Friday, January 7, 2011

It's the most hecticful time of the year...

 We kept the first half of our year intentionally quiet.  As in, we didn't do much of anything, while we eased into regular school activities and routines.  It was heavenly. But now that the holidays are over, and we are in full swing of extracurricular fun. 
I wish I was super mom and could handle a jam-packed schedule, with the finesse that my girlfriends seem to have.  They sail from sport, to club, to lesson, to function with the greatest of ease.  Alas, I can not.  I start to panic sometime around 3:00 pm on Monday afternoons, as I eyeball the rest of the week.  I begin feigning a cough, and pleading a headache, before the smallest of appointments.  My regularly scheduled dental cleaning becomes a personal retreat from the madness.  I know.  That's bizarre.  (Honey, I'm always up for an afternoon at the spa round about Mother's day... just saying.)
So this year, having learned from past over scheduling, I planned it according to my personality.  I let the kids each pick one thing.  Ava chose ballet (bless her precious little girl heart!) and JJ chose a twice-a-week tae kwon do class.  But..... even with them choosing only one extracurricular item, we still seem to have some sort of activity nearly every night of the week!
This brings me to the reason for my post.  How do y'all juggle life?  What do you do to make it easier?  I'm super organized, but I feel like once the flurry begins, I'm always behind on something.  I'm with a child nearly 24-7.  Not a complaint, merely my reality. Thankfully, my darling, and life saving sis-in-law has graciously given me a free pass for a few hours, one Friday a month, and I'm takin' it!  Plus, I was just able to get the kids enrolled in a Science class twice a week- which means I now get two whole hours to my own self each week!  I can't really go anywhere, but two whole hours!  Two!! 

Also, as I jump into this Etsy thing, I'm a little afraid to getting swamped and in over my head. (Which is another reason I've been putting it off for so long.)  I know balance is key, but how exactly do you balance everything, and still get enough sleep at night?  (Which incidentally has also become a real issue for me.  Once my mind gets going, it takes forever to quiet it down and sleep!)

I'd love to hear some of your tips and wisdom on balancing life.  I know you've got lots of it, so please, please, bring it girls!!  I need it!


  1. I did the same as you, only one sport per child. It helped a lot! And I didn't homeschool so I did have my days free for myself. Sorry, I guess I am no help at all.....

  2. I am lucky that both of my girls have just one activity (but two nights a week) which is dance. But as far as getting it all done? I don't. The kids are in charge of folding & putting away their own laundry and they do the dishes. My house is messy a lot.

  3. This is the season of a less kept house not by choice but by circumstance as 3 outnumber me and one still wants to get up at night and doesn't take a bottle(that organic mommy milk is better fresh!). I still have a hard time coping as I regularly brainwash myself into needing to be a perfect mother, wife, housekeeper. Here's the thing I have to lower my expectations daily and let go and let God. It is a DAILY BATTLE. I try to simplify when and where I can. We wear wrinkled clothes, usually located out of the laundry basket and lately I purchase more premade meals. I'm seriously considering paper plates as my next solution, I feel like I constantly do dishes instead of playing with my kids.

    Sorry this is so long Sash, but I actually had a spare moment to comment, Woot!

  4. Sadly, I have no wisdom for you. I don't even know why I'm commenting b/c I have the same problem and probably need advice myself...

    We also have that 'one activity at a time per kid' rule, but with 4 kids it doesn't help much. Especially when baseball season rolls around.

    But I've been told by much wiser folk than I to enjoy the chaos, because in a few years the kids won't need me trundling them around so much. Sigh.

    I know. I'm a total downer!

  5. i'm so with ya on this one...i have 3 kids and homeschool so even with one's crazy busy!

    the only thing i can offer is that when you leave your house for activities, try to schedule your errand-running around that. that way, you're not leaving multiple times for groceries and stuff. the less you have to leave, the better.

    do i sound like a hermit? :)

  6. One thing I do to balance life is get up early. Seriously, I try to be dressed before the boys get out of bed, most days, that way when it comes to getting our day started I'm getting them dressed and ready to go and not worried about, "Have I brushed my own teeth yet?" And hold on guys, "Mom's just got to put her mascara on, and her shoes..."

