Tuesday, March 12, 2013

I Don't Do It All Let Alone... Alone.

I don't know why it's taken me so long to write about this. After all, I had the absolute privilege of listening to Tsh speak at Blissdom over a year ago and only now am I finally getting around to penning my feelings on the subject. 

If you don't know Tsh, she's the creative mom and mastermind behind Simple Mom where she shares simple tips about daily living meant to encourage and support moms and their families. She's also written two books and speaks to a fantastic podcast. You can find out more about her here. She's truly one of my favorite people and her blog is one that I read daily.

During her brief session at Blissdom, she talked about how she had time to blog. To mom. To write a book. It was then that she explained how she certainly didn't do each of those things alone and it resonated with me.

First, because I was always under the impression that these incredible women who write and blog did it all and they did it impeccably well without ever losing their sanity. Second, because I wondered how I could be more efficient like that. How could I keep up with all of my motherly responsibilities, my household "duties," and my writing.

Tsh disclosed something I will never forget. She talked about how she outsourced help. Help around the house. Help with her kids. She talked about how she needed to have a discussion with her husband about her blog and how it really was serious work.

I think I texted my husband that night telling him that we needed to talk as soon as I got home from Nashville. I was so jazzed up after Tsh's talk and I wanted, or rather I needed, my husband to start taking my blog and my writing more seriously. After all, ILYMTC was quickly becoming more than just a hobby to me. 

I sat down with my husband and explained to him that I needed time. I needed time away from the kids and from our house to write. It was hard enough for me to try and squeeze out posts when my toddler was napping and if I spent that precious time writing then something else had to fall by the wayside that day and it was usually laundry or cooking. I explained to him how it made me feel like a terrible wife when I let those things slide so that I could focus more on my blog and I explained to him that it felt like I was mis-prioritizing despite each of those things being important in their own right. 

My husband was supportive, as he's always been, as he listened to me, agreeing with the points I was making. We agreed that we would try to set more time aside for me to write even if it meant that he would need to be home earlier than his normal 7pm. High on post-conference adrenaline with Tsh's words ringing in my ears,  this was exactly what I needed. 

Four months later we had our second baby and any available time I did find to write was quickly squeezed from our calendars. During this time, however, I took on more responsibility and more work both around the house and on my blog. I began networking with new companies and taking on extra freelance writing jobs. I now had extra laundry around the house and my motherly responsibilities had doubled. My head was spinning. 

So I sat down with my husband and we had the talk again. Mostly I talked and he listened. I talked about wanting to do it all but feeling like I was drowning and having to make decisions about what didn't get done each day. 

At first I felt guilty about wanting help and not being able to do it all but as I thought more about what I would be able to do with the extra time that was given to me via that help, I began to accept it and look forward to it. 

I wouldn't be able to do nearly as much as I do without the help of my husband but it wasn't until I sat down with him and explained to him what I really needed, that I needed to him to start viewing my blog and my effort to consistently write more seriously, that I began to get the extra time that I desired. 

One night a week my husband assumes dinner, bath and bedtime responsibilities allowing me two hours of uninterrupted writing time. Time when I can grab a laptop, leave the house and focus on my thoughts without having to get up from the computer 472 times to fill sippies, wipes noses, pick up broken crayon bits or hand out snacks. The nice thing about this time is that it also doesn't occur at 1am after everyone is asleep or at 5am before everyone wakes up for the day. Believe me, I tried writing and finding my "me" time at each of those hours and the exhaustion that came with it was not pretty.  

I recently started having someone come clean my house, semi-inconsistently, every four to five weeks- mostly when we have some extra money in the budget at the end of the month. It's nice not having to waste time deep cleaning bathrooms when I could be spending that time with the boys playing. Since my oldest isn't in school yet, I'm currently interviewing "mother's helpers" to come and spend some time playing with the boys one or two mornings a week so they can be entertained when I do vacuum, mop, dust, clean and do laundry. It's amazing what one can get done quicker and more efficiently when not interrupted 35 times. 

Some months there isn't any money leftover in the budget for extra help, especially the months where unexpected expenses arise or the dog needs a haircut and bath by a professional and that's OK but I wanted to write this because I don't want to feel guilty for needing help and I don't want people to assume, like I did, that so many of us "moms behind the blog" do it all.

The reason so many moms aren't quick to divulge where their extra "help" comes from is because they fear the judgment that comes along with the admission. I know there are people out there who are going to read this and think terrible things about me for hiring someone to come clean my house regardless of how frequent or infrequent it is, or looking for someone to come and play with my kids a couple of mornings a week (gasp! how could she?) but judging me in that sense is their prerogative. 

