thoughts on balancing it all

Remember the Q & A post two weeks back? You all asked some great questions.

starbucks and computer

I sat in Starbucks for hours typing away my responses and I wished that we could all sit around drinking our lattes and talking in person.  In fact, I think a live web chat would be fun sometime. Maybe that would be weird? I don’t know.

Anyway …

There were a few questions that were frequently asked and I’ll address them over the next few weeks. Today I’m attempting to answer the most asked question that day:

how do you balance it all?

I’m honestly not sure where this post is going to go … I have not fully thought through my answer … so we’ll see what happens …

First of all, let me just confess that I’m tired. Exhausted, actually.

The best way to describe life right now is to say that it is full. I’m not a fan of the word busy – it sounds like an excuse most of the time {I’m just so busy!}, but the truth is, there is a lot going on. This is a very full time in our lives and while it is all wonderful and exciting and inspiring and a dream-come-true, it is also very, very tiring.

This isn’t the kind of exhausted that screams, ‘make a change, already!’ but more of a norm with this phase of life with kids and a dog and dinner to make and homework to help with and blog posts to write and groceries to shop for.  Someday I’ll look back sentimentally and miss the chaos. But right now, in the midst of it, it’s pretty tiring.

Let me also confess that when I take an inventory of my life, I feel like I’m missing the mark in almost every area. Or if not missing the mark completely, certainly falling short. I have an image in mind of the kind of wife/mom/friend/blogger/home decorator/christ-follower I think I should be and I just can’t quite do EVERYTHING that all of those imaginary ladies do.  I’m thinking my expectations are probably a bit too high, but I’m still trying to figure out what is important to me, where the expectations come from and how to reconcile them with my everyday life.

So those are my disclaimers: 1. I’m tired and 2. I’m far from perfect

I will admit that with everything going on, I am able to accomplish a lot each day. How I do it, I’m not exactly sure. A combination of things, certainly. Here are the most obvious:

1. I’m a hard worker. My name actually means ‘diligent worker’ which I find interesting. Don’t be fooled: I can also be completely lazy. But for the most part, I have a running to-do list in my head {or on paper} and I love the feeling of checking things off.

2. My kids are no longer babies. The older two are in school full time. No. 3 goes three full days per week and Audrey-girl is pretty content hanging out with me. Someone asked how I do house projects with the kids around and my answer is that I only have Audrey most of the time and for some reason {probably the fact that it’s all she knows} she doesn’t mind when I paint or wallpaper or sew or craft as long as she is nearby.

3. Ryan works 24 hour shifts about two-three times per week which means he is home during waking hours more than the average full-time worker. It also means he is tired when he comes home after being up all night, but we’ve figured out how to support each other with this strange/amazing fire fighter schedule. Because of his schedule, we spend a lot of time together during the day either talking or working or taking turns watching the kids.

4. We have a nanny who comes every tuesday from 10-3. This is my dedicated work day. It’s only five hours and I probably work at least 25 per week, but it’s five distraction-less hours where I lock myself in my office and literally work the whole time. I skip lunch, ignore my phone, turn on pandora and crank out whatever it is on my to-do list for that day.  Next year Audrey will be in school three full days with No. 3 and I’m a little giddy about having 18 hours of work time per week. My goal is to get everything done on school days so that I can just be a mom on the off days.  If you have the resources, I think having some help with the kids is one of the best things you can do for your sanity. I am so rarely alone that those five hours feel like a chance to breathe and accomplish and check things off my list without feeling like I am neglecting my babes. Totally worth it.

5. I let a lot of things go. Someone asked in the Q & A for a list of things I don’t do.  I actually laughed out loud at the question because my list is long.

Here is just a small sampling: I don’t shower regularly, I don’t work out everyday, I don’t always eat breakfast, I don’t meal plan {although every single time I do, dinnertime is so much easier}, I don’t make lunches the night before, I don’t get up before my kids, I don’t hang out with just my girlfriends {at least not enough}, I don’t have a cleaned-out email inbox {ugh}, I don’t have clean bathrooms, I don’t watch much tv {except project runway and survivor}, I don’t often play with my kids, I don’t volunteer in their classrooms {except once/month to teach art in my first grader’s class}, I don’t publish a blog post everyday, I don’t tweet, I don’t answer my phone.

See? All kinds of things I don’t do. Many of them are good healthy things that I think I should be doing. It’s hard to let them go and not feel like I’m somehow failing.

At the root of our striving for balance is the desire to have peace.  To truly live and enjoy and breathe and not feel like you are being pulled in a million different directions. While there are certainly tips that can help with managing your time {say no more often, hire a babysitter/housecleaner/landscaper, limit tv watching, etc} none of them actually get you to the point of a perfectly balanced life. If they do, I’m guessing it doesn’t last long.  And what’s even more frustrating is that what works for one person might not work for another. We all have our own set of expectations, dreams, desires, jobs, responsibilities, passions, talents, chores, relationships and make daily choices based on those circumstances.

Which is precisely why this type of post is both dangerous and really not that helpful.

I wonder if this whole balance thing is really all about comparison.  I wonder if you read this blog and see four kids and a pretty house, a constant stream of projects, a business being run and then look at your own life and feel like you are not measuring up? Maybe you have little ones who if you left them on their own to occupy themselves so you could wallpaper your laundry room, you would be risking not only their safety, but total destruction of every other room.  Maybe by the time you get home from your day job you haven’t the energy to make a real dinner, let alone sew a pillow or fold a pleat.

Believe me, I get it.

I wish it weren’t so, but I struggle often with comparing myself to women who seem to be doing a much better job of {fill-in-the-blank} than I am. The problem is, I only have a small snapshot to base that judgement on. I don’t really know what things they sacrifice in order to do {fill-in-the-blank}. When I say to myself, “my goodness, how does she do it?!” what I’m really saying is, “Well, great. If she can do all of that, why can’t I even manage this? What is wrong with me?”

Please hear me: the last thing I want you to click away from my blog feeling is inadequate. This place is meant to encourage and inspire you and so I hope beyond hope that instead of looking at this snapshot of my life and wondering how I do it, you’ll also see that I sacrifice a lot of good things in order to make it happen.

reading instead of making dinner

I’m a regular mom with a full life. I lose my patience, I stay in my pajamas all day, I forget to reply to texts and sometimes my family eats cereal for dinner when I am too lazy to get up from reading my book.

That really did happen. This week, in fact.

My friend Jami wrote a really good post on balance. Seriously, you should read it. She reminds us that balance is not the thing we should be aspiring to, but rather obedience. Obedience to what is important in this moment at this time in our lives.

Rather than going after the illusive balancing-it-all thing, and rather than comparing ourselves to other women who appear to have that balance perfected, we really just have to make daily right choices for our own lives. We need an awareness of when to let go and when to push through. What things to give up and what are most important.  It’s a constantly evolving routine.

So I guess in answer to the most common question of how do you balance it all, my answer is:

I don’t.

 

{I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Do you have tips that help you manage your time and responsibilities? Do you feel overwhelmed? Do you compare yourself to others?  Please share …}

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129 Responses to thoughts on balancing it all

  1. Tracy January 12, 2015 at 11:01 pm #

    Thanks for your honesty. Great Blog.

