I've had a lot on my mind and heart lately. Mostly because it's been a busy month…potentially one of the busiest I've ever had in my life. And that's saying a lot. I decided to give myself 15 minutes (yeah right…45 minutes later…) to sit and write a quick post to answer a question that I seem to be getting asked more and more lately…
“How do you do it ALL?”
Brace yourself, because I feel it's finally time I share the secret I've been hiding about how I manage to have 3 successful businesses (and an additional 2 for Bubba), 4 perfect kids 5 and under (and another on the way), an abundant social life, plenty of time at the gym, a spotless house, patience for days, home cooked meals nearly every night, and a blissful home full of endless dance parties and no misbehavior or bickering. Ready for my secret?…
I'm really sorry if this kills any pristine image you might have had of me. But it's true. I DON'T do “it all”. In fact, I hardly do “it” at all. Here's the reality of what my life is like right now…
I have 4 kids that are seem to be constantly fighting and snapping at each other, because I'm pregnant and grumpy 85% of the time and find myself snapping at them more often than usual. Amazing what kids pick up from us, eh? Even Bubba and I have been snappier at each other, again, because I started the awesome trend. I'm tired 100% of my day, mostly from being pregnant and anemic, but also from staying up until 12 or later trying to get things done (which I never seem to get anything done), being awaken at least 1x per night by at least 1 kid, and waking up way earlier than I'm ready for because my kids wake up at the crack of dawn.
I am a stay at home mom…trying to work nearly full-time hours the past few weeks. It doesn't work. I'm staying up late, or completely ignoring my house, or taking my kids to a play place with wifi so I can squeeze some work in…all the while feeling guilty about it. I'm building a huge budgeting program, 2 new websites, I've taken on a major YouTube project (info coming soon!), I've had national TV segments pop up lately (so exciting! But take SO MUCH TIME). I've missed deadline after deadline, my inbox is overflowing, I'm behind on all my projects, and sometimes I feel like I'm spinning my wheels. I know this intense workload is only for a short time, but it kind of feels like treading water while losing steam.
Dinner has been an after thought lately. I know how important it is to meal plan and some weeks I do great. But these last few weeks have been so intense, stressful, and packed, I literally can only manage to get a freezer meal in the oven, with little to no sides or veggies to go with it. Thank heavens for the freezer meals.
My house. Oh, my house. Some days I feel like it stays pretty clean, if we have a house showing or company over at some point. Other times it – literally – looks like this:
So I'm truly sorry to disappoint, and I hope this doesn't discourage anyone. But I have to be honest…
I'm not. I'm not “doing it all”.
In fact, sometimes I feel like I'm not really doing much other than adding more to my plate and making things more complicated.
I am coping. And sometimes thriving.
I have avoided complete mental meltdowns, am accomplishing some huge goals, and have still found time to have fun. How?
Here are some of my tips for getting through the hard weeks:
I have said no to several local TV segments, get togethers, blog events, and other things that I would normally be ALL over. Something has got to give, so I've learned to prioritize and say NO to the things that don't make the cut. Have you noticed I haven't been on Periscope lately? It's one of my favorite parts of the week, I look forward to it every Monday. But the truth is that I can't spare the 45-60 minutes it takes for me to pull one off. I know 45 minutes doesn't sound like much, but right now, every minute literally counts. So I've had to move it down on the priority list because it doesn't directly help me accomplish any of the things I'm working so hard on right now. The time will come when I can bump it back up the priority list, and I look forward to that day!
As busy as we both are, Bubba and I still make date night a priority, and we still find time to host friends and family in our home. All things are very important to us.
Finding time for fun
Sometimes it's hard for me to relax (literally, my shoulders are killing me). But it's important to know when to put the mop down, shut down the computer, and have a little fun. My family came to town for Thanksgiving and I ignored all responsibilities that didn't have to do with them, or the Holiday, for almost an entire week. We played games, had movie nights, and laughed a lot. Did it make this week harder and potentially more stressful? Yeah, not going to lie. But it's fine. I had fun, I needed it, and created memories with my family that are far more important than any other project I have going on.
Letting things go
Like this post, for example. I probably won't even be able to proof read it and it's killing me that I can't spend the typical 4-6 hours that a post normally takes. But my family and kids are top priority. So right now my house is a mess, because I took my kids to the aquarium yesterday instead of cleaning it. Yes, it's driving me nuts, especially because I just cleaned it a few days ago! But I'm headed to New York in 1 day to do a super last-minute segment for Good Morning America (surprise! yay!) and all hands are on deck to get ready for that. Though I turned down local TV segments, GMA is a huge priority for me so it's worth letting things go for.
