I WANT to do it all. But i realized doing it all, doesn't mean i have to do it all at once. Life changing revelation for me. :)

Aleyta said...

I fit it in with help. My husband is amazing and will do anything so I can craft, or watch greys anatomy, or just take a quiet bubble bath. He knows it's important for my health and the sanity of the family to keep mama happy. So after my time, I am re-focused on others and my family and can fit it all in!

maryanne said...

I'd love to tell you how I do it all, but I'm running out the door to meet my husband at "back to school" night. hehehe.

Minimalist Mommi said...

Minimalism. Plain & Simple. When there's less crap to clean, pick up after, and deal with, there's more time to enjoy. Although, I've dealt with the majority of the physical clutter in my life, I'm now taking steps to reduce my mental clutter. Once I succeed with that, it's all about maintenance. Through it all, minimalism is my life blood and holds me together.

heather said...

Once again. A perfect analogy of the busyness of life and motherhood and everything else. I like your thinking that even when things fall behind they’re still in the race. Helps me feel like I’m not necessarily failing in one area. It’s just a little behind in the race.

Mama Mel said...

I once told my dad that if there was an extra hour tacked onto the end of every day, I would use that time to clean my house. Late last year I joined a preschool playgroup where we meet weekly at someone's house. I painstakingly scrubbed the house prior to my first time hosting the group, only to realize that no one saw the dog hair under the kitchen table or that the blinds desperately needed dusting. Now I save cleaning for after my girls go to bed at night or during nap time.
When I have to run errands with my kids- we try to make a game out of it. We always make time to visit the toy department and my three year old enjoys being praised for being mama's little helper.

Corrie said...

I'm not sure what horse is in the lead right now, I seem to be floundering in all areas. I homeschool two girls, 7 and 5, and am just finding that something may not be right with my 7 year old. So the failure horse seems to be winning but I am trying to out run it with doing the best that I can and one step at a time horse. Date Night never comes in first but clean house is always running around 3rd. Good to remember we just have to do our best, thanks for this.

MamaBella said...

I looked at the picture of the laundry on your couch and and smiled as I thought of my couch, barely visible under piles of clothing waiting to be put away. Why is it waiting? Because at the moment, Drawing Pictures with My Dude is in the lead :)

Love love love the photo of you kissing Nella.

Heather B said...

I just try to remember that I don't always have to be enough! Blogged about that very thing today. www.heatherboersma.com/blog

melissa said...

thank you kelli for this post! its so nice to be reminded that we can't do it all, all the time! for me, reading mom blog posts is some of my re-charge time, so thank you for being so inspirational!
and for taking such amazing pictures, what kind of camera do you use?? what processing programs doy ou use? as a novice photographer, i'm very curious what you are doing, besides having a great eye for capturing those moments!

Life Is Calling said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Life Is Calling said...

What a very important and necessary post! You made the best point when you said we all make choices that reflect our undying love for our family! Even though we all have vastly different priories! I have come to the conclusion that some priorities just need to be eliminated, For example; as soon as something starts to effect my family in a negative way its off the list of things that need to be done! Which has brought me to the conclusion I can no longer be a full time working mother along side of being a "GOOD" full time mom and wife! I personally am just not able to make it work anymore! My husband and I have set up a 6 month plan to be able to live off one income starting In December! Sacrifice is the main way we express our undying love for our family. I am a firm believer that balance, prioritizing, and mommy time (whatever that may be) are the keys to survival!

Plus one Wee Bean said...

Wonderful post today.
This is a never ending journey isn't it. FINDING BALANCE.
Thank you.
Healthy Mamma= happier everyone so I run. May be to the grocery store with my wee man in the chariot, or may be to the coffee shop with my wee man in the chariot, but I run.
Two birds, one stone?
Something like that.
Running keeps me healthy and alert so I try so hard to do just a little each day, or every other day.
And sometimes the nursery at the gym just makes a little more sense. Money well spent and good for both of us (in my opinion).
Thank you Kelle!

Pam said...

Thank you!! The other day, I asked a friend of mine the very question "How do you do it"? I love that I now feel completely normal in my need to put things on the back burner for the sake of being with my children!!

Love love love this post!

Win said...

I want to type that I love this post, that it is my favorite, but I feel that way every time I read a new post. And I check every day. And when I see when I see a new one I feel so happy. It is awesome.

How do I make it work? I have breakdowns, where I lose it and cry (I am seriously a big crier, my poor husband) and then I feel better. And I am ready to take the world by the reigns again. I constantly strive for something better, I have not found what works for us yet but I am always trying to find the right balance. Which is certainly never boring.

