My Answer To The "How Do You Do It All?" Question

I balanced Clarice on my hip as I took the papers from the pediatrician.  The kids were driving their Hot Wheels cars on the white, probably non-sterile exam room floor (I cringe just typing that), and I asked them to stand up again as I attempted to listen to the doctor’s instructions.  I got everyone on their feet, tossed the papers she gave me under the stroller and thanked her as she complimented my skirt.  Then our pediatrician asked how I managed to look so put together with so many kids.

And I smiled and laughed it off, and said “I don’t know.”

I know this doctor to be a mom herself, so I think she was probably sincerely wondering - just like a friend of mine recently, when she asked me how I have four kids and lead a discussion group at MOPS, help host a Bible study at church, take pictures of the kids, read books, and volunteer with a pregnancy center (I don’t think she knows about my blog or it probably would have made the list).  I laughed it off until she looked me in the eyes and said, “No, I really want to know - how do you find time to do all this?”

And her question took me aback, because she and our mutual friends were all there, waiting for my answer.  And I just don’t know.

I think they were waiting for something profound, but honestly I sat there in silence, thinking. When she listed it all out like that, it did sound like a lot. How do I fit everything in?  What do I not do to make room?  Well, I’ll tell you right now that I don’t really cook.  I can cook, but instead of creating elaborate meals we most of the time eat something frozen or from a box, and I’m okay with that.  The kids still get all their food groups in, but we do quick dinners most nights.  But beyond that, I couldn’t think of things that I am not doing to make room - probably because I’m not doing them.  They aren’t even on my radar.  

I laughed at that comment from our doctor, because I had a stain on my shirt, and she was standing there with smooth hair and a clean, nice outfit herself. I imagine she woke up, got dressed, and walked out the door looking cute without having to fuss over what to wear, like I did. I sat there feeling lost at my friend’s question, because I really don’t feel like I do that much.  I take care of my family and squeeze a few things in on the side because they are things that are important to me.  I bet if she sat down and listed out how much she does in a week, it would sound like a lot too.  

I believe that we make the time for the things that are important to us.  I suspect that these ladies were doing many things that I don’t do, things that were important to them as well. Aside from caring for my family, these are just the things that are important to me (and so is wearing makeup), so I make the time.  We don’t all have the same important things, and don’t make the mistake of thinking someone else must be doing everything you do plus whatever-it-is. 

I think about some ladies I know and feel like a frumpy failure at productivity.  They accomplish so much, and I can’t even figure out how.  I feel that way myself.  But only because I too forget that we all have different things that fill our days, and the things that fill mine aren’t the same things that fill theirs.

Sometimes these questions make me feel awkward and slightly guilty, as if I’m cluelessly neglecting a mom duty of which I am unaware. But I fight the feeling, because I know for a fact that no one else is thinking that way when they ask me how I “do it all”.  I think they just don’t realize how much they themselves do.

And maybe that’s really the answer to the question of “How do you do it all?”  I don’t, just like you don’t. We just do different things.

So if you’ve ever looked at someone else and thought or verbalized the “How does she do it all question - I’d say, don’t minimize the things you do.  Figure out what your “important things” are, and do those important things well.  Then forget about what everyone else is doing.  It's okay if your list is shorter than someone else's, and we need to do different things, or the world wouldn’t go round.

Do you ever wonder how other moms accomplish so much?  Have you ever been asked how you do it all?  What did you say?

First Watermelon And Words


Well, my sweet girl is ten months old, and this post is very late.

July seemed to sweep by in a hurry this year, and I woke up at the beginning of August realizing that we haven't even done anything this summer, excluding vacation.  And since we haven't done anything interesting, I've been slacking on taking pictures of the kids, which means Clarice's imaginary nine month album is going to be rather sparse.  Poor Clarice!  I'll just explain as much about her little personality I can instead.

This month the scrunch-nose smile has returned, and it is so darn cute with her four new teeth.  Two upper and lower teeth have popped through her little gums, and it makes her look slightly older and even more impossibly cute.  When she is happy she'll jerk her arms up and down (kind of like that old dance "the jerk" - look it up), and she gives the biggest grin, nose scrunched and four teeth shining, and little blond curls poking out from the back of her head.

