I want to know how they manage their households.
I want to know how they deal with the guilt of being away from their children so much.
I want to know how they perform their best at work without exhausting themselves too much to be their best for their families at home.
I want to know how they keep their emotions in check when their children reach for their caregiver instead of their own mommy.
I want to know how they find time for their hobbies (since my beautiful new sewing machine I got for Christmas is still sitting in its box unused!).
I want to know how they manage to do the grocery shopping, meal planning, and cooking before their families are practically starving.
I want to know how they find time and motivation to exercise regularly.
I want to know how they keep from allowing the stress to ever be projected onto their spouse who works 6 days a week himself.
I want to know how they find the energy to do all this.
To those women who manage motherhood, work, a household, church duties, and a slew of other responsibilities: you are my ultimate heroes. Juggling all those things has been so much harder than I thought it would be! Yes, I would love to pick the brains of the millions of working moms who seem to do it with seeming ease when I often feel like we're living in survival mode.
And then I met one of those moms the other Sunday at church while walking the halls with baby Lila. This mother's children have long since graduated and started families of their own, but somehow in our small-talk conversation about how smoochable Lila is and how tiring but fun this stage of motherhood is, we both happened to mention the extra exhaustion factor that comes from working on top of it all.
I asked her, "You also had to work while raising your children?"
"Full-time for seven years with four young children."
I quickly blurted out, "Okay, tell me your secrets! How did you do it all?"
She kind of laughed at me. "I didn't!" Then more seriously, "Forget the laundry. Make quesadillas. Don't be bothered by a messy or unorganized home. Stop comparing what you accomplish in a day with what a stay-at-home mom does. Just let it all go and play with your kids; that's your most important job when you get off of work."
This mom's much-needed counsel was followed-up by this article that I happened upon the other day.
I am so grateful that whenever I feel like I am struggling the most, my heavenly Father puts the right people and the right advice in front of my eyes to help me climb out of the little holes I find myself in It's not that deep-down I don't already know these truths and principles, but they are obviously harder to remember in the moment of my struggle and little reminders are needed.
Being somewhat of a perfectionist nature, I know that I'll still get upset from time to time with my inability to "do it all", but it is a relief to know that someone else out there couldn't do it all either and was wise enough to do what was most important and focus on her children. I'm feeling a little bit better about letting go for awhile my desires to make a ginormous quilt, work on gourmet cooking and baking skills, and getting the laundry done and put away before it's time to do it all over again. Playing with these kiddos is much more fun, anyhow.
To those who are wiser than I am: thank you.