Cait said...

This is a beautiful post. I don't have kids, but I still feel the pressure to "fit it all in." Doesn't everyone? I say, if all the horses are still running, it's a good day.

Jacqui said...

Nobody works as hard as a mother, and I'm convinced nobody else takes their job to heart with an all encompassing passion. The most important job in the world, and yet the most often taken for granted. If I could drop everything in the world and do just one thing, it would be mothering my children!

Andrea said...

I just wrote about something similar on my blog after seeing the preview for that movie http://ocburbs.blogspot.com/2011_08_01_archive.html

I run up against the guilt of not being able to do it all constantly... I work at a job that I love, and that's what I do for me. It makes life harder, sure, because I love, and miss, my kids desperately. But, in the end, I try to be honest with myself about what I'm capable of. That's the best I can do.

Good post Kelle. I love the race analogy :)

StephM said...

What a great analogy! It IS just like that...Some days "my best" isn't a great as others. My kids are my driving force, always. I'm not even sure where the "me" time comes in just yet. It takes different forms at different times...and I don't do any of it enough right now. Life with 2 toddlers is FULL!

Chelsey Hawthorne said...

Showing up to work with pancake batter on my suit? WHO HAS TIME TO MAKE PANCAKES IN THE MORNING BEFORE WORK/SCHOOL!? We get toast, poptarts, and cereal at our house. Pancakes are for supper when I actually can squeeze that extra 5 minutes in!

If anyone had the special secret to help us fit it all in - I think it would have been shared long ago. We all do what works well for US. We multitask and prioritize in our own ways.

Happiness is the horse that's always in the lead for me - and I'm serious on that. I'm a full-time mom, with a full-time job, and going to school full-time for an advanced degree - and guess what? I can still pay my bills, make dinner every night, get my papers finished, AND have a four year old who gets enough attention that he can READ (to his 2 year old little sister)!!! What's the secret? I'm not telling, because there are no words, but whatever *it* is, it's working! :)

Jannice said...

Gosh, I'm having one of those! This week is so busy for me. It looks like my horses are a crazy, tripped up mess right now :( I sometimes have a hard time saying no...and then it all catches up with me. Unfortunately I don't think that prioritizing is my best quality. I hands down put my kids first. My poor husband, he has openly told me that he feels like he comes in last...but really?! I do!!!! When I feel myself getting overwhelmed with it all, I just try to take a deep breath and relax...sometimes it works others not so much!!

Anna said...

I love your blog...what you wrote was perfection on a very complex, confusing and somewhat emotional topic...thank you :) my lead horse right now is my husband...we are on holidays with our girls and even though they still have to come first (they are still babies) every other moment is dedicated to him, with house work following further and further behind...it has been wonderful to reconnect and discover what we adore and cherish about each other.

LaurenAllysia said...

I'm not a mommy but just starting out my family (getting married in just under two months). I've been making an attempt to have all my horses come in at a tie but I've recently become ill and realized I can't do that. I really needed your post to help me see that. I truly appreciate the inspiration you provide for me and so many other people.

Natalia Jean Sansosti said...

This post actually made me a little misty eyed because it's so timely. There are so many things I want to do in life - and right now it feels impossible to juggle it all. And reading this makes me think: why should I? There are some balls that are okay to drop every now and then... I wonder what my life would be like if I didn't multitask at every possible opportunity and instead started by thinking "Today (or for the next hour) my priority is ___" and ONLY focused on that. Hmmm... I sense a personal challenge coming on. Thanks for the inspiration, as always!

Ben and Jessica Buehner said...

There is always the great debate between who works harder, the working mom or the stay at home mom. What about the stay at home working moms? Now that is challenging. My different horses take the lead at just about the same time everyday. My routine is how I keep my sanity. Right now Cuddling with Hubby in front of the TV is in the lead, but only because Sleeping Baby is out of the race. :-)

cocojames said...

I love every single thing about this post!

Allie @ Table for 3, Actually Make that 4 said...

I love this... I really wish I had an answer...every single day is different and crazy in it's own way! haha I just try to laugh it off and remember I can get it done tomorrow...or next week!:)

Zara said...

Im always faliing behind in laundry and always blame it on my washing machine.
I live in a South Asian country and most of us have the manual type washing machine and line dry clothes.So washing is a very time consuming and a laboursome task which I hate.

If only I had an automatic wahser this wouldnt never happen, I think. And my husband has finally decided to get me one very soon.

