doing it all

I received an email {very sweet} from a blog reader {and friend of my sister}. Here is a piece of it:

“I am completely inspired and overwhelmed by all of your fun posts.  I am so amazed that you have time and energy to do all the things you do, with four little ones.  I just had my second baby in Jan and only hope to get to my ever growing to-do list of fun projects.  How do you do it?  and I was also wondering, how do you organize it all?  if you were willing to share I would love to hear, that is my struggle, keeping all my projects and dreams organized.”

First of all, I am humbled by these kind remarks. I am inspired by so many other women’s blogs so I am happy that my little blog can inspire others.

Now, I’m not exactly sure how to approach this for fear of sounding like I have it all figured out, because truthfully, I don’t.

But I’m going to say a prayer and trust that the Holy Spirit will say what He needs to say through me. 

Here it goes.

Moms have it tough.

Let me explain.

There is this struggle in every mom I know to be the best mommy to our children, but also be true to ourselves. To have a life outside of our babies. To have dreams and interests and hobbies and opportunities to wear real clothes. 

Regardless of whether you are a working mom or a stay-at-home one, we all feel the pressure to do it all. And do it all well .

I certainly do.

I want to home school my kids, grow my business, sew a dress for Audrey, run some errands, keep my wood floors clean, make a healthy dinner, work out, spend time in prayer, be a good friend, play with the boys, read too many blogs, spend time with my husband, fold laundry, watch a tv show or two, go to book club, send handwritten notes, call my sisters AND redecorate my office, all in a single day. 

Anyone else out there?

And the problem is, I think I should be able to do it. And do it well.

But the truth is, I can’t.

Let me remind you {my sweet readers and friends} that a blog is a place to put your best face on. What you see here is my house when it is picked up, my kids when they are smiling, me when I look cute, projects that worked. I want to be vulnerable and honest in all I write, but truthfully, I also want to appear put together.

What you don’t see is my dirty bathrooms because I would rather sew than clean them. Or the piles of clean clothes that don’t get folded for days because I’d rather read a book than fold them. Or my children watching Curious George at 5pm because without that precocious monkey I would not be able to make dinner.

What I’m saying is that there is a trade-off.

Sometimes my boys play for hours by themselves. Sometimes I feel terrible that I am not upstairs creating lego masterpieces with them. Sometimes I am just thankful that they play so well.

Sometimes we eat out so that I don’t have to do dishes. 

Sometimes I don’t shower for four days. I’m not kidding. And by sometimes, I mean most of the time.

You get the point.

We have to make a sacrifice in one area to be able to achieve in another.

SO, to answer the question of how I do all that I do, let’s just say I make sacrifices.

But in a very practical way, here are some things that help:

1. I don’t watch much tv.

2. Audrey is the easiest baby alive.

3. The boys play well together {with an occasional eruption now and again}

4. We have several go-to activities for them that keep them occupied and are readily available. {We moved my office to give them a ‘lego room’ so that they can create to their heart’s content and I don’t have to find legos all over the house.  Our kitchen table is usually covered with colored pencils, paper scraps, scissors and drawings of monsters and battles and pirates.  The backyard, while I’d like to keep it nicely groomed, is often the site of ‘rat traps’ and mud making.  Dart guns and foam swords are favorites, as are every blanket and pillow in the house for fort making.} I like to keep things picked up and in order, but I regularly have to remember that part of my job is to encourage the boys to be creative and sometimes creativity is messy.

5. We have a monthly menu of dinners so I know what I am making and have the ingredients on hand.

6. Ryan is a firefighter and has a great schedule for having a young family. He is home quite a bit and helps out a lot.

7. I stay up late.

I’m not sure how to wrap this one up, but I hope this answers the question.

Remember the story of Mary & Martha?

Luke 10:38As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. 40But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"

41"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, 42but only one thing is needed.[f] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."

I think that sums it up perfectly. We need to choose what is better. We can not do it all. We must make little choices daily, little sacrifices, let some things go, allow for messes and unfinished projects and dirty bathrooms and too many kid shows and in the end, know that  G R A C E  is what gets us through.


  1. That was such a wonderfully honest post. I too let some things go so that I can enjoy other things. I too don't post pictures of messes on my blog. Right now there is clutter all around our house but it will wait. It will still be there when I have the time to deal with it. We have baseball game after baseball game, field trips, the school assembly, a wedding shower and one of my son's birthdays - all this week. We all have to remember that Martha has a staff - that is why her life can look so neat and orderly. Martha also has a staff that comes up with the majority of the ideas that are on her show. I know I feel pressure because of Martha. I have to remember that I cannot hold myself to those standards. Reality isn't perfect! Have a wonderful day!

