Sunday, March 21, 2010

How do people do it all?

How do people do it all? I know there are people who manage to look put together, have children who are clean and eat organic, home-cooked meals every day, keep on top of laundry, errands, cleaning, take the time to exercise and do things for themselves and also spend quality, engaging time with their children. HOW?

My uniform every day is jeans and a sweater. If I apply make-up, it's because I have a funeral to attend. Moreoften than not, I have some errant body fluid on me - spit up, poop, drool... Lookin' good Mama. I spend little time without one or two children hanging off me and demanding things from me. Time for me? What's that?

At home, I feel like I spend the majority of my life moving things. Moving things from one point in my apartment to another - much of this migration is caused by my four year-old, who brings things out of her play area or bedroom and then leaves them elsewhere, but there is also the clutter of things that are dropped somewhere in the moment when we arrive home and there is a bathroom emergency or a nursing emergency, etc... and then they stay there.

Since Oliver was born 10 months ago, our laundry has EXPLODED. There is ALWAYS something in the washer and dryer, and I would venture that we probably do about 10+ loads of laundry a week. That's 10+ loads of washing, drying, folding, sorting, and putting away.

Because of Oliver's food sensitivities, we have to go to two different grocery stores each week - Trader Joe's and then an organic health food store that carries milk free / soy free alternatives to a lot of products so I can actually eat more than twigs and berries. I have to bake my own bread each week, because almost EVERY major brand of bread on the market has soy flour or soybean oil or soy lecithin in it.

And then there is the shuttling - pick ups, drop offs, etc. School, German School, ballet, tumbling, playdates, etc. etc. etc. It feels like we always should have left for somewhere about 5 minutes ago.

This morning as I was walking to Julia's room with a huge basket of laundry to put away, I noticed the clutter in other parts of the apartment, the tumbleweeds rolling underneath the bookshelf, the layer of dust on the television cabinet. Don't get me wrong - I am not sitting around eating bon bons and watching TV all day, but HOW do people get it all done without support staff? Or do we just resign ourselves to the fact that this time, this time when my children are small is a very intense time and that SOME day I will go back to being able to accomplish it all? Do I lower the bar and my expectations, or is it actually within reach and I am just doing a poor job of time management?

Well, off to punch down the bread dough and scarf down some lunch in the time I have while Oliver is napping. And yes, there is a basket of laundry calling my name... sigh.


  1. They have money and Nanny's and cooks and house cleaners!!

  2. I only have one daughter and a dog! I still can't manage to get organized and get it all done! If you figure it out let us know!!!

  3. I had this same conversation, not once, but twice yesterday with various women. Try to let go of your expectations a little. I know it is hard. I live in constant C.H.A.O.S. (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome) to borrow a phrase from the FlyLady. (Do you know about her? teaches you in baby steps how to stay on top of the housework without going crazy. I've never been very good at staying on her schedule, but some LOVE her.) Anyway, I am always most impressed with my friends who have that ability to accept that at this time in our lives, the kids come first and the housekeeping is just not that important. I know a woman who has two full-sized copy machines disassembled in the middle of her living room because her oldest of five boys (!) likes to tinker with machines. Her house is never clean. Yet she *still* invited our homeschooling group to her house today to picnic and play. Gotta love it.