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How Do They Do It?

How Do They Do It?

Well the family has come and gone, the county fair is over, both parties I hosted at my house are past, and I’m exhausted. The fear that my house is going to fall back into shambles is looming over my head. I worked for a week to get it in ship shape and another week maintaining it until all was said and done, and once my siblings pulled out of the driveway Sunday afternoon I collapsed. I was done. The last two weeks had caught up with me and my body would do nothing else. There was no nap though because baby girl slept through lunch at the pizza place and was now wired, though Joel offered to watch her I had a new laptop to check out (Joel surprised me with a new one on Friday!) Now I have spent my whole week playing catch up and I feel like I’m not gaining any ground. It seems like the only time I can get ahead is if the girls are out of the house and I can just plow through.

The problem is, I want to be able to maintain my house without having to send my kids away. I want to be able to spend time with them and have fun and still have clean clothes and dishes to eat our meals on when we need them instead of washing them as we need them. I want to be able to blog, and volunteer, and read, and nap, and garage sale, and sell things online, and make my own bread, and garden ¬†without feeling like the house and the laundry goes to hell in a laundry basket. I don’t expect a perfect house, I have three girls five and under after all.

So my question is “How do they do it?

How do these mom’s manage to keep their house running, enjoy their kids, homestead, and work from home and still sleep? ¬†This isn’t a pity party, I’m just trying to be real. I’m searching for answers. I know if I started reading some blogs and such I could find the answers but let’s face it, I don’t have the time to just sit and search. I really don’t have the time to be writing this blog post right now but I’m doing it anyway because I need to get out of my own head space for a little bit.

I’ve thought about what I can cut out but most of what I’m doing is just life. I’ve just added in getting up early and walking in the mornings because my new midwife informed me that the best way to induce labor so I don’t go so long ( Lucy was 43 1/2 weeks) I needed to be walking 4-5 miles a day by the end of the pregnancy! Obviously I can’t just jump into that at the end when I’m huge and tired, so I’m starting now with 20-30 min or about 3/4 of a mile. It’s something I NEED to do and I’m enjoying the alone time in the morning before the girls get up, but it’s one more thing.

I sometimes wonder how mother’s back in the day managed to wash all their clothes by hand and hang them out, tend the animals and the garden, churn the butter, grind the wheat and bake the bread, preserve all the food, make their clothes, and so much more, all while caring for their small children and no technology to entertain them. I’m sure their children became involved, even responsible for some of the smaller chores at a much younger age then we would with our children, and I’d like to start involving my girls more, but the question is how? And since I don’t have time to stop and create a game plan, the cycle continues.

What’s going to have to happen is the girls are going to need to go away for a couple of nights so Joel and I can regroup before the fall and get some bigger projects done that are much harder to do when you have children interrupting you ever 2 minutes. We need a breather with each other. We don’t need to go away, just feel some sense of accomplishment and get on the same page. We need a new game plan before this baby comes and we need some time to pray and seek God as to where He is leading us next. Hopefully that can happen next month, after VBS is over.

Now it’s your turn. You can either post a question in the comments below or you can generously share with the rest of us a tip or two (or three, or four, or five), big or small, that helps make your life less crazy. Any and all suggestions are welcome!

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12 Comments

Rebekah - 25. Jul, 2013 - Reply

I know I only have one kiddo, so I’m not dealing with all that you are…but, I have felt the same sense of being overwhelmed, especially “single” parenting right now. I talked to Caleb about it in May when we visited him, and he suggested making a schedule. I was very hesitant – I didn’t want to become so tied to the schedule that life could never throw me a curveball without me freaking out. But, I figured I’d give it a shot.

Let’s just say it has been a lifesaver for me. I am finding even on busy weeks that the house doesn’t get trashed like it used to, and most of my day-to-day jobs get done. It has really made me feel like I can breathe. And, I now feel like I DO have time to spend with Selah. So, that’s my tip for you.

As far as how to lay it out (assuming you do one), that’s up to you. Here’s what I do though:
Saturday – church/relax/change sheets
Sunday – laundry (including sheets)
Monday – bills/walk with Selah/meal planning & prep
Tuesday – laundry/grocery shopping
Wednesday – clean bathroom/catchup on dishes/walk with Selah
Thursday – mop/sweep/vacuum/meal prep
Friday – bills (as needed)/any catchup necessary/walk with Selah

It works really well for me to space out the cleaning through the week. Just a thought with the walking – could you do that with the girls? That way your time when they’re still asleep could be used for something that *has* to be kiddo-free.

