Thursday, May 10, 2012

Doing It All


As I’m cleaning my house today (I’m using that phrase lightly) getting ready for book club this evening, my mind is racing. One theme of my thoughts is "What does having it all look like?” Or, more specifically, “What constitutes doing it all?”

We spend so much time as mothers, and particularly as homeschooling mothers, comparing ourselves to others. And often finding ourselves ‘falling short’ according to what we perceive others as having or doing or being or accomplishing.

So I’m curious. What would you list as the things someone would have to do to do it all? And do you know anyone who (from the outside) seems to accomplish all those things?

If there is one thing that I took away from this past weekend, it is that we are all human. No one has or does it all. Everyone has fears and insecurities. We all sacrifice something for our priorities. And whether or not we think we have it all together, we never have complete control over our lives or the people in them.


Mandi @ Life Your Way said...

Great question, Heidi! I think generally when we perceive someone as "doing it all", it's because they're doing something that we're not doing that we maybe wish we were.

The flip side of that, of course, is that there is plenty they're not doing as well!

Ariana Sullivan said...

Doing it ALL??

-Keeping a clean house at all times.
-Homeschooling all subjects on a daily basis.
-Keeping up with laundry (washed, sorted AND put away daily)
-Being on time to every appointment ever.
-Dressing like you walked off the cover of a magazine.
-Having a body like the cover of a magazine.
-Ditto with hair, etc.
-Being super kind to your children at all times. Never raise your voice, never be anything but perfectly sweet to them.
-Feed children all organic, whole foods. Treats should be as natural as possible.
-Write a daily blog that is witty, funny, emotional, honest and entertaining with amazing pictures.
-Don't forget any special occasions or meetings or anything of the sort.
-Call people back promptly. Have time to talk to or text or comment on blogs/facebook with every single person you know and are friends with. Even strangers commenting on your blog, you should respond to each one of them.
-Have a beautifully decorated home.
-A beautifully decorated, LARGE home, naturally.
-Oh but you should probably have a garden and animals, too. Because you care about the environment and your impact on it.
-Breastfeed your baby for two years. Wear them, sleep with them, never leave them with a sitter.
-If you by some means are a terrible person who sends her kids to school but still want to be seen as doing it all volunteer at school for EVERY event. Bring cupcakes to the class, gifts to ALL the teachers and staff, do extra work with your kids at home.
-Take your kids on many exciting trips to expand their minds.
-Greet your husband at the door with a smile and ask him about his day. Don't vent to him, because duh you have nothing to vent about!
-Always smell good, too!
-Pantry and fridge are always fully stocked but nothing ever goes bad and to waste.
-Kids are dressed as stylishly as you are.
-Have craft and art time with your kids every single day.
-Let them bake with you, cook with you, teach them all about homemaking skills.
-Have a college education.
-Make money by working from home, never letting work time interrupt family time, though!

Ok, I'm getting bored. haha

Nobody does it all. For years I've heard that but it's only been very recently that I realized just how MUCH that is true. Someone who seems to have ABandC perfectly together might be failing miserably and DEandF. Or whatever combination of the hundreds and hundreds of things we as women do... there is no way to do it all. It's not possible. If someone seems to have something going for them just remember there's something behind closed doors that's not going well. And that's not a bad thing... pick the most important things to your life and do your best at them. Everything else can slide :)

For instance, two days this week we did majorly fun adventures... but two days this week I didn't clean anything except the dishes and did a few loads of dirty laundry; which are piled in clean piles in my laundry room, unsorted and definitely not put away. lol

ChristyKaye said...

This is a great question. It is always someone on the OUTSIDE who looks at another person's life & thinks they have it all or are doing it all. We never think we have enough or do enough, do we? And we NEVER think we have it ALL or are doing it ALL! There is one exception to this, however. To those who CHOOSE to be content--honest & pure & total contentment--with who they are & with where they are in life & with what they have . . . then to those few, they DO have it all and are doing it all. It's a choice, and we must choose daily, sometimes moment by moment. :)

Heidi said...

I agree, Mandi. But then we look at the next person, see the couple things *they* are doing well (that we wish we were doing) and add them to the list. So we end up with this long list of things that others do well that we don't and feel inadequate. But *no one* is doing all the things we've put on this overwhelming list!

Ariana~ Exactly. :) That is an interesting thing to note, too, that we can do many things on 'the list' but not at the same time. Every day, or week, or season of our life could be different.

ChristyKaye~ Great point! If we are content and full of gratitude for what we have and do, then we do have it 'all!' I wish that wasn't easier said than done. ;-P

ChristyKaye said...

