Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to someone I have known since I was very young. In fact, she was actually close friends with my older sister. Nowadays, the two of us keep up through Facebook and one anothers’ blogs. This productive and creative friend of mine is a stay-at-home Mom of 3 who blogs and runs her own (Mom Upcycles) Etsy shop. She is super thrifty and crafty and blogs about how to turn the crap you would have thrown away into a holiday wreath or a new sweater. I’m getting ahead of myself. I should just let her tell you everything! Oh and she’s giving away one of her beautiful hand-embroidered hoops to one of you, don’t miss your chance to enter!
I’m so excited to have been asked to contribute to Hilarie’s amazing blog! Thank you!
I am often asked, “how do you manage it all?” The blog (which has been on my back burner as I work on my new shop, with only once-a-week posts), Facebook and Instagram social networking, my new Etsy shop, cooking, cleaning, a marriage, 2 babies under 3 and a teenager, not to mention our monthly 4 hour round-trips in to see family. (Whew, that was a lot to type!)
Well, a hint is that I’m typing this in the notepad app on my iphone.
In my yoga pants.
With a baby in my arms.
The answer is that I don’t manage it all. I do the best I can, in the best way I know how, and have made peace with that. This post is to reassure all the moms out there who may feel like they are failing if they can’t do everything that they are NOT a failure, and that it’s okay to do what you can, when you can.
I dream of leisurely days, where I can awaken, have a hot cup of coffee, shower, get dressed in real clothes, put on a bit of makeup, fix my hair, clean up the house, and then get to my other pursuits–my blog, shop, and social marketing and networking. That’s all a day like that is, though–a nice dream.
The reality of my day goes like this:
Awaken to a baby crying, nurse her, give her something to play with so that I can put on a T-shirt and yoga pants or jeans if they are handy. Run a brush through my hair. Change the baby, set her in her bouncer, make coffee. Catch up on social media while I finish half of my coffee. At this point, my 2 year-old cries and I get him out of bed, to the potty, and his breakfast made. Finish my now-cold coffee. Run up to brush my teeth, run back down to tend to my usually needing-to-be changed baby. The toddler demands his last few bite of oatmeal be fed to him (please, let this stage pass soon), and then he’s off to play. This usually consists of him pulling out every toy he owns and littering it around the house. I start a load of laundry at this point, and throw whatever is in the dryer on my sofa to be folded later…much later.
I recently signed my toddler up for ABC Mouse online, so I do a lesson with him at this point and my next activity depends on if he is playing independently or not and if the baby is content. If both are true, I usually try to work on stitching an outstanding order. More often than not, though, my stitching waits for naps. I’ll do some social marketing and networking during lulls in the day, usually. Also, while rocking the baby, I work online (like now). My Etsy shop requires daily maintenance, and my husband and I are even working on my very own store front as an alternate way people can shop for things he and I make, so that adds more online work.
Around 5:30, my teenage son comes downstairs to sit with the babies while I cook dinner. I do enjoy cooking, and making my family home-cooked meals is important to me, so I rely on simple meals, many of which you can find in my blog. My slow cooker is my best friend. I also love “cook once, eat twice” meals. If all else fails, grilled cheese and tomato soup are a standard fall-back for dinner. I manage dinner by meal planning each week. I know exactly which meals I’m making, and shop for them, so there is no guesswork at dinner time.
The day goes on in much the same fashion, until bed time. My kids are big night owls, so this is usually around 8:30-9:30. Finally, ME time!
This is when I take my bath, package up orders that need to go out, work on things that require the desktop upstairs (a laptop is on my wish list), sew, and/or stitch as needed. I go to sleep at around midnight every night.
The bottom line? No, I can’t be Super Girl. I can’t do it all. Things that are sacrificed in my life are housework and sleep.
My house generally looks like a train wreck and is in desperate need of a deep clean, and my laundry will never be caught up (did I mention that until recently, I cloth diapered two babies and now cloth diaper one?) but I refuse to worry too much about it.
My husband is incredibly supportive and helps me clean on the weekends, and my teenage son is a great help to me during the week, doing small chores like dishes, and picking up items on the floor, most nights. It’s a team effort in my house, and I’m really lucky to have an understanding partner. He doesn’t get angry about the mess and always makes me feel like I’m doing important work.
As for the sleep? Well, I have 2 children under 3, that I’ve exclusively breast-fed. I wasn’t sleeping much anyway, haha! I am also a night-owl and the night time had ways been my favorite time.
I make it work; we make it work. Some months we may not get to make the drive in to see family, and hopefully they’ll make the drive our way, or we’ll catch them the next month. Some nights are spent frantically picking up debris around the house, because I can’t take another second of clutter. Some evenings we have deli pizza or takeout.
My best advice for moms who are trying to maintain a household and a business, crafting, blog, strict fitness regimen, etc, is to not feel like you need to do and be everything. Let some things slide. You are human and your happiness matters. A creative or physical outlet can be the difference in a happy mom and wife and a miserable one. Surround yourself with people who understand this, and live your life doing the things you need to do to be happy.
I’ll end this with my very favorite poem, which is on my “to be stitched” list:
Song for a Fifth Child by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton
Mother, oh mother, come shake out your cloth!
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing and butter the bread,
Sew on a button and make up a bed.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking!
Oh, I’ve grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby, loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).
The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren’t her eyes the most wonderful hue?
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo.)
Oh, cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
But children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust, go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby. Babies don’t keep.
Thank you Stacey! AND thank you for offering this giveaway…
Stacey will send one of you this beautiful embroidered hoop and all you have to do to enter is:
3. Comment below and tell me where you’d like to hang this embroidered hoop. (I’d personally like this one in my entryway!)
I’ll select the winner on Monday, April 28th. Good luck to everyone and don’t forget to check out Mom Upcycle’s Etsy store for more hand embroidered items.
Thank you Stacey for your wise words…I’m always learning from you!