But I'm afraid to learn from here that the problem is not with my machine but with my priorities.A lesson learnt. Thank you.

Kelly said...

Ok in tears I faithfully comment as usual. You got me at, "some nights we'll cry because we can't do it all." I'm there right now....overwhelmed with the thought of how I'm going to juggle a second come March. But like you said, I will find a way. I always do, I just forget sometimes and need reminders like this one.

Anneke said...

I wrote a similar (although not quite as eloquent!) blog as you the other day http://annekeolvera.blogspot.com/2011/09/today-is-not-forever.html

I try to live in the now, and not on my never ending to- do lists! Thank you for your wonderful writing and thoughts. I read them every day!
Anneke from Canada

Kylee said...

On word, husband. My husband. He helps me fit it all in. He cooks, he helps clean, he loves dancing and ring-around-the-rosey because the baby loves it so much. I wouldn't be able to take my long Sunday morning run without him!

The Manrings said...

this is it kel....the struggle and balancing act we all juggle each day. i feel the pressure of not getting it all done and fitting everything in more and more. you described it perfectly. thank goodness for friends to lean on and be "not perfect" with.

i think my horse thats always losing is time-for-myself. poor horse....slow and hopeful. ha. i guess i feel most in the lead when my floors are swept (too much dog hair puts me over the edge) and i'm snuggling my girls. my only trick is making a million to-do lists....then crossing them over, rewriting a new one, and so on. i have them in a book so its funny to look back at all the things that were important last week.

anyway love hallmark and love you.... yay!! xoxo

Kelly said...

I needed this. I've been making myself sick trying to do it all. I "need" to be an amazing wife, amazing friend, perfect teacher, and ideal housekeeper. all. of. the. time. Without a doubt, though, teaching is in first place with quality family time at a close second. Friends and any sort of hobbies are definitely in last place. Though after this post, I feel a little bit better about this "race" going on in my life. This too shall pass.

Sandy said...

I loved your analogy. I just got back from walking with my girlfriend, even though laundry, dishes, and time with hubby had to take a backseat. But the walk+talk is so necessary to keeping me sane (and from keeping me away from baking chocolate goodies that will taste good but wreck my diet). :) I also find that if I carve out time for God, everything else tends to fit into place, and my attitude is sooo much better. If only I did that more often....

Runningmama said...

I loved this and it was so good for me to read...I feel like my horses are all getting trampled on each other because I feel like I never get to finish any task I set out on, I just had my 3rd baby and I am having a hard time getting my momma mojo back, but I'll get there and I won't feel guilty if my "dashing out the door to run when hubby gets home" horse takes the lead for a little while :-)

Michelle said...

Great analogy! Wouldn't it be nice if there was a magic recipe that helped us get it all together. I think you made such a good point though, we always look at others and think they have it all together- but really, we are all in the same boat; playing catch up in some aspect of our lives. Right now I feel like all my horses are lagging. Maybe I should put "make a priority list" on my TO DO LIST, haha.

cathy said...

my secret is that I allow myself NOT to fit it all in...
I feel so much better without the guilt

xoxo
cathy

Carrie said...

This is your best post yet for Hallmark. And it comes at such a fitting time. The only way we stay in the race is with help. Right now, "walks through the fallen leaves" are winning and "the million little home repairs" are desperately losing.

The Moreno Family said...

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I have to remind myself, and my friends, all the time that not only are we doing the best we can, we're kicking ass! It might not always feel like it, but we are.

mamaoftwo said...

This is one of my favorite posts... and so very timely. This is a daily struggle for me. I keep reminding myself that someday, after the kids are gone, my house will be clean & quiet and there will probably be times when I would give anything to have the mess & chaos back. I try & cherish every moment because they go by too fast. Oh, & I'm just like Heidi... I love to flip through cookbooks & try new recipes. It's like therapy for me.
Lovely post, Kelle.
Sara

Sarah said...

What a great topic! I wrote about it here: http://thequeensofthekingfamily.blogspot.com/2010/09/something-has-gotta-give.html.

like you, I basically realized that it is not all going to fit in the same day. Some days I work out, some days I get 8 hours of sleep, some days the beds are made, some days they aren't. The guilt comes with working out in the evenings when I spend the day away from the girls but then the frustration of not working out comes if I spend too many days away from quality cardio time. As I said in my post, one of my bfs says, "you can have it all in life; just not at the same time." I think you can get it all done, just not in the same day.

And I want to say as a working-outside-the home mother (8th grade teacher) I really appreciate your understanding of our plight too. It is all hard and it is all rewarding and the best thing we can do is cheer for our horses, and for our friend's horses, too.

