I had coffee with a friend last week. She’s pregnant with her fourth boy—let’s have a moment of silence for her because you know she never gets those—and she asked me earnestly, “How do you ever get anything done? Isn’t it totally nuts?” Well, yes, life is crazy these days. We’re a pretty typical family; my husband works out of the house, and I work from home, meaning four days a week for a whopping 10 straight hours, I also run the mom show. It’s not easy, but I’m figuring out how to make it work. Ready for the secret?
I dropped the bar. And I mean I dropped it way, way down. Like, knee high. Basically, I stopped trying to do everything in a single day.
I was trying to get everyone everywhere on time (and presentably at that), meet all my deadlines, keep the house clean and tidy, entertain my 3-year-old, cuddle with the baby, squeeze in work outs, whip up fabulous, nourishing meals from scratch, make time for my husband and put some effort into my appearance. Every. Single. Day. The trouble with that mentality, of course, is that it’s completely freaking impossible. I’d end up doing most of it, but it wasn’t pretty. I was stressed, things were half-done and the kids were crabby. So now, I pick a few things to do every day, I do them really, really well, and on the whole, things are going swimmingly.
For instance, I’ll decide that today’s the day all the laundry will be done and the fridge will be stocked with prepped meals that need only be heated/baked/what have you for dinners all week long. Or today, I’ll use the baby’s nap time to tackle a few writing assignments, so I’m not stuck writing all night long, and I can actually look at my husband when we find ourselves with a few minutes to have an actual conversation after the kids are in bed. Or today, work and laundry be damned, I’m surprising the kids at school with a lunch date out. You get the idea.
Of course, there are days when everything falls apart no matter how determined I am, and by the time my husband gets home from work, he has to climb over piles of laundry and navigate a landmine of Legos to get to the kitchen, where the kids are eating cereal for dinner, and I’m big-eyed and clutching the baby and a glass of wine.
But for the most part, rotating through my to-do list in these bite-sized chunks means I’m getting everything done in a reasonable amount of time without losing my mind. Or serving Cheerios for dinner more than once a week.