Tuesday, March 28, 2006

How do you do it?

I have had several nice emails that alude to the fact that I am some supermom that has it altogether. Today I am writing, first, to dispell any myths that you are believing to be true about me in regards to this matter, and secondly, to tell you where I am coming from and what drives me to do what I do. I hope you take this the way I intend it to come off- not as boasting....I am totally NOT boasting about myself. I simply want to share a little bit of how my life "works".
I am a busy mom of 4 kids at home, ages 7, 5, 3 1/2, and just turned 2. My 5 year old has developmental delays and special needs. So, that in itself, if you are at all familiar with child-rearing is a daily challenge and definitely a full-time job.
I have a great support system in my husband and nanny/friend at home. Chip and Rachael help me out in so many things- they carry a lot of the work load that comes from a busy home and schedule; I couldn't do what I do without them. I appreciate all the extra things they do, the little things- like dropping Brock off at school each morning or emptying the dishwasher at night- these things allow me to have my morning quiet time and blog time too.
After the death of my daughter, Teagan, I struggled with so many things as you can imagine, and one of the biggest things was that what had mattered in my life prior to our accident, suddenly lost all meaning. Things like vacuuming the floor, or making the bed. Really earth-shattering details, I know. I happened to have been raised by parents who took pride in our home and how we cared for our things and ourselves. Not in an obsessive or glamorous way, but we tried to keep our place neat- we didn't jump on furniture or let the dishes pile up in the sink, or have junk all over inside our cars. I was really torn after our incident- how the idea of homekeeping and self-care suddenly lost it's purpose. I struggled with finding some sort of balance between my grief and heartache, and the fact that life still had to go on.
I don't remember exactly what it was that realigned my focus; it was probably a combination of time, attitude, and my hubby pushing me to accept the reality of my life.
I realized at some point then, that there were things in my life that seemed meaningless, but they still had to be done. I decided one morning to look at my life as a job- meaning mothering and keeping house and all the routine that goes into that. I realized how much I missed Teagan and that nothing in my life was more important than being a mom and wife. I realized that God had given me my family and that in reality I was being who He wanted me to be. I felt like I was "working" for Him. I think it helped to refocus my priorities in life. I decided I was going to get up each morning and be the best person I could be that day, whether it meant making beds, meals and folding laundry, or giving a statment in court before the local judged handed down the sentence to the woman who killed Teagan. I thought about it this way- if I were working outside my home (which I do as an event coordinator at weddings), I would probably go to work and do my best each day. I would want to impress my boss and coworkers and feel good about what I was doing. I would probably try to earn bonuses or get meet goals...all in the best interest of myself and the people I would be working for. I translated these thoughts into what I was doing at home. Afterall, don't I love my husband and kids 100 times more than coworkers? Of course! So why not try to do my best for them each day?!
This is the attitude I live with each day. But it's important for you to know that I do not always have a perfectly clean home, or 100% happy kids {or hubby!}, or a giddy attitude about dust bunnies and piles of dirty laundry. What I have is satsifaction that I am doing my best and that it does matter, to God and to my family, how well I manage myself and our home. Somedays I would win "Employee of the Year award", and somedays I think I should resign from my position- I'm underqualified.
I do know that God gives me strength to do what needs to get done, He gives me the choice to do the work with a cheery attitude (or not), and He loves me even when I fail at my attempts to be a great wife and mom. I'll admit I still need to work on consistency- somedays I say, "There is more to life than crumbs, so let's just enjoy the moment"...and another day I'm about to go nuts if one more thing gets thrown on the floor. I'm a woman, I have hormones and good and bad days and all that stuff- so it's bound to happen.
The good thing is that each day is a new opportunity for me to do it all again~ this time even better! Now, I best go get my bathroom cleaned up and I think I'll start a load of laundry too!


ScrapHappy said...

As usual, awesome thoughts, Jody! I am thinking about many of these same questions, as you know -- and last night I posted on my blog about the importance of making choices. So how do YOU make choices and prioritize, knowing that your family is #1, yet there are so many other loves and interests in your life (friends, church activities, scrapbooking, kids' activities, blogging, etc.)?

I am interested in how other moms do this!
Lain (Who as usual has BIG questions)

Michelle said...

I had to comment on this post as I was also haveing these same kind of thoughts yesterday. My husband and I both had "rough" days and he was nice enough to point out that I can not get "fired" from my job like he can!
It is true though, that on those days that I make it my "job" to do all the household things, things do run smoother. Unfortunately there are many days when I want to be doing other things for me! Finding that balance is so difficult! Perspective is the key once again..sitting on the floor doing a puzzle with the kids is much more important that getting those dishes done!
I think you do have a lot of this figured out, but think you may enjoy this book all about being a happy housewife!http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0060859202/sr=8-1/qid=1143560498/ref=pd_bbs_1/102-8778774-5359334?%5Fencoding=UTF8.