This month Clarice officially said her first word - which I am counting as "da" for Derek. Up until now it has mostly been happy screeches and tongue clicks.  I think she would be right at home in one of those South American tribes that uses clicking in their language.  It is hilarious how much she enjoys clicking her tongue!  But she recently started saying "da" when Derek arrived home from work, and it seemed more intentional than in the past.  Shortly following "da", she started saying "hi".  Only imagine the word "hi" drawn out with a strong southern belle accent, with no actual long "i" sound.  Then she figured out how to combine her only two words, and when Derek arrived home she said "hi da", like a little Georgian native, even though we've never been to Georgia in this family's life.    No "mama" is in sight.

When I realized that we hadn't done anything this summer, I took us to a park with water fountains.  The fountains are down some steps in this little concrete bowl, but the draining system must not have been working the day we went because it was full of three inches of water.  I plopped her down in it anyway, and she had so much fun, smacking the water with her little hands and grinning up at me.  The kids would run by and splash her little face, and she would look briefly startled and then scrunch her nose and laugh again.

I bumped her up to size 4 diapers, not because she fills them out but because they seem to work better at night right now.  She is probably between a size 3 and 4.  Her favorite thing to do is eat finger foods and pouches of puree, and if everyone else is eating but her, you will hear about it.  She screeches, with a very serious look on her face, to let you know when she is unhappy.  She was very focused and clearly thrilled with her first slice of watermelon this month; she felt like such a big girl, eating the same thing as everyone else.  Give her a rice puff cookie or a slice of apple and she is happy as a clam, but she has recently started boycotting green vegetable purees.  Only the green ones.  It doesn't matter if it is 90% apple and mango, if there is a green vegetable in it she (literally) turns her nose up at it.  She seems far too young to be this picky.  We have been nursing twice a day.

My favorite moments this month have been when she falls asleep in my arms, because she doesn't do that as much anymore, and I've noticed.  I'm going to miss it when she stops.  She falls asleep, and her sweet little dark eyelashes brush her smooth skin.  Her lips are pink, her elbows are dimpled, and a little blond curl sticks out on top of her head.  My own living baby doll, with her little breath brushing against me.


My Sweet Clarice,

This month was quiet and sweet with you my darling.  We really didn't do much except just live.  There have been lots of days of playing, lots of peek-a-boo, lots of baby giggles and splashing in the kiddie pool.  Lots of grins, and naps, and snuggles.  Lots of little baby arms reaching up, because even now you are happiest when I'm holding you - and those are my happy moments too, with your little head resting against my shoulder.  I love you Sweet Girl, more every day.


Four Reasons To Love Sports Movies (GREATER The Movie Recommendation)

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and GREATER Productions. but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #GREATERMovie #GreaterTheMovie

Confession: I have absolutely no sports ability; but despite this fact, I love sports movies.

There is something about a good inspirational sports movie that makes me wish I could have been on a team.  (But then that thought flits out of my head, because trust me, I am doing everyone a favor by staying off the field.)  Sports stories appeal to a few things that touch my heart, things that I want to teach my own kids - maybe while watching a good sports movie.

Sports movies remind us that we weren’t meant to do life alone.   

Sports movies reflect this in the most poignant way, because no player really succeeds unless the entire team succeeds.  And when when player is successful, it’s because their teammates have been there to help them along the way.  God didn’t make human beings to live alone, raise their families alone, or do life alone, and I think sports teams and movies are a good reflection of a deeper truth.

Sports movies remind us that hard work and doing the right thing pay off.  

Though sports movies are obviously about successes, it’s the parts where the players have to overcome obstacles to achieve greatness that are most poignant.  Does hard always pay off with your dreams becoming a reality?  No, not always, but it always pays off with good character, and I love when sports movies reflect that.

Sports movies remind us that true teammates are there for you even when you fail.  

One of my favorite parts about sports movies is seeing how the main character develops relationships with teammates, and how those teammates are there to pick them up and encourage them when they fail.  Everyone will want part of your successes, but true teammates are the ones who are there to give you a hand up and slap on the back when you fail.

Sports movies speak to that intrinsic desire to be a part of something greater.  

I think the main reason I love a good sports movie is because the best ones make your heart swell as you watch the individual players work together to achieve something greater, a goal none of them could reach alone.  I love that.  I believe that all of us were made to do something greater than just strive for our own success on earth - I believe we were made to bring glory to God, and we were made to do that together with others, and there is something about sports movies that speaks to that truth that God hid inside us.  