Thank you:)

lillies & lattes said...

your words make such a difference- i needed to hear this. i needed to know that even though i compare and always feel like i fall short.. that it is just for the moment. we all are at different places.

right now, i am 4 days away from my first 10k! so each day, i run. even if i don't finish my (never-ending) work as a grad student.

April @ Sewing Novice said...

Love this post! Now I just need to figure out how to be happy with how I am trying to fit it all in. I need to realize that it's ok that certain things will take priority over others. Thanks for the pep talk!

B. Holmes said...

Multi-tasking of course and the never ending "to do" list which just rolls over to the next day if you couldn't make it happen... Try try again!

Stunningly Sweet said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sarai said...

Love this post. I feel like it came at just right time for me.
I feel so overwhelmed with all the "to dos" in one days time. This post reminds me that I'm not alone on this.
If nothing else gets done family dinner is a must.:)

Stunningly Sweet said...

FANTASTIC! My husband teases me that our brains are like file cabinets. He says that he opens only one file at a time, finishes that file, and closes it. But me; he says, I have too many files opened at once...that I take on too much at one time! He's right, but I love that drive! Sometimes, I'm overwhelemed/driven/crazy happy/inspired and everything in between but I just keep on a truckin'! Our kids come first and the to-do list slowly gets checked and constantly grows!!!

Lisa said...

I, too, love this analogy. I feel this way all the time and often forget that most people probably do. I am so hard on myself wondering why I don't have time for this or that when so and so can get it all done that I don't take the time to consider which of her horses are falling behind. Thanks for the reminder and for the smile everytime I see "Enjoying the Small Things" pop up when I hit the "next" button on my reader! :0)

Happiness is... said...

I struggle with the balance of life, family, work, chores, couple-time, hobbies, and me-time; as do all Moms. I feel guiltiest that I HAVE to work to support my family; I am the bread winner and I hate it. Oh what I would give to be able to be home with Alex even one full week a month. I find the mommy guilt is a double-edged sword that either stifles me or fuels me. And the older I get, the more I migrate away from the perfection or competition of life into the appreciating what surrounds me. Maybe it's age. Maybe it parenthood.

There's one phrase that's suck with me since college which fuels me to live. It's my mantra. Nike's slogan of "Just Do It." Simple. To the point. If I have time to sew, do it (but be cool with going to bed at 2am). If I can see my best girl tonight to pass off goodies from my trunk to hers and talk for even 10 minutes, do it (because we both needed to see each other). If I'm exhausted from an unplugged weekend of too much fun, and I need to ignore all of my chores and go to bed at 9 - do it.

The priorities do change and I have a great spouse that is still my best friend. And he helps out, cleans, does laundry, folds all the T-shirts, and wipes up the floor. Because I can't do it all or I don't want to do it all if it means I have to sacrifice time away from my family.

And coming around the corner tonight was catching up briefly with a best friend followed closely by shopping for clothes with my little girl. Cleaning the bathroom is falling, falling way behind and may never catch up!

Thanks Kelle.

Jennifer

April Vernon said...

I love your analogy so much. Thinking of it this way takes some of the pressure off b/c every horse can't be in first place at the same time.

I do let the horses take turns being in the lead throughout the day & my trick is to be present no matter which horse I'm riding. I read once that it helps to take in the moment through all of your senses, so when we run errands in the car, the radio is on, the windows are down, we sing, we laugh, we listen for birds, we smell the honeysuckle, and soak it all in. When it is time to play on the floor with the boys, I smell their hair, I kiss their cheeks, and try to take the moment in through all of my senses. It helps me so much b/c whatever I'm doing, I'm enjoying it and feel alive.

Have a wonderful week.

melissa said...

Gosh, I sound just like some of your commentors when I say, "I really needed this tonight." LOVED your analogy between the "kentucky derby" and how fitting it all in works for you. My FAVORITE lines are these:
- No, there are not enough hours in a day to fit it all in. Our passions, our talents, our friends, our kids, our jobs, our list of to dos. And the answer to "How does she do it?" is probably always going to be "...the best she can."
- We tackle the task of taking care of our families first by taking care of ourselves, and that looks different for every person.

I keep laughing about your clothes because mine look just like that...no joke!

Thanks so much for keeping it real and sharing what so many of us need.

