Tuesday, April 19, 2011

How do you do it?

This is a question that I hear all the time. People asking me, people asking others, inside my head thinking of others, and reading online how others think this.

"How do you do it?"

I've been thinking about this recently. And, over the past months have realized that we all do things that others wonder how we get done.

First of all, I think that we all just do what we have to do. Each family has a slightly differing set of circumstances that set what must be done. How many children are in the family, work schedules, childrens ages, how those children are educated, and on and on.

None of us really fully knows the whole picture of someone else's life unless we are living it! We know what we can see, but not necessarily the entire picture.

I don't know how I did it when I had a just-turned three year old, one who was 18 months and a newborn. But, I did. Because I had to.

Another thought: There are a lot of things I don't do. And, things that I do that my friends don't do and so on. When we look at someone else and wonder how they do it - I wonder if we are thinking how we would add something like that to what we are already doing? But, is there something that we are doing that she isn't? Plus, how do her circumstances impact that? (as mentioned above)

Here are some things I don't do:

* Attend a Bible Study
* Teach Sunday School
* Schedule lots of play dates.
* Help with AWANA
* Belong to the church choir or a book club or anything that meets in the evening.
* Drive my children to school.
* Work outside the home.

See what I mean? You probably have your own list of things you don't do that looks a lot different than mine. There is nothing wrong with any of the above things, this is just my current list of things that I am not doing which means I have that time allocated differently.

One last thought: We will make time for the things most important to us. This question (how do you do it?) is usually directed at me regarding all of my creative projects. Crafting, sewing, having a garden, doing special things, making things pretty, making my own things, etc...

First of all, if I did not enjoy those things - I would have very little motivation to find time for those things. But, I do enjoy those things: they energize me and inspire me and refresh me. So, they are important to include in my time.

I relax on other things to make time for the things that energize me. And, it does not mean that I have hours a day to do crafty things. The goal is balance.

Here's an example: I love planning fun birthday parties for my children. Shocking, I know. I have a friend who admits to not enjoying the planning of a birthday party. When we talk about this I always say - then don't do it! If it is not fun, energizing, or beneficial to you and your family - don't! If I didn't enjoy it, I would not do it to the extent that I do either.

What is important to you and your family?

Most importantly, what is it that God wants us to be doing? For each family, this is going to have a different look and feel since our lives are going to differ in so many ways (as mentioned at the beginning.) As I frequently tell my girls - we can't control if someone else is doing what is right, but we can make sure we are doing what is right.

How do I do it? How do you do it?

We do what God has given us to do, the best we can (with His strength and to His glory) and we trust Him to guide us individually in how we manage and fill our time!

Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength."


LynnMarie said...

So true about people trying to add what you do to what they already do. Great point. I do work outside the home so takes 8 hours a day away from what I really want to do! Thank you for not making me feel guilty about that.

Amy said...

So true! We really can't compare what we do with others, but rather just need to make sure that we're doing what God would have us do! He has made us each different...I love how you bring this out! And the need for balance! Very encouraging this am! Thanks!

Chrissy said...

You hit the nail on the head! We all are in different seasons with our families and have different priorities. "No" is absolutely a part of my vocabulary. Even as a homeschooling mom, if I took every opportunity that came my way, I'd never be home! I pray constantly that my priorities would reflect the priorities that God has for me and my family...

*carrie* said...

Great post, Monica. I have both asked and been asked that question. You are so right that none of us knows the full picture of someone else's life!

I recently read an interesting section in The Tightwad Gazette where Amy D. wrote a list of the things she doesn't do. I've been pondering that lately.

Love you!

Anonymous said...

Very well stated!! Have a great day!!

Tim, Allyson, and kids said...

This is so true.

I've also heard that when we compare ourselves to others we compare their outsides with our insides... We look at everything they are doing that we are not and easily forget about the things we do that others may not.

When we compare we look at the "all put together and looking pretty" version of others and compare it to the "just out of bed, no time to shower" self. Not a very fair comparison to say the least.

Amy said...

Thank you for this post and thank God for the timing of it. I was just in tears about this very thing yesterday when I got an email from a friend about all of the stuff she was doing. I was thinking- all I do is stay home with my kids. God is working in my heart to see my job is so much more than that and it is an important job. Thank you for your reminder!

Lisa @ Simply Things Family said...

Thanks for this wonderful post. It is about balance and priorities. I do have friends that complain all the time about having to do this and that. That is very unproductive. Step back and evaluate your life. See where you need to spend your time.

Nikki @ Saving For A Rainy Day said...

Great post and you ended it with a perfect verse!

Some times when I have a guest in my home and it looks a little neater than usual they ask 'How do you do it?' (I have 4 children) I chuckle and say 'Smoke and mirrors!'

Kendra said...

Lately, Mon, your blog has just become more REAL. I love it! Thanks. :)

~katie~ said...

