Yesterday, I was chatting with another mom when she stopped and asked me – “How do you do it all? 3 kids and your own business. You do all this other stuff too!” I looked at her – blinking – then realized she actually wanted an answer.
I didn’t have one. I had never been asked that in an honest way.
I took a look at myself and realized from the outside (thanks social media) it looks like I am super busy, productive and juggling it all. So here is the truth.
I don’t do it all.
I do a lot of things. But there is a lot I do not do. If I have to be really honest, there are a lot of things I can’t do.
Let me start out by stating what I do have:
· I have a supportive husband
· 3 wonderful children
· A job that I love – that lights me up – I am a career coach for moms & back to work expert. It is awesome.
· A network of friends and family that are kind and accepting
I also have:
· 2 children and a husband with anaphylactic food allergies (which means all meals are home made. By me. All the time – ok 98% of the time – thank you Swiss Chalet and Pizza Pizza)
· No regular support for childcare other than my husband (who works full time and needs regular breaks as well) and a very part time babysitter
· A history of many concussions (8) with the last one classified as a Traumatic Brain Injury. I suffered from post traumatic epilepsy and lost the ability to read (yeah that can happen). I had to relearn many simple life skills (you can read the full story here ). I have recovered but still struggle with large groups of people and rely on technology to help me read and assist with writing.
· A deep desire to connect. I organize a support group, volunteer at my children’s school and connect with others who bring joy to my life and laughter to the conversation.
In an effort to be transparent for all the other moms out there who look and me and think “how does she do it all” here are my honest answers:
1. My kids don’t do more than 1 lesson at a time. In the spring and fall they do swimming. For the last few winters we have done nothing. Instead they spend endless hours tearing apart motors, building rockets and rebuilding their bikes. I have taught them to cook and we make forts….lots of forts. They can also fix a toilet and helped build a bed.
2. We say no a lot. No to parties and conferences, networking events and evening socials. I have a hard time with large groups of people after my head injury and my husband….well… he is a programmer….
3. I also say YES a lot. I love connecting with people IN PERSON. Chats after school. Walks with people I have only met once. Drinks with friends. Yes is often my answer. My porch is regularly in use by those stopping by to say hello or stopping in to have some nachos!
4. We don’t drive. This means that we spend very little time in transit – waiting in traffic and going to places like malls. I bike – 365 days a year. I enjoy biking more than just about anything – even in a foot of snow! Being able to do this means that it may take us longer to get certain places but the journey is worth it.
5. I don’t have data. That means that I spend hours a day NOT looking at my phone. We also still have a land line – and I still have conversations over the phone!
6. My hobbies tend to involve people. One of my best friends and I make mitten clips over the winter. We sew together and drink wine. We attend craft fairs and laugh like hyenas. It is a little business but mostly it is lots of fun!
7. I time block. I do one thing at a time in small chunks of time. I only work 2.5 compressed days a week so I need to make the time I have productive. After my head injury I could not go back to my former job. A job that I was great at. I did not have the stamina to maintain a full time job and have a life as well. A technique I was taught in rehab was to pick one thing and complete it. Then you move onto the next thing. It sounds simple – because it is. Multitasking sounds wonderful but it is not something I am good at anymore….and I have learned it has actually allowed me to do WAY more.
8. I don’t sleep a lot. That is just a fact. I don’t go to bed until midnight or 1am and I get up between 5:30 and 6:45 with my kids. I also get up at least once a night for some reason or another (parents you know what I am talking about)
9. My house is filthy. I have 3 boys. My table is constantly covered in empty coffee mugs and the laundry isn’t put away. I am ok with that. Home and Garden isn’t coming for a photo shoot and friends appreciate that I clear a path to get to the kitchen
10. This is a big one……and I know that this is not realistic for a lot of people – I don’t watch television (or Netflix) more than 1-2x a week for less than an hour (again difficult post head injury). We don’t have a television in our house. Neither my husband or I enjoy watching sports or events but we do watch part of a movie as a family on Saturday night!