Do you remember when I wrote earlier this month about achieving balance? And how my grand secret to keeping so many plates spinning at once is that I actually don’t? And that every single day I have to try to decide what is most important?
I’ll be honest. Yesterday was one of those days where I didn’t do so well with that.
Outwardly, I kept my composure, and thankfully so! Inwardly, though? I felt like a toddler on the verge of a meltdown. Everywhere I looked I saw reminders of what I wasn’t doing and wasn’t getting done, and I felt tired. Really, really tired.
Once I could get to the end of the day and sort through the day, two things became clear. One: I need to get to bed somewhat earlier. It’s a sad state of affairs when midnight feels like an early bedtime!
Two: I need to constantly refocus the expectations that I have of myself, because if I did everything in one day that I thought I should do, I would need either three of me or three times more hours to the day.
A Day Doing All the Things I Should Do
My day would start at 6am, because that’s when all good homeschool moms get up, right? I’d get dressed and do my hair with my future workout in mind.
I’d spend 30 uninterrupted minutes in prayer and Bible study. Then I’d do a 30-45 minute workout routine from Fit2B from the comfort of my own home. My children, of course, are peacefully sleeping through this whole 60-75 minute routine. Easy, right?
After showering, getting nicely dressed, and fixing my hair one last time for the day, I’d head to the kitchen and make a nutritious breakfast from scratch, investing another 45 minutes to my day.
Of course, by now the children wake up and I need to get a baby fed, changed, and dressed while also wrangling a toddler who is from time to time hesitant to put on clothes after removing her jammies. The five-year-old needs help with her hair, and reminders have to be given for our morning routine. Thirty minutes of my day have just gone by.
Now we eat. After dishing up five plates, and some for the baby, I’d spend the next 30 minutes eating with my children and practicing our memory verse. Clean-up, teeth brushed, and gathering round the couches for Bible time makes for another 30 minutes.
After dedicating the next four hours of my day to homeschooling, we’d have a light lunch or heavy snack, spending another 30 minutes or so preparing, eating, and cleaning up. Then we’d have an hour of read aloud time, and I’d never have to stop 27 times to ask someone to be quiet. It’s really that simple, right?
The children would then be sent outside to play or downstairs to practice piano while I invested 90 minutes of dedicated work time on blogging or Lilla Rose work. The baby is magically and perfectly contented playing with blocks. The whole time. Because I’m such a brilliant mother.
Then, before starting early preparations for our dinner (which I’ve of course perfectly planned out a month ahead of time), I spend 10-15 minutes of undivided, individualized, developmentally-appropriate attention to each of my five children. The baby is happily playing with older siblings when her turn is over.
For the next 30 minutes I start early preparations for dinner, and then we all team up together to tidy up the house and work on cleaning projects for an hour together, including hand washing all of our dishes. A family that works together stays together, right?
The children then enjoy free time while I spend another 30 minutes finishing our evening meal. The table is set, everyone gathers round to eat, and a lovely family meal is served. Another half hour is filled with joyous family living.
We then team up to clean up for the next half hour, leaving us with a spotless kitchen and a guaranteed smooth start to the next day. Breakfast preparations are started for the next morning, because I’d never go to bed without knowing exactly what we were eating for breakfast the next day.
I happily spend the next hour either sewing, crocheting, organizing family photos, or in the summer, working in the garden. All it takes is a little bit of time every day to stay on top of it all, right?
I help the children get ready for bed, again wrangling a baby and a squirrelly toddler. The girls’ hair is brushed and braided, and we again gather around the couches for Bible time. An hour later, everyone is finally in bed.
After sweetly and easily tucking everyone in for the night, my husband and I would sit down for an hour of quality time talking and sharing our hearts. Our day has been so perfectly organized that neither of us have any work to stay up late to do. We manage to tuck ourselves in just shy of 10pm so that we get our solid 8 hours of required sleep.
Why Can’t It Be That Easy?
There truly are times when I wonder why it can’t be that easy to make a day like that happen.
But you know what days like that don’t take into consideration?
- Clingy, teething babies. Sibling quarrels. Toddler meltdowns. Little unmotivated scholars. Preschoolers afraid of monsters in the closet at night. Hours of sitting and breastfeeding a baby.
- Extra jobs like sorting through outgrown children’s clothing, yard care, home and vehicle maintenance, or broken appliances.
- Personal friendships, extended family relationships, and outreach to other friends and loved ones.
- Ministry responsibilities that often take up free evenings or weekends.
Perfect days are not realistic at this stage of my life. I doubt they are realistic in your life, either.
I do get overwhelmed sometimes with all of the things that I feel like I should do and stay on top of but don’t. I know I can’t do it all, not even for one day.
The greatest challenge, I am finding, is not figuring out how to fit it all in, but to fit in what I can and to not stress about the rest. To not compare myself to some imagination of perfection or Pinterest-pretty idealism. To not let my to-do list swallow me up with an overwhelming feeling of I-can’t-keep-up.
Friends, I don’t have an answer to it all. I just want you to know that I’m in the trenches with many of you. I get weary, I get tired, I get overwhelmed.
And God always, always, always brings me through to a brighter and better day.
If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out my printable devotional Strengthening the Heart of a Homemaker!
Momma friends, do you ever feel like you just can’t keep up? Do you struggle with unrealistic expectations for your days?
This post is part of the 31-Day series, An Extended Stay, where I invite you into my heart and into my home through the whole month of October.
You can read more 31-Day series by other bloggers in the Family section of the challenge’s website linked up here.