I Don’t Do It All ~ Kelly

While I’m “away” on “maternity leave,” I’ve invited some amazing women to come and share their hearts with y’all. These ladies will be dropping in to inspire you with their strengths + their shortcomings–because in this age of Mommy Wars, what we really need is a reminder that none of us can Do. It. All.

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Today, I’m thrilled to welcome Kelly! I have been following her blog since before I was married and have had the privilege of calling her my e-friend for many years. I absolutely can’t wait to meet her in person one of these fine days. This lady: She is Proverbs 31 in action, y’all!

So…now that I’ve set the bar super high (lol!). Tell us a little bit more about yourself, Kelly.

Well, here’s my story. I’m a wife, as well as mama to 11 children. My husband and I are simple people, making life on a farm in the deep South, working together, by God’s grace, through the ups and downs of life. We homeschool and run a few small businesses here and there.

I am a blogger at GenerationCedar.com, fulfilling my passion for writing, ministering to women, and running a business all in one. Because I write and sometimes speak on different topics to women, some people assume I have arrived at something and must have things more together than they do. If there is one thing I wish the internet world knew, it’s that I am just like you, struggling along the way, desiring to be a better wife and mom, but often failing and reminding myself to stop trying in my own efforts but to look to Jesus, the One whose grace is sufficient and who delights in demonstrating His strength in my weakness.

I am an introvert, which surprises people because I’m not shy. But I’d rather be somewhere quiet, thinking, planning a business idea or writing, with my children and husband close by, than anywhere in the world. I struggle with depression and went through PTSD a year after we lost our home and land in an F-5 tornado.

Okay, so maybe even Proverbs 31 women struggle. That’s good to know, because you do a lot. I mean, cooking for 13 is a Herculean feat in an of itself. What else do you DO?

Writing is my passion. I love that when the Lord brought me home from teaching school to take care of my children and family full time, he also gave me, for the first time ever, the time, inspiration and outlet for my passion of writing. I also love marketing and graphic design stuff, and blogging is an opportunity for all of that. Of course it’s far more part time with a house full of people, but it’s there and I love the flexibility.

I also have a creative flair, enjoying repurposing old items into new ones. I have a vision that one day our family will be able to live solely off an upcycling business.

And, because you hinted there might be a few things: What DON’T you do? 

I don’t stress about quite a few things, and I chalk that up to my country way of life. I’m painfully logic, and I try to apply that to areas of my job at home. When my kids start to look or smell dirty, I make them take a bath. I don’t have an obsessive nature over germs. In fact, I think our cultural obsession with germs may be the cause of our weak immune systems. Mamas can relax on this one, I think, and their children will be healthier for it.

Along those lines, when a child loves to wear the same shirt for 4 days straight, I let him. Fewer clothes on the floor from his rummaging in his drawers, and less laundry. I’m hugely practical. If we can treat an earache at home, we give it our best shot before a doctor visit. (One word: peroxide.)

While I would love for everyone to keep a perfectly ordered drawer, I finally realized that I can teach my 4-year-old to keep his own clothes picked up off the floor and I’m halfway there. I can teach him how to fold them neatly a little farther down the road. I try to let them do as much as they can do and let go of expectations that are too high.

I don’t always serve meals on real dishes. Paper plates save us a lot of time.

I don’t do what isn’t necessary with homeschooling. For example, I’ve never purchased or used a phonics/reading curriculum. All of my children age 6 up, can read well at their level. Just teaching them the sounds of letters and letter/vowel blends (which can be done with paper and pen or a simple book) and practice is all they need to learn to read. Similarly, we rely on copywork for the bulk of our grammar/spelling lessons. It’s easy and effective.

I don’t cook breakfast. (And now my bacon-frying mother buries her face in her hands.) I can barely formulate a clear thought in the morning, so I have not tried to force a self-imposed expectation that causes lots of stress. I have coffee, and they have cereal, yogurt and fruit, oatmeal (they hate it) and sometimes pancakes that the kids love to cook. I do cook breakfast on rare occasions, just not daily. Or weekly.

I don’t follow a “schedule.” A busy mom who has had long seasons of interrupted sleep feeding newborns has to be flexible. So I am. I get up when I feel rested and we start the rhythm of our day, whether that’s at 6 am or 8 am. I don’t do school from 9-1. We do school after chores. Whenever that is.

I am so relieved to know you aren’t perfect. (Though, I’m still impressed with the cooking for 13, paper plates or not.) Before we say good-bye, I know you must have some super tricks + tips for all the mamas out there!  

A few things that can make managing a (large) family easier:

  • First, keep an eternal perspective. In the thick of fulfilling needs throughout the day, remember that this work is good work, adding up to eternal work. Let that give you the motivation and energy to keep going. And then, be as practical as possible during the challenging years.
  • Make sure your hormones are level. Unstable hormones can make the simplest of tasks overwhelming. (Ask me how I know.)
  • Become an expert crockpot cook.
  • A set of lockers acts as loss prevention for school books while neatly concealing it all.
  • A large ottoman (bought on clearance at a bargain store) with storage doubles as a toy box, making living room pick up quick and easy without the clutter.
  • Have a 10-minute afternoon pickup. Set the timer and have everyone help tidy up before dinner preparation. It makes the whole evening run smoother.

