Wednesday, October 8, 2014

i can't do it all

I have a housecleaner.


here i come with a bunch of excuses and explanations, groveling and apologizing----


Just this.

I can't do it all.

I came a bit late to this stunning realization last August.

We bought four houses in as many months last year, went to Africa, started planning another trip back there, taught a small group, ran a small business, participated in community, church, family and sports events and when it came time for school to start I just felt like I was going to drown.

I knew my husband was gone a lot; besides running a business he continues to work full time at MFD.  Out of curiosity one week I logged his hours gone: 116.  Really, this made me feel better, not worse.  I knew I was carrying a rather heavy load of bedtimes, training, teaching, mealtimes and practices alone, but doesn't everyone?  Why was it so hard on me?  Weekends are somewhat irrelevant since Daniel is usually on duty for either Saturday or Sunday (or both).  I don't get a break most nights when Daddy comes home.  We try to schedule one family day per week, but it doesn't always happen.

I felt like something was going to give and I really didn't want it to be a) my marriage b)our business c) my sanity.

I took a good hard look at what I loved doing, what I needed to be doing, and what mattered for eternity.   And then I started ruthlessly cutting out the rest.

Whenever you start taking things off of your plate in American society, your pride suffers horrendous blows and your very being starts quaking.  What if I'm not frenetically rushing??  What if I appear to have time to push my kid on the swing?  What if someone thinks I'm lazy?? What if I don't appear busy?  Our value as Americans is intrinsically wound up in what we produce and how full our schedule is; relationships, health, spiritual well-being and even sanity fall below the bar when it comes to how we prioritize our time.

So with my pride on the line I knew one of the things sinking me was quite simple:  housecleaning and laundry folding. 

But you're a stay at home mom! 

You are such a failure if you can't manage this!

How lazy!

You could be spending this money to feed starving children!

The accusations in my head were vicious (maybe because I'd mentally flung them at others before?) and I cringed; Daniel laughed and asked what I was waiting for. 

So I asked a teenage friend if she was interested in folding my laundry.  Why, of course! (What teen doesn't want some quick cash?) 

The first day she was at my house for barely two hours.  She folded and put away five loads of laundry, vacuumed the kids' rooms, scrubbed the dining room, kitchen and bathroom floors and washed the front glass door with windex.  I  couldn't even believe it; I kept pinching myself.  And that night when I was making supper at ten pm for my husband and the guys staying with us I didn't even feel guilty.  Instead I felt able to handle the weariness of an extra dinner, of cleaning up the kitchen and dining room late at night and I knew that only my foolish pride and independence would keep me from receiving this beautiful gift: one hour a week of help cleaning my house.

I can't do it all. 

I can't.

It feels good, freeing, now to admit this. 

I am pretty sure laundry is not eternal.  I do not want to give up snuggling my two year old or time with my husband in order to fold laundry.  I do not want to give up having friends over just to be or watching my kids' soccer games to scrub the floors. 

I have had to prioritize what is most important in my life right now and what I want to spend my precious hours on and as much as I love cleaning my house my way it's at the bottom of the totem pole of what's important. 

So I let it go.

Freedom comes in relinquishing my pride and giving God my time and energy;  His yoke is not a burden; His ways are not heavy and weary. 

Unless you believe the Gospel, everything you do will be driven by either pride or fear.
Tim Keller
The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.


  1. Simply deserved. Never hold anything back. You deserve a little something for you out of life. You deserve it....your family deserves it. You are a awesome mother, a wonderful wife to Dan, and a beautiful deserve it.............

  2. Thanks for this post. Inspired me and reminded me what my priorities are.