I get asked how I “do it all” a lot. Like, a lot a lot. And not just by strangers, by people that know me very well who can see with their very own eyes that I not only ride the hot mess express, I am the friggin conductor.
I have a kindergartener. I have twins. I’m married and we both work full time and have some part time work that gives us extra joy our full time jobs don’t give us. We have time-consuming and messy hobbies, fairly active social lives, and we tend to say yes to most things that come our way. Despite this, everyone manages to stay alive throughout the week and is relatively happy.
But how, people ask. HOW? Like I hold some secret key to the universe. There isn’t a simple answer. I don’t know how, really. We just … do it. I make the choice to let the house and my organizational skills fall by the wayside in order to keep everyone mostly happy and mostly sane. Laundry mountain reaches its peak every 2-3 weeks. We conquer it by getting it all folded, and by the time we get it all put away, the mountain is high enough to climb again. I’m not entirely sure when the last time I mopped was. Sometimes I invite people over just so I can drum up the motivation for everyone to clean the house. Sometimes I avoid inviting new people over because I’m afraid I’ll be judged for the mess. Sometimes, I look at the to-do list and I take a nap instead, and then when I wake up I’m angry with myself because it means I’ll fall even further behind. I can go on and on and on about all of my shortcomings and the things I WISH I did better that people have no idea about because it appears that I’m making it all work.
The truth is, it really bugs me when people assume that I do it all. I can’t. I don’t. If it looks that way, I don’t mean for it to. I spend a good portion of my time figuring out how in the H-E- double-hockey-sticks I’m going to get through the day. I run on empty … a lot. I yell. I cry. I swear I will learn to say no and I never do. I proclaim that I will not avoid the laundry pile for two weeks and yet I do it, every.single.time.
Balance and having it together are relative to my situation and mine only. If it looks like I do it all, it’s because I don’t do it all. I don’t prioritize things other people find important, just like others may not prioritize things I find important. I hide the things I don’t do very well (usually by shoving the evidence in my bedroom right before visitors walk in my front door, ahem), and I display the parts I’m proud of. That’s what we all do, isn’t it? We do motherhood and life the best way we know how. We figure it out along the way. We just … do it.