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Doing it all

I don’t know how she does it


If there’s one question I’m asked most when I speak about tiny & little – or in the context of being the mama of three boys so close in age – it is “how do you do it all?”

How do I fit in the art, craft and cooking?

How do I find time to blog in between running a home?

How do I keep on top of the housework while having three children?

How do I do it all?

When you see photos here or on the t&l instagram of my family life with the little ones, it can look like I have things under control. It appears that I make fingerpaint in between baking cupcakes and reading books, but what’s unseen speaks volumes.

For every photo of a little one’s painting, chances are there’s a basket of unfolded washing on the dining table. Or three. Or six.

If you see a tweet where I’m cooking a treat with my boys, it’s highly likely the bathrooms haven’t been cleaned and my bed is unmade.

If we’re playing dress-ups, it’s almost certain that part of my pretend play involves imagining that the dishwasher doesn’t need to be emptied and refilled with the breakfast dishes.

You see, there are two things that I believe in. That I know are true for me.

I believe that I can have it all – family, work, play, a picture perfect home – but I know that I can’t have it all at the same time. My expectations for each are too high for what I can achieve right now. I can’t spend the time giving my children the childhood memories I wish for them, devote the time to family and friends that I know they should have, carve out time to create the work that I lie awake at night dreaming of while still having the time to polish the silver, have all the toys packed away neatly and know I have the pantry of my dreams where everything is labelled and all the labels face perfectly towards the front so they’re easily read when I open the door. There are too many hours in the day already, yet not enough to pursue all these things that to me would mean having it all. So I have learned to accept that for the stage of family life I’m at right now, something has to give.

When it comes to choosing between chasing that illusion of the perfect life, where I have it all, and spending time with my little ones, my family and my friends, they will always come first. Always.

So when people ask how I can do it all, I politely smile and reply simply “I don’t.

And I can’t say when I will, for childhood is such a short time that flies by so quickly and the housework can wait.

We now begin a new week of busyness and beside my list of what needs to be done are the notes of what I wish I could do this week but in my heart I know I won’t. I’d like to, but curling up on the couch to read stories or strolling the streets to collect twigs and feathers would be so much more fun for all of us.

So, tell me, what will you not do this week to spend time with your tiny and little ones?

  • Avatar
    Posted at 11:34h, 18 February Reply

    Thankfully my rugrats are all capable of contributing to cleaning the house now. It’s a blessing when you start to get moments of time back from the demands of being a mum. It means the time I DO get to spend with them is more about them, than what we are doing (get dressed, where’s your . . . .).
    So, my washing will pile up on the spare lounge waiting for me to watch my precious recording of Elementary to distract me from folding! Today is rainy and once homework is done – I think Monopoly will be coming out!

    • natalie
      Posted at 14:12h, 18 February Reply

      It must be great to be at the stage of getting moments back for yourself. I’ve accepted that this is what it is for me for now but know that before long I will reach that stage too – it’s only a couple years away and that time will fly. Enjoy your recording!

  • Avatar
    Ms Midge
    Posted at 14:00h, 18 February Reply

    I get asked the same question lots. I think it’s great that you’ve been able to express that your life isn’t picture perfect, because I think a lot of people think these days, because of all the social media, that there are families out there who have the perfect life, because that is what is portrayed on their FB page or whatever! I like keeping it real and letting everyone know that mine is far from perfect, and in fact, sometimes it’s mania mixed in with hilarity! xx

    • natalie
      Posted at 14:08h, 18 February Reply

      Very true! Social media makes it easy to present an image of how you want the world to see you and there are people who only share the ‘perfect’ moments. I’m like you, much prefer keeping it real and besides, all that mania, hilarity and mess is what makes being a parent so great. xx

  • Avatar
    Posted at 17:46h, 18 February Reply

    I feel exactly the same Natalie! I often have Mr 1 in my arms or jiggling on my knee as I do lots of the things Mr 4 and I do or in the carrier “helping” us cook. The washing and washing up always “suffer”, my wardrobe is constantly a mess and I don’t spend anywhere near enough time on stuff that’s for “me”. But they are only little for a short time and I want to give them the best childhood I possibly can. For me it’s the boys and then good food that get my attention. Xxx

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