  7. We have 3 kiddos in age from 16 to 6. We always have limited each to one extra activity a piece, but as they have gotten older, it seems more difficult. There are times of the year that I am fearful I will forget one of them somewhere. I write EVERYTHING down on a calender and pray for the best! My house is not always clean, and the laundry is never finished and that is okay with me...sort of. You are doing a good job..just prioritize what HAS to get done each week and relax. Continued Blessings, Sasha.

  8. Is it bad to say I hope my kids never want to do any sports? Ha! If my Hubby had his way we'd live out in the middle of a few hundred acre farm and they'd have plenty of fun and socialization doing their chores. In our dreams!

  9. I only have one kiddo and he is now 13 - but I have to say - it just gets busier! I work full-time outside the home. I feel like I'm going non-stop. Home from work, start supper, help with homework, off to tuba lessons, then a ball game - you know what I mean. But here's the thing. It's not forever. My precious is 13. THIRTEEN!! In 7th grade. Before I know he will be grown and I'll be in my 40s wondering, what the heck now? LOL I also allow my house to get messy. We all have certain chores that are done throughout the week and we do a weekly spruce as soon as our feet hit the floor on Saturday morning. Letting go of having a perfect house and being a perfect Mom helped my psychy (sp?) a lot! Your doing great and you're a great Mom! Rejoice in it!!

  10. I get up really early too. I also do at least one load of laundry a day so I'm not behind in that department. I menu plan on Sunday, otherwise more often than not come 3 o'clock, I have no idea what I'm feeding the family! Also, since we put our home on the market (it;s off now, happily--we are staying put for now) there was a lot of stuff that we boxed up because we don't really need it. That's where I am this year--simplifying to help keep it clutter free...and deep cleaning takes a backseat uring this season. It's picked up, but deep cleaned? Um, not so much, and I'm okay with that (well, I tell myself that and eventually I will believe it,,,I just know it).

  11. Well....I guess my hints are probably the same as others'. I have a great calendar. I do some freezer meal cooking, which helps a TON, and plan for my meals--we do 5 minutes of "picking up" each night so that the floors are at least free of clutter/toys. I use online bill paying through my bank so I don't have to sit down and write checks. I pay bills as they come in and then set the date for when I want the bank to pay them. Also, we have a washing machine that we can set a timer on, so it might start washing clothes at 4 am so they are done by 5 when I get up. Then, I can put that load directly in the dryer.

  12. It's so funny that you posted this today because I was up half the night trying to decide what to do about my daughter's dance schedule - she's too busy. As mothers we need to keep our children close but help them explore the world - I think our world is too hectic and crazy and that too many kids are seriously overloaded - one activity at a time is doable :-). My favorite advice from a church leader is to SIMPLIFY, live in the moment, and enjoy our families - after all, life is all about family!
    I'm also learning that this is just a new stage of life - diapers and bottles and sleepness nights were hectic - now we move onto to sports and scouts.
    Just live in the moment - be your kids' biggest cheer leader - and take some time each day to take care of yourself - muy importante!!

  13. Oh my word you guys are amazing me! EVERY single comment so far has been an encouragement. Keep em coming, I'm taking notes!!

  14. I am still just a newlywed without kids (yet) and so our schedules aren't too crazy. My wonderful husband works close to home and doesn't work as many hours as I do so he is home before I am after work so he does all the cooking. He makes me breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is wonderful! But I know that when we do start to have kids and I become a stay at home mom, that the schedule will definitely change. And so will the cooking, dang it! I'll be the cook of the house then :)

    I'm happy to hear you get some down time with the science class for your kiddies! My Mother-in-law home schooled all her children so I know that it can be a LOT of work. She got tutors and teachers for them when they got into high school classes. It will all pay off in the end though! Happy resting and relaxing (and etsying) in those extra hours you got!

    Kind Regards,

  15. I think in my life - {and I'm not a homeschoolin' mama of 2...!} I feel the most chaotic when I'm out of my routine. I need to have that control - and when I don't follow the schedule, things tailspin out of control quickly!

    I wrote down how I wanted to spend my day, in 1hr increments. When your kids have free reading/work to themselves time for an hour here and there, schedule your etsy work.

    Scale back to the bare minimums - and make the meal process super simple {read crock pots & soups!} - and once you're in the groove, you can go back and add into your routine...

    Sheesh - super wordy - but I hope it helps, sweet girl!

    So excited for you and your Etsy adventure!!! OH - and ALLLLL your free time that you're having!! (2hours/week is HuGe!)