Libby - 25. Jul, 2013 - Reply

I’ll have to think that through a bit with the schedule thing. I’ve gotten out of the habit of making sure the girls pick up when they are done with one thing and moved to another (never mind the fact that they like to dress up and make food for their babies creating three different messes in one play time!) If they could do that it would go a long way to making everything else manageable and a schedule would feel more doable.

As far as the walking goes. Right now I’m enjoying the quiet time in the early morning. It gives me time to pray while I walk as well as plan my day out. It’s much harder to take all three out walking because at best I can only have two in a stroller, if Sammie doesn’t insist on walking, and it’s a lot of work to keep them in check and not wondering off, plus eventually I’m going to need to walk more then they will have the energy for, though when I get towards the end I’ll need to break it up into several different walks since I’m not about to try walking 4-5 miles all at once. I’ll probably start adding walks with them in the next few weeks just to get some extra walking in. The other thing is that it seems when I get up early and try to get things done I end up waking one of the older girls. I can manage one just fine and it even can be kind of fun, but it does take away from the quite “me time” that I covet.

Good suggestions!

Rebekah - 29. Jul, 2013 - Reply

Oh, I understand about the waking the girls thing. My goal has been to start getting up before Selah to have some alone time to kickstart my day, but I haven’t done it yet. In the past when I’ve tried, she’s just ended up waking earlier, so I know your frustration!

It definitely sounds like the walking is more important for you to do alone, and if it’s helping you get geared up for the day then you’re pretty much killing two birds with one stone.

One thing my sister (who has 5 kiddos) has started doing is called “Fivesies”. She gives them a set amount of time (say, 15 mins) around 5pm and they have to clean up all the toys they’ve gotten out during the day, make beds (if they hadn’t already), put away clothes, etc. Generally, it’s just them tidying up whatever mess they’ve made throughout the day. Then, if they clean up their mess, they get a special treat, usually just some kind of “special” snack (she got plain cookies and put frosting on them for a snack one day, for example). (Here’s a pic of what I’m talking about: http://www.kidspot.com.au/best-recipes/Kids-cooking+5/Funny-face-biscuits-recipe+1874.htm) It works pretty well for them. And, it also acts as an incentive during the day to tidy up as they go, so they won’t have too much to do at “Fivesies” time.

Libby - 31. Jul, 2013 - Reply

Yes, we definitely need to do some kind of a daily pick up that they just know is going to happen. I have used a dance party as an incentive and that works pretty well.

Mom Terrell - 26. Jul, 2013 - Reply

I totally feel what you are going thru. I felt the same way. It did help after the boys were a little older, but I was confused as to how to accomplish all that as well. I added to that the fact we had friends we did things with & I had a couple friends & Aunt Lu that I did activities with. All I can say is hang in there & do what has to be done first. Love you.

Libby - 31. Jul, 2013 - Reply

I’m trying to start having Emma help with things like wiping off the table, setting the table and putting away their clean dishes. We’re also starting to have them clear off their own place after each meal. Hopefully this will get them in the mind set of helping. Also, the theme this year for VBS is serving so I’m milking that for all it’s worth!

Rational Sarah - 05. Aug, 2013 - Reply

If you want more time and to feel more accomplished in this life you need to learn three things:

1. Your uterus is not a PEZ dispenser or a clown car. Enough children already….

2. Ritalin is for grown-ups too.

3. The God of the Bible is a myth that will keep you broke, helpless and victimized.

READ the WHOLE BIBLE cover to cover and ask yourself what god would demand the death of innocent children for the petty crimes of their parents….sanction SLAVERY and polygamy….and allow a monster like Jeffrey Dahmer into “heaven” all for a simple “get out of jail free” phrase in a bible book written and added by the Catholic church during the Council of Nicaea ?? Um…that would be YOURS (mine too, but I saw the light)…Its all in that book……READ IT and BE FREE of it.

Your blog is like a train wreck. I was where you are once upon a time. Im sure you won’t publish this, but I do hope you understand that every word is sincere. My best friend’s blog… http://www.nolongerquivering.com We were all where you are.

Leviticus says no hair cuts, no shrimp and that Sabbath breakers should be STONED TO DEATH. OOOPS! No quick trips to the store and no more NASCAR, then huh? SOoooo many things we skip over to get to the “good parts”….but do read it cover to cover….then ask yourself…DO I NEED MORE ORGANIZATIONAL GIMMICKS OR DO I JUST NEED TO STOP PRAYING AND GET OFF MY DEAD (word removed by moderator) AND DO SOMETHING TO FIX MY SITUATION?

