Home » randomness » From the Corner of My Couch – Issue 13

From the Corner of My Couch – Issue 13

Randi, I hope this doesn’t embarrass you or offend you. You know you are my hero! You’ll all be glad to know that my to-do list overfloweth this week, and I am actually getting things done for a change! I just needed a little kick in the patootie.

Doing It All

Our library books are overdue. Again. My husband gave me a loving-yet-frustrated, “Hooooooneeeeeey!” when he saw the fine we are now required to pay. Again. I’m not sure how this happened (again), except that lately I’m feeling more and more like I cannot do it all. In the midst of trying to take care of my family and the house and carting the kids to their lessons and practices and keeping the walls of my home from caving in, something is bound to fall through the cracks. Like library books.

I’m in awe of women who appear to have it all together – those talented women who can keep their homes clean and their children stimulated and still find time to make cute little crafts. (I cancelled my subscription to Family Fun years ago because I couldn’t stand the guilt.) My friend, Randi, is one of those women. We met in 1995 when we were both newlyweds living in Houston, and even then, she made these amazing projects and culinary creations. Thirteen years later, she still inspires me. Even with four kids and two dogs, she manages to homeschool her two oldest while taking care of two year old twins, sewing curtains, knitting baby caps and all kinds of other adorable projects, creating decorative items that would make Martha Stewart envious, cooking creative and gourmet meals, maintaining a blog, keeping up with her kids’ scrapbooks, sending handmade cards to every friend and relative on every birthday and anniversary (always on time), taking her kids on fun outings, and making cute little Family Fun-esque creations each week. My husband calls her “the Martha Stewart of Moms.” Kinda makes you want to hate her, huh? Which I would if she weren’t one of my oldest and dearest friends and one of the kindest and most genuine women I know.

Last week, she described her latest project – making a “Celebrate” banner for a blog swap – and I woke up in the middle of the night thinking, “How in the world does she do it all?” How does she have time to create all of these incredible projects and still have time to finish her laundry? Then I start feeling guilty. Why can’t I make crafts with my kids? Why can’t I sew my own curtains? Why do I not knit? Why is the entirety of my day spent running from place to place and just maintaining the house and not using the creativity God has given me?

So I asked her how she does it. And her answer?

“I don’t! At any given time you could walk in my house and find dirty dishes in the sink, an unflushed toilet, dirty kids, and cereal for dinner. That’s just life’s reality. I’m resigned to the fact that despite my best efforts (and sometimes not my best) I will never have a perfectly kept home and children. I do, however, think that keeping my home in decent shape and finding time for those extra things is worth the effort.”

She went on to explain the inspiration she finds in Proverbs 31:27: “She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.” That doesn’t say that a virtuous woman gets it all done; it says that she isn’t lazy. It doesn’t describe someone who is trying really hard but still can’t fit it all in. It is describing someone who isn’t making any effort at all.

Whew. That’s a relief. A little less guilt now.

On the practical side, Randi reminded me that she keeps a very detailed to-do list, and she has to schedule time in her day to do all these great projects. She also grants herself grace when her kids are sick or life gets in the way of her list, and from the list she can prioritize what absolutely has to be done.

Ooooohhhh. A list! Of course. I used to have one of those around here somewhere.…

Randi has a passion for sewing, knitting, cooking, and crafts, and she makes time to do those things because she loves doing them. I shouldn’t feel guilty for not doing something that I don’t have a passion for. I do, however, love to write and I love to scrapbook. My goal now is to schedule time in my week to do both.

I am not Randi. I am not Gretchen or Lara or Holly or Courtney. I am me. I have been lovingly created with my own unique gifts and passions. I have three great kids who are doing just fine. Because of my best and even not-so-best efforts, my home is not caving in, and that is good enough for now. I have a responsibility to use the gifts I have been given, and that means getting up and doing something about it, not just whining because I’m not.

To summarize:

  • Even the most inspiring women cannot do it all.
  • Keep a list.
  • Return library books on time.
  • Don’t eat bread.
  • Schedule time to do what you love.
  • You are unique and significant. Don’t compare yourself to supermoms.
  • Cancel Family Fun.

If you are one of those crazy creative people who worship Martha Stewart and want some great ideas and inspiration, check out Randi’s blog.

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5 thoughts on “From the Corner of My Couch – Issue 13

  1. Jenn-You will always be a “super mom” to me! Your passion for caring for your family and the many creative ways in which you do that inspire me. You have blessed me with much valuable parenting advice and I appreciate it more than you know! Love, Holly 🙂

  2. You’re killing me, Jennifer! My cheeks are burning.I think Suzanne is right – it’s all relative. I look at you and see so many great talents and I think women, in general, are so hard on themselves. Just make a list one day of all you accomplished that day … it’s crazy what we get done! Even the fact that you sustained life for three young children for another day deserves kudos! And don’t forget that you inspire others: I still remember coming over for lunch when we first moved to Texas and you let the kids make their own pizzas. Very Martha Mom-ish! 🙂

  3. Well, I am very glad your redeemed Randi, b/c halfway through the post I thought, “I never want to meet this Randi-chick!” 😉 But she sounds normal, too!! 🙂 So I take it back. MY LIBRARY BOOKS ARE LATE TOO!! Its up to $17 b/c I lost one, so I had to get a broom handle and retrieve it from under the couch. I took it back TODAY! I like to justify it and say that every couple of months, I pay the price of ONE book in fines. So, I am really saving money, b/c I read so many more than just one book!! I love Family Fun and just file the craft articles away in the “I don’t need more crap in my house anyway” bin.

  4. You see Jennifer, I am in awe of all you do given the fact that you do not drink coffee. I just don’t know how moms make it through the day without coffee! Maybe that is why you like to sleep so much–you don’t have a cup of coffee to look forward to. By the way, I have a hard time typing to you because I know you are looking at all of my commas and poor punctuation, etc. 😉

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