  16. I have no wisdom to offer you. None. I'm in the same boat and there is really nothing in my life that can be cut down on except blogging, which is the only one thing that feels like "mine". I homeschool too and it's a major challenge. Once you figure it out please post about it! Hugs!

  17. First off, I love your blog and you're so darn cute! Second, I've got 3 kids- 6, 3 and 1. The one year old has Down syndrome and has 5 therapies a week-3 are in the home and 2 are out of the home. I also have my own esty shop- children's clothing. Let me tell you, it's not easy. Last year I always felt like we were running out the door to either a doctor appt., school, therapy, ballet, soccer, or the post office to mail my items. Somewhere in between all this I had to sew for my shop. I'm not discouraging you but try to schedule a time that you're going to work- which I kind of did but it still ending up being when I could fit it in and it was just so stressful. I'm taking a couple months off to re-qroup and spend more time with the kids- I felt like I was always sewing when I wasn't driving them everywhere or working with my son.

    Best of luck, you have great items that I know will sell, just don't feel like you have to have your shop full. Try to have fun with it and not let it turn into something you dread.

  18. Balance? ~snort~ My parents want to take the baby once a week overnight. They did last night and I could not fall asleep, my mind was going and going.

    You'll do fine. It's amazing what you accomplish. I'm sure there was a time in your life where the thought of homeschooling 2 kids would have seemed overwhelming... and look at how that has become a normal way of life for you!

  19. I get so overwhelmed with life! As in yesterday...had a complete melt down in the kitchen. (oh sigh...but it's true). I'm learning to stop putting so much on my plate. I'm using a day planner, and worksheets on my computer to break up tasks to help me stay focused...most of the time. But, I'm having to come to terms that I am NOT superwomen, and I do have my limits.

  20. Oh, I cannot quiet my mind at bedtime these days. I feel you. And I also feel you on the kids 24/7. It is exhausting. Bliss to me would be an entire day to myself IN MY HOUSE. Cory is great about letting me get out, but by the time the opportunity comes around, I'm just so stinking tired! I just want to stay in and sloth around all day, tending to no one at all. Not even myself. ;)

  21. I only have one, and she's in her first year of college now. When she was younger, she wanted to participate in EVERYTHING! I had to get creative - when I'd drop her off at various practices, I'd have my running clothes on and I'd hit the streets around that neighborhood. So, while she was practicing, I'd get my workout in. I wish I could tell you it gets better, but her senior year was the busiest year ever. The last few months with her gone, it's been a little quieter, but I haven't decided if I like this particular trade off yet. All I can say is learn to embrace exhaustion, and sometimes settle for good-enough. It is just a season, enjoy it while it lasts.

  22. i'm stumbled upon your blog from over at angie at 'just shy of y'
    glad i did! i'm lovin readin ur blog! ps..can't wait for ur etsy store...'if you build it they will come' haha

  23. Well...I don't have all I can do is wish you luck.

    And all YOU can do is the best you can do. That's all. No one has it all together, even those who seem like they do.

    I'm glad you'll be getting some time to yourself in the future!

  24. Hi Sasha,

    well, my first idea/tip you already did; having your kids pick 1 thing to do; my husband and I had gotten that advice (from a family therapist) when our 2 were little so we used that early on; and it did save us a lot of grief - even though having 2 in 1 activity can still put you out of house 4 nights a week! My 2 are a bit older than yours 11 & almost 13 - so they have chores for sure another tip we got from the therapist.
    And as far as keeping things organized and not going crazy one thing I wished I would have been able to do back when they were younger is NOT stress about a clean house. I know for some of us a clean and tidy house makes us less stressed however there is a balance there somewhere. If I am feeling overwhelmed and need the house tidied; I enlist the 10 minutes per room rule - I spend 10 minutes in each room making it tidy - just tidy and I don’t get distracted by cleaning and other things. Also if there is a bigger project to work on I tell each one of my kids they need to work with me for half hour helping me -- they each get allowance so its part of earning that.
    I am a list maker and a calendar freak. I keep track of all the STUFF we are doing and make lists of what I want to do and accomplish for the week or just the weekend. And I am OK if it all doesn't get done.
    That is so great your sister in law will take the kids once a month and now your two hours when your kids start their class - my suggestion is to use that time for yourself!! The laundry, cleaning and grocery shopping already gets done right?? So use that time for you to do things for you and that will help your days go smooth. Also if you have a laptop take that with you while the kids are at their various classes so you can write posts or read blogs or bring a sketch book with you to draw out some ideas for what you want to make for your Esty shop.
    Anyway, sorry this got so long - maybe I should have emailed you! Just do what feels good and right to you and works for your family - more sage advice I was given by a friend!!
    xoxoTiffany  Have a great weekend!