How do I do it? Right now, struggling but thankful...if that makes sense. At a loss for words because I do not like to complain, but wanted to share exactly where I am at. Solo walks do wonders for me now - I was headed out the door to walk (after putting my sweet babes to bed), and just had to check your blog for some inspiration. BINGO! Your topic hit exactly what was on my mind tonight, and the fact that it was a Hallmark one really hit the spot, like a well-chosen card, Kelle.
Many blessings to you and a great big hug tonight ~ thank you.

sarah said...

I almost always take a nap with my boys. While there is so much I could do while they sleep, it's those deep breathing totally relaxed moments with them snuggled in that re-fuel me and reconnect us. I wake up ready to play, cook, clean, play. And while some friends don't understand, I always place my husband and boys as my priority and refuse to make excuses for that. Anyone who knows me, doesn't expect a spotless...or even tidy home. But it works. It's comfortable. I tell myself regularly that my children will remember our time together one day and cherish it...not that mommy kept a clean house.

It seems like this topic has struck the hearts of many women, as we all have pressure to "fit it all in". I love assuming that we all love and adore our children and that we're all doing our best. Love it. Because we are...let's just be. Be. Be.

Meagan Kenney said...

This is my favorite Hallmark post yet. I definitely need to refuel by taking time for myself. Once a week a go to yoga while my husband bathes the kids, puts them in bed, does the dinner dishes and folds the laundry. I come home wanting to do more because I have done something for myself. And it feels good. I used to feel guilty- but now I know I need it to be a better mom and wife. The dusting and steam cleaning the carpets can get cleaned next week, right? :)

sarah said...

And a bit of gold I discovered in one of your dad's comments on a post a month or so ago has carried me in many a moments...

"Enjoy today. Just today. Tomorrow will be another favorite day when it comes...but don't be done with today until you have squeezed the last juice
from its rind." -Poppa Rik

Enjoying today takes the lead. I hope it stays there.

Jessica said...

If I knew the secret to fitting it all in, if any of us knew, we'd be rich. I seriously think that while we can learn so much online, Facebook and blogs can be misleading, tormentors. We see the happy side of every home and not the miserableness they just went through. We assume they have it all together...but chances are, they don't. We set our standards too high. At least I know I do. Great post and I LOVE the new header (as always!)

alphabet momma said...

Did you get grades in homeschool or just "pass"? You get an A+ for this post! Very creative and beautifully written! I have no secret how to fit everything in because I don't do it! There are more horses than I can count. I can tell you that Making Memories is my favorite steed and Laundry is by far the dawdler!

I love the pics of your girls! And you always look so lovely! Thanks for sharing!
-jamie

Sara said...

Beautiful post! I love a good horse race so the analogy was awesome. I try to find time to blog, write fiction, read for pleasure, and, of course, spend time with my husband. Then there's cleaning the house and cooking and going to the store and a hundred other small tasks. And I try to do every single one of those things in a way that doesn't take too much from my time with my baby. It's so hard, but I just keep trying!

Niki said...

Thank you, thank you for this post. I needed it, bad!! With my
4th baby only 9 weeks old, I needed someone to say, it's ok that I have a pile of due tommorow school projects, and a mountain of laundry and we ordered out for dinner...again. I can't do it all, and that's ok, it's normal!

Jaclyn Hicks said...

My ponies are definitely catching up and falling behind simultaneously. They play tag back and forth, deciding who should be the front runner. The beautiful chestnut reigning first place is named "Supportive Wife/Pregnant Mama". My husband has had a few stresses and messes at work, so he has been my priority. There is always the lil one I'm growing to think of. Next, are the auburn waves of "Housewife/Gardener", then in third, is swiftly rising "Scratch Cooker", and lastly is the ever elusive palamino "Writer with deadlines to meet". At least, we can all take comfort in knowing that all our horses will pass the finish line eventually.

tahnie said...

i always want motherhood to be in the lead, she's only this age for today and i want to soak up every last bit of her. my guy, work, and my health feel like they are always vying for second.

one of the best things i've EVER heard concerning balance: "everyone is juggling, you just have to decide which balls are made of glass." so, SO true. some things can be dropped, others simply cannot.

xoxo.

Kari said...

I'm like a bunch of your other readers. I really needed this today. Thank you. . .

Shannon said...

kelle, you nailed it. I am always slightly baffaled when someone asked how I find time to do some things that they would "really love to do" I say, "no you would't else you would just do it." I find my time for everything I do because they are my priorities- the things I love. Which is why I may have an awesome new painting in my house but my sink is full of dishes one night. Or the next the house is spotless and I read instead of write. Because that was my priority. Thats what I wanted to do. Thats what I needed to do in that moment to make it to the next. I definitely do not do it all in one day, but I do do it all ;) O and staying up till, oh, 1 in the morning kind helps... sleep is usually losing the race

Rebekah said...

