Motherhood is a constant battle of this or that.
I laugh at my pre-mom self who thought I was so busy. Insert kids and “busy” takes on a whole new meaning. There are a million things that need to get done in a day. I don’t know about you but my windows of time to “get stuff done” consist of the time before my boys get out of bed in the morning, during their naps, or after they go to sleep at night. In my previous life, I severely underestimated the amount of time it would take to keep a home clean, do laundry, and meal prep for a family of four plus one fur baby!
As most parents do, I have the desire to spend quality time with my kids. I want to teach them the finer things in life–like how to eat with a fork and wipe their own butt. In all seriousness, I want to engage them on a daily basis, teach them manners, and find educational opportunities for them to take part in. I also want them to be silly, laugh, and have fun. Most importantly, I want them to learn how to love others and be kind.
House and kids aside, I also want to find pockets of time to do things that make my soul happy. Part of me feels a smidgen of mom guilt for even saying that, but I have always been a firm believer that when your cup is full you can freely give to others without resentment. For me, things that fill my cup are coffee chats with friends, having date nights with Cody, exercising, reading, spending time in nature, and studying the Bible. What is it that makes you feel connected and sets your soul on fire?
You are probably wondering what I am trying to get at here. My point is that you can do anything, but you can’t do everything. This is why motherhood is a constant battle of this or that. When you choose to spend your time doing one thing, you are opting not to do another. There is nothing wrong with that–it’s the nature of life. You just have to be mindful to spend your time in a way that best aligns with what your family needs that day and what your life priorities are.
There are some mornings that you put on your cape and become Lady Laundry or Bottle Washing Beauty and dang it, it feels good to get your chores done. But then there are mornings that your soul is thirsting for attention and you choose to hang up your cape and spend quiet time reading a book or sipping hot coffee. (Yes, like actual hot coffee.) Those mornings, dishes may sit in the sink, but you are able to go into your day with a happy heart. Girlfriend, some days your kids need your heart happy more than they need a clean plate. Food tastes just as good on a paper plate, but a cold shrug is not the same as a warm hug.
There are some nap times when you meal prep the hell out of your week. Washing, chopping, and prepping everything in sight. You label containers, write your weekly meal plan on the cute chalkboard in your kitchen, and snack on perfectly cut cheese cubes and almonds. But then there are those nap times that you snuggle with your dog on the couch and watch Ellen. You rest your mind, you aren’t constantly thinking of the next thing that needs to get done, and you escape your to-do list. Some people may not qualify those nap times as productive, but maybe you needed to rest and recharge so you could survive the early evening bewitching hour. At the end of the day, kids would rather have a frozen pizza than a fancy meal and a frazzled mom.
Sometimes, after the kids go to bed you scurry around the house picking up all the toys. You get milk cups and breakfast ready for the next morning. You finish folding the laundry, start the dishwasher, and get the coffee pot ready. But then there are those evenings that you spend really talking with your spouse–recounting the day, helping to problem-solve each other’s problems, or talking about where you want to go on vacation the following year. Maybe you didn’t get as organized as you like to be, but you were able to connect with your spouse on a deeper level. Or maybe you decide to take a bubble bath, enjoy a cup of hot tea, or read a good fiction book snuggled in bed. This may help you wind-down from the day and settle your soul before tomorrow arrives.
Whether you choose to do this or that, there is no wrong way to spend your time. Look into your heart and see what you need to thrive each day. On the days when you are rockin’ your chores like a boss, own it. On the days when you set your to-do list aside, own it just as equally. When you are true to you, in every single moment, each decision you make will enhance your life, thus enhancing the lives of those around you. And that is really the end goal for many of us, isn’t it? To positively influence the lives of those around us.