  2. Elaine Lovett December 9, 2014 at 9:01 am #

    Dear Emily,Good morning from a rather gray Milwaukee! I first wanted to mention something I recently observed.I know many Emilys,one being my third child of five.This lovely college graduate daughter of mine is now a Nautical Scientist.Can you tell Im proud!?
    Emily follows my oldest with his art degree and my second son who is a physicist.As a single Mom,I will say getting them to this point in their lives has been a difficult struggle but worth every ache and pain.
    I am also an eighth grade teacher,which at times feels like a second family,educating,enjoying and loving.
    Not long ago,despite the organized chaos,I met what I thought was a terrific man,close to Jesus and willing to love us all.He moved from his home,far away and asked me to marry him.Believing God had meant for this all to happen,Isaid yes,and planned a wedding and a middleschool graduation and reception at the same time.Both events went well.The wedding was the kind dreams are made of.Loads of pretty things and people I love.My only dismay was that my siblings,two of them,flew from the east coast to be there but my parents,due to my Dads severe illness,could not come.
    Soon after the joy of the wedding,I began to see the doctor for migraines,which as a teacher is understandable.I had the doctor tell me it was a virus,I needed to work on my core,I then had arthritis.
    The list goes on. That entire time involved a stressful staff shake up at work,resulting in me taking a position at another school.
    Adding to my list of symptoms was the fact I was experiencing double vision.Most people,including my doctor and new husband treated me like a hypochondriac,whiner.Almost a year after the migraines and back pain,the doctor broke down and ordered an MRI,which revealed,not a back problem,but a large brain tumor! I felt as if I had been hit by a train! My children!! what about my children!!
    My husband was a none supportive spouse.How could I do this to him….he was not employed!!
    I will not bore you or gross you out with the craniotomy details,stroke,the loss of vision in one eye the pain and daily paralyzation,my point is that my frustration is knowing how to balance it all and not having the capability to do it! I can’t even drive to shop for Christmas gifts.I can’t stay awake or expend the energy to bake my 12 variety,Christmas cookies and mail them to relations out east.Its myself,I don’t measure up to!
    My ultimate point is to thank you for the pretty,imaginative things you’ve brought into this life of mine and to mention that you,my Emily,all the Emilys I have ever known are goal oriented adventurous hard workers with a solid foundation in their faith.What a great name,Emily!
    I’ve taken enough of your time,I’m off to try and finished a craft project! Merry Christmas to you and your family and God bless you all with good health and happiness this new year! An admirer,Elaine

  3. Julie November 3, 2014 at 5:42 am #

    I typing this from work when I should be working, but I ran across your blog a couple weeks ago, mainly because its so pretty. This is the first post I have read all the way through (short attention span, to much to do…) and it so hits home. Great Post, love it! Love your pictures and your ideas. Every is beautiful.

  4. Shelly September 12, 2014 at 2:17 pm #

    Thanks for sharing and being so honest and open – I ‘ve been feeling a little overwhelmed this week and that was just what I needed to read!

  5. danielle September 12, 2014 at 1:48 pm #

    Thank you. Searching for words as to how I feel after reading this and the only one that comes is…peace. It’s nice to know you’re human and not afraid to share your strengths and weakness. And to be reminded in a loving way of some of my own goals for self improvement. Time to stop reading and go get doing :)

  6. Pam keys September 12, 2014 at 1:00 pm #

    So nice to here you be soooo open and honest! You are an inspiration! God bless you so much for sharing these things with strangers a and allowing yourself and your life to be used for such beauty!

  7. Jill September 12, 2014 at 10:42 am #

    This was so, so good to read! Thanks for being vulnerable and real with us, you readers. It encouraged this mommies heart.

    • Jill September 12, 2014 at 10:43 am #

      *your readers

  8. Lee Ann G. August 8, 2013 at 10:57 am #

    Thank you so much for being so real and honest. Its so refreshing and helpful.

    ♥Lee Ann

  9. Michelle June 16, 2013 at 1:39 pm #

    Thank you. What’s most important to me in my life, now. That is what helped me the most in your Q&A response. I find myself at a crossroads in my life. Turned 40 last November (did I really?), went back to school earned by Bachelor’s degree (this year), finding my relationships aren’t what I thought they were, feeling more alone than I ever have in my life. Starting over. Don’t know where to start. Have so much to consider, so many steps to take. Feel so inadequate. Where have I been all my life? Finally coming back to my “authentic self” I think.

    Now, after reading this, at least maybe I can begin to think about what is most important to me in my life, now. What do I want now, and then the steps to take will become more clear. I am holding on by my fingertips, trusting God. Thanks so much for sharing. It really has helped me today.

  10. Heather Johnsen April 25, 2013 at 3:57 pm #

    I happened across you blog last spring while looking for a morocan stencil and have followed since, checking in periodically to see what amazing projects you are up to. I have had an exceptionally difficult week and reading you & your friends perspective on balance hit me in the heart. I am a working mother of a teenager, definately at a different stage in my family life but still struggle with finding balance which seems to forever elude me, like it is a set formula that I have to follow daily. I now have a new way to strive for balance, which really seem to be to follow my heart. Thank for the sharing so freely and with such heart felt honesty.

  11. Julie April 24, 2013 at 8:45 am #

    LOVED this post. Eye opening. Thanks for sharing your dose of reality!

  12. Ilana April 23, 2013 at 5:42 am #

    This blog was so beautifully honest! I love how you balance beauty with reality in your blogs and tutorials. It is always so encouraging and inspiring to get your blogs in my email, a true gift. Thank you for sharing your talents and faith with so many women. My friend has recently started an instagram challenge called me unmasked and its about women being about to share their real life without the pre-planned perfection that we so often present in our instagram/ blog images. So that we all feel a little more human together and remember not to compare ourselves to the “perfection” of others. And it so relates back to what I read in your blog today! Its is ok to be imperfect! Thank the Lord for His amazing grace! And thank you for being courageous enough to share :)

    Incase you would like to check out her instachallenge, here is the link:
    http://sweetmamaduck.blogspot.com.au/2013/04/me-unmasked-30-day-instagram-challenge.html?spref=fb

  13. Linda Chaput April 22, 2013 at 5:54 pm #

    How I needed this post today…. Thank You for your honesty. I guess we all judge ourselfs to harshly…I’ve been cleaning and working all day at home and I haven’t even touched the major things that I wanted to acomplish. I am bone tired from waitressing 5 days aweek, helping with my grandson and trying to be creative and fix my house at the same time. I had an extra day off this week and I had planned on being creative and either painting my hutch or prepping the piano to paint it. Well my allergies went haywire and I felt like #@%^. But I forced myself to do something creative. I’ve been wanting to make a book page wreath for so long, I’ve pinned several. So I pick out the easiest one I could find being that my head was pounding. Looked so easy, the pinner finished in no time. It took me four and a half hours. All the time I wondered how these creative, artistic women that I follow do it. Houses are gorgeous…Clean… and they have time to be creative…. Thank you for your post, I guess we all need to give ourselves a break….. P.S. my wreath, I adore it…..it was worth the four and a half hours of moaning and groaning and proving to myself that I could do it…….

  14. Casey April 22, 2013 at 3:35 pm #

    Thank you for this post!!!

  15. Susan April 22, 2013 at 12:48 pm #

    I am late getting to this post of yours (one of the things I don’t do is keep up with blogs I love) and am reminded of a lovely, simple saying that -for me at least- captures how I feel after reading you words: “comparison is the thief of joy.” Your post reminds me that all the things that the super mom next door seems to be doing does not diminish all the things that I am doing. Comparing myself to her only robs me of my pleasure in my own family, life, goals, and accomplishments. It reminds me that I am whole and complete for everything that I am AND for everything that I am not. What a relief!!! It is really such a gift that you share yourself so honestly with virtual strangers (or maybe virtual friends is a better way to say it). Bless your heart!!!

  16. Meg April 22, 2013 at 10:27 am #

    I think it’s already been said, but I’ll say it again. Thank you so much for this post. It’s such a good lesson to take a step back and think about what is really important to you in the big picture. All of those things that we DON’T do because we ARE doing something else may be important – but we can only do so much, and that’s OK! I certainly don’t feel inadequate today after reading your blog – I feel inspired and encouraged! I hope I will take the time every once in a while to step back & make sure I’m covering all the REALLY important things, vs. just the “urgent” or even unimportant-but-in-your-face things :)

    Again, thanks for your honesty & sharing your experiences with us :)

    • Jessica Bautista December 16, 2013 at 7:43 pm #

      I found this post linked to one of your more recent ones. I just wanted to thank you, even if you never read this! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    • Rinské Perkins March 19, 2014 at 10:46 am #

      One of my favorite quotes…”Comparison is the thief of JOY!” – Teddy Roosevelt

    • Carlie September 16, 2014 at 10:57 pm #

      your honesty and transparency is so encouraging and refreshing. Thank you, I really needed to read this tonight. Thank you for sharing your talents and creativity it is a true gift from God that inspires me to step out and try a project of my own. God Bless
      !

  17. Gerilyn April 21, 2013 at 6:01 pm #

    I have tears in my eyes. This email really touched me. Thank you.