Though I am not a mama, I do completely understand. Just this morning someone asked me how I fit nannying, high school and volunteering at the hospital into my life. My reply? I keep quite busy.
Because I do. But it's a very happy busy. I like racing from one thing to the next. And though I am writing this comment at midnight when I should be in bed, I am content. And in love with life. And yes, blogging and other things have almost gone out of sight on my track, but that's ok, because the things that are most important to me are right up front.

The Schlich Family said...

This week reminded me of the important things. My little one had heart surgery and I spent the week holding her more than I had since she was born. Funny how it took something like that to put things back into perspective. I love your blog. A friend introduced me to it after my baby girl was born with Down Syndrome. I have 2 beautiful girls like you. I believe we have to take care of ourselves to teach the importance of self love to our daugthers (I will practice what I preach someday!).

Lisa said...

I feel like I fail and win at so many things all of the time. But, you are right. First and foremost, the kids come first. I make the time to do the things I want to do by not watching TV.

Jessica said...

A great friend told me when I had my 2nd baby. There are 4 things that are constant in your life.....God, family, friends, and your house. In all of this, only one thing doesn't mind the neglect, and that is your house. Keep all others in your life on a daily basis, this is how you survive!!!!!!

monihope85 said...

Love it! I often feel that frustrated 'I don't know how she does it all' feeling, but then I realize that other women are looking at me thinking the same thing! Crazy...we need to just stop! Love the way you look at it - the ebbs and flows...if something's in first place, something else is in fifth. Thanks for the perspective. :)

Mia Moen said...

Not sure if you know the song "Man of a thousand faces" by Regina Spector but in the lyrics she mentions that "good is better than perfect". That is my motto at the moment - I try my best to be good at being a parent, wife, employee and then when I have time be acceptable with cooking, cleaning etc. :)

Lesli Temple said...

This post was exactly what I have been needing! I needed to hear that "We do the best that we can, and that is different for everyone"! I feel like there is NEVER enough time to accomplish the things that NEED to get done, and all the things I would love to do! Whether it be putting away laundry so my husband's clothes don't get wrinkled, or sewing sweet fall dresses for my little love! I am dreading starting school again next week, and stress about having to add this horse to the race! But I WILL remember the race never ends, and each of my horses will have their day and time in the spotlight!

Thank you Kelle!

Kyleigh said...

This is an awesome post, your writing is so inspiring.

I struggle too, my horses constantly rally to get into the lead with 2 teenagers, an 8 month old, running my own business, cleaning, laundry... the list is endless. My poor old horse 'fitness dvd' is waaaaaay behind at the moment. But that's ok.

I love what Angela said about the floaty scarves falling, it sure feels like that sometimes.

My horse called 'cleaning the house' is ridden by an amazing cleaner who comes every 2 weeks. Such an amazing jockey! I LOVE her.

Kyleigh x

Crafting for Love said...

Fit it all in!? Some days it seems near impossible, most days it is near impossible. Once one list of to do's is completed you think of other things "To DO". No matter what you job is, its never done and there will always be just one more thing to get done. We would drive our selves crazy and pull out all of our hair if we tried to do everything. My strategy, is do what I can and leave it at that, there is always tomorrow to try again. Like you I have young kids too, I have 6.5 year old Lily, 4 yr old Avry and 2 year old Jack. When I am not helping Lily get ready for school, or helping with home work, I am doing preschool with my little 2, taxi'ing to and from dance 3 days a week, babysitting a neighbor or working a night job, sewing dance costumes or doing custom orders for people and then there are house hold duties.
I am blessed to have an amazing husband who is there to support me and gets it, he helps when he can. There are only so many hours in a day, and like you kids come first. They are only going to be little for so long, and they wont remember the times that laundry piled on the sofa or couch, they are going to rememeber the times you finger painted in the kitchen or baked cookies together. I love this poem:
Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth
empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
hang out the washing and butter the bread,
sew on a button and make up a bed.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I've grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).
The shopping's not done and there's nothing for stew
and out in the yard there's a hullabaloo
but I'm playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren't her eyes the most wonderful hue?
(lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).

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

Fifty-two pairs in 2010 said...

Since I like to stay in the lead, I have a full-time maid and a child-minder. Easy-peasy. What's the fuss all about?

nathalie said...

LOVE the horse racing analogy - so true! And this post's timing is perfect for me, as I've been feeling judged by my daughter's nursery school teacher...