Oh, btw, Heidi, I have only ever accomplished tiny blips of this "having & doing it all" contentment. I seem to have to keep reminding myself to choose contentment...nano second by nano second. It's kind of like trying to capture those tiny, glistening particles of fairy dust and filling my cupped hands with it until they're full. It is possible, but it probably won't happen. Besides, that sparkling fairy dust is actually the dust in my home begging to be swept away! But if I make a conscious effort to be content with what I have and with what I do--even with all my unaccomplished tasks surrounding me--it does seem to help how I feel inside. What I notice in those times is a calmness; a coming-to-terms with not being perfect...& that it's okay to be imperfect. I choose to be content even though I will actually never have it all or do it all. So, guess it's that I choose to be okay with who I am and the way I am as I work at being better than I am today . . . & that's kind of like having it all & doing it all....hmmmmmm. :D

Lori said...

My definition of doing it all:

- Having happy, healthy, well-educated children
- making breakfast, lunch and dinner from scratch with no added ickiness (i.e. MSG, nitrates, hydrogenated oils)
- being an engaging and vibrant mother from sun-up to sun-down (including night-time feedings)
- Practicing music with and without my children every day
- continuing to learn to read, write and speak Mandarin daily
- encouraging both of my children to become fluent in Mandarin
- Never leaving the house with cheerios in my hair and shell pasta stuck to my bum.
- Nursing my daughter 'til the age of  two and making all of her food at home.
- serving others in my church and community by providing meals for new moms and offering a weekly playgroup at my house.
- Working as a musician from home and yet somehow, not letting that interfere with my family schedule
- doing laundry enough to keep it from mildewing, I know I have high aspirations!
- reading books that challenge my brain and encourage me to dream.
- breathing life into others and mentoring women and musicians to follow Christ in their daily life.
- memorizing and writing scripture on my heart daily.
- Not being in tears every day when my husband comes home, again I have super high goals.

As far as having it all, I could give it all up again and go back to China if I needed to.  But doing it all, ah there is the rub, that is where I expect perfection and often set myself up for failure.  Perhaps doing it all needs to be redefined every day.  

So, today my definition of doing it all means I will get off the computer, finish the laundry, pick the cheerios out of my hair, clean the poop out of the bathtub and prep for dinner.  If I am lucky, I will practice for a while and feed my soul so that when my husband comes home, I will NOT be in tears!  I can do that just fine by myself : )

Thanks for encouraging this exercise Heidi!  Miss you!

carole said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
carole said...

Thought provoking post and comments.

I read the Nester's compassion blog post this morning - the one with her meeting her sponsored child, and seeing his mud hut - where he had written the 1st verse of Psalm 23 on the outside.

The Lord is my shepherd. I have everything I need.

Wow. Talk about a huge reminder to me as I am about to head out the door to return curtains that weren't quite right to Target. And then look for something better.

As far as motherhood and home education - - no one does it all. Beware of the woman who claims that she does.

Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker said...

The lists that have been left so far have been wonderful!

So, I will instead answer your other question:
To me, you seem to be "doing it all" when it comes to schooling and opportunities (field trips). I love what you are doing, and as one person commented above, yes, I DO wish I was doing all of that. I'd like to. I think my schedule needs a redoing so that I can do better on the schooling part. (Certainly my oldest needs to learn to not stretch her math out to take the entire day).

The field trips--well, we live in the middle of the desert, and there is just nothing here unless you drive for 6 hours to California. We'd LOVE to live in the northwest. My children think tall trees are palm trees, and rain is what happens a handful of times a year, lasting for 20 seconds. I'd love to show them the ocean, the forests, real rain, and more.

Instead, I show them YOUR pictures of the ocean, so they can see what it's like. They're the same ages as your children, which makes it even more fun for them to check out your pictures.

Cari said...

Such a great reminder and wrap-up of this series. Thanks for the view in on your time at PeaceHill. Sounds amazing. I'm looking forward to hearing her speak later this month at a West Coast convention - even more after following you on your trip to her end of the world.

Heidi said...

Brandy~ You've illustrated my point perfectly. :) See, it may look like I'm doing everything when it comes to homeschooling, but I fail every. single. day. Our routines are terrible. We are so distracted and chaotic. We have at least one subject (an important one) that constantly falls through the cracks. And I often lose my cool and get frustrated. And math sometimes takes all day for my oldest. ;-P And we used to go on more field trips, but we've hardly done anything since I got pregnant with Lola, who is 1 1/2 already! And I don't have a beautiful garden, or grow my own food, or preserve food, or even cook decent dinners on a regular basis! I'm pretty sure Little Caesar's Pizza knows us by name. (That's just the beginning of the list of things I don't do. :)) I *do* love where we live. I mean, really, really LOVE it. But I don't think I can claim that on my 'doing it all' list. You just need to come visit us. :)