I have a huge deadline Wednesday for a new YouTube project I've taken on so things can wait until that's done. Fancy homemade meals from scratch can wait. The decorating for Christmas can wait (as much as I hate it). The shopping can wait. The house cleaning can wait. I just won't allow drop-in visitors inside, and will close my eyes when walking through my laundry room. But once my project is submitted Wednesday, I can spend 1-2 hours focusing on my house, for that will be priority before I leave for NY, then when I get back, the top priority will be to get Christmas in full gear in the Page Household! Dreaming of my kitchen looking like it did just a few days ago…
Making lists like my life depended on it
I picked up a paper planner and have been using it to almost an OCD degree. I write EVERYTHING down. Where I'm supposed to be. When. Why. To do lists. Ta-Da lists. Christmas stuff. Meal planning stuff. Grocery stuff. Anything that I would normally rely on my brain for, I no longer rely on my brain for and put it on paper instead.
Again, right now my blog/work stuff is way busier than normal. My goal was NOT to be a working mom, but to have my blog on the side while my kids sleep. Right now it's much more than that, and I'm working so hard for the next month or two so I can step back considerably in the New Year and work very little from here on out. So right now, I have to accept that I need some help! I'm currently looking for a cleaning crew, and as soon as I find one, I plan to have them come regularly to help me deep clean my house.
Recently we had a college student living in our basement, working as a mother's helper in exchange for rent. It was amazingly helpful to have another set of hands to run to Costco for me so I could take my kids to the museum, or switch out the laundry for me while I was taking the kids to school, or walk our dog for us when we were out of town. Sadly, she's getting married and moved out so I don't have any extra hands. But I've had to hire sitters a few times this month as deadlines came up that couldn't be ignored. I can't do it all. And I feel like as long as I have a deadline and timeline so that this crazy phase doesn't last forever, I feel no guilt in getting help in the meantime to make sure it's all done so my life can slow down!
I can't NOT give credit to Bubba. He is SO amazingly helpful. He is extremely supportive and hands-on. Without a supportive, helpful husband, I'd be more of a mess than I already am.
Give myself some credit and stay positive
As women we are hard on ourselves. I think it's so easy to focus on everything we AREN'T doing, rather than celebrate what we ARE doing. I try to make lists of things I've accomplished and keep my goals in mind, the top of the list being my family. So sure, it bugs me that we don't have 2 warm sides with dinner each night. But the last few weeks, we are lucky to be eating at home at all. It would've been much easier to order pizza or take-out so I'm proud of myself for pulling out freezer meals, making super quick spaghetti or quesadillas rather than getting Wendy's each night.
Staying positive is a huge thing for me. If I find myself feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or stressed, I just try to put a positive spin on whatever it is that's bothering me.
“I have so much to do.” The reason I have taken on extra projects is because they will allow me to work less in the future. So while it's all piling up now, in a few months it will set me up for being able to accomplish my goals, while working WAY less.
“My house is a mess.” At least we had fun today!
“Our schedules are so full right now.” It's the Holidays! How fun! There's so much going on, enjoy it because the season will be over before we know it.
Pray. A lot.
My ultimate priority goes to my religion and God. It's easy for me to accidentally slide that down the priority list when I have 8 days worth of laundry to catch up on. But I find that when I make an effort to keep spiritually matters as #1, I seem to have the strength to make it through another day.
So, there you have it.
I'm not exactly sure what the purpose of this post should be, whether it makes you feel better or worse. I guess all I want you to know is that
YOU are awesome, YOU are enough…and YOU are not alone.
We all get overwhelmed, even me. Especially me.
Please don't spend even one second comparing your worst to someone's best…on social media, no less! With all the editing, filters, and fanciness. You are enough, and you are doing GREAT.
Yes, I'm busy. Yes, I feel like I never get anything done. But I am super happy in spite of it. I make the conscious decision to wake up every day excited, and to love my life…or to do whatever needs to be done to make it a life I can love.
We all go through hard seasons, easy seasons, and everything in between. There are times and seasons throughout our lives, and I just so happen to be in a manic one. Thank you for your patience as I might seem a little scattered right now…because I am 🙂
So I'm sorry to disappoint, but the secret is no, I don't do it all…and YOU shouldn't expect to either. But I do what I love and what's important to me, and I hope you do too. Not all at once, and maybe not very well. But I wish that we would all choose to live with intention and intense focus, and strive to be excited to wake up tomorrow and see what it has in store for us.
…messy kitchen and all.