I don’t know how you do it

I have what is most definitely, without question, a wonderful life. It is not perfect. There are parts of it that are very hard. But it is good, it is happy, and it is full of joy.

The problem is, it is also full of OTHER things. To be honest, my family doesn’t DO all that much. Sophie has gymnastics once a week, Jonah has speech once a week, and that’s about it. My husband works til seven and I am not carting three kids on my own to various and sundry activities. I’m not doing it, because even if they kids wanted to, I couldn’t handle it.

What I do is this: I wake up at 6:30 and help get the big kids ready for school. I get myself dressed and ready, then I wake Jonah up, get him fed and dressed and drive him to school. In the two hours and 45 minutes he’s at school, I will go to the grocery or drug store, or I’ll come home and clean, or write articles for my freelance job, or volunteer for Shoes 4 the Shoeless.  I try and remember to start the crock pot and the laundry during this time, and if I’m lucky, the dishes, too. Then, I go pick Jonah up. Tuesdays we go to speech, other days I give him lunch, we work on speech together for 15 minutes or so (about as much as he will cooperate for at this point) and then at 1:30 or 2:00 I try to get him down for a nap so I can get whatevertheheckIdidn’tgetdonethismorning finished before the big kids bust in the door at 3:15. Oh, except Wednesdays, Wednesdays I load Jonah up in the van about 2:15 and we go pick the kids and their friend up. It is the only day I have to pick them up and I am very thankful for that because I HATE IT. It totally messes Jonah up and Wednesday afternoons are therefore typically frustrating and unpleasant.

(As you’re reading this, it’s Wednesday. And I have spent my morning scouring #%$! thrift stores for a $%#!@ blazer and tie for Joshua because he has to dress up as his book report character Friday. WHY ALWAYS THE DRESSING UP?????? He chose Ronald Reagan.)

Weekends we run errands, go to church and house church, family birthday parties, etc. Sometimes we will have nothing to do, which Bobby and I love, but the kids are NEVER happy about. So it’s invent something to do, or listen to them complain, or punish them for complaining…

This is all I do. It is really not THAT much. And yet, it is more than I can handle. The sad truth is that when the big kids come in the door on weekdays at 3:15, I am almost NEVER ready for them to be home yet. My brain isn’t ready for the constant jabber (Sophie) or the drill-sergeanting Joshua through homework. I always have one more thing I’ve yet to cross off my list, and I’m not ready, I am just NOT READY to have two more living, breathing BALLS OF NEED standing expectantly before me.

I think maybe by 4:00 I could be ok. But I am never ready at 3:15.

This makes me feel terrible every day. As I am writing this, it’s 3:40 and Sophie is watching Jake and the Neverland Pirates and she CANNOT watch it without narrating it for me and I want EARPLUGS I WANT EARPLUGS so I can concentrate and finish this. Yesterday I told Bobby I thought I was having a nervous breakdown. He was at work, we were instant messaging. And he said. “Why? What happened?” And I said “Nothing happened. My brain is just too full and it makes me sad.”

Huh?? I think perhaps I have adult ADD.

And you, all of you? Probably do WAY more than I do. You have more kids, they play sports, or are in Girl Scouts, or you work evenings, or you homeschool…it feels pretty pathetic that I am never caught up on life when I don’t have THAT much to do.

But that’s the way it is. And I’d simplify if I could, but like I said, there’s not that much to cut out.

I think I just suck at being an adult. And I think that I would enjoy life so much more if I could just be still for awhile. But that doesn’t seem to be an option at this stage.

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  1. It’s the ADD, I have it too.

  2. Is there any way that maybe one or two days a week while Jonah’s at school that you could have some “me” time? Rather than rushing home to do chores or work on something, take sone time for yourself. I know that when I get frazzled, all I want to do is yell, “May I please be excused? My brain is full!”

    • I should do something like this, but then that just means I have MORE stuff to do…no one is picking up the slack for me while I’m having “me” time, which stresses me out more. VICIOUS CYCLE, right???

  3. I get it. I really do! My husband is out of town at least two – three weeks out of the month, and I go to school. I just have the one child, and he’s pretty self-sufficient so I manage to get all of my work done and the house kept in order and him taken care of…but it’s the loneliness that’s the most irksome. We weren’t meant to live these solitary lives, I don’t think! As humans evolved as hunter/gatherer groups the women all pitched in together and the men pitched in on their end, too. We were supposed to have help, you know? I’m not talking about a sister wife situation or anything (though my God wouldn’t that be helpful some days?!?! I don’t know about the husband sharing bit but the extra help I could definitely get on board with!).

