First off, I have to say how thrilled I was to have a reader I didn't know about. Honestly, it is so cool to find out someone new is reading your blog. Kerry, an old (sorry, I'll rephrase...) former high school mate of mine posted this question: "How do you manage to get so much stuff done and still work? I'm really impressed with how you seem to manage your family and keep things really fun for your kids."
So, here is my (long winded) answer:
Surprisingly this is not the first time I have been asked this question and my response is always the same...
1) I don't manage to get it all done! That is why my house is falling apart, weeds are in my garden and my bed is never made.
2) It is also the reason I only work half time. Working half time makes a HUGE difference in our lives. I am not nearly so tired and feel like I have time to think. It also makes a difference for my husband because he doesn't have to do so much when he comes home at night since I have had more time in the day to do the basic chores or errands.
3) I hire a house cleaner! 3 years ago almost, I decided I wanted to make my life happier. I thought about what was in my life that I didn't like and the biggest thing was cleaning the house. I always procrastinated and I didn't like the house being dirty. It forces us to tidy the house every week and having the house clean helps keep us healthier (or at least that is how I convince myself to keep the cleaning lady)
I, like everyone else have priorities and my priorities are family & friends, house stuff and work (teaching grade 6, so right now I have the summer off - yeah!).
My family takes up a lot of time...
1) My 2 kids: cute, active, adventurous and funny, but also very time consuming. Playdates, sports clubs and activities, then simply keeping them entertained when they aren't anywhere else and then constantly cleaning up the mess after.
2) My parents and sisters and Jay's parents ... AND all the cousins: they live so far away and I do love them all incredibly, so I spend a lot of time on the phone and taking and sending pictures to try and keep in the loop, as well as blogging of course.
3) My husband, why do I list him 3rd and not 1st or 2nd? Primarily because we take each other for granted... well, its true! You know we are always there and around, doing things for the kids and making time to get house chores done. We don't have as much time as we would like to spend quality time together, but we seem to get by on what we do have and we get along so well that we don't seem to "need" a million movie dates and suppers out to stay close.
House stuff takes the next priority, yet it never seems like we get anything accomplished around here. Mainly it is because honestly our friends our the next priority. We know we have to work on the house and garden, but usually we opt for a playdate or walk around the neighbourhood to spontaneously visit friends instead. What can I say, we love our friends and neighbourhood!
House stuff, the list goes on forever.... we are lucky to get the dishes done, sweep the floor, clean the mess the kids made, get groceries, fill the car with gas, mow the lawn, water the plants... all the necessary things usually get done within a reasonable time, it's not like we have a heaping kitchen sink for days with fruit flies all about or anything, but my floor does not get swept daily and my lawn does need mowing as I type this.
Work, it isn't that work is my last priority, actually when I'm at work it is my top priority, but when I leave I tend to mostly forget about it until I'm on my way to work again. I love teaching: I love the kids and the fun assignments and the rapport you build with a kid, but I really hate the politics of teaching and the amount of work that has to go into assessment. I honestly wish I could just teach and didn't have to assess at all. Unfortunately, many kids would not try near as hard if they knew they were not going to be tested somehow and without it I just wouldn't know who needed more help :(
Jay's work on the other hand, that is a different story. He is the one who makes the big bucks that allows me to only work half time, so it takes more priority than we would like sometimes. Luckily for Jay he really likes his work and he likes a challenge, too, but he doesn't care for having to balance work with family because... well, because it is hard and stressful! His work isn't always busy, but right now it is, so nothing on the house is getting done at all and he spends the free time he does have with his family.
After all of that being said, one thing that I find interesting is that people do seem to think we do lots of fun and different activities with the kids, but to me that is normal. I think that is just what moms and dads do. Maybe because I live in suburbia it just seems that way and in reality our kids are lucky to have parents who do care so much and try hard to give them a balanced life and new experiences.
And the last thing I want to say to all my lady friends out there... it always seems that there is someone out there that is doing it all. Their house is spotless, they are always looking good and on the go doing lots of things and seeming in control, but in most every case I have been able to find "their flaw". (It's sad, but I do look for the flaw - it makes me feel better about myself and NO, I am not telling you what your flaw is... hopefully you already know) There is always something that they are not doing or something extra that they have to help them out. It's very refreshing to talk about these issues with girlfriends and find out that they aren't doing it all either or that they too feel very overwhelmed, stressed or even anxious. When we start talking about it, we realize we are not alone in this busy parenting world and it really does make it a little easier to cope! Remember, I have a falling apart house, my garden constantly needs weeding and my bed is never made!
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