Lisa Hewlett said...

This helps me today. We're on day 3 of potty training my 2 year old boy, and I want to curl up in a ball and just eat chocolate and watch movies and ignore everything else. But for me it's 10-20 minutes of reading by myself everyday that helps me. Or journaling.

Kim said...

Am I the only one who will admit that I have a hard time fitting in real quality time for my kids? **wink** I homeschool two children, work P/T out of the house, have a blog that needs updating on a regular basis (and I need to create projects for said blog), and run a consulting business from the house. Here's what I give up...A clean, well organized, or well decorated house and sleep. My perfect house is always spotless and clean with everything in it's place...it's how my Type A personality is the happiest. However, there is no way that's gonna happen at this stage of my life so...I just let it go (it took a few years to get to this point!) I also go to bed painfully late each night. Since my kids are with me all day I don't get much down time so after they're in bed, that's when I work, craft, and...oh yeah, I don't clean. However, my schedule is so busy that I do feel like it's hard to just sit down and enjoy time with the kids. Of course there are hours of schoolwork but that's different than just straight out play and sometimes I wonder if all these things in my life keep me from the most important parts. As much as time for myself sounds nice (and I have a very supportive hubby who allows me many breaks) the reality is that it's not about me right now, it's about my kids. The time they're with me is fleeting and it's vital that I use the time I have with them wisely. It's a tough balance...

sweetnektar said...

Great post! Me time is always a must.....a good friend of mine once told me.... Mummy first, then family, then community. You can't do the latter if you haven't got the first one down pat. SO true!

While we can't juggle everything all at once, we all have our moments of glory. If you can dream it, you can do it I say. Whatever you set your sights on as a priority with heart wide open, the possibilities are endless.

It's all about living in the moment baby......and THAT is how you DO IT......

I like how you processed your pics differently.....iphone? They have a real vintage look to them....nice!!

The Harvin Family said...

Definately no secret to help fit it all in. Thats a myth, fitting it all in. You are so right when you say we just do the best we can do. I'm finally starting to learn to not sweat the stuff I can't worry about right now. Just worry about what I can do right now. The rest has to wait. Now that our weather isn't 110 outside, its a nice cool 90, outside time is my priority. We even get to dinner about 40 minutes later every evening so that we can run around barefoot in the grass. This does help with the housework actually, we aren't inside to tear it all up!

cjc said...

The best part of this post was all the names. Sheila. April. Teresa.

I'm laughing.

No, really, the post was great.

:)

Rachel said...

Love the horse race analogy. Will definitely be thinking about it today. Thanks!

Jen said...

If I had glimpse of what I do now in a day when I was in college, I would not have believed it humanly possible. The role of wife and mom is the MOST rewarding and yet the MOST overwhelming EVER!
Definitely my kids are a priority, but I have come to learn that my marriage is important. So time for my husband and me is VERY important and makes us happier, more connected and better parents. Time for myself, whether it be crafting, walking, sometimes even driving ALONE is a must! Then I am a better mom! House work is definitely the horse that comes in last every time! It at least finishes the race, but it is definitely LAST! There is so many other important things like playing with play dough or taking a day trip to a park or pool!

Unknown said...

The thing that keeps me balanced is riding my horse. I take a little time each week and spend it with her. Whether we are running barrels, working out, or taking it easy, it doesn't matter. She is my outlet and my stress reliever. I'm not sure what I would do without her. :)

Janita said...

Magnificent post, Kelle...in case no one has told you yet today, you're pretty darn amazing. When I find myself struggling to DO IT ALL and be THAT person, I stop and remind myself that yes, we can have it all, but it doesn't have to be ALL RIGHT NOW. This is where that "patience is a virtue" thing rears its beastly head. And when something hurts, whether it's a broken dream or a hurtful exchange, I remind myself that even though I'm in pain, I don't have to be one. That's a tough one! I often turn to the words from the poem Desiderata. It brings me peace: "If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself...be yourself...beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars...you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,and whatever your labors and aspirations,in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world."

Jamie said...