With fall and football season coming up, I am ready to break out all my sports movies and be inspired!  And if there is one sports movie that encapsulates everything I listed above, it is the new film, GREATERThis movie follows one of the greatest walk-on stories in college football, how Brandan Burlesworth went from an underdog to an All-American football player.  

The Brandon Burlesworth story incorporates everything I love about sports stories, and his story in GREATER makes the perfect inspirational sports movie.  It reflected the support Brandon had from his mother and family in achieving his dreams, and how he supported his teammates and they supported him in the wins and losses.  It showed his consistent hard work it takes for players and teams to be great.  It showed how respect and friendships develop among teammates.  But my favorite part of GREATER was the reminder that our lives serve a greater purpose than just what we can see on the surface.

GREATER was such a moving movie for me, and a wonderful one for a date with my football-loving spouse!  When the kids are a little older, I am going to love watching this movie together as a family!  There are so many good lessons and examples in GREATER, and I think it is a wonderful way to teach our kids about what is most important. After watching the movie with Derek, I was inspired to put together a few discussion questions to get the conversation going.

GREATER Discussion Questions:

1. When Brandon was a child, he was discouraged and bullied.  When did things start to turn around for him?  Do you think he would have been able to achieve so much if he hadn’t had some voices of encouragement around him?

2.  Brandon was told over and over again that he didn’t have what it took to play college football, and he experienced some failures - but he used that to inspire him to work harder.  Even if he was never successful on football, what other advantages do you see from his determination to work hard against the odds?

3. Brandon’s coach said character is what you do when no one is watching.  How did he display good character?  How does a person develop good character?

4.  Brandon faced a lot of bullying and name-calling, but he persevered in kindness and doing what was right.  Why do you think he did that?  What effect did it have on his teammates?

5. One quote from the movie is “Our loss is great, but God is greater.”  How did Brandon’s football journey serve a greater purpose beyond himself?

GREATER comes out on August 26th in select theaters (check to see if it will be available in a theater near you) - just in time for football season!  I highly recommend this movie and hope you all get a chance to see it!  Come back and tell me what you think when you do - this is definitely going on my list of favorite sports movies.

Watch the trailer below, and follow GREATER The Movie on social media for updates on when and where the film is released! 

What is your favorite sports movie?  Are you planning on seeing GREATER?

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Three Go-To Looks For Early Fall

(Note: This post on pieces of clothing that work for warm early fall days was sponsored by NIC+ZOE.  All opinions are my own.)

August is upon us my friends, which means that fall is right around the corner!  I (like so many people) love the fall.  Not only do all the cozy flavors come out, but layers are back in as the weather gets cooler.

Except when it doesn't.

An Inside Look At My Party Planning Process (With Grit & Grace)

My baby girl just turned ten months old and I have to tell you, I am feeling the first birthday party pressure.

There is a lot of pressure to have Pinterest-perfect birthday parties for our kids these days, and it would be a good thing if we all just relaxed a little bit.  You know what my favorite birthday party memories were?  Decorating with whatever we could find in the cupboard and having relay races with my little group of friends.  I think it doesn't have to be big and fancy to be memorable and fun.

Five Books To Give As Baby Shower Gifts

When I was registering for my first baby shower, I had one strategy - register for only the things I absolutely need.

No cutesy outfits.  No blankets. No stuffed animals.  No Sophie The Giraffe or womb-sound alarm clocks or knit hats.  Only the necessities.

How To Explain The Gospel To A Four Year Old

(Forgive me for using springtime pictures in the summer - this is my boy in April.)

When I was six years old, all the girls in my class had seen the Little Mermaid - except me.  My mom had yet to screen that very popular movie, so I really had no idea how to play the Little Mermaid when I visited a new friend’s house.  Her basement was the ocean, and she of course, was Ariel, singing her six-year-old lungs out on the “rock” at the top of the stairs.  When it was my turn to be Ariel, I did not know the mermaid’s songs.  I still have no memory of what I sang instead, but I’m pretty sure the other girl could tell I hadn’t seen the movie.

That visit with a friend I (who I rarely saw again) stands out in my adult memory now - let’s be honest, largely because of the Little Mermaid game that I didn’t really know how to play.  How embarrassing! (Except not really, because I didn’t care that much about the Little Mermaid.)  But it also stands out because of something my friend said.  Don’t ask me how we got on this subject - I think either me or one of my siblings must have asked her if she was saved.  And my friend said she was saved, because every night she asked Jesus to come into her heart.

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