  18. K April 20, 2013 at 9:51 pm #

    This is a sweet and meaningful (and honest post). Good for you. We need to be honest as the body of Christ. I applaud you and thank you for normalizing the way things are for the rest of us!

  19. Yolanda R. April 20, 2013 at 10:41 am #

    As I read this, sitting in my pajamas at 1:30 in the afternoon on a day where I am alone because my boys are all camping doing Boy Scout stuff so I get a day off from being mom/wife, I smile. I, as well as many others it seems, are encouraged by your transparencies. When I create something or do something that someone says “That is so great! How do you find the time?” I smile. I have the same answer as you – I don’t. I did it when I should’ve been asleep, or folding clothes, or cleaning the kitchen, or cooking or…..whatever. I still do all of those things but I don’t feel like I am going to overwhelm myself. I smile because I know not to take all those bloggers that show their squeeky clean side are always that way. Life gets in the way. Life is not always clean. I believe you had said something before in one of your other posts a long time ago about not showing the bad side on your blog all the time because who wants to read that. I like that you occasionally show people that you are real like all the rest of us.
    May God bless you for encouraging so many people. You made me smile.

  20. Amy April 20, 2013 at 10:08 am #

    Emily, this blog post couldn’t be more timely.

    I visited your site for the first time last week. I was so overwhelmed by the beauty of your work, I subscribed to your mailing list – something I RARELY do. Sadly, I was also overwhelmed by feelings of inadequacy – big time – until I had this strong spiritual impression:

    “Isn’t this sister of yours wonderful? Enjoy Emily’s talents! Don’t envy her or feel sad you aren’t equally blessed in artistic talent. The magnificent blessings she’s been given do not cast a shadow over your own. Remember – Love. Don’t envy.”

    This impression was followed by a deep sense of joy, peace, and love I can hardly describe. I didn’t realize I was feeling envious – I just knew I felt poopy about myself! I’m so grateful my Heavenly Father quickly corrected me, and in such a loving way. I didn’t feel berated or shamed by Him – I felt a surge of joy, then peace of mind and heart.

    It’s not a habit of mine to get all spiritual online, but I just had to share this. I love your blog, and I’m sorry I felt jealous there for a minute.

    Your sister in Christ, Amy

  21. Kelly April 20, 2013 at 7:39 am #

    I never comment on your blog, but I felt compelled to today. I had no idea that your husband was a firefighter! Mine is too. Although, he’s close to retirement now. It sounds to me like you’re doing a great job! It is not easy to be in your shoes. You are basically a single mom when your husband is at work. People whose hubands come home every day, don’t understand that fact sometimes. When I was younger, I tried to do it all and have it all which led me down the road to a lot of anxiety. Constantly comparing myself to others and feeling inadequate. Thinking others did it better and easier. Maybe that’s why I only had 2 children and spaced them far apart. It seemed too huge a burden to have lots of little ones running around at one time. I came to the understanding that you can have it all, just not all at one time! So, now I live with that truth and life is better. I have better perspective. I made drastic changes (such as leaving my career and staying home to raise my family). That was where I felt I was missing out, so I made that my priority. I haven’t regretted it one bit. If I decide to go back to work again, I will at least know that I took the time out to raise my kids right and have no guilt. Getting rid of the guilt is the biggest hurdle. Thanks for sharing your personal side so openly. We women tend to be competitive and it’s nice to be helpful to one another instead.

  22. Nix April 20, 2013 at 6:11 am #

    Oh “diligent worker” how much more inspiring can anyone be when being “just honest” xxx

  23. Courtney J April 19, 2013 at 12:07 pm #

    Thanks Emily for your candid honesty and transparent post. Honestly, I do click the close button and walk away feeling less than adequate, unproductive, and discouraged when I read some other blogs, but never yours. Because of your encouraging nature, your transparency, and your “keepin-it-real” sense that you portray on your blog, I always walk away feeling inspired and encouraged to do what I can, but don’t worry about doing it all. And I love and appreciate that, so thank you!

  24. Rachel April 19, 2013 at 9:52 am #

    Emily – thank you for always being so honest. I don’t even have kids yet & am sometimes envious of the lives of those whose blogs I read. It’s comforting to know that although things look ‘perfect’ in pictures, that everyone is ‘human’ in reality.

  25. Karena Kreger April 19, 2013 at 6:55 am #

    Thank you. Thank you.

    My life has reached a fevered pitch in the last few months that climaxed over the last 2 weeks. I won’t bore you with details but the result of all this running hard is not more accomplishment. Instead it’s been more frustration with what is not accomplished. I feel I am letting everyone down by doing everything half way.

    The other night in despair I asked my husband “Do I do anything well anymore?!” Rolling his eyes at my latest meltdown, he jokingly said “You boss me around well.” I truly didn’t know whether to laugh at his joke or start crying.

    Your article was well timed for me as I’m trying to catch my breath and cut myself some slack.

  26. Stacy April 19, 2013 at 6:50 am #

    Just like all the previous comments, I think you are awesome for being so open
    and honest! I have 4 boys and a very busy husband. I sew children’s clothing and lots of other things. I feel so blessed to be able to work from home, but I also get so anxious with my never ending list of orders. I wake up at 3 am and start thinking about all the things that I “Have” to do the next day. I always pray and give it all to the Lord and ask him to be in control of my day. He knows my desires and my responsibilities. When I give it to Him, I feel so much peace. I stay in my pj’s some days and make myself stay in my sewing room. Unless I’m going to the laundry room to rotate the Laundry! When I wake up in the morning I have a checklist of my priorities. #1 what are my husbands needs for the day? #2 What are the kids needs and #3 How can I take care of myself? (exercising, planning healthy meals, etc.) I’m not always good at this but the days I do, go much smoother. For me it’s discipline. And letting the Lord guide me. I love what I do and I’m so blessed to be able to work from home and have a supportive husband. I just don’t want to get so caught up in my swirl that I don’t notice others needs. I love your blog. I’m praying for peace for you, that you won’t feel anxious and that the enemy won’t steal your joy of having a full life!

  27. mlcr1981 April 19, 2013 at 12:47 am #

    I used to feel like a failure and inadequate all the time thinking “How does she do it?” but now I really try to be a little more indulging to myself because I really do lots of things everyday. of course there are days my kids eat cereal for dinner too and I thank you for saying it outloud.
    It seems that we all have to be superwomen in and out of home and that’s not fair. You have to be sure of what are your priorities in life and try your best and somedays spend the day in your pj’s is the best.

    Thank you!

  28. Brianne April 18, 2013 at 10:25 pm #

    Thank you. No really, thank you for saying those things. It is nice to know I am no the only one.

  29. Charis April 18, 2013 at 10:25 pm #

    Another great post Emily. No mom, or any person, can do it all, but we can do and be obedient to God in what He has put before us right now and I thank you for the reminder. Sooo much I don’t do too… And I get asked the same question because of being in ministry and having 5 young boys. We are all in similar boats as women and encouraging each other is so worth it!

  30. Amy R. April 18, 2013 at 7:53 pm #

    This is a great post! It is very freeing to let go of guilt and expectations we put on ourselves and be the person God made us to be. Thanks for the reminder!

  31. Jane April 18, 2013 at 7:44 pm #

    I really love this post. It encourages me. It makes me feel better about my own life. T makes me feel like I did something right.
    Instead of being forced back to work by my partner, I left him and went on welfare. To take care of my son, born with a heart condition. He has had open heart surgery and many close calls with his life in terms of flu and pneumonia. (We live in Canada, so no $500k debt for all this). I just found out he may need heart surgery again. The thought of anything like that happening to a Child (of just 4 years) TWICE is enough to break anyones heart. But I read your blog, and I feel like its ok that I didnt work and run my ex’s busi ess and throw my kid in daycare at 18 months, or younger. Cuz you let stuff go, and that means I can too! I can let it go for now that I dont have a job that will pay me while Im off with my son. I can let it go that Ill only have 5 years career experience at 32. But I have him. And I love him :-)

  32. katherine April 18, 2013 at 7:41 pm #

    Thanks for sharing. I think what you said is so true–all of it, but especially the part about how seeking balance is really about seeking peace and to do that we have to stop comparing ourselves. Social media presents a sliver of life, not the whole picture. But for the record, I don’t leave your blog feeling inadequate. The sliver of life you present here is inspiring. Thank you for all you share!