  25. You've gotten some excellent practical advice. Mine is more philosophical. Give yourself a break, lower your expectations, and delegate, delegate, delegate both to the husband and to the little people. You'll get through it all because you don't have a choice. You'll smile through it all because you have a wonderful positive energy!:)

  26. Oh and I so 2nd what Lisa Cash said - so VERY true!!!


  27. do we share a brain? seriously it's getting creepy. i have no idea how to balance stuff. i'm constantly out of whack!

  28. Each week I print a weekly planner I've made on my computer, divided into am, pm and after school. We all fill in what we're doing and times we need to be places, there's also a column for meals which are pre-planned (so just a big once a week shop). I don't need to think so much then, I just check the planner and also I can see where there are little gaps of time, we're also less likely to forget anything. On 'after-school activity days' we have less complicated meals - maybe a chilli which was cooked at the weekend when we had more time (we will cook a big pot and freeze some for other days which are more busy). Everyone mucks in with the little chores, the moment school/work is over on a friday the washing is being done. It may sound a little regimented but it runs smoothly and we find we do have down time. We worked this out as a result of super-busy lives and lots of activities and it worked for us. You'll find something which works for you too and don't give up your Etsy dream - you're too good! Have a good weekend :)

  29. Balance... clean house... organization... what on earth are you talking about??! haha! my clean laundry rarely makes it off my bedroom floor... I tidy up a lot.. but feel like my house is always a mess (darn dog) and well... I would rather make family time top priority and have a slightly messy house... though when I see you all on line all clean (your kitchen kills me Sasha!!... I dream of being that clean and orderly! kills me in the best sense.. I love it!) seriously I clean but there are piles are EVERYWHERE... organization is nowhere to be found... many many many things are never done... but our family memories are FULL!! bonus!! we try to keep activities and play dates to a minimum.... it is hard and full of guilt at times... but I want my kids to cherish God and Family above all else... I feel like my kids miss out when I see/hear their peers... but I think that way of life is too busy and insane for me... I know I didn't help at all.. I think you seem to do an amazing job keeping up with life.. and you all do fun family things!! and you keep your house very clean and you craft without leaving behind a giant wake!!!! How do YOU do it??!! =)

  30. Each week I print a weekly planner I've made on my computer, divided into am, pm and after school. We all fill in what we're doing and times we need to be places, there's also a column for meals which are pre-planned (so just a big once a week shop). I don't need to think so much then, I just check the planner and also I can see where there are little gaps of time, we're also less likely to forget anything. On 'after-school activity days' we have less complicated meals - maybe a chilli which was cooked at the weekend when we had more time (we will cook a big pot and freeze some for other days which are more busy). Everyone mucks in with the little chores, the moment school/work is over on a friday the washing is being done. It may sound a little regimented but it runs smoothly and we find we do have down time. We worked this out as a result of super-busy lives and lots of activities and it worked for us. You'll find something which works for you too and don't give up your Etsy dream - you're too good! Have a good weekend :)

  31. Well, in our house our kids can only do one thing too, but then they also have church activities, as do my husband and I. Things can get crazy. Sometimes I've just learned to say "NO, sorry, but I can't do that or be there" - whatever. It's really hard for me to do that, because I have a "Yes, I can" kinda personality. Also, our house suffers at times. Like my laundry totally piles up and some weeks I don't get floors mopped. Gasp. I admitted that. It's true. The bottom line is that one woman can only do so much. I've also really tried not to let what I can't do eat me up. You know. It's more peaceful in my head that way. ;-)

    And when I know it will be that time of the month, I try and keep things light, or else I'm a BEAR! ;-)

    Best wishes to you as you juggle life.

  32. People ask me that all the time! "How do you have time do DO that???" The answer is, at least for now, I don't have any children playing football or soccer or doing karate or dance. Sometimes we have swimming lessons, but that's a four week commitment. I know this won't last forever, but until my kids are begging me do do something I just don't bother signing them up. (Note: they did all kinds of activities when they were younger and complained every single time we got in the car, it drove me mad, so I just stopped signing up!). So liberating :-) but like I said, I don't expect it to last..

