Thursday, December 6, 2012

How does she do it?

Happy Thursday! Sorry for my recent blog hiatus... I think this gal has needed a little break to get her priorities straight and I'm not going to lie- I needed a little breather. Sometimes I stress about how often I post, what to post, if anyone ever reads it, who is following me, etc., and then I forget that I started this blog for fun. So taking a step back to recenter my focus and remember what this outlet truly is for me is sometimes necessary. And like all most things, absence makes the heart grow fonder so my fingers were itching to type today!
Recently I've had more than one person ask me how I "do it all." On the surface I guess it may appear that way... I have a husband, two kids (who are both home with me a lot of the time aside from Jake's school schedule and scheduled trips to hang with grandparents during the week), a full-time job (from home), a house to keep, and all kinds of adventures with our growing church plant. On some weeks we're out doing stuff almost every night for the church- Sunday is our iConnect (membership) program, Mondays are usually free, Tuesdays I sometimes have MOMSource, Wednesdays are leadership and/or elder meetings, Thursday is our connect group, and finally the weekend rolls around and we have plans with friends or family, and sometimes just veg here with the kiddos, soaking in some quality time. We get invited over to have dinner with countless families (thank you by the way... we always enjoy getting to know our church family better!), and often have people over here, whether it be a new family that we want to connect with more, or friends that we don't see as often now that the church is growing so fast (what a great problem, right?). It seems like a lot, and sometimes it is, but I think it's first important to know that I, like everyone else, do not actually do it all. I will say, however, that the more I put on my plate and the busier we get, the more I realize that I can do- if and only if, those priorities are straight. Here are some things in my life that help keep it all in perspective:
  • People often say, "God won't give you more than you can handle." While I think that's true, I also think it's our responsibility to handle what God has given us well. We are all only given so much time and I've realized that we can either do a few things well, or a lot of things halfway. About three months ago I turned our kids' ministry over to a family who moved here for that purpose and it was so freeing! Becuase I had more on my plate than I could handle, I was not running the program with excellence and was instead stressing out all of the time and running around like a chicken with my head cut off on Sunday mornings. Sometimes it's hard to give up control and not be in charge, but remember that God has gifted others around you who can do it just as well, if not better, than you.

  • Realize that some things come first. When working at home, it's easy to get distracted. I found that when my kids were here and awake, I would get so frustrated because they continually acted out when I was trying to get something done. My kids are young, so they do not just play alone in there rooms. My frustration was that they were not acting within my schedule, and so I could never sufficiently do my job, and then one day it became clear that their needs come first. When my kids are here and awake, even during my "working hours," I walk away from my computer and focus on them. Jake loves when I get on the floor and play with him, and I have to make a concious effort to do that, especially during my work day. I will still answer the phone if it rings, and it often means staying up late after they go to bed to wrap up some things, but my kids are happier and I am less frustrated, and my work is still getting done. It's a win-win-win. Plus, I don't want to look back on these years and realize that I wish I had played with them more. Kids don't ever seem to nap when you "need" them to.

  • Take a long, hard look at how you spend your time. At the end of the day do you complain that you did not have time to clean your house, but you spent two hours on Facebook, blogs, and catching up on shows? I'm not saying you have to give those things up, but they do burn time quickly without you realizing it. Every January I fast (give up) TV for 21 days and use that time instead to read, play with the kids, talk to my husband, etc. And every year I realize how little I miss those programs. And every year I care less about and watch less TV, and if I do watch something, it's usually while I fold laundry or clean the kitchen. As for Facebook and blogs, I think they're fun, too, but I've found that setting a timer is essential. Fifteen minutes goes by in the blink of an eye and I don't need much more time than that to stay connected.

  • Don't waste a step! On your way to the kitchen to get a snack, pick up the toys in your living room or bring that laundry basket up the stairs. Sometimes I do this so much that I don't even remember what my original mission was! Use your time wisely and pick things that are productive!

  • Ask for help! I'm terrible at this and always working to get better. I come from a long line of poor communicators (sorry, but it's true... myself included!) and sometimes I'd rather assume that Josh knows what I need and then get mad that he didn't read my mind rather than just ask him the in the first place. Never once has he said "no" when I've asked him to rearrange his schedule so I can meet a deadline or take out the garbage because I hate to do it. It's a much better outcome when I ask on the front-side rather than get frustrated after the fact, for something that could have been avoided.

  • Learn to say "no." If we committed to everything we were asked to do, we'd never see each other let alone our kids! Sometimes, even if it's something fun that I really, really want to do, it's just not in the best interest of our family or for what we get done that week. And when I feel like I really missed out, the feeling usually only lasts a day or so and then I forget about it.

  • Find "you" time. Sadly for me, that's only ever found either late at night or early in the morning, so it's accompanied by large doses of coffee. But in order to spend any quiet time in the Word, or just catch up on blogging, reading, working out (which I've neglected to do over these past few months altogether), etc., I have to sacrifice a little bit of sleep to fit that stuff in. It's always worth it, even when getting out of bed is really hard.

  • Lastly, keep in mind that nobody "does it all." If anyone is putting pressure on you, it's probably YOU! Try to stay away from comparing yourself to other moms, bloggers, etc. and just do the best you can with the time that you've been given. And no matter what, remember to use some of that time to just serve, love, and encourage others. A short text message to a friend going through a difficult situation only takes two minutes (if you're a slow texter like me) but can turn that friend's day around complete.

And just so you know, this post was written over a span of three hours, with many, many interruptions from two of the cutest kids I know!

What advice do you have to be a woman (or man, although I doubt any men aside from my husband and dad read this) who "does doesn't do it all"??

1 comment:

  1. Great suggestions! The part about playing with your kids is SO true. I find that just giving them 15 minutes of dedicate "play with me" time makes a huge difference. One-on-one time w/ each kid is important, too. I only watch one hour of T.V. a week, but that's a black hole.