“How do you do it?”
The infamous question we ask of friends and strangers who have even more on their plates than we do – more kids, more jobs, more responsibilities, more goals, more patience, more everything. We often ask this because we just can’t fathom adding one more thing to our already busy lives, let alone do it as well as they seem to be doing it.
I have been asked this question a lot. As soon as I had twins, people often asked me this question because they couldn’t imagine having two infants or toddlers the same age! And now that I have two more children, work from home as a blogger, and homeschool my twins for kindergarten, it’s a pretty natural question, especially when you also consider that I have church responsibilities, a husband gone extra long hours working toward a PhD, a relatively clean house, and a social life sometime. Hopefully I can also add in some regular exercise to that list soon too (still trying to figure out the best way to fit it in without spending a fortune on a gym membership that includes childcare).
The reality is that I am busy. But really more tired than anything at the moment as my baby is only two months old and definitely not sleeping through the night, and wanting to be held a lot during the day, as is the 2-year-old.
But, I like to think I am managing to do all that is required of me. Maybe not perfectly. Maybe not at a 100% level, maybe not up to other people’s standards, but life is moving positively upward, and good things are happening still.
And now you’re asking “How do you do it?” aren’t you?
Here’s how I am currently managing a home, homeschooling, a profitable blog, sleep, parenting, church, and my personal needs.
How I Do It as a Homeschooling WAHM Blogger
1.) I Own My Life
This month I have been participating in a Periscope challenge #OctoberScopers (it’s okay if you don’t know what Periscope is or want to join another social media network, although it’s pretty awesome and addicting!) and one day we were challenged to share our best advice. The advice I shared was to own and accept your life.
Being a homeschooling, work from home mom, wife, homemaker, book club organizer, Christian, and friend is just my life. Complaining about my life being busy, or how hard it is isn’t going to make my situation easier, so I am owning my life, and I am just doing what I need to do to make my life work. I do my best, praying to God, trusting that He’ll provide the rest. I am accepting my reality and my life. It’s not super easy to do all that I have to, but I am striving everyday to make it work, and to figure out ways to make it work even better.
2) I have a General Routine, Schedule, and Calendar
A key to my sanity is having a routine to the things I do.
I have worked really hard to develop certain habits and routines in my homemaking so that our house stays organized and clean. Every Monday begins my 3-Day Laundry System. Every day after dinner I pack up the leftovers, load and run the dishwasher, wash the pots and pans, and wipe down the table, chairs, and counters. If I’m really on top of it, I’ll sweep too. Doing this makes for a much smoother morning the next day, as well as less food wasted. After breakfast my children unload the dishwasher, clear their dishes, and then help with laundry or sweeping or taking out trash (whatever needs to be done).
I also put down my toddler at the same time every afternoon for a nap, and am working toward my baby going down at the same time as well. And then our kids’ bedtime for all four kids is roughly the same time every night as well.
Our homeschool begins in a set manner with a song, prayer, scripture story, Pledge of Allegiance, and reading our book of the week followed by activities we may have planned. Then there’s usually time for “recess” or playtime or a movie that goes with our homeschool theme that week.
I also have a weekly to-do list. I found this awesome At Home/At Work perforated and divided To-Do list Pad at Target the other day and I love it! It really helps me stay on top of things going on both in my business in my real life. Checking off those boxes is such a great feeling. I am more of a pen and paper person, so the visual, written down tasks works well for me.
I write down appointments and events on our wall calendar. We don’t usually have a lot of activities or things planned, but I try hard to write them all down on our wall calendar so I won’t forget, but it’s not always guaranteed that I won’t!
I am working on developing even more habits and routines, and sticking better to the ones I already have in place, because I usually start off strong on Monday and Tuesdays and by Friday all routines are gone.
3) I Let Things Go, Say No, and Lower Expectations (of myself)
Which brings me to my next point. Sometimes you just have to let some things go.