Christina said...

Jody- I'm so with you on this.
Motherhood IS our Job and we need to give it all that we can. The things we do at home make us holy- even cleaning the dishes and changing poopy diapers.
They are what connect us to Christ on the cross- our daily crosses, especially if you loathe doing dishes or laundry or changing those diapers.
Our work is our prayer offered to God. When you think of it that way, it makes it so much more meaningful.

And then there's chocolate to help us through the rough spots.;)

I've read several great books about balancing it all out... they are from a Catholic perspective, but they've helped me get a grip: Holiness for Housewives and A Mother's Rule of Life are great.

Christina said...

one more thing... as Lain asked, how do you find the time do fit it all in.

I think it has to do with prioritizing things as well. You have your scheduled things and then you have your things you want to do and the things you have to do.

I have to scrapbook. I do. It's my creative outlet. Do I get to do it everyday? no. But I try to plan it in on other days.

Today I HAVE to iron. When am I going to do that? Still not sure, but I'm hoping to get one kid down for a nap and let the other play his v-smile and iron before the shirt stack is taller than me.

okay. all done.

Rhonda said...

I think your personality is a direct reflection on how you handle your life priority list.

I have seen people so uptight and crazy over a spot on the carpet or a pile of laundry. Thank God that is not me. Day to day life is going to happen whether you are laid back about it or freaking out about it. I choose to be laid back. Then when people see you not as stressed as they are they think you handle it so much better or have such an easy time of it.

Jada's Gigi said...

Ecc 3:1 To every [thing there is] a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
I find that if I have everything in a designated time slot...at least vaguely, then I get more done and have less guilt about doing things I want to do since I know there is a time a;ready appropriated for the "must do" tasks. Makes life so much easier...
S.H.E.(Sidetracked Home Executives)saved my life! :)

K :) said...

Wow, once again, I feel inspired by your words and wisdom. Ok, so today is the day...my home life is becoming my job and I will be employee of the year!!! Thanks for the encouragement and the gentle push to get it into gear!

Kori said...

wow, i needed that! your words are very inspiring as are the other comments made. thank you! i think being a sahm is by far the best job anyone could ever have BUT there are days that test our abilities to be a good mother & wife. i often times need a swift kick of reality to realize it isn't all about me and i have to make personal sacrifices also...like maybe not scrapbooking for a day! :)

manababies said...

I never thought to look at my "job" this way. Admittedly, I would have been fired long ago, probably for insubordination, tardiness, and sleeping on the job. But the amazing thing is that even on my bad days, the kids are so forgiving and accepting - which an employer probably would not be!

Marilyn said...

All I can say is Wow. Way cool thoughts Jody-I am glad to be reminded how important my job is. I am a mom of 7-they are almost all grown up. I have 3 still at home-coping with the teenage years. One thing I can say is that I agree with jada's gigi-Ecc. 3:1. From my perspective as my kids are older, I realize that there are seasons and times in all our lives. Sometimes you get to take care of little tiny kids and as they grow older, sometimes you get to do other things, volunteer, pursue extra outside interests, etc. I know it is really hard, but your time will come eventually where you will have time to do the sorts of things that seem so impossible right now. But I have always tried to do the important things first-my own spiritual nourishment, physical health, etc. I need to be creative to be happy too-so I have tried to make times to do those things, scrapbooking, quilting, sewing, etc. If momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy! Ask God every day what is your most important priority today- Lots of love sent to all you mommies with little ones! I was there once!

Anonymous said...

Lots of good comments here and I wanted to give my 2-cents as well. I've got the "empty nest" and grandkids now and as Marilyn said (I agree) that there are "seasons" to our lives. One thing I counsel younger women is that you need to find time for yourself to "fill up". It's important to nourish your spiritual self. If you're a mom of small (pre-schoolers) there is a wonderful group called MOPS. Google it if you're not familiar with it and find a group near you! It's Mothers Of Pre-Schoolers and is a great place to gain friends, encouragement and support! If you're past that then find a good Bible study in your area. Another thing is to get some exercise (yea I know that "E" word!). It not only will help you maybe lose some lbs or get in shape but boost those endorphins for your mental health as well. If you're married, nourish "that" relationship by going on dates weekly or at least once a month! You are a mom only about a 1/4 of the life of your marriage and you "need" to keep your marriage "the" priority!!!! When your kids are grown they aren't going to remember "wow, my mom had a really, really clean house!" They'll remember the time spent with them....and whether their parents love on another or not.
Clean houses are a nice thought but dust will always be there~I've found! :-) Don't stress over what is really inconsequential. It's relationships that are the most important. When it's all said and done and we are in Heaven God will ask us..."what did you do with your life?" He's interested in you......and in people and how we treat one another! Blessings to you all!

Jen said...

Just blown away by all this. No comment needed!