Today on Facebook, I posted my accomplishments for the morning. "Bills paid, church contacted about Gabe's baptism requirements, accountant emailed about taxes, insurance emailed about adding dependent, student loan info acquired, Gabe's check up done and trip to Texas in the planning stages... whew... productive morning. Coffee anyone?" and within an hour of posting it, I received 3 text messages and 2 messages on Facebook with the same theme: "How do you do it all?" I laughed when I received the first message, laughed again when I received the second and then just started to feel like a phony by the time I received the 5th message. The truth: I don't. And to be honest, I'm not even sure what "Doing it all" really means. There are days when I get the top 5 things done on my to-do list. There are days I get all 10 things done. And there are days (more often than not) that I get nothing done on my to-do list. And I consider all of those days successful in their own way. But how?
On the days I get 5 things done: Usually these are days when the kids are moderately behaved - only fighting over 1 or two toys, only messing up 1 or 2 rooms of the house for only the 9th or 10th time, only asking for fruit snacks 20-30 times, and only needing a kiss on a fake owie 6 or 7 times. These are the days that I prioritize what needs to be done and make sure to accomplish the top items. If bills need to be paid, I do that. We can't be without a home, electric or gas, so that's high on my list. If due dates for paperwork are approaching and it needs to be turned in, that's next on the list. If deadlines are approaching for photography clients, that's next -- after all, happy clients are repeat clients. And if the house needs to be cleaned, that's up there on the list too. But these are also the days that I make sure to take the kids somewhere or do something fun with them. They are absolute top priority on my list. Happy kids = happy momma.
On the days I get 10 things done: These are the days that the kids are as close to perfect as they can get. They are getting along well, they aren't begging for snacks, they are happily reading quietly or doing puzzles and they aren't climbing on anything that will or will not slip out from under them. These are good days. Often on these days, they are even interested in helping with chores! With Mark turning 3, he is much more interested in helping around the house. He has his own broom and mop, he has a step-up-stool to "help" cook or do dishes, and he doesn't usually mind picking up toys. So I let him. He may not do a great job and I may have to come right in behind him and do it again, but at least it's the beginning. Maybe if we start allowing him to do chores when he is young, it won't seem like such a task when he gets older. (Time will only tell.) These are the days that I feel "on top of the world". These are the days that I get a shower in before 9am, grocery shopping done before nap time and without the desperate bee-line to the cookie department for the infamous "please-be-good" bribe cookie. These are the days that my house is clean before the husband gets home from work. These are the days that the dog is fed on time and he isn't nosing me in the back of the knee to remind me. These days are rare, but they are glorious.
On the days that I get nothing accomplished: These are the days that I can't leave the kids in the same room without direct supervision at every second. These are the days that whine-time starts the minute they wake up. These are the days that I don't shower until AFTER the kids go to bed. These are the days the laundry piles up, the dishes stay in the sink, dinner is take-out and my hair is up in a bun. These are the days that the children require all of my attention. And when I say "all", I mean all. These are the days I sit on the floor reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear for the 52nd time. These are the days that I end up stepping on wooden blocks. These are the days the kids stay in their PJs all day and the playroom is a disaster. These are the days that I hear my name "Momma" said 328 times. But these are also the days that I snuggle the kids to sleep for nap. These are also the days that I hold them while we read. These are also the days I sit closely with them while we color together. These are the days that are the most important. And these are the days that I collapse in bed, next to my husband and tell him I have nothing left to give because I gave it all today. I didn't accomplish anything on my to-do list. But these are the days I felt like I "did it all" and have nothing left.
Note: As I'm typing this, Joey is wrapped around my leg asking me to read him a book, Gabe is asleep in my lap, Mark is sitting in the chair next to me eating a snack, paperwork that needs to be turned in is on my desk not completed and there are images in my camera that I really need to edit. But I'm happy. So happy to be surrounded by these boys. I wouldn't trade it for anything.