HA! I love your race analogy!
You're so right though, we compare ourselves way too much.
My husband is the one who helps me out. When I'm upset or crying and feeling like I'm no good at anything, I'll say, "I feel so guilty" (that I can't do this or that)...and then my husband said something one day that I always remember. "Guilt is not an emotion, you either are or you aren't, and you are not guilty of anything".
I love that!!
He also tells me to stay off these blogs because they make me compare myself to all the women and mothers, but I'm not about to do that. You all inspire me to do more :)

amber said...

all-time-favorite-post!!

love it. the visual of the horses. i grew up w. them.. so you were speaking my language. :)

and i need to remind myself when it looks like the other woman, on the next track over, has all her horses perfectly in a row.. that yes, there's always some behind. it's the key factor of any race, right.. and life sure is - that there's going to be others perhaps crossing the finish line first w/ their particular horse.. but yes. we ALL eventually get there. and the greatest point you made= "the very best that we can!"

it's hard for me at times not to want all horses to excel on every single day~ learning to know which ones to push and kick harder is always my battle. today.. the horse of cleaning out the refrigerator is winning. bleh! a boring ride. ;) but looking forward to party planning and time at the park making some strides ahead this afternoon...

you're awesome, kelle. thanks!

Corky805 said...

This is the exact thing I needed to read today. I have been really making myself crazy lately trying to do it "all". Your race analogy really helped make me feel better about the reality that is life. Thank you for always being such an inspiration!

Jessica said...

Being from Louisville, I loved the Kentucky Derby analogy!
I think you're right, everyone does the best they can in a way that suits them

Jessie said...

I think women make the world go 'round. We are amazing creatures. I wouldn't be able to survive without being a creature of habit, that's for sure. I would say in the lead in my house, open and honest communication is number one. We might not have time to read a story every night or have a home-cooked meal, but to keep that line of communication always open is number one and we discuss our days and how things made us feel, etc. Laundry definitely takes last place in my house too....I actually just stayed up 2 hours past my bed time last night to put away about 6 loads of clean laundry! Love this blog and reading the responses!

The Hartsfield Family said...

Wow, what a great topic! Definitely a favorite. This one is so deeply rooted in all of us women -- to be the ones who can "do it all" and make it all happen -- day after day. We wear so many hats. But you know what? That's what makes us amazing. We do SO MUCH.

When I was thrust into motherhood two years ago, with my seven year old (then five), I found myself not so much asking myself "how do I do it all?" but rather, "how do THEY?". I let myself compare. I found myself reminiscing of my own childhood, my own mother -- wondering how in the hell she did it all with three kids, when I only had one. Granted, my daughter has "special needs" and I can justify she her "needs" require more time and attention...but do they really? I'm learning that's not really the case. Not when you give the 100% any child deserves.

I found myself wondering if I had only given birth to my Chloe, if I had only known her when she was a baby -- maybe, just maybe -- I'd have it all down by now. Maybe I'd feel more confident; Maybe I'd be able to get it all done. Maybe I'd be able to be the *supermom* I wanted to be…if I had those extra 5 years of practice. I found myself sitting in a puddle of self pity, playing a sad tune on my mini violin; a perfectionist's worst nightmare -- where you can never be perfect and you'll never be a enough.

And then came the compliments. Loads of them. People seeing the impact I was making on my daughters life and on my husband's. And if it weren't for them, I wouldn't of had the sense knocked into me and put down my ridiculous violin. "I've never seen Chloe be so happy. She's blossoming before our eyes!", "I've never seen Uncle Stan smile this much", "You are a great mom. She is so lucky!". And then I realized that maybe part of the problem -- no, all of the problem -- was me. My outlook, my perspective, my unrelenting need to be *perfect*. And so I took a step back and processed.

And you know what I realized? My problem, was that I was focusing on what I couldn't do, rather that what I could (and was doing!). Yes, I don't always do it ALL; I don't always get it all done. But what I work on most, is my mindset regarding all of these things. I work on being O.K. with the fact that I can't do it all and frankly, that no one can -- and that what I DO accomplish is worth acknowledging because it's A LOT! And how I put my heart into every little thing I do for my husband and daughter? Well, I'm learning that I should be doing the same for myself; that I matter too. And that "me time" and "date nights" matter so much more than the laundry or the fact I forgot to pick up juice boxes at the store.

And when time runs short and I can't do it all? I remember that there are always closets to hide messes in, pretty wicker baskets that hide the laundry I didn't have time to get to, quilted blankets I grab while running out of my house (kid in tow) that I will use 2 minutes later to camouflage spills and messes in my car that I didn't have time to clean up before I have a guest ride with us, and takeout for nights I just don't have it in me to cook. ;) I do a lot, but I don't do it all.

…And that's ok. I'll embrace that idea fully...someday. Maybe? ;)

I do the best I can. :)

Thank you so much for writing this inspiring post. It was just what I needed. And the analogy about life and the horse races? Brilliant. You are a very gifted writer, Kelle!

Cheers to us ladies and all that we do -- because it's a A LOT!

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