Step back and view your Christianity with the same critical lens that you used to decide that Muslims are crazy ignorant fools and that Joseph Smith was a fraud. I did and I’ve never been more free. My Christian faith evaporated when I sat down to homeschool my last child with an ABeka Flash a Card bible lesson. Poof! Faith GONE! He said, “Do snakes really TALK, mommy?” and I just laughed out loud…of course they don’t. And neither can the Flood have ACTUALLY happened…and there was NO HISTORICAL RECORD OF A CENSUS in the time of Mary and Joseph….and on and on….

Please be free. Free to think and REASON for yourself. You seem smart enough. Don’t struggle with these petty concerns with the one thing that will fail every time its tried…prayer… DO SOMETHING. SEEK HELP for your obvious ADD (it takes one to know one!) and salvage what is left of your time on this Earth to mother your children to be CRITICAL THINKERS, because the world that man in the White HOuse is making for us and our children is spoooooky stuff and you had better teach your children how to know bullcr@p when they see it…..and the bullcr@p meter is pegged on Christianity, just like every other religion based on the hearsay of Iron Age goat herders wandering in Afghanistan….

I am NOOOOooo Liberal–that is for SURE….I am an ExChristian housewife who is no longer quivering.

Bless you sister.

Libby - 08. Aug, 2013 - Reply

I’ve been thinking and praying about how to respond to your comments. At first I thought you were just trolling, but gave you the benefit of the doubt and left your comment up so that others could weigh in if they wanted. I am not opposed to other beliefs or opinions. I will say that your first comment was rather harsh on some points considering you really don’t know me or my life goals and choices. But I am choosing to extend grace and not be offended. I know how easy it is for things to be misconstrued over the internet when you cannot see each other face to face. Honestly, if you lived close I would ask you to coffee and we’d continue this conversation in person, but for now this will have to do. I also should let you know that Cathy is my mother, and yes she is an amazing woman. I could write a lengthy blog just about how amazing she is. I did censor one word out and stated so in your comment, but the rest I left whole.

The big elephant in the room is the debate of whether God is real or not. I obviously believe He is real and you for various reasons have decided that you no longer can believe this to be true. I have been to college, both secular and Christian, I have been out of the country several times, and I’m in fact well read. My relationship with God is just that, a relationship not a religion. I don’t take what people tell me about the Bible or God at face value, I question it and challenge it before I choose to internalize it or reject it.

Science speaks of a creator in so many ways. The science that is touted as truth has cyclical reasoning and takes as much faith to believe as those who say there isn’t a creator assert the Bible requires.

As far as all the evil in the Bible goes, God didn’t cause it, He allowed it. When He created us with free will, the door was open for us to do unfathomable evil, because we were given the ability to choose. When Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil they gave up they’re rights and authority on earth and gave it to Satan, who is the father of evil and wants nothing more than to destroy and torture God’s most beloved creation, mankind. That’s why we needed Christ to die on the Cross and raise from the dead, to take back the authority we willingly gave up to Satan and conquer death once and for all.

I thought it quite the coincident that I read your first comment after I had an amazing conversation with God during my morning walk. No it was not in my head and yes He does speak to me, when I listen.

You don’t know my story, so you don’t know how many opportunities I’ve had to walk away from God.

I have found in my own life that it is never a waste of time praying. Things actually go better after I pray and give it to God.

I know you think my blog (and subsequently my life) is a train wreck, and from the outside it might seem that way, but I have chosen it. I chose to be a mother; I chose to stay at home; I chose to have 4 children (or however many more God wants to give us), growing up I envied families with lots of kid, I am not allowing pregnancy to happen to me, I delight in my children. Each one has added so much to my life. Family is forgotten gift, and children are too frequently seen as a burden and an inconvenience these days. I choose to make things from scratch and grow food and line dry my clothes and homeschool my children. I have done my research and feel these are all what is best for my family and I am willing to make the sacrifice to do so. Right now, while my children are small, it seems overwhelming at times, and that was part of the reason why I wrote this blog post in the first place, because we live in a culture that says take the easy and convenient way and don’t consider the cost to your and your children’s health and well being. I have friends that want to do the same things that I am doing but don’t always know how to start or how to get it all done. They look at me and think I’m super woman, and I’m far from it. I want to be transparent with everyone that I don’t always have it together and sometimes I get overwhelmed too.