Great insight, Monica. I am continually asking God and my husband to help me prune my activities to invest in those which are the priority. So often, it's easy for me to get off track. I love that each of us are given different abilities, talents, and gifts, and each of us can use them in and out of the home for God's glory. I love that we all are so different, yet all of us can strive for the same ultimate goal(s) in unique ways.

Heather said...

Thank you for this post! I've been thinking a lot about this, too, and read these verses this morning (Galatians 6:3-5 in the Message):

Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don't be impressed with yourself. Don't compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.

Gal. 5:26 is good, too:
...that means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.

I like that last one because often when I see someone doing something better than I do, I assume they're better and I'm worse! But we're not supposed to compare at all--just do the best with who we are and what we have.

Thanks, Monica! :)

Debra said...

Great post, Monica. We all have our priorities and it really all comes down to that. My daughter is 9 and things have changed so much since she was born - what I do and don't do. I still schedule very little at night-when she was very young I scheduled nothing. It was nice to see that someone else does the same - that's our family time and we try to keep it sacred. Thanks again!

Paige said...

I did a blogpost last week with the exact title!

Amy said...

Wonderful post! Just what I needed to read today.

Wendi said...

Great post! I use to get all caught up in what others were doing and then start comparing myself. Not good! Thankfully I have moved past that (for the most part). I am learning to live my life for the ones that matter most; God, husband, daughter and myself.

Now if more people (including myself) could move past judgement and more into encouragement and helping one another.

Anonymous said...

Very well stated, Monica. You have great insights into the Word and what God wants us to do.

Thanks for sharing.

Love, Grandma

Lee said...

Thank you. I often look at other bloggers and wonder how they do it. Rather I need to continue to ask God what he would have me do.

Elise said...

Ha!! A friend and I were talking about this the other day, and times before as well. It seems that people have perfect homes, perfect children, cute crafts, etc., but we know that really isn't reality all the time. Its so easy to get caught up in comparing, also. One thing I've realized it that I live in my house, with my family{that God gave me and TRUSTED me with}, and I cannot constantly do another new craft, new decorating, etc. We darn near kill ourselves I think with the hectic pace that everything seems to be going at. Thanks for this post!!

Mom said...

I had a chance to share this subject with the young mom at my office (you know who I mean!) when she was in my office today looking at the newsletters you create for your littles. She was talking about how creative you are, how many fun things you plan for your family, etc. -- and since this post was fresh in my mind, I was able to help her see all of the things she is doing that others either can't or don't do. Great reminder no matter what season of life we're in! Love you, Mom

1pureheart said...

I LOVED your post...it's so true! As woman we easily compare ourselves to other women...instead of being content with who God created us to be.

angie said...

This post helped me in a rather unique way. I tend to get anxious when anticipating all that needs to be done within a certain period of time. (Sometimes, the timelines are totally self-imposed.) I recalled how difficult it was to have time to get things done when my children were young. Yet, the important tasks got accomplished. Knowing how quickly that time passed, I want to remember to slow down and enjoy this season of life.
Bottom line for me: If I am not happy with what I am/am not getting done, I need to re-evaluate and re-arrange my priorities.

Nancy at EmbroideryIt.com said...

This is a really beautiful and TRUE post. It seems for me that instead of people asking me "How" I do it, they as "Why" I do it. People don't understand that I get enjoyment from cooking, gardening, sewing and crafting. They get more enjoyment from texting and facebooking. Maybe they are just more social than I am. I see myself as having hobies. In my observation, I don't see them having any hobies and they have housekeepers, gardeners etc. to do their work for them that I myself enjoy doing.

Anonymous said...

I so appreciate this post Monica! People ask me this question regularly as well. My twins are 18mths old now-baby #3 will be here in abt 8wks. My husband is a homicide detective and works crazy hours. I work one day a wk as an "ask a RN" (he's home w the kids that day). How do I do it? I have no scheduled committments, my home isnt perfect, sometimes I wonder how I'm going to get to the store to get milk-HA! But I have kids who have either their mama or daddy here w them at all times (or an occasional grandparent or cousin in a pinch!) and we focus on what's important to us as a family right now. I too LOVE LOVE LOVE to craft but unfort at this season of life that has had to be put on hold-sleeping takes priority for me right now! hehe
Jill (from KC)

Jodi said...

Ever since you first posted this, I can't STOP thinking about it! I was in a similar situation as you at one time too. :) I had all three of my kids within 3 years and 3 months. I got asked all the time "how do you do it?" And I agree...you just DO. My kids are now 6,5 and 3 years old and they still keep me busy!

What has me thinking though, are all the things on your "don't" list. I am currently doing almost everything on your list! I am a "stay at home Mom" but I teach music lessons a couple times a week. I am constantly saying "yes" to things I probably should not. Your posts have really been getting me to think about ways to eliminate...I plan on making my own "don't list" and I'd like to make the list LONG! Right now, it would be blank! Ha-Ha

Anyway, thank you! Keep up the great posts! :)