While I was “away” on “maternity leave,” I invited some amazing women to come and share their hearts with y’all. The series was such a success, I decided to make it an on-going thing here! Every Thursday, mamas of every stage + season will be dropping by to inspire you with their strengths and their shortcomings–because in this age of Mommy Wars, what we really need is a reminder that none of us can Do. It. All.
Today, I’m thrilled to welcome Daisy! Could you share a little about yourself with us?
Hi! I’m a long-time reader of this blog and its previous incarnation, from back when Sugar was a baby. My oldest is a little older, but not by much. I have four children now, the oldest being 9 and the youngest being not quite a year old. I live in the Finger Lakes region of New York, although we’ve lived in several states (including Washington!).
Such a small world. I do miss the Finger Lakes sometimes, especially in the fall. So, Daisy, as a busy mama of 4, what do you DO?
Well… I suppose my main focus is to keep the home running. There’s a lot that goes into that, obviously. I don’t do all the chores in the home myself. I feel like the manager who needs to keep an eye on everything in order to have life move along smoothly.
I place a high priority on cooking. Several of us have health issues which mean we do best on a whole foods diet. I’ve developed quite a repertoire of recipes over the years, with meals from all corners of the globe. I enjoy cooking, but it takes up a lot of my time.
I also do the lion’s share of the day-to-day parenting things like doctor’s appointments, shopping, homeschooling, outings, catechism, that sort of thing. Homeschooling could have a category all its own, but we have a pretty good system set up right now. My oldest two are third and fourth graders now, and once we got all the initial curriculum angst over with, we found what works pretty well for everyone. When something doesn’t work, we tweak it, but it doesn’t take a whole lot of energy. (Knocking on wood!!)
Oh, I am knocking on wood with you! With my oldest in fourth this year, I feel like we’ve finally got a good curriculum groove going, and I do NOT want to jinx that! Lol!
So, what DON’T you do?
Uhh… lawn care? And shoveling snow? Basically, if it happens outside of the home, I’m not the one in charge of it. I tell myself its purely logistical – who would be watching the kids if I’m out trimming bushes – but if I’m completely honest, it’s just that those things aren’t my forte!
Cleaning is probably my weakest point, although I’ve gotten better with it over the years. I try to keep my house pretty decluttered at all times so at least I can tidy up a few times a day. I do keep things sanitary. The dishes are always done, and so is the laundry. The floors are vacuumed, the beds are made, messes are cleaned up, trash is taken out, and so on and so forth. But I realize that even if I were to spend all of my waking hours cleaning, I wouldn’t have an immaculate house. I often repeat to myself, “Cleaning the house while children are growing is like shoveling the sidewalk while it is snowing.” It’s true. Smudges, crumbs, spills… yeah, they’re kind of part of the whole parenting gig.
I also don’t do a lot of scheduled extracurriculars with my kids. At most, we have one activity for the older kids going at a time, but there are sometimes weeks (or even months) before one ends and another begins. My kids do get out of the house a lot – we go to the hiking trails, the beach, nature centers, museums, visiting with friends, and the like. But at their ages, I don’t think they’re missing out. I realize this may not be appropriate for every family (older kids with definite interest, few siblings to play with, etc.) but for us it’s vital to not to have those time constraints pulling us in all different directions.
I hear you. It is so vital to be in touch with your own family and honest about what works (or doesn’t!). Before we sign off, is there any last minute advice you have for your fellow mamas-in-the-trenches?
I’m really a huge fan of early bedtimes. Since my kids are very early risers, it’s really not realistic for me to wake up before them and get a head start on the day. I’m basically on the go from the moment I get up. (Right now we don’t even have a joint nap time for the two littles, although I hope we’ll be able to get on a better schedule by late summer at least!)
By the end of the day, I’m really ready for some down time. After an early dinner and baths, I put the toddler down to bed, and essentially send the two older kids to their rooms for some quiet time. They read, draw, play with puzzles, do some crafts… basically they unwind. And I do too! I make a cup of tea, do a few hobbies, read, write, or just sit outside on the porch swing and enjoy some blessed silence. Or I’ll just sit and veg out in front of Netflix or take a bath.
What I will NOT do, however, is catch up on chores. Even if it would be easier to do some things in the evening, after the kids are in bed, I don’t. I finish up everything that needs immediate attention – BEFORE quitting time. If it’s not urgent, I make a mental note to get to it first thing in the morning. And then, poof, magic!! It’s out of my mind. It doesn’t bother me at all to return that one email (that I know won’t be seen until the next morning anyway!) or sort socks or… whatever. If it was important enough, it was finished already. If not, it can wait.
I used to feel like I was wasting time by “doing nothing” and so would use the evenings to take online grad school classes, or try to do some freelance work. After my fourth was born, though, I realized that I had too much on my plate for that. I’m grateful that I don’t NEED to work right now and really can just use that time to recharge.
Making a sacred commitment to quiet evenings means some sacrifices – we don’t do evening plans. Like, ever. But on the other hand, we wouldn’t be doing a lot of those evenings out with a toddler and an infant, either!
So glad you’ve found a way to work some reliable self-care into your busy days! I think that’s definitely something most mamas can resonate with.
Thanks so much for joining us today, Daisy, and sharing your heart!
We have been blessed by some wonderful voices so far in this series…but there’s still one missing. Yours!
Are YOU a mom who Can’t Do It All? (And really, who can?) We’d love for you to share your story here at Baking Humble Pie! Just contact me with your previously unpublished submission of 500-1000 words, answering the following questions:
Who are you?
What do you DO?
What DON’T you do?
What tips + tricks can you share from the trenches?