  33. Melanie @ MWDesignsTX.blogspot.com April 18, 2013 at 7:07 pm #

    Dear God, thank you for Emily and her candor.

    We are all blessed by your blog, Emily! ESPECIALLY this post! Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of your honesty!

  34. Jennifer April 18, 2013 at 7:06 pm #

    I think your response is refreshingly honest. I feel that so many people look at the pictures and feel that they can’t measure up. There has to be some sacrifice to get “everything” done. Thank you for sharing and hopefully it will help someone get perspective and not be afraid to find a balance that works for them.

  35. Michelle Webster April 18, 2013 at 6:45 pm #

    Thank you for being so honest. I am a mom of four (11, 6.5, 5, 2.5), homeschool, run my own business and am tired. I get asked all the time how I do it and it annoys me. How do you think I do it? Not always perfectly, not always well, sometimes with only seconds to spare. I wish people understood that what you see is the icing on the cake, not all the work it takes to make the cake look good. =) Would I trade it for an easier life, not a chance. This is the season God has me in, where I am happily wearing many hats, it is not easy and I am tired, but the contentment I feel by being free to do what God has called me to do is amazing.

  36. Allison April 18, 2013 at 6:01 pm #

    Thank you for putting honesty and truth out there! That takes courage! I read this today as well from a church sermon I love:

    We need not worry if we can’t simultaneously do all of the things that the Lord has counseled us to do. He has spoken of a time and a season for all things. In response to our sincere prayers for guidance, He will direct us in what should be emphasized at each phase of our life. We can learn, grow, and become like Him one consistent step at a time.

    http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2013/04/for-peace-at-home?lang=eng

    Thank you for bringing all these thoughts into my life today Emily!

  37. janet @ ordinary mom April 18, 2013 at 5:51 pm #

    I liked this post a lot. I think the danger with trying to find balance is the notion we have to have it all on our plate at the same time movin forward. Hence the balancing.

    But sometimes in life one thing needs us most and we drop the others to carry that one thing alone for a distance.

    So although I wish I always had a clean and tidy house or work was easily scheduled around my kids, it isn’t.

    I am striving instead for acceptance of the choices I need to make each day. Even if it to ignore laundry and curl up with a good book. Sometimes that is what is important.

    Great post! :)

  38. Kelly - Talk of the House April 18, 2013 at 3:53 pm #

    I should have just copied your post here and put it in as my answer on my number question on this post I did last week!
    http://www.talkofthehouse.com/a-blog-birthday-a-cake-frequently-asked-questions-and-a-sermon/
    I think all women with busy lives are feeling this. Maybe I am optimistic, but I don’t think we read these kinds of answers to compare ourselves. Hopefully we read to find a solution and to know that we are not alone.

  39. Erin April 18, 2013 at 2:32 pm #

    Ditto. To all of it. I just love it. I left you an inspiring video to watch that helps me when I am at that point in my life. http://purdueavenue.com/2013/04/18/ditto/
    By the way…I’m in your blog class and LOVING it!! Thanks so much for sharing yourself with all of us. You are such a blessing!

  40. Gwendolyn April 18, 2013 at 2:11 pm #

    i haven’t washed my hair since sunday. there, i said it. :)

  41. Kaillie April 18, 2013 at 1:51 pm #

    I want you to know, your posts and websites and crafts are the only one this busy mom can squeeze into my life (typing this as my sick 3 year old snuggles my leg-wanting attention) anyways I love your post and agree whole hearted with you… Today I strive to do things in a way where i can be proud of myself when I lay my head down on the pillow…so that means being kind, being productive and yes taking those pj microwave meal kind of days :)

  42. Carolyn April 18, 2013 at 1:47 pm #

    OK, I really like you. Even more than I did before.

    And, even though I’m a mom of two teen boys, I still enjoy your posts about raising four young ones and leading a creative, loving life. Your perspective is always healthy and realistic.

    Thanks, Emily!

    -Carolyn

  43. Hannah April 18, 2013 at 1:47 pm #

    great blog! hurrah! :)

  44. Catherine April 18, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

    Thank you Emily!
    Not even a word of a lie, you made me tear up with this post! That is why I love your blog — You are so completely honest and truthful about your life. I aspire to have a home as beautiful as yours, I would love to have more time to try more of your amazing projects, and it seems as there is just not enough hours in the day to accomplish everything I would like.
    Its nice to know that I am not the only one who lets some things slide … here’s to the dirty bathrooms and dirty hair, the ‘breakfast for supper!’ days and everything in between!
    Thanks again, please continue to share and create and inspire all of us!

  45. Becky April 18, 2013 at 1:17 pm #

    I so feel this post! I quit my job Monday as a Labor and Delivery Nurse after doing it for many years. I felt as though God said, “Becky, slow down and raise your (4) children, enjoy, soak up, be involved and most importantly…you don’t have to do it all!” I am still emotional over it but I know God will open and close doors a He see’s fit! Thank you for writing this!

  46. Jen April 18, 2013 at 1:03 pm #

    I don’t know how to say this without sounding like a weirdo so I’m just going to type away and hope that my comment gets lost in the hundreds that no doubt will fill the end of this post. You are the only blogger that gets sent to my inbox and because of that I read everything you write. Sure I read other blogs, but for some reason, yours is the only one that comes to my email. Having said that, I don’t think I’ve ever loved you more (that’s the weird part! sorry!), than I do now. This post was amazing. You are like the girl that everyone can relate to and wants to be best friends with. I love that you laid it all out on the line because by doing so you give all of us permission to be ourselves. I’ve always felt bad that I’m not a ‘famous’ blogger. I don’t get alot of traffic on my website and rarely does someone leave a comment. In today’s world you could measure me and find me lacking based on those terms. But I’m a mother of four and I do great things within the walls of my own home, every day. It’s hard to see so many amazing women in social media receive acknowledgement and praise for what they do and not feel inadequate. I’m a social media fail but that doesn’t make me a failure. I hope that someday my boys will remember their childhood fondly and make contributions to the world in their own way because of the things I’ve taught them. I hope they are successful husbands and fathers and leaders because of what I choose to do in my free time. And if that means I don’t answer my phone either, that’s okay.

    • emily April 18, 2013 at 8:36 pm #

      Thank you, Jen, for such a nice comment. It’s not creepy at all :) I feel like I’m a social media fail, too, when I compare myself to even bigger and better bloggers. It’s a constant ladder that I’ll never reach the top – at least not while also being obedient to the many other important people and responsibilities in my life. We’re all in this together.

  47. Angela April 18, 2013 at 12:52 pm #

    I commend you (so much) for being honest. It’s nice to know that other people out there are human too. I don’t have kids, a dog, or even work 40 hours a week. But I have many other obligations and I’m tired all the time. I’m a big one for “making” to-do lists. Every time I make one, I cut it in half. I do the more tangible/important/realistic things that day. I leave the rest for my on-going “monthly to-do list”. Next time I make a list, I look at the monthly one. By the end of the month if I haven’t completed it, I try not to feel defeated, but I realize it wasn’t really important enough to get done anyway :) I, too, have small weekly routines. Cleaning & shopping on Sundays, helping Grandma on Tuesdays, watch my boyfriend coach on Fridays. When I know I can’t change those routines, I don’t feel guilty about not getting other things done. I put effort into those tasks knowing I don’t have to do it well but I will feel accomplished just to complete it (except for Grandma, I cherish those moments with her). In the end, it’s “balance” and how you “feel”.

  48. Jessica @ Dear Emmeline April 18, 2013 at 12:24 pm #

    really enjoyed this honest perspective Emily. it’s so true. every choice we make and every “thing” we accomplish has to be fit in to the schedule somewhere. if we choose to put something in then something’s gotta give elsewhere. reality is we all have 24 hours a day.

  49. Kim April 18, 2013 at 12:21 pm #

    This sooo sounds like me! I could only dream about having an assistant. There are not enough hours in the day to balance family, work and social life. It’s especially exhausting for moms with creative minds that don’t turn off *wink Something always has to give… Good thing life does not have to be perfect to be wonderful.

