I don’t know how you do it. That’s the sentence I hear most often from people. I’m not even sure they realize precisely what they mean when they say that. How I do what? Live? Survive? Handle raising four kids, working from home and being a good wife and mom? Deep down on the inside, I believe that people just see how put together I am (vain, really, as I do my hair and makeup every single day no matter what – it makes me feel good and I’m not ashamed of that) and that I have four small kids; and they wonder how it’s possible.
Listen, I wonder the same thing about people all the time. I don’t understand how people don’t get up and get going and get ready and take time to get themselves ready. I don’t get people who don’t give their kids bedtime, who complain about how difficult it is to take one child out in public or how they haven’t showered in days with a new baby at home. I have four, and I’ve never not had time to shower – even when they were babies. Even when I have four babies, I still shower twice a day – three times now that I go to the gym every single day.
The point is that I want to ask people the same question all the time; how do you do it? Or how do you not do it? We all have different opinions and values, and I really live with the belief that some people make life so much more difficult than it needs to be. Today I was walking my four kids out of the YMCA when another woman was walking her one child out. I had all four of my kids in the car (granted one is going to be 8 this weekend and one is 5) in the car and buckled into their car seats before she had her one child in the seat. I have 2-year-old twins, and they’re wiggly.
She looked over at me and said, “I don’t know how you do that. You have four kids in the car before my one, you are so put together and you don’t even look stressed,” she said to me. I felt for her instantly; she seemed so defeated. I don’t know her or her story, and I don’t know why she feels she can’t be more efficient or more productive; and I didn’t ask. However, I began to wonder if perhaps some people just don’t know that they can be productive and successful as women, as parents and as humans.
I remember when I was pregnant with my first and people told me my life was over. I’ll never wear my designer clothes again, and forget heels. I’ll never have time to shower, I’ll be sleep-deprived, my husband and I will never have dates anymore and we certainly will not travel again. It’s like people believe moms are supposed to be sleep-deprived, zombie-like and a straight up mess when they have a new baby or even more than one kid at home. I don’t like that; and I don’t like hearing people tell me that they thought I was snotty or selfish or stuck-up when they first met me because I’m put together. Honey, I’m just as big a mess as the rest of you, but I wear lipstick and keep my complaints to myself.
I know I’m on a soap box right now; and I’m not sorry for it. I’m tired of women thinking that they have to conform to a certain standard and not being the best of the best because of it. Give the kids a bedtime, date your husband, and don’t feel bad about it; except you will feel bad about it. Suck it up and remember that we all feel bad about it. Then remember that there is no “I don’t know how you do it,” answer. You just do it. You just get up, you do it, and you rock it to the best of your ability.
You get up in the morning before your kids and you take a shower and get yourself going before they’re up. Now you look and feel good. You drink some coffee or tea or vodka or whatever gets you through the day and you take a few minutes to yourself. You remember that this stage is going to end. You become a partner with your husband because you are in this together. You find something for yourself. You ask for help. You tell your husband if he’s not helping out enough and you don’t settle. You do it.
So, let’s all stop asking people how we do it and remember that we just do. Get your priorities in order, get up, get going and be fabulous. And hey; if you give the kids a bedtime and establish a nightly bedtime routine, something amazing happens. They begin to go to bed. They begin to go follow the routine. You get more time to relax at the end of the night, and you get more sleep. You just won at life.
And now I’ll get off my soap box, get back to writing things that are useful and save you time and money and help you retire rich and happy and productive. Sometimes you just have to get things off your chest, though; and now I feel better about it.
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