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Thank you so much for stopping in to encourage us today, Kelly!

If you’ve been inspired by today’s post, please be sure to visit Kelly at GenderationCedar where she shares her heart on motherhood + marriage and challenges the status quo of our current culture by pointing her readers right straight back to the Gospel. 

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:
  1. Who are you?
  2. What do you DO?
  3. What DON’T you do?
  4. What tips + tricks can you share from the trenches?
I can’t wait to hear from you!!

14 comments

  1. Racheal Isbell says:

    My name is Racheal Isbell. I have been blessed by the Lord to be a friend, a neighbor, and I call her my mentor. Kelly has really opened my heart and my eyes through my own struggles. Everything I read is on point with the Kelly I have become to love and cherish as my friend. She is a blessing to anyone that has the opportunity to meet her or speak with her. Thank you for this time to express my feelings about this incredible woman!

  2. Jonna Marsh says:

    I enjoyed reading Kelly’s answers! I’ve known her since she was my piano student in 2nd grade. She’s an awesome wife and mother. When my daughter was in high school, we attended meetings at Kelly’s house. Because of the influence of these wonderful mothers, my daughter chose to be a stay at home mom!

  3. Penelope says:

    I think the author may be over-generalizing by saying a reading curriculum is never necessary. (“I don’t do what isn’t necessary with homeschooling.”) For some children it is necessary.

    I tend to prefer homeschooling advice from moms whose kids have established a career and are self-supporting. Since Kelly’s kids haven’t done that, perhaps she should refrain from giving advice in that area.

    • 6 arrows says:

      Penelope,

      You’ll note that Kelly also said, in the paragraph whose first sentence you quoted, that “Just teaching them the sounds of letters and letter/vowel blends (which can be done with paper and pen or a simple book) and practice is all they need to learn to read.”

      That IS what a phonics-based reading curriculum will provide. It isn’t necessary, IOW, to buy a pre-made curriculum to teach sounds and blends when a parent can easily do just what a purchased curriculum does.

      The above advice, by the way, comes from a mom –me — who taught her oldest daughter to read in the same way Kelly describes. I never bought any curriculum to teach my daughter to read, and she is now 23 years old, a successful, self-supporting veterinary technician at a major veterinary hospital in the U.S. (I threw that in there because you say you “tend to prefer homeschooling advice from moms whose kids have established a career and are self-supporting.”)

      Except I don’t think you’re as interested in that as you are in casting aspersions on Kelly with your second paragraph. Good homeschooling advice comes from a wide variety of homeschoolers, not just the narrow field you claim to prefer. Your problem is with Kelly herself.

      Perhaps you should refrain from following her since you have an entirely different worldview and agenda.

      A troll is a troll is a troll, no matter on which site s/he appears.

  4. Bethany says:

    6 arrows – I would hope disagreement wouldn’t be termed trolling. However…

    Penelope – while a reading program may be needed for some homeschoolers, it isn’t something Kelly has needed. She does have an adult daughter, and all of her school aged children can read. That’s success in my book!

    I believe that homeschooling moms of grown graduates have a valuable perspective to offer, but we moms in the trenches do, too. We have our fingers on current curricula and being in the thick of it, we don’t run the risk of remembering things a little more rose colored than perhaps they were.

    Homeschooling, in my experience, is a diverse and gracious community: We each have something valuable to offer.

  5. D. says:

    6 arrows, your response to Penelope was not necessarily very gracious.

    Something to note though in response to Penelope’s concern is that it is much more remarkable to teach your children how to read without an already-put-together curriculum. As long as they are strong readers, it may not matter so much HOW they learned.

    Success should not be measured by a lucrative career or how self-sufficient one is. Anyone knows that a career can crumble and turn one’s life up side down.

  6. 6 arrows says:

    In light of Bethany’s and D’s responses to my comment from June 11, which addressed Penelope, I want to apologize for my ungracious tone. I am sorry to anyone I may have offended, and Penelope, if I have misread your intentions and hurt you in the process, I am truly sorry.

    Bethany, if you see this, you may certainly take down my original comment, because, though I had good intentions in writing it, I did not convey them in the manner I could have.

    I will leave it at that, as I note that the irony of having to eat humble pie on a blog called Baking Humble Pie is not lost on me. My sincerest apologies for the disruption.

    • D. says:

      For Penelope’s sake, I hope she does check back to this blog post. Thank you, 6 arrows, for your humble apology. This is how we show that we are truly followers of Christ!!! God bless you. 🙂

  7. Juli says:

    Thanks Kelly! I’m a mom of 10, two grown and out on their own. I don’t cook breakfast either. Glad I’m not the only one! I also like to simplify homeschooling. After 18 years, I’ve tried a lot of methods and curriculum. Teaching my kids to be independent in their work has been beneficial for us. Thanks again for being real Kelly!

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