Ahh, the old question some of us moms get from new moms...especially if our kids are older or we have more than two. Well, I am here to dispel the myth. I am here to reveal the truth of how we do it all and get it all done and maintain such well behaved kids and look so fabulous.
We don't. That is it. We just don't.
You see a miniscule glimpse into our life when we are out and about. You cannot imagine what it might have taken to get out of the house. There were compromises, probably arguments, almost certainly frustrations and delays...and DO NOT under any circumstances, ask to see what the house or inside of our van looks like now that we have made it out of the house. Because they both look like the whole family has been actually living there. You also assume that the smile on our face or the well behaved kids mean we are perfect and have all the answers. Nope. Not even close. What goes on inside us is doubt and anger and joy and thinking and pride and frustration and second guessing and strategies for getting through the rest of the day and night. The kids might have been manipulated and groomed for what they were heading into. They may have been bribed. They may or may not have underwear on. Just saying...They may have some medication in them, or maybe just coffee. Who knows. Some days go better than others. Some are a surreal dream. Some are a surreal nightmare.
The point is--regardless of appearances, we all live our life. We have kids that obey, and disobey. We lose our temper, and are kind. We wonder why our day is going poorly. We struggle to find time to read the bible and pray. We wonder why we have no energy. We forget to set food to thaw for supper. We have lists everywhere. We forget to write things on the list because we moved from one room to another and lost the thought. The kids fight. The kids leave things all over the house. We have messes. Laundry piles up. Dishes are always dirty. Someone is always hungry. Kids have to be constantly reminded to pick up and put things away. They argue. We argue. We discipline. We break away for a few moments alone. We sweep and mop probably 20 times a day. Sometimes we let it all go because someone is sick, or its really nice outside. Sometimes home is clean and sometimes it is not. Sometimes we all get along and sometimes we don't. Mostly you see the product of daily habits of picking up at regular intervals through the day, spending time on good character and relationships (things that matter in the grand scheme of life) rather than lots of academics and sports, and a hearty work ethic in the form of chores (aka life skills). When we have an event (think party) you see the product of a few hours of serious cleaning. Some of us are more OCD with cleaning than others. Some are more relaxed. Pop in randomly some day and you will see.
"I want to come watch you and shadow you for a day to find out how you do it"....Ummm, nope. Not going to happen. Know why? Because the moment anyone steps into the house (besides those who live there) the entire dynamic changes. It isn't real. We now have "company". The kids know it. I know it. And besides, every single day is different. You need to be a fly on the wall. You would see life as it is. And it would make you feel really good because you'd instantly realize you are actually doing a pretty great job. You are surviving the way everyone else does...by finding your own path.
So the bottom line is this--we are all struggling, because marriage is hard, parenting is hard, life is hard. But it is also very, very joyful. Joy and happiness are choices. Life takes hard work. It is not for wimps or lazy people. There are no manuals anywhere for your exact situation. You just have to keep walking your path, seeking wisdom, applying what you learn, and praying for a good outcome. If you don't like what is going on, examine the circumstances and start thinking about ways to make work it better for you and your family. That takes work and time. No one can, or wants to, do it for you. But it is certain that little effort will yield little results. You are not a tree. If you don't like where you are, move. And remember this line from Its A Wonderful Life--It is better to want what you get, than to get what you want. Bloom where you are planted. Tend to that garden you were given.
You may not see it but your influence is great. Sure, your life and your kids aren't like other people's. Theirs aren't like yours either, you know. Somewhere there is a mom or two who looks at YOU and wonders how YOU do it all. Did you know that?
You are capable of being enough for your family. They love you deeply. Love them in return. That is the secret. But if it makes you feel better, wear a cape. That's cool too.