I’m not saying go ahead and drop the ball and just let life happen and stop caring. But, you have got to be okay when your best laid plans fall apart.
I am a mom, so I know that my best laid plans are likely to be derailed by sickness, potty incidents and accidents, lost shoes, teething, tantrums, and no nap days. But, I don’t let them crush me or my spirit. I let them roll right off me, again, accepting the current situation instead of bemoaning and hating every second that isn’t going the way I wanted/needed it to.
I say no to things I don’t think will progress me toward my personal goals as well as goals for our family. I work hard to keep us under-scheduled most of the time so that we have freedom to play, live, run errands when convenient, and keep nap times and bed time when I want them to be.
I also understand that my clean house won’t stay clean long, but I still clean it while my kids are awake. I let go of any expectation to look fashionable, shower more than a few times a week, get more than 3 hours straight of sleep, make amazing dinners (my husband does it most nights), be a perfect patient mom, or craft.
4) I Prioritize
I have a lot of big dreams and goals, especially for my blog. I would love to be cranking out new and stellar content all the time, M-F, each and every week. I would often love to ignore my children in order to make that happen. And often I have.
But, I don’t want to anymore.
I want to be remembered as a great mother, who really enjoyed playing and being present with her children, rather than a work-a-holic, who never left her computer desk or put down her phone.
While I do think it is fine for my children to see me working, and to work some during the day (ideally during nap/quiet time), so that they understand a little of what I do, and why I am doing it, I absolutely need to be unplugged most of the time I am with them. This is very hard for me.
The biggest way I stay focused on my family is that I don’t work on the weekends, or do as little as possible, which I can do because I am my own boss. I have decided weekends aren’t for working extra long hours because my husband will be home to tend to the kids. I also generally keep my phone tucked away when I am out family and friends. I take time off for myself and for them.
I have some habits I want to and need to form during the week to better focus on my various responsibilities, but I’m grateful that for now I am taking time for myself and my family on the weekends.
5) I Pray
Being humble, full of gratitude for all the things that are working well in my business, my husband’s schooling, my children’s learning in homeschool, my toddler’s vocabulary and abilities, and my infant’s longer stretches of sleep and playfulness help me enjoy my life.
Offering prayers of gratitude to God helps me remember why I am doing what I am doing. Praying for strength when exhausted, patience when over-tired, and for a better attitude when leading, sustain me daily to accomplish my tasks with a smile on my face.
Through it all I try to remember Ecclesiastes 3:1 – “To every thing there is a season and time to every purpose under the heaven.” There will be ebbs and flows along our journey to fulfill all our responsibilities. Life will get in the way of our plans and goals. There may be times we need to focus more on ourselves, or our spouse, or our homes, or our business, or our schooling and put other things on hold or on the back-burner. And it’s important that we know when it’s time to adjust and follow God’s promptings.
How to Be a Stay-at-Home Mom Blogger Blog Hop
A few stay at home mom blogger friends have joined with me today to share their blogging insights, stories, and experiences with you. If you’ve ever wanted to learn what life is like as a stay-at-home mom blogger, or see if it could work for you, this is your chance. Work-at-home moms, homeschool moms, stay-at-home moms-we have all kinds in this blog hop!
Seeking Balance as a Stay-at-Home Mom Blogger – The Stay-at-Home Mom Survival Guide
Laughter, Love, and Meltdowns: Being a SAHM Blogger – Play Dough and Popsicles
The Secret life of a Homeschooling Mom Blogger – Craft Create Calm
How I do it all as a homeschooling WAHM – What’s Up Fagans?
The Truth About Being A Blogging Homeschool Mom – Organized Home Organized School
Half Empty or Half Full? – pfeifferphotography72 – Photography Enthusiast
Check out their thoughts on blogging and balancing it all with being wives and moms at home full-time. Even if you are not a blogger or WAHM, learning how other moms find balance in this season of life is always interesting.