  33. whoo hoooo!!! you're opening a shop? i cannot wait to line up in your never-ending customer line. (is this the kind of thing we should line up for the night before? will i need a sleeping bag?) i'm super excited!

    balance? hmmm...i have four little boys & the only way i keep everything balanced is a schedule. have to have the schedule for us, otherwise i wouldn't know which foot was right. also, i try to remember, when everything is going crazy, that peace may not be in my home at that very moment, but i can be at peace in my heart if i remain calm. cheesy? sort of? it works!

    seriously, so excited about your shop!

  34. Sasha, I'm back with more to add. I've had fun seeing others perspectives and feel a kindred spirit with all these lovely ladies.

    BUSY =
    B eing
    U nder
    S atan's
    Y oke

    Matthew 11:28 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

    ♥ Jennifer

  35. We used to homeschool years ago and I we would be busy several days during the week as well.
    For us, family was always first. Which meant we didn't do or schedule anything for Sundays. Saturdays was always family fun night which meant we made dinner together and did something watch a family movie or play a board game. Doing this gave us all something to look forward to as a family.
    And I agree with another commenter. the house will be a mess at some point. but your littles are just that...they are only little once. So, enjoy them, nurture them and love on them. The dirty dishes and laundry will be there, but you don't want your kids remembering how much you worried about that. You want them to remember the memories and laughter and fun you had as a family.
    Hugs to you. as we have all been there. Will pray you can find some balance.

  36. I can certainly relate, but rather than give any miracle organizational tips or time-saving advice, as the mother of two grown children and an empty-nester, I can only say while at time's it definitely overwhelming and crazy and you feel like you'll never have time for yourself, enjoy your young ones while you can, for they really do grow up and away so fast. There will be quieter times to come. I promise. :)

  37. Sasha, I'm ahead of you by about 10 years. So from experience I would say that being a mom is the hardest job ever and I really don't think you will ever be completely balanced, and you know what, that's not a bad thing. That being said, we too had the rule of one activity and that certainly does help. My house was/still isn't the top priority...hubby and kids are. Give yourself a pass to let the house go a little. I always organized my meals for the week, trying to do one major shopping per week. Lots of easy crock pot type recipes, make ahead freezer meals and trying to double up on meals to make leftovers. Also, nights when scrambled eggs and toast were dinner. One more thing I'd give for advice...learn to say "NO" to things you can't take on. That was a hard one for me when people needed volunteers for this and that. I finally learned not to sign up for everything and say no once in awhile and that helped me tons. I hope I helped in some small way. Love your blog girl. You know how to tell it like it is.

  38. good luck with etsy!!! I am mean. my kids -4- have to take turns, they can't all be in something at once. one takes a spring sport, when that's done my dughter cna do ballet, etc.

  39. Sasha,
    I'm inviting you to come check out my blog :-)

  40. I have so much respect for all you women who are SAHMs and those that homeschool!!! Honestly, the time thing totally baffles me... how do y'all do it!?! I don't have kids and don't have activities scheduled every night of the week, and yet, I too always feel behind on something and overwhelmed with how much I have to do!! You women are an inspiration!

  41. Check out our site is ALL about organizing this month!! :) Aleah Helton

  42. Sasha - I don't have any startling new insights here - we have times of complete overwhelming business too, but those short seasons come and go quickly. Thankfully! We guard our family's time together like it is a precious treasure. Very few things will ever supersede sitting down to supper together each night, family game night, or our homemade pizza and video night on Fridays. It's a given - though the fun nights are also a privilege to loose if behaviors or attitudes dictate.
    Limiting my computer time to 1 hour per day helps me greatly, and we don't have t.v. - just a once a week video. That frees up time for reading and creative pursuits.
    We make a lot of mistakes - and we learn from them - making 'mid-course' corrections is common. If it isn't working well, we try something else. I do a menu plan, delegate chores, and believe that the youngest person in the house capable of a task should own that task and do it willingly for the family.
    My very best advice is to bathe each day in prayer - from the moment my feet hit the floor I welcome God's peace and presence in my day and hand my burdens one by one over to Him. As a chronically ill homeschooling mama of two there is just no other way for me!

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