Monday, November 15, 2010

How do you do it?

Ridiculous, yet awesome tattoo
At least once a week someone makes a comment like 'I don't know how you do it' or 'I couldn't do all that you do'.  They are commenting on the fact that I work part time, parent two children (a 4 yr old and a 5 mo old), go to grad school part time, keep up with a regular exercise routine and whatever else they think I do with my time.  I am not saying this to be boastful, quite the opposite.  I think I'm pretty average.  I know women who run their own businesses and raise a family.  I know women who have special needs children and work full time. I know women who care for an elder, parent their own children, work full time and volunteer regularly. Millions of women do much more than I do.  Many of them without a supportive partner.

So in the interest of full disclosure here are some things I don't do:
  • Keep up on popular culture (I only recently figured out who this Justin Bieber character is)
  • Watch much television (I have a few special programs)
  • Iron clothes
  • Get manicures/pedicures/waxing or even regular haircuts
  • Talk on the phone with my friends and family (except my mom)
  • Go to the mall
  • Entertain friends and family
  • Keep up with Oprah
  • Go on date nights with my partner (wish we did more than a couple times a year)
  • Gossip (about real people or celebrities, except maybe Project Runway-related gossip)
  • Read magazines or newspapers (except NYT and the New Yorker on occasion)
  • Volunteer
  • Keep a tidy house
  • Remember to feed the cats
  • Stay up past 10pm
  • Gardening, even though I have a garden
  • Wash the car
You get the idea.  It's all a matter of how you choose to spend your time.  I remember reading once that how you spend your time shows your true priorities.  So in that case here are my priorities:

1. Children and partner
2. Interests, including exercise, internet, reading, television, crafts
3. Employment
4. Social network (friends and family)
5. Schoolwork
6. Housekeeping

I realized the other day that having your priorities straight doesn't mean having them written in stone.  From one day to the next my priorities shift.  Some days the goal is to write a paper.  Some days the goal is to clean the bathrooms.  Some days the goal is to survive the day without tears or shouting.  Every day is its own adventure with its own challenges and rewards.

So how do I do it?  I get up in the morning and do what needs doing.  Just like all the other super and not-feeling-so-super moms out there.  How do you do it?


  1. That is exactly how I do it, too. Get up in the morning, move from one thing to the next, get done what you can get done. My kiddo is only a year old, so I am still getting used to this acceptance of not always having things go quite like I would like them too (with my time, particularly), but I am finding that letting go of expectations for what I might get done in a day is not only quite freeing, but it is actually making me MORE productive. I try to take breaks when I need them, too, but mostly I try to keep my priorities in mind, just as you mentioned. My kid is tops, trying to give my partner more attention, then cleaning, then schoolwork (I'm part-time in grad school also), etc. I've got a lot of people in my life asking me where I am at because I rarely even get an email out to them, but I pull it off when they start asking if I'm still alive ;) I know one thing - I can't spend time writing (minimal joy for me there), so I appreciate every single mama out there who is using their voice and sharing their thoughts and stories! A big THANKS from me - you all fill my soul!

  2. Thank you for admitting that you forget to feed your cats. My cats were meowing like crazy yesterday, and I was like "um, you HAVE food." I FED you. Why did I ever bring you terrible beasts into this house?" That's when I realized I hadn't given them water in like, who knows how long? Um, our toilet was apparently too horrifying for even them to drink out of. . .


Thanks for sharing your thoughts.