You and I actually see eye to eye on the current condition of our Country, which is why I am trying to learn so many of the forgotten skills. I believe that I am responsible for me and my family, that’s part of being a good steward of the money, time, and resources we’ve been given. The problem is that most of my generation were not taught these skills as children and now we’re forced into this huge learning curve of having to teach ourselves via articles and videos on the internet, which can never substitute being taught first hand as a child with the benefit of being able to practice and be corrected as you go by a seasoned expert. In person I am one of the least manic people you would know, I’m actually rather methodical.

If you’ve made it to the end of this I commend you. Know that I am praying for you and that it isn’t too late. Goodness, it’s never too late. Blessings.

Cathy Wells - 06. Aug, 2013 - Reply

This is to Rational Sarah –
When I first read your response, I wondered what happened to you to make you feel that way about God. Then, I went to the blog site of your friend to help me understand where you were coming from. I only read a few of the articles, but what I did read led me to think that it wasn’t God who was the problem, but people. What I have found after 50+ years, is that people, both men and women, can manipulate the Bible to fit what they believe God says in His Word. This filters into churches – how to dress, no drinking, no dancing, filling your quiver, keeping your children out of the world, etc. usually through the leadership of the church. Those who agree with it stay and those who disagree with it move on to a church that fits them better. For example – I used to get very angry over sermons about wives being submissive to their husbands and very frustrated with the parameters many churches put on worshipping and music during services, and what translation of the Bible you had to use, and . . . I could go on. I asked God for help and He told me to study His word for myself. If I read a book by a Christian author, I would read not just the verses they used to back their beliefs, but also the verses around those verses to see what the context of the passage was about. God wants us to be critical thinkers of what we read, hear, see and experience in this world. When God provides the way, well in my experience, it has been a neighbor, a friend, the church, the government, someone I hardly knew. God has given us a free will, to make decisions for ourselves. Every decision we make is going to come from what we have heard, seen, read, and experienced. Do I make a decision based on information I have only received from the world, or do I go to God’s word and pray to Him for direction as well?
Everyone has a free will, and some choose to gain power over others, some choose to do terrible things (even saying God told them to do it). If God had created us without a free will, then everything would be perfect and we would all follow God and only do good. There would be no need for the Bible because we would be able to communicate with God ourselves. Our world would have no death, pain, sorrow, hate, greed, etc. We would do and say and act as our Creator told us to. But God wanted us to freely choose to worship Him because we loved Him and wanted to worship and follow Him. Free will means we can choose God or not choose God. And if we don’t choose God, the only other option is evil or Satan, who wants nothing else but to keep us from a relationship with God.
I have read the Bible several times cover to cover and in different translations. I have read some parts of the Bible more than others. I cannot wrap my finite brain around all that the infinite God is and has done for me. Unconditional love, grace, mercy, forgiveness, holiness, righteousness, perfection are not of this world. He makes no promises that things will be easy, or that I will have everything that I want or desire, or that “bad” things won’t happen to those who believe in Him. He does promise that He loves me and forgives me even though I am sinful, that I have freedom in Him to choose to love, do good, forgive others, etc. He warns me about wolves in sheep clothing who want to lead me away from Him. He tells me of His sacrifice, His one and only Son, so that I can have a relationship with Him. And He reminds me that life in this world is only temporary, and He is always with me while I am here, but even better, I will be with Him for eternity (another infinite concept my finite brain is able to understand, yet,) My prayer is that you will revisit God’s Word and read it again leaving what you have experienced, heard, seen, or read anywhere else in your lifetime, with a mind open to what God has to say to you. The thing is, God loves you whether you love Him or not. He is always ready and waiting with open arms, but He will not force you to believe in Him or love Him. It is all up to you.

Jeannie Terrell - 06. Aug, 2013 - Reply

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Jeannie Terrell - 06. Aug, 2013 - Reply

what i do know about getting things done…is sometimes it is easiest when the kids (especially the small ones you have right now who need your attention all the time) are gone for a few hours or an overnight with Nana or Aunt Jeannie :) . This gives you time to really do what you need to get done. there is nothing wrong with that. this gives you and Joel time together that is the most important thing for your marriage, as when the kids are gone, you and he are it!!! do not feel bad about doing this. it is a good thing ~ the kids appreciate you a bit more when they come back home! tighter hugs and such! :)

you have to find what works for you and Joel. what things need to be done every day around the house. what’s important to him when he comes home? write out a to do list of just a few things and get that done. small steps.