I will never forget the testament Tsh spoke to when she talked about needing and accepting help. When she admitted that writing and blogging was a priority. I'm so grateful that she stood up that day and admitted to not being able to do it all.  

In this crazy niche of mom'ing and blogging, it's nice to feel you're not alone.


  1. And this is why I love your blog. It's taken a LONG time for me to realize that the ONLY thing that matters is what I think of myself, and what my family thinks of me. Nothing and no one else should influence the decisions I make. I work part time, I have a house cleaner once a month, and I do not get up at 5 a.m. to have quiet time or to get stuff done. And that is ok- we're all healthy and happy. And everything I do that makes our life easier makes me happier, less stressed, and therefore a better more present mom when I'm with the kids, which is truly invaluable. Thank you, as always, for your honesty!!

  2. I don't think it's bad at all to have help! My sister comes for lunch every Tuesday and stays for a few hours to help me with Owen so I can do laundry, cook, clean, etc.

    I also have a housekeeper every other week. No shame!

    I would love to have someone come play with my son a few mornings a week, or have a MDO program nearby so I could get a quick errand done on my own.

  3. You didn't have to tell us that you have someone help with cleaning or (gasp!) even play time with the boys, but you did. Thank you! There is not enough comraderie among moms, especially on the intranet. More moms have help, whether paid or by family and friends, and they feel like they have to keep up appearances of doing it all themselves to hold onto their "Mom Card."

    My hubby and I work two demanding jobs oustide of the home, and what little freetime we have as a family is fleeting. So we have someone come clean every other week and it's a blessing. I choose to pay for that so I can concentrate on being a mom and a wife, and I'd much rather cook than clean!

    I'm so glad Mike is on board and so understanding of what you want and need. Keep at it, mama! xoxo

  4. There should be no judgies from anyone... No one has walked in anyone else's shoes or whatever that saying is! :-) I am begging and begging for a housekeeper/laundry doer - We NEED it. One day soon, once we can afford it. I would much rather spend time with the munckkin than attempt to clean half/ass b.c I dont really want to be doing it!

  5. If you have the extra money for those luxuries than go for it. Why not? We have a cleaning lady come once a month, mainly because my husband and I both work full time and I don't want to spend the few precious hours in the evening and on weekends away from my son to deep clean my house. It's hard enough to keep up with the laundry.

  6. Awesome. As someone who is about to be a WAHM in just TWO WEEKS, I needed to read this. I am filing it away in my memory.

  7. I don't blame you! I've often wondered how full-time mom bloggers do it all.

    I've been so impressed by how you've grown your blog. I feel like when I "met" you, we were both about to have our first babies. I'm glad you still keep it real!

  8. Thank you for your honesty! I think so often as stay at home moms, we think we should be able to do it all...alone. Super moms. We have all the time in the world right? No way, there are so many demanding aspects to running a household as well as having part time jobs. Good for you for asking for and knowing when you need help so important aspects of your life don't suffer!

  9. Don't feel bad. I think it sounds wonderful to have extra time carved out for yourself to write. I wish I could have that too. But I work outside the home and the only time I have with my kids are nights and weekends. So, I would feel really guilty having someone else watch them when I don't get that much time with them in the first place. It's a hard balance, these kids and this writing.

    I've been thinking of getting up earlier to have some writing time. But unless I have my coffee my eyes will be sealed shut :)

  10. Good for you! As someone who isn't yet a mom but is already a perfectionist, I already stress about being able to do it ALL. I love following bloggers who are REAL and don't put on a front of having everything together all the time. Thanks :)

  11. This is a good one! I've loved your Instagrams of writing solo at night and it's inspired me to be more focused in my blog writing even though it's just me and my husband (and our jobs, and our house and our dog) right now. And hearing how you still go back to things you learned at Blissdom has me so excited for my first one in just a few days! Hope to meet you there!

  12. you're a rock star in my book. i have a full time job so it's hard for me to get the hubs to view my photography or blogging as anything more than a business....nor do I try too hard i guess right now bc I don't care to push the issue. Maybe some day.

  13. My husband and I work full time and am a mother of a 1.5 year old and coming home twice a month to a sparkling clean house that I didn't have to clean is one of my favorite things. I'm sure you'll agree....it's money well spent!! Also gives me more time with my baby boy! No onunce of guilt here!

  14. I love this! Everyone above has said everything else that I have to say. Thank you for this post and putting things into perspective.

    Happy Tuesday,

  15. It feels good to know that there are other Mom's out there that "outsource". I was beginning to think that I was a failure at being a wife and a Mom because I couldn't do it all.