  50. Meg Smith April 18, 2013 at 12:18 pm #

    Thanks, Em. I still have babies…and work from home. Oh, and my hubby is a pastor and firefighter. I work from home. And throw big parties, but my laundry and dishes are NEVER done. Cannot. Emphasize. That. Enough. ;-)

  51. Keisha-Cupcake Wishes & Birthday Dreams April 18, 2013 at 11:56 am #

    OMG – WE COULD BE THE SAME PERSON!!! I understand….I so understand, it’s such a good feeling to know it’s not just me!!!! I get asked all the time, if I sleep and I keep telling people ‘NO’ — This has just inspired my next guest post! thx!

  52. Rachel April 18, 2013 at 11:20 am #

    Isn’t it like God to use our imperfections to bless others? And isn’t it like a Godly woman to let those imperfections sit comfortably next to those qualities that make her lovely and admirable? All things work for good. And aren’t we so thankful they do!?

  53. Kimberly April 18, 2013 at 11:15 am #

    Beautifully written and appreciated!! I struggle everyday with finding that elusive balance and worry entirely too much about what others think. It’s in my nature and so far, I have not found the on/off switch that will allow me to kill the power to that bad habit. I’ve read that comparison is the thief of joy and I try to remember that every time I start wishing for things I don’t have or don’t have time to do. Thank you, Emily, for sharing your honest life.

  54. angie April 18, 2013 at 11:14 am #

    I compare myself to YOU every time I read one of your new blog posts!! LOL
    Thank you for this one.. I always wondered how you really managed to do it all with 4 kids, when I only have the one!! You inspire me in so many ways and THANK YOU for starting the Blog Class. I could have never created the blog I have today if it wasn’t for you.. and I would LOVE to drink a latte with you over a live web chat :)

  55. laurie f April 18, 2013 at 11:08 am #

    It really takes someone like you to write such honest words because in all honesty I have questioned “how do YOU do it all?” when I only have one small house, one child, etc. to care for. I don’t work at the moment but still feel that my life is full. Admitting where you think you fall short puts things into perspective to some of us out here who look at beautiful you, your beautiful family, your beautiful house, your beautiful artwork, your beautiful posts…and so on and question if we are doing enough. I completely agree that it is about comparing one to another but yet none of us has the same life. Silly to compare but as women we always do and {probably} always will. I am not sure there is balance for women once they have captured a husband and created a family. So while so many women work to create that image of a perfectly coiffed life all around admitting your faults to me makes you more perfect and more in balance than many who put out that flawless image to the rest of us!

  56. jami nato April 18, 2013 at 11:03 am #

    praise Jesus that women like you are telling the truth. it preaches the gospel.

    • emily April 18, 2013 at 12:44 pm #

      that makes me cry. I want to live the gospel and I don’t think I do it very well. So encouraging to hear it from you.

  57. Anonymous April 18, 2013 at 10:59 am #

    I think I’m able to grasp the idea of balance and don’t think I get overwhelmed often- but my husband thinks I should be able to do it all. What do I do when my husband wants the house completely clean all the time and I have a full time job outside of the home and a 2 1/2 year old? (I guess marriage counseling… ha)

  58. Erica April 18, 2013 at 10:53 am #

    I read a blog post about the way we appear to other people on facebook. http://www.kveller.com/blog/parenting/we-need-to-quit-telling-lies-on-facebook/

  59. Iiona V April 18, 2013 at 10:42 am #

    I’m glad I am not the only mamma out there that feels like this sometimes…

  60. Melinda April 18, 2013 at 10:42 am #

    Your honesty is greatly appreciated. In fact I started reading your blog when you were being completely honest about “blogging” and those of us who read such things. I think you hit the nail on the head again today. Thank you. Also, as a mother of 3 grown daughters, I can tell you that the years absolutely fly. I understand your definition of “full”…but it soon passes {at least the parenting part}. My husband compared those years of raising the girls as a “roller coaster ride” – fast and furious and fun…but hang on because it will be over before you know it!
    I’m thankful you share your faith so openly ~ It is so refreshing!!

  61. Anna Joy April 18, 2013 at 10:40 am #

    Can I talk about Forrest Gump for a moment?

    That movie and that character inspire me. He lived a very FULL (and probably very busy) life. Things spun out of control, and he often found himself in situations that felt overwhelming, unfamiliar, and possibly scary.

    But he kept saying, “Yes”. Whenever anyone asked him to be a part of something, or whenever a crazy idea came into his head, he usually said “Yes”.

    Did this perpetuate his full and busy days? Yes.

    And did he have lots of stories to share at the bus stop? Yes.

    When I was young, my mom taught me that if I wanted lots of stories, I needed to not be afraid to say yes. And my life is very full, but it’s full of fun! I write a blog. I have an online shop of repurposed items. Last week, I released my first worship album. Also last week, my husband and I became licensed foster care parents. In May, we are going on a babymoon/study trip to Israel. We have a dog. We have a church. We have jobs. We have friends. It is very full. And it is exactly what we want.

    Through it all, this is what keeps me sane – “The Lord will fight for you. You need only to be still.” Even if stillness means sitting in the driveway for 5 extra minutes before hauling all the groceries upstairs. Or turning the phone off once in awhile. Or eating lunch alone.

    When I say yes if it feels right, and when I sit still, everything seems to work itself out.

    And I hope I have lots of stories to share at the bus stop.

    • Anna Joy April 18, 2013 at 10:42 am #

      Oh, and if it helps…when I leave your blog, I feel inspired. Not inadequate.

    • emily April 18, 2013 at 12:46 pm #

      So do I. That is a great perspective.

    • Nicole April 18, 2013 at 2:53 pm #

      This idea of living a full life, of having lots of stories, has really resonated with me today. Thank you for sharing!

  62. Diane | An Extraordinary Day April 18, 2013 at 10:38 am #

    Thank you for being honest and transparent Emily. It does take courage to do that and I commend you.
    You ended your post well. Balance is a funny word. For something to be in balance it is always just a hair away from the tipping point…and I don’t want to live in that kind of tension. I do think that most of us want to breathe… We want time… We want to float and not constantly tread water to keep our heads and noses above the waterline. We want the peace that passes understanding. The only way I know to have that is to abide. In HIM.
    Maybe what we all need to do is scroll back our self-imposed expectations. Of ourselves and others. Maybe we need to choose to be content. All easier said that done. But, having gone through a few recent life-adjustments I am convinced that when we get off the treadmill (it’s different for everyone) we will find room to breathe and abide and be blessed with peace and contentment. Our lives and our children’s lives do not need to be filled every moment of the day. Sweet baby girl has been given a gift…she has learned to entertain herself and find contentment in her activity. That is priceless. Blessings and peace to you, Emily!

  63. Laura S April 18, 2013 at 10:18 am #

    I think it’s safe to say that we all appreciate you opening yourself up to us. Obviously we love to see the beautiful things you create, but with sharing yourself like this you also demonstrate that everyone has something to offer and no one can truly do it all. I had the chance to read this post at my not-so-inspiring full-time job while contemplating how I am going to get my personal business product finished before time runs out. I know one way I work through my busy times is to have a mini-celebration for every small victory in my day – so many good things happen and I don’t want to miss out on them because something less desirable may also be going on. I’ll admit, like others I have my bad days too though! Thank you again for letting us into your life.

  64. Jill Ridout April 18, 2013 at 10:05 am #

    Girl, you are awesome! It is a hard pill to swallow to be that transparent and show the ‘behind the scenes’. I’m also a mom of four and get asked a lot ‘how do you do it all?’, and I agree with your comment about having high expectations. I often fail to hit my own high standards most of the time, but I guess it’s better to aim high and miss than not aim at all. I’ve been begging my hubby for a while to please let me take your blog class, I have the perpetual “do it right the first time” syndrome and just can’t bring myself to start a blog unless it will be perfect. (Well, you know, aimed for perfect and falling somewhere along the lines of better than mediocre). I look forward to your class anyways and really hope to connect with you more. Thanks for being such a servant to your readers! I just love you!
    Jill

  65. Anna April 18, 2013 at 10:01 am #

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  66. Wina April 18, 2013 at 9:50 am #

    Gurl… you don’t say!
    As I’m reading your blog I feel like I’m reading myself.
    I struggle with balance these days as well. As a matter of fact, as I’m driving to work this AM I was thinking of how fast I now drive (65 mph+) and still felt like not fast enough. I remembered when our speed limit used to be 55 and if we’d go to 65, we were ‘speed demons’. This AM, in my car, driving to work, I missed the 55 mph mark in my life.
    I have 3 kids with 2 in competitive sports and living their dream lives, a freelanced husband who sometimes would go days to do his work, or days of hanging around with no work. We are always thankful, but can’t say we are not exhausted.
    Thanks for sharing… your post made realize that I’m not alone in this and that it’s ok.