Must make time to pray/devotional in the a.m.. i am speaking to myself as i haven’t been doing that, i feel and see how i’m missing out on His power helping me be strong in getting things accomplished and in seeing what really needs to be done (sitting down to read a book to my 3 year old BEFORE cleaning the shower for example)

Hang in there. Maybe give up blogging any more than 1-2 times a month if you do more than that normally. have a day when you are not on the computer at all. again, this is me talking to me as well. it amazes me how much time flies by when i fb or pintrest…

take time for a short nap/rest time in the afternoon, even if the girls watch a video, and you sit w/them w/your eyes closed…then, you can get back up and do some more.

i don’t know…there are ideas all over of how to conquer this great conundrum! just do it as unto the Lord, give your best, and don’t worry about the rest! xoxo

Rational Sarah - 06. Aug, 2013 - Reply

To Cathy Wells and Libby>>>

First>>>kuddos to you Libby for posting my controversial comment. I commend you for that. Truly. Sincerity can sound like sarcasm on the Net to insensitive ears. Yours are obviously sensitive and moreover, INTELLECTUALLY HONEST for not editing the content of my comment at all. Thank you.

For Cathy>> You are a kind soul to give me a chance by trying to understand me and exploring the no longer quivering site. You and Libby must be very special, sincere Christians. ;) I will always love my Christian friends and family…they are my life’s blood, but my faith has evaporated. Its like not being able to hear the Christmas bell in POLAR EXPRESS….no matter how hard I could pray, I will never EVER AGAIN see things the way I used to. Perhaps it was an age thing….at 40 something you just can’t NOT follow the TRUTH NO MATTER WHERE IT MAY LEAD. SCIENCE isn’t Christian or Muslim or Jewish…we all get cancer, we all turn to the SAME science to heal us, then we turn inward, forget about the doctors and thank our own “ONE TRUE GOD” when we are healed of the cancer, that, if you are being honest, GOD GAVE YOU IN THE FIRST PLACE….it makes no sense.

My dear sweet grandmother, for whom I am named, never left the county where she was born. She read me Bible stories in her tiny back bedroom by pale lamplight when I was small. I learned to trust the faith because SHE SAID IT WAS SO. Her kind of environmental ignorance is understandable. My mother, still a working professional at well past 65 chooses WILLFUL IGNORANCE of well established Bible contradictions because she needs the warm blanket of faith to deal with the recent sudden and horrific death of her best friend. I won’t deny her that now. But I just hate to see so much chaos caused by women of my own age, muddling through life as if there wasn’t an internet to click and find information that my grandmother could only dream of. I don’t mean snarky, hateful atheism, but the works of Robert Greene Ingersoll, an ExQuaker abolitionist, DEIST from the 1890s who railed against ALL the “revealed” religions and the incredible harm they do us all. That they do TRUE LIBERTY.

Read Thomas Paine, THE AGE OF REASON. Read anything by Robert Greene Ingersoll…there are Librivox recordings of both men if you’d rather. But for the sake of critical thinking, and its necessity to the very future survival of our children, take the reverence from your eyes with regard to the Bible, read it like any other book…AND EVERY WORD IN TOTAL….and if god can be credited with all the good, MAKE HIM ACCOUNTABLE FOR ALL THE CONTRADICTIONS, KILLING AND SUFFERING in his book as well.

You ladies are sweet and I appreciate your listening to a very excited ExChristian. Life is out there…and I know you can live it on your own terms if you will only take the time to ask why it is that you “know” Muslims are wrong, and you “know” Jews are wrong, and that Joseph Smith was a lunatic…but does your own religion–the one you likely practice only by accident of your cultural birthplace—does your own religion—beloved of your fathers— pass the impossible sniff test? Virgin birth? talking snake? An ark full of tropical animals set free on Mt Ararat after withstanding not eating each other for over a month…and with no sanitation problems… Where does the “metaphor” begin and end in our Christian Bible? OH>>It doesn’t. Not the way I was taught. Literal KJV or burn in Hell. The rational brain that God gave me won’t let me believe that the hearsay of illiterate Iron Age nomads is the perfect vehicle for the dissemination of his perfect word. The Chinese of the same time period were CALCULATING THE CIRCUMFERENCE OF THE EARTH…but the GOD OF THE UNIVERSE appears to need the help of illiterate nomads more.

I wish you ladies all the very best. You are all charming. I’d give anything to go back and UNknow what I can no longer deny. You are real gems for letting me vent. I hate not believing. It was all so much easier then.

Peace be with you all. ;)

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