  16. Thanks for sharing!
    Your husband sounds awesome!

  17. I think admitting that you need help and asking for it is pretty much the most adult thing to do. We don't have anyone come clean, but sometimes, I'd give a kidney if we could. And sometimes, I make E stay in school later just so I can beat her home and have some peace and quiet for ten minutes. And I don't feel bad about it at all. Gotta do what you gotta do..

  18. I have been reading your blog for probably a year now and really enjoy it, but this is the first time something has resonated so much with me that I want to step it up a notch and leave a comment. Thank you for sharing. So many of us feel the tear of trying to balance work, family, house, money, hobbies, friends and the list goes on and on. It is encouraging to hear that I am not the only one who needs to stop and ask for help every once in awhile. Love you blog, keep it coming!

  19. I'm reminded of a certain someone that we both know IRL that, several months ago, had the audacity to comment on your asking about cleaning services because you were overwhelmed and felt as though you needed help. She was quick to say how much busier she was because she has (i wont get into specifics) it "so much harder than you" and "it must be nice to have extra money" and "i HAVE to do everything myself, I have to work outside the home, you have no idea" .. I never did say anything to her separately because I didn't want to be caught in the middle. I still feel so uncomfortable about that, though, to the point of stomachache - her JUDGIES. Will that word ever die? Probably not. It makes me sick. Truth.

    That said, she and EVERYONE needs to know that asking for help IS OKAY. There should really be no need to defend our ask for help. You, AP, are beyond "inspiration". Look at the audience you have. Look at what you're providing to so many other people. LOOK AT WHAT A GREAT WIFE AND MOM YOU ARE. Holy shit, man. And there really is no comparison. You are doing great. You know how to prioritize. You do get overwhelmed, you are not superwoman, but you DO IT ANYWAY.

    What I'm trying to say is, keep on rocking it. You truly are fabulous - and in a time where I personally have no kids (but furkids), no husband (but boyfriend), no house (but apartment) .. and I haven't written a blog post in how long? .. you truly are an inspiration. XO.

    Rambling over. Hope this made sense. :)

  20. Mama- this may be one of my favorite AP posts because you always show how REAL you are- and knowing you, I know that you are true to yourself and I think it is awesome that you and M are working on an arrangement that allows you to write more often because lord knows I always enjoy reading :) And I can't wait to hear all the great things that Blissdom has to offer this year! Xo

  21. I love this post and could have written bits of it myself. After I had Ethan I had a talk with my husband too how I felt like for the first time I needed help, and I wasn't asking for it. I couldn't keep up with housework, laundry, cooking, AND taking care of our 2 young children AND blog. My blog was really finally going somewhere and I needed to keep up the momentum. I have also explained to my husband, though he had never said anything negative, that now my blog is an extra source of income. It is legitimate WORK and I need time to do so. It's not just fiddling around on the computer and shopping, it is WORK and we deserve time to do it. Well done!

  22. I always appreciate your candor in your posts.. especially now.

    and you are really making me lean toward hiring a housekeeper because I am sick and tired of using my time off from work to clean house.

    You are so right, though... we can't do it all alone. It's nearly impossible!

  23. I am glad to see this post. I am a stay-at-home mom of two little one's pretty close to your two in age and when the toddler isn't fisting the applesauce cup the baby is flinging it to the walls. I also want more time to write but am just not willing to get up before the sun to exhaust myself the rest of the day.
    I have gotten a house cleaner before as well and felt guilty about it. Like I should be able to handle it all.
    Well you know what, damnit! I'm tired! So thank you for making it feel okay to get some help!

  24. I am so glad to see this post. I have two little ones pretty close in age to your little two and while one is fisting her applesauce cup at lunch, the other one is flinging it to the walls. I'd love more "me" time but am not willing to get up before the sun for it. Thank you for making getting some help seem more okay, as I felt guilty for it in the past. :)

  25. Amen! I don't know why it's so taboo to discuss hiring help, although I don't talk about it...so. But my cleaning lady makes me happier than almost anything. I'd give up new shoes for a year to keep Rosa coming to clean! I love spending time with my people and if I had to clean my own house I wouldn't get to do it.

  26. Beautifully stated. As a brand new mom, I'm having a hard time understanding how everyone else does it all. This ish is hard. Thank you for putting it all out there.

  27. Cool blog!


  28. Since I'm still in the beginnings of the stay-at-home mom, it was really encouraging to hear this from you. For the time being, I am doing it all alone (aside from the bringing in of the money, which is obviously extremely important). If my husband can make it home before 8 it's a great night, and we don't have family (or friends really) in our new town to rely on for help. I LOVE the idea of bringing in people more sporadically as the budget allows- I'm so quick to pull the "we don't have the money for it" card now that my income is no longer around, so it never occurred to me to think that there's a middle ground between "every day/week" and "never". Looking forward to meeting you at Blissdom and picking your brain more! xo


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