You can’t. Sorry.
A couple days ago, I got a call from my Mom who asked what I was doing. I told her I was cleaning. She not so subtly paused as if in shock and asked “What, are you bored?” I was offended for a minute and stammered something like “What, I clean. I pick up. How do you think the dishes get done?” In actuality, I may clean, but not in the way that my mother means (at least rarely). I also cook, but pretty much, it’s easy; hamburgers, grilled chicken or spaghetti from me. More often than not it’s “fend for yourself” and my kids do cereal or macaroni and cheese.
Anyone else out there like that? Anyone else sometimes feel, I’m not a good mom? At least not in the “old fashioned” sense. I used to be Sally Homemaker with every holiday, but now I only decorate for Christmas and the 4th of July. I jump on offers to go elsewhere at all other times so no one notices.
I work way too much from home and I let my kids be lazy and play video games and watch Netflix way too much. Sometimes, I even get paralyzed by my list of “to do’s”, so I sit and watch movies with them.
How can I live with myself you may ask? I’m writing because what helped me in part was hearing another mother struggle with other people’s ideals, and yet she still came off as a great mom. Her name is Jennifer Fulwiler and she wrote a book on the issue called One Beautiful Dream. I highly recommend it. It’s her story of how she navigated life as a super busy, semi crazy, very endearing mom. She had to figure out and follow her path, as we all must. We need to figure out what we are being called to do, what our strengths are, and how to fit that in.
For me, what’s important is whatever is important to my kids. It’s being there for family and friends, it’s listening, it’s learning, it’s helping others, and it’s my faith.
What’s important to you? Do you fit it in? If it’s a clean house, cool! It it’s a great meal, fabulous!
All I know is, my house is not going to be as clean as my Mom’s unless I win the lottery and can hire a maid. I won’t try out too many new recipes until I don’t have to work so much. But, I will love God, my children, and my family with all my heart, mind, and strength, and I will try to find the time to show them in a way that works for us.
So, don’t worry about appearances. Take the time for what matters to you. I am.
And please, forgive me if you don’t hear from me for a while. I still love you, but the truth is: you can’t do it all.