  67. Karli vorderstrasse April 18, 2013 at 9:50 am #

    Emily,thank you so much for this real and honest post. Im a stay at home mom of 3. We have an amlost 4 year old and a set of 21 month old twins. My husband is a software engineer for Web MD in portland and works late nights.I too often feel like I fall short of certian rolls and have very high expetations of myself. Most days I feel exausted and feel quilty when I dont make a huge home cooked meal or loose patients with my oldest and yell. But I am trying to be more realistic and live in the now. Thank you for making me feel like I am not alone with this. Its a nice reminder to be who you are and do what works for you :)

  68. Rebecca April 18, 2013 at 9:43 am #

    Thank you for your post today! I have been feeling pretty overwhelmed recently. I am a registered dietitian with two jobs, who comes home slightly annoyed at the fact that my house needs cleaning. I want to make dinner but I don’t have the energy to go to the grocery store. I want to spend time with my husband but we go to bed early. I have a pretty extensive to-do list on the weekends/my days off where I try to get so much done including writing a blog post, clean, workout, etc. and now it just seems as though there is little time for relaxation and everything is pretty structured. I am trying to figure out how to balance work and play so I am not so tired and constantly on the go. I appreciate you sharing that I am not the only one in this situation!

  69. Darcee Kilsdonk April 18, 2013 at 9:43 am #

    Well said Emily! I think it’s all about choices and making a choice for what’s important AND doable in your life. I don’t workout every day, in fact never. Do I need to? YES! I have friends that are diligent about working out, but they’re jealous of my craftiness and cooking abilities and would say they wish they had more time to do THOSE things. Your blog today was a great reminder to be okay with yourself and the choices you’ve made. Loved it!

  70. Amber April 18, 2013 at 9:38 am #

    Girl! Your post hit home not only for me but I’m sure (by the comments) for a lot of other women. I know many entrepreneurs that are frequently published in magazines whose homes are not picture perfect by any means. We create the “fantasy” of perfect and it really doesn’t exist. Being a homemaker IS an exhausting job. But ya know what? It’s the BEST job in the world. I was cracking up when I read your, what I don’t do section because between you and me, your list equals mine! Ha! ;)

  71. LauraH April 18, 2013 at 9:29 am #

    Thanks for the great post! It is so encouraging and thoughtful. Thanks for being transparent, it is refreshing!

  72. Lori McFall April 18, 2013 at 9:28 am #

    You have no idea how God showed up in this post to me. This week I’ve been completely broken and felt the weight, pressure, and guilt of not being a good mom, wife, and not being able to balance it all. Amazingly, my devo this morning was exactly the same topic. It’s amazing the way God has put these in front of me today. Thank you so much for sharing this. We’ve been adding onto our house the last 7 months and I’ve pretty much been the “general contractor” and “project-doer”, I have 3 girls(6,4, and 2) and am 35 wks pregnant. I feel like if i don’t get the house completely in order before no. 4, it will be a disaster. Unfortunately then I feel like my family suffers in the process. I really can’t say thank you enough. This is a stage and we’ll all make it through.

    • Lori McFall April 18, 2013 at 9:31 am #

      I also have to tell you! When I read that your good friend “Jami” wrote a post on this topic, I thought it would be crazy that it might be Jami Nato. I just went to her post and sure enough!! Jami and I live in the same area and have a very good mutual friend! Insanely small world. :)

  73. aprairiegirlincalifornia April 18, 2013 at 9:10 am #

    You are so awesome. I loved that part about being obedient to “today” … I don’t even have kids yet and I still try so hard to get it all done when I am actually home, between my 2 jobs… One of them is at home, office work. Even I feed my husband cereal sometimes… I too wish I could meet you, you are a hero ;-)
    Xo jenn

  74. Lissy April 18, 2013 at 9:04 am #

    Thanks so much for these thoughtful words and your honesty… just what I needed to hear this morning!

  75. Nicole S. April 18, 2013 at 9:01 am #

    I love this! I think it helps to bring a little dose of reality to everyone’s day. I simply LOVE your blog! I have been following it for quite some time now and it always brings a smile to my face. I love your take on decorations and crafts. It’s really fun to see something maybe slightly different than I would have thought of myself. I completely understand the notion of staying in your pjs all day and trying to balance the little ones in the house as well as cooking and cleaning. There are some days that me and my 2 yr old race around the house at 5:30pm to get everything at least picked up before the workers in the family come home at 6:00pm. My mom would always tell me, since I was a little girl, that everyone has their own priorities and things to deal with in their own lives. No one is perfect and no one is the same. That’s what makes having friends and sharing a part of your life with someone so special. It is unique with everyone you choose to do this with. I’m thankful that you share your little part of your world with us! ;)

  76. Amy Clark Scheren April 18, 2013 at 8:55 am #

    It’s funny how sometimes the same theme comes at me from different sources and angles. Just yesterday, I posted about not judging ourselves based on the perfect pictures of life we see online, when we are usually only seeing a snippet of reality.

    Thank you so much for sharing your home and your story of living with us. The beautiful projects and pictures are inspiring, and your honesty is refreshing.

  77. Love This Life April 18, 2013 at 8:55 am #

    Let’s just say that I can relate 110% with your balance post. Being a self-employed or working mom is HARD when it comes to trying to do it all. It is partly the reason why our family blog is so neglected but in the end, you make priorities and stick to what really is important to your happiness and the happiness of your family.

    I have been a serial entrepreneur for 8 years now and own more businesses than I’d like to state which has certainly taken its toll on me at times. I find myself working most efficiently late at night. One way that I’ve found balance is allowing the cycles of my life to “just be”. One week I’ll be so ridiculously busy that I’m spinning in circles and the next I’ll find myself having time to do whatever I please. I try to embrace each cycle. I’m always a work in progress. :) Allowing yourself room to grow and embracing the constant state of change in cycles is part of the excitement!

    ***On a side note and completely unrelated, I’m a also an internet business broker selling website businesses and learn new tricks on a daily basis from our sellers. One thing I learned last week is that in FeedBurner, you can actually set your post pushes to only show the first paragraph or so of the post so that visitors have to come to your site to read the rest. This may not be important now but may come in handy for you in the future for traffic ….

  78. rachel April 18, 2013 at 8:53 am #

    Hi emily!
    Just this morning my husband discouraged me from checking the “I can volunteer with…” box. He reminded me that we have a lot going on at home that needs me too. He asked me (in a good way) why I always feel so obligated. I volunteer for a lot, and I guess I just feel like that is what I “should” be doing to help with school functions, sports etc., and I find it hard to say “no”.

    But, he is right. Even though it feels good to volunteer for things outside of home, I then feel bad (disappointed with myself) for not having a work-out plan, dinner plan, or clean laundry.

    It definitely is a cycle. But for now, I’m going to practice making more of a conscious effort to decide how I balance it all.

    Thanks for being real!
    rachel

  79. Lisa April 18, 2013 at 8:52 am #

    Hi Emily,
    I cried in my bowl of Puffed Rice this morning…in a good way…You hit the nail on the head for me. I’m NOT asking “How does she manage it all?” Instead I’m wondering “Why am I not good enough.” *sigh* I’m a mom to three kids – ages 23,18, and… 3. ( he’s not an ‘oops’ – can you believe people as me that!) And while they are the joys of my life, it can all be so overwhelming. I have two graduations in the next month that I am planning. All while balancing work and a 3 year old. Your blog/designs are my daily whimsy -just someplace else to be for a bit and find some inspiration. I found your blog after my third miscarriage and losing my mom in a terrible car accident – it has truly helped me create beauty in my life/home again. I thank you kindly for this amazing space.

  80. Megan April 18, 2013 at 8:49 am #

    Thank you! I always read, but don’t usually comment. This made me feel like I should speak up and just say hello and thanks.I like your phrase about life being full instead of busy. I have been feeling weird about “busy” lately also, and that is a nicer way to look at it.