    I agree with Shannon — take a day to take it easy. Or, maybe go out by yourself at night after your husband gets home to get a cup of coffee alone or with a friend every now and then.

  4. I know exactly how you feel. Or at least, I feel very similar to this. This is why I am doing that rest study because, dang-it, we are told we will have this peaceful rested life in Christ and yet …… Mine feels the opposite much of the time. Or maybe it is my spirit restless inside my life, but either way, I don’t think this is how it is meant to be. So I am determined to figure out how to have a quiet rested spirit in the midst of the crazy. I am determined to figure out how to enjoy and be at peace with the tumult that is this stage of life instead of wishing it away. Anyway, I am three weeks into this “Finding the Rest of My Faith” study and even though I have a long way to go, I think progress is possible. Don’t despair. None of us are really great at being grown ups.

    • I have been seeing a lot about your study on FB. Let me know what you think and perhaps I will embark upon it…I’m always wary of one more thing but I feel very Martha and Mary seems so impractical, which is SAD.

  5. When we were bringing up you 3, I felt like I was in survival mode much of the time and yet they were the best years of my happy life, as I look back. It is an irony.

  6. I can totally relate to this as well, so I’m glad you shared! I don’t have any great tips or wisdom, just wanted to let you know that you aren’t alone!

  7. I could have written this. I look at other SAHMs AND working moms and wonder how they get it all done when I just can’t seem to find the time. Like you, I have one in preschool for 3 hours each morning. I have found that it really, really helps to have one morning every week (sometimes every other week) where after preschool drop-off I go across the street to Panera, order a coffee, and plunk down in a booth to read a book for 45 minutes. It doesn’t work to do this at home- there is always something else demanding my attention at home. But if I’m out of the house, it works, and it helps. I still have time to run an errand or two before preschool pickup, but feel renewed when I get just a little “still” time, as you describe it.

    You’re not alone!

  8. A friend of mine who has 5 kids (pregnant with her 6th) has a college student that comes to her house once or twice a week. She was up front about the minimal pay (I think she pays her like, a $15 flat fee or something, and was firm about it being non-negotiable), but the student just comes over and does a certain set list of chores each week around the house. Nothing too taxing, nothing too involved, but just enough that my friend can take care of the other kids that she has, or take time for herself, or go to the grocery, or whatever.

    You’re SO close to UD. There has to be a student that could use $20 a week for a couple hours of easy work. Go to the student union or the sorority office (is that a thing?) and inquire. It sounds like you could use the break, and there’s nothing wrong with that! It’s more important for you to take care of your mental health than keep your house clean. 🙂

    Her blog is: http://etandrea.blogspot.com/

  9. It helps me not to compare myself to other (overachieving) moms. People put pressure on me to put my girls in Girl Scouts or whatever, but I can only do what I can do. Right now Girls Scouts is not a priority. We let them play sports if they want but I just can’t commit to running them back and forth to a bunch of extra things. I guess I am kind of a mean mom. Also, we rarely have friends from school over to play with our kids. I am so bad about that. I never want to clean my house either. I guess I don’t really have any encouragement, but I do understand. I suck at being an adult too.

  10. Stephanie S says:

    Another blog I read is Money Saving Mom. She wrote a book called Say Goodbye to Survival Mode. Here is a snipet from her site about the book. “In Say Goodbye to Survival Mode, you’ll find both practical ideas and big-picture perspective that will inspire you to live life on purpose. As a wife, mother of three, and founder of the wildly successful blog MoneySavingMom.com, Crystal Paine has walked the road from barely surviving to living with intention. With the warmth and candor of a dear friend, she shares what she’s learned along the way, helping you: feel healthier and more energetic by setting priorities and boundaries eliminate stress with savvy management of your time, money, and home get more done by setting realistic goals and embracing discipline rediscover your passions—and the confidence to pursue them Packed with straightforward solutions you’ll use today and inspirational stories you’ll remember for years, Say Goodbye to Survival Mode is a must for any woman who’s ever longed for the freedom to enjoy life, not just survive it. http://moneysavingmom.com/survival-mode

    While I haven’t read the book yet I find her blog helpful and you might find some good things in the book to help.

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