Dear Fellow Moms,
How do you do it?
I see you posting pictures of fun family activities, annual vacations to Disney, girls’ nights, and sweaty selfies after an independent workout, and I wonder how you do it. Where do you find the time, the energy, the money? I can’t figure out how to do any of these things without adding more stress and chaos to my life.
My weekdays start at 4:45 am. My youngest and I are out of the house no later than 6:30, and I drop her off at daycare on the way to work as a high school teacher. I am one of those teachers who is out the door at 2:45, but only because I have to pick my youngest up and make it back home before my oldest gets off the school bus. My afternoons might consist of a brief break for a snack and a coffee before juggling my 8-year old’s homework with my efforts to finish any work that didn’t get done at school and to entertain my very busy 4-year-old. Then it’s time for my husband and me to team up to tackle dinner, bath, and bedtime. If I have any energy after my girls are in bed and the kitchen is cleaned up, it’s usually spent reading or journaling before I crash.
I don’t know where to fit regular exercise into my day. I’ve considered trying meal-prepping on the weekends to save time and clean-up on the weeknights, but it’s not like I have much more time on the weekends. They are mostly spent cleaning, doing laundry, running errands, and grocery shopping. If we do fun family activities on the weekend, I fall behind in one of these other necessities and spend the rest of the next work week struggling to make up for it.
This past week, I considered signing my daughter up for softball, until I realized it meant committing to 2-3 nights a week. I just couldn’t fathom how to work that into my family’s schedule. Enter the mom guilt, where I fight to balance the fear that I’m keeping my daughter from valuable experiences with the need to keep me from turning into a stress bomb.
Even scheduling appointments for myself or my family is overwhelming. While I can take off from work for an appointment, I’m a teacher, so doing so requires making sub plans. After-school appointments are hard to come by, and even if I can schedule them, I have to make sure my husband can get home in time to handle childcare. Similarly, family vacations require budgeting my husband’s vacation days and rationing them between an actual vacation and visits to both families in other states. We rarely fit all three into a year, and Disney is still just a savings account. Fitting any regular socialization into my life often feels like solving a complex mathematical equation, and I’m an English teacher.
I’m very happy with my life, but I can’t figure out how to squeeze more out of it, something others seem so much more capable of doing.
So I ask you, fellow moms, what’s your secret?
How do you fit trips to the nail salon and regular baseball practice into the daily grind of adulting? How do you spend Friday night out with the girls and Saturday at the zoo with the family and still get household chores done over the weekend? Do you just wiggle your nose and the house is clean, or are you just June Cleaver? Is there some strategy you implement to fit it all in, or do you simply thrive in the chaos that triggers my anxiety? Tell me please, how do you do it all?