  81. Lil April 18, 2013 at 8:39 am #

    Thank you for writing this. I shared it on my facebook wall. Very inspiring. I enjoy your work..

  82. Lili April 18, 2013 at 8:39 am #

    So weird to read Danielle’s comment. I often find myself saying “What would ‘she’ do? How would ‘she’ handle this situation?.

    It’s funny that I look at your photos and say “what a pretty house” and when I take photos of my own home and they look nice, but I know that all the mess was just out of the frame. Sounds like you just might do the same thing. =)

  83. Jennifer April 18, 2013 at 8:37 am #

    Hi Emliy! Thanks so much for the follow up. Your Q & A was such a fun read, but it’s also good to hear your eloquent, thoughtful words about how you “do it all.” I think sometimes we get caught up in looking at the beautiful blog picture of other people’s lives because people are encouraged and inspired by beauty and clever ideas (both of which you are great at) and that’s what bloggers put out there. Yes you might instagram your cereal dinner, but that’s the exception not the rule. Since taking your class & starting a blog I’ve struggled more and more with balance and figuring out what to let go. I have a few dedicated hours twice a week when my youngest is in preschool and like you I try to cram it all in (some days I’m better at that than others). In the end something has to give (right now it’s my office inbox). Thanks for letting me know that giving things up is OK, and that being obedient to we’re called to be at this season in life is what’s most important.

  84. Meg McNaughton April 18, 2013 at 8:36 am #

    Oh my gosh! You are a kindred spirit! I can’t even find words enough to express how much I appreciate you being real. I fully identify with you and function very similarly. Just replace blog/craft with photograph/edit/post-to-facebook, and everything else is spot on. We seriously should be “real life” friends. Please come visit TN and we can grab that latte. :)
    p.s. I’ve been meaning to tell you that I have two beautiful sequined pillows in my living room thanks to your tutorial.
    Many, many blessing and; somewhere, somehow; good, refreshing rest to you!

  85. Alison April 18, 2013 at 8:35 am #

    Emily, what an honest and refreshing post! I will admit that I often look at your blog and feel overwhelmed and inadequate as well as inspired. I feel that way looking at Pinterest too. I have overcome this by making a list of the things I really want to tackle the most and then I start on the first one. I too, love checking off a list. My kids are 3 and 4 years old. I literally just had to move the 3 year old off my lap in order to type. They don’t play alone or quietly. They are always under foot or on my lap and constantly talking and asking questions. They are a delight and a true gift from God, but they don’t promote “me time”. My solution is to have quiet time each day when they either nap, or have alone time for at least an hour. I can choose to work on a project or hobby, but often I just sink into the couch. Thanks for a glimpse into how normal your life is behind the scenes.

  86. Wendy April 18, 2013 at 8:31 am #

    Emily, I feel your pain! (but in a different way) Don’t be so hard on yourself! You have 4 beautiful children who are obviously thriving and that is a grand accomplishment. I remember when my 3 boys were little, I was always tired too. Very early on, I became a single mom and that was even harder. Right now I am struggling with a very tough teen and some days I feel like I can’t go on. So don’t worry, you are not alone!

    You are such a good mom! Be proud of yourself and cut yourself a little slack. I love reading your blog. It is one of the few peaceful and happy moments of my day now. I know it is hard and I do it too, but try not to compare yourself to others. The people that boast about how perfect their life is, are the people that probably need the most help!

    You are doing great! Thank you for being so honest and real. I respect that so much. And, if my house looked half as good as your’s does, I be proud! Hugs to you…

  87. Nicole@progressoverperfectionblog.com April 18, 2013 at 8:28 am #

    Great post, Emily. I have no tips for you, because you pretty much said it all. I’m off to read the obedience link you shared. :)

  88. Ashley @ Dirt Stains and Paint April 18, 2013 at 8:21 am #

    Great post Emily – I think you’re right on in thinking that this whole balancing act could be a false expectation, and not something that we can fully achieve – but rather seeking obedience in the day to day should be our target. Thanks for sharing – this was super helpful for me today!

  89. Diana April 18, 2013 at 8:12 am #

    Hi Emily,

    Thank you for your honesty. I love your blog, and I am old enough to be your mother. Balance, as you say, is a myth. I’ve never achieved it. Not even now, with the last of my children about to graduate high school.

    Blessings to you!

  90. Lillian April 18, 2013 at 8:12 am #

    Best. Post. Ever! Your words ring so true to me. Ha, balance! I constantly feel like I’m juggling, and I believe I do a pretty good job keeping all the balls in the air so to speak. But I’m with you, life’s hard and at the end of the day I’m tired. Forget Fridays……..I’m fried at the end of the week. I loved when you said “we really just have to make daily right choices for our own lives.” Day-by-day is how I find myself attacking most things in my life, whether it be diet, exercise, tolerance, etc……

    Again, great post! Thank you for the honest words. Be well!

  91. Elizabeth April 18, 2013 at 8:05 am #

    Beautiful and an a-ha moment for me….
    Thank you for your honesty. It is so true that there are lots of decorating blogs out there with the image of perfect women, moms, wives, with perfect homes and amazing craft and artisan grade talents…and daily “I’ll never be as accomplished as these women” coming out of my mouth.

    You are still amazing. Thanks for keeping it real. That’s a huge accomplishment in itself. Love your blog!!!

  92. Adriana April 18, 2013 at 8:02 am #

    Thank you! I read certain blogs and I look at myself and think….HOW DO THEY DO IT???!!! aka if they can I should be able to…but yes. You can’t fully give to everythingiI our lives equally. Not enough time in a day…. Thank you! For letting me know yes you’re tired. And its not perfect. As I assume it is…thank you. :-)

  93. Steph April 18, 2013 at 8:01 am #

    Absolutely love this post…so encouraging and so honest. And exactly what we need to hear. Thank you for reminding me that comparison is root of so much frustration for women-we can be our worst enemies! And it’s perfectly acceptable to eat cereal for dinner at our house!

  94. Hillary April 18, 2013 at 7:59 am #

    Emily, thank you for this post! Your honesty is so refreshing! It’s so nice to know I’m not alone in how I feel! Your list of things that don’t get done looks very familiar! Your honesty is inspirational! What a neat feeling to know I have sisters all over! Thank you!

  95. Betsy April 18, 2013 at 7:56 am #

    This comforts me so . . . you don’t EVEN know . . .

    I would love to meet you! I live in Sammamish.

  96. Lori April 18, 2013 at 7:50 am #

    This was something I needed to read & while I only have 1 child in school all day, I work from home (which means that for at least 2 hours each day during the school year she is home with me) & I don’t do alot of the things you listed that you don’t. And some days I do feel ‘guilty’ that I can’t do it all but I realize that I can only do what I can each day. And having a supportive husband helps tremendously! This made me feel better about how I’m ‘balancing’ life myself!

    Thanks Emily!

  97. Carol April 18, 2013 at 7:50 am #

    Hi Emily, I just wanted to say that I loved the honesty of your post. It made me laugh and nod my head in agreement – much to the dismay of my work colleagues who are bemused at my body language behind my PC..
    Continue being who are and God will be there for your strength x

  98. leilani April 18, 2013 at 7:46 am #

    I really loved this. It frustrates the heck out of me that I can’t and don’t do everything! But it sure helps to know that others (even the people I admire) don’t do everything either.:)

  99. Holly April 18, 2013 at 7:45 am #

    Great post! I also thank you for being honest about your “not-done-yet” list! I so often compare myself with others, and I think God might be trying to tell me something because I have read several different blog posts about who I am in Christ and how He sees me and my talents and gifts. Thank you for the encouragement!

  100. Kristyne April 18, 2013 at 7:42 am #

    Top favorite posts! Very encouraging. Thanks for keeping it real.

  101. Jessica April 18, 2013 at 7:41 am #

    Thanks Emily, I am a recent reader of your blog and thoroughly enjoy it. Thanks for your honesty.