  2. wow I a totally encouraged my this post. Sometimes I feel like I am the only mother out there who does those things. I loved how you ended it with the story of Jesus and Mary and Martha. Such a perfect example. Thanks for this post. I love your blog.

  3. Wow Emily, Bless your heart. I love that you are keeping it real and letting others know where your strength comes from. I use to say all women have been dealt a bad hand by making us think we can do it all. Remember that commercial they use to have where they said Mom can bring home the bacon and then cook it up in the pan because shes a Woman. Now I am humming the stupid song in my head. Anyhow it can not alllll be done. Someone will alway suffer and it is usually the woman. In life we eventually learn it is all in the balance with anything and everything. It sounds to me that you have your priorities straight and more power to you!! Happy happy Mothers day and thank you for beign so REAL!! Kathysue

  4. This truly ministered to me and at just the right moment. The Lord really spoke through you to me today. Thank you for being vulnerable.


  5. Hey there,
    I've been following your blog for about a week or so, and you hit that nail on the head. Glad to know I'm not the only one in this boat with probably too many "wants" to-dos and oddles of children! I just have to pray for Jesus to steer me in the right direction every day, becuase he know what will matter most! Thanks for the post!

  6. Perfect post. It's good to be reminded the "true secrets" to motherhood ... and perhaps womanhood in general. Like today, instead of doing laundry and housekeeping and painting at my house, I packed up the baby and painted two rooms at my bf's house JUST because I'd rather spend time with her and laugh and have some girl time where I'm not "on the clock".

    I enjoy your blog so much -- and pray you are as encouraged by it as we are!

  7. Thank you for this post, it was great to hear and came at just the right time! :] Your blog is an inspiration and I look forward to your posts!!

  8. lovely post. a little reality check is what we all need. have a fabulous mother's day!

  9. Well said, great post... and keep writing (after you finish your book of course!)

  10. perfectly said! thanks. Happy Mother's Day!

  11. I totally identify with you and I really appreciate your transparency! Thank you.

  12. Anonymous8.5.10

    great post... you said it all so well and read my mind!! I wish I could do it all too and love so many of those things. There is a trade off and most importantly I am realizing every day if I am not connected to the King.... all of it is lost.

  13. So so glad I have found your blog. A beautiful and truthful post. I've wondered the same thing and felt I must be doing something wrong that I can't get it all done. Your to do list made me laugh out loud. It looks like one of mine and, of course, everything would be done well. Thank you for the story of Mary and Martha, God sat with me recently and gently showed me why Mary had chosen better. Love you personal style, it's inspiring!

  14. Loved this. Happened upon your blog just today and can so identify. Thanks for the honestly. Something has to give. Glad I am not the only mommy that sometimes forgoes cleaning the bathroom to make another dress for my little girl. :)

  15. I totally agree also. It's definitely tough being a mother, especially to little ones...especially to a bunch of little ones. It's also tough when you want to be OCD but know that it's pretty much impossible and down right selfish at the same time. My mother wasn't and I don't want to be either, but I find myself getting frustrated not being able to get all those little things done, that in the big scheme of things, don't matter at all. Not now or later. So right on! And a Happy Mother's Day!!

  16. awesomep post! love your honesty about the shower..growing my hair for a ponytail for that very reason!;;;

  17. Such an awesome post and somethign I really needed! Thank you!! I think I will have toprint this out for when I want to do everything. :)

  18. You nailed it in those last few lines. Praying I don't miss the "one thing needed" in the midst of trying to do all the million things not-so-needed (but wanted). This post is a keeper! Blessings to you...Linsey

  19. jacquelyn12.5.10

    Thanks for such an inspirational post. It is easy to lose sight of what truly matters! Love reading your blog :)

  20. Anonymous16.5.10

    You're so lucky. "Oily skin" peeps HAVE to shower everyday. I have 5 little ones and only ONCE after one of the pregnancy did my hormones stop the oil production for a short time. For a week I woke up with beautiful glowing skin and hair that looked like it was freshly washed and styled. But eventhough I didn't look like I needed a shower I took one anyway out of habit. I should have take adventage of that while I had the chance. :-) I've always been jealous of women that don't need to wash their hair everday.

    Anyway, I've enjoyed reading through your posts. I found your blog through a mention from a different blog.

    Ps. I love the nursery!!!!

  21. OMG, I just happened to find your blog and was going through your posts, and then this one came and WOW!

    You sound like me and I only have 2 babies, but I kick myself when I read about others who have it so put together. I am in awe of the stuff you do and the office is beautiful and I am truly inspired, but if you make others feel inspired, today you also made another mother not kick herself.

    Thanks for reminding me I am a normal again!