    I work full time, have a 7 month old and was diagnosed with a degenerating disease last year (stress makes it worse). Anyway, my husband (he works two jobs and goes to school full time) and I sat down for a serious conversation, I asked him what 3 things would he like done related to house work each week. (I maybe get two of them accomplished.) I have learned to let go of a lot. (A clean bathroom is one of them.) I play with my daughter, he cooks. I clean the living room, he does homework. I get ready for work and he gets our daughter up for daycare. We have really learned the value of teamwork and not being frustrated by four load of laundry on the couch (which he now calls the closet). I also find freedom in honesty, with myself and others. I do not get it all done and that is okay.

  102. Delijah April 18, 2013 at 7:39 am #

    Thank you for your post!! This was perfectly on time for me and what I’ve been thinking about/dealing with over the past several weeks. (Longer than that, if I really think abobut it) I reccently became a stay at home mom at the same time that we moved, and I have been struggling to figure out a daily schedule. I’ve also really been hard on myself with the expectations of how my house should look. (Boxes still need to be unpacked, my bedroom is a disaster zone….) Then just last night, my husband and I talked after dinner and he highlighted all of these things that he felt I was doing so great with, and told me how much he appreciated me. And they were the little things that I probably take for granted daily, and I’m realizing more and more the need to be more realistic and not compare my reality to the snapshot I see of somone else’s life. (thats such good advice!!!)

    Thanks again!

  103. Coele April 18, 2013 at 7:36 am #

    Hi! This was SO great. I really needed to read something like this, this week. I’ve been so overwhelmed, not with a ‘busy’ schedule, but with a ‘busy’ mind of how I’m going to accomplish everything I want, and why don’t I have it all together like so many other wives I see. Thanks so much for the honesty and truth and encouragement in this post! Really needed it!

  104. jilrubia April 18, 2013 at 7:33 am #

    Thank you so much for your honesty. It’s nearly impossible not to compare the pretty lives we see online with our messy, real ones at home. My husband and I were just talking about our exhaustion and many responsibilities at this time of our lives. (3 kids, one puppy, jobs, volunteering, helping parents) I try to remember what older couples have told us. (While looking fondly at our crazy family while we’re out and about) “Oh it’s so busy, but you’ll miss it when they’re grown!” I think to find the small moments of joy and wonder and love in each day is the only way to get through. The funny thing is, I’m sitting here writing this while I have a bunch of wonderful neighborhood ladies coming over tomorrow night and there’s food to make, counter tops to clear and dog hair to vacuum up. Better get back to real life and make that fulfilling instead of looking at other projects online to make me even busier!! Bless you for sharing your reality. You are an inspiration!

  105. Kiersti April 18, 2013 at 7:19 am #

    Oh my goodness, I really needed to hear this today. I work full time from home….which to some others means that of course I have time to bake bread and do laundry and clean every single day. I also have 3 kids ages 6, 4, and almost 2. When people ask “how I do it” I respond with “You know those days when everything is crazy and you feel like you’re in survival mode? Well, that’s my every day life.” Thank you for reminding me that it’s OK to not do it all – it’s OK to wear my pj’s all day and for my girls to have crazy hair because I just don’t feel like doing it. I don’t think that anyone can truly do it all, but we can all just do the best we can in every moment. Thank you again – I love reading your blog! You are truly inspiring!

  106. Danielle April 18, 2013 at 6:59 am #

    So true and at a time when I really needed to hear it. I do find myself comparing myself to others, but it’s usually in the realm of my children. When my children whine or won’t listen, I find myself thinking, “What would ‘she’ do? How would ‘she’ handle this situation?” I don’t trust myself enough, I guess, to know that I have the answers too. Sometimes I just want things to be easy, but as a mom/wife/friend/coworker that’s often just not possible. Thanks for speaking the truth!

  107. Hannah April 18, 2013 at 6:44 am #

    I just wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed this post and it was a HUGE encouragement to me!! I’m only 15 years old, but reading your blog inspires me everyday to serve Jesus to the best of my abilities. I often struggle with time management and reading this post made me rethink and evaluate my priorities. Like i said, I’m in high school and I feel as if our teachers are just pouring the homework on us so that we don’t get “bored”, but they are really just preparing us for life. You are truly my favorite blogger because of many things: you are a very godly woman that inspires many people everyday, you do what you love with a passion, you admit that you’re not perfect, and {just a bonus} you have a great sense of style!! =) I hope that you realize how much you encourage me and many others and I dream of meeting you someday! As I sit here in study hall writing this to you, I leave this post feeling encouraged and uplifted to enjoy the life that God has blessed me with and I know that God is and will be blessing you because of your diligent work for Him!

    • emily April 18, 2013 at 6:56 am #

      Hannah –
      Thank you for taking the time to comment. I just love that you find inspiration in what I do and hope to meet you too someday :)

    • Tonya @ Crowns & Clay April 18, 2013 at 9:20 am #

      Sweet Hannah – at 15 your perspective is far more grown-up than many grown-ups I know. It is wonderful that you are giving so much thought to how you want to live your life and encouraging to me, as the mom of an almost-teenager, to see young people display such maturity.

  108. bree April 18, 2013 at 6:41 am #

    how very sweet and honest. i love your answer and believe that you speak for most mother’s as well. although i’m not a mother yet, i often wonder how i will handle it all. i guess you have helped me realize, i won’t. i’ll be there for what’s important and will have to let other things go. thank you for your insight. your family is just precious and i love your projects. you are an inspiration.

  109. Jill April 18, 2013 at 6:29 am #

    I seriously think we could be twins! I can relate with you on every single thing you mention. Thank you for being you and for your wonderful posts!

  110. Angie's Boblog April 18, 2013 at 6:01 am #

    nice to hear someone else admit to staying in pajamas all day and loving survivor! a thoughtful post — thanks!

  111. Nicole April 18, 2013 at 5:54 am #

    Very good answer to this question. Thank you! Thank you for being real.

    And I do think it has a lot to do with all of us struggling with comparison. So glad Christ is sufficient in all that I am not.

  112. Becky Monteiro April 18, 2013 at 5:48 am #

    Emily, Emily. Thanks for this. Such an encoragement! I feel the same way. Righ now I’m so exhausted that I even forget very important things. Then I feel so vulnerable and like I’m failing everyone around me. My mom taught me that patience always pays. And keep in mind that patience is only just wait, but wait in happiness understanding that God has a plan, and not worrying because He is watching over us. The best thing you said was that you don’t shower regularly. I don’t either. I’m not proud of it, but some days I’m so, so tired that I just can’t. I leave you this saying that I always bring with me: I don’t have everything I love but I love everything I have. God bless you and thank you.

  113. Shelley April 18, 2013 at 5:13 am #

    Thank you so much for this post. This speaks right to where I am. I feel like I cannot fully be all of things I want to be/do. It’s more about my expectations of myself. I know I set myself up to fail.

    You are a beautiful person inside & out. Thank you for your honesty on this topic. I must agree with the sacrifices we each have to choose.

    Keep up the great work!

  114. Alicia @ La Famille April 18, 2013 at 5:13 am #

    Thanks for your honesty! I’m only DAYS away from having a fourth baby and I’m asking myself this question constantly: how am I going to do all this?? Answer is, I’m not. Thanks for your sweet post.

  115. sarah April 18, 2013 at 4:25 am #

    thanks for the peak inside how you seem to accomplish so much. school time is key. i have 2 (soon 3)kids under 5 and have finally accepted that of my twenty hobbies, i don’t have to keep them all up during this season! career-wise, it is hard to have taken such a large step back (i’m a physician, married to a physician. he works 100hour weeks and i’ve limited my practice to very very part time in a free clinic). but my field is one where working part time=40hour weeks plus call, so reality, volunteering is the only way i can guarentee I’m there for my family, and they are so much more important. i like your friends’ thoughts on obedience–that is key. it confuses people that i enjoy caring for patients who are homeless and i don’t get paid, but that is my calling, that is my obedience right now. it confuses people that as a seemingly ‘powerful’ woman i’d choose to become a stay-at-home mom most of the time. but that is my great calling, my great obedience. and they forget that the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world…

    love your inpsiring site and blog, thanks for the peek at reality!

  116. Betsy April 18, 2013 at 3:57 am #

    Thank you for such a honest post. I think this was beautiful and makes me appreciate your posts, creativity, and dedication even more.
    You had me at I don’t shower regularly. :)

    Thank you for sharing yourself, and keeping it real.

    Betsy

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