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How DOES She Do it?

“HOW do you do it all?” I get this question a lot lately…


I have to laugh inside every time I hear it because I am by NO means someone who has it all “together.” At least, not by the standards I had set out to maintain 10 years ago when I began this parenthood journey.


Here’s a little snapshot into my afternoon:

"Smoodie Show" (Smoothie and a show)

This is Dylan, my 3-year-old, zoning out to his favorite TV show and having a smoothie. This is my “catch up on everything time” – I give him an hour of television while I frantically empty the dishwasher, catch up on email/website updates/financial tracking and eat lunch (usually hunched over the kitchen sink).


Someone put scotch tape on this shelf at some point...hence the damaged finish right in the middle of the shelf. Awesome.

This is my attempt at decorating for Easter this year. I call it, “A bunch of stuffed bunnies on the shelf.”

Why is there always a bouncy ball on the table, too??

This is my dining room table that is in a constant cycle of being covered and cleared by the daily “stuff of life.” Today’s “stuff” includes the St. Patrick’s Day decorations I finally took down yesterday, but haven’t had a chance to put back in the “St. Patrick’s Day bin” in the closet under the stairs. (Don’t even get me started on the state of affairs in that closet.)



This is my “office.” I sit in my little breakfast nook that was supposed to be for my kids, but they still prefer “the big table.” I actually kind of love that it’s turned into my space, as it was the first home project I spent any of my income on since starting my business. I love that I can watch them outside the window if they’re playing out back, and that I’m right here if they need me – which they always do. See those papers next to my computer? They’re covered in notes from phone calls as well as Dylan’s doodles that he works on while I’m telling him to “be quiet while Mommy’s on the phone!”. I have this morning’s empty coffee cup and this afternoon’s refill – because sometimes I need coffee at noon. And a broken water bottle –because something is ALWAYS broken. You’ll also see some math worksheets I’m supposed to work on with my 9 year old, as well as next year’s school supply list…are you kidding me? Already?! I’m supposed to keep track of this thing for, oh let’s see…4 ½ months?? Right…


This is the soundtrack to my life: My 15 year old dog who stands at the edge of the kitchen and barks ALL...AFTERNOON...LONG. God love her - she's a sweetheart, but...Momma don't got time for this racket.


(Oh wait…excuse me, Dylan’s show is over – I have to quick start another one!)


Ok – I’m back.


And as a matter of fact - can’t make this up – I LITERALLY just got a phone call from my new hair salon (a fellow preschool mom who I was excited to try out for the first time) asking why I wasn’t at my 12:30 appointment.


“But I thought that was tomorrow? Please say that it’s tomorrow?”


NOPE.


Now I let down another busy mom AND I can’t get a haircut when I so desperately need one and had made arrangements for childcare and everything. Are you serious?!


People will hear me talk about this kind of stuff and immediately say, “Oh you need a big glass of wine.” My husband seems to think so too, because he keeps me well stocked. But you see, my aging body seems to think otherwise, and I’ve developed a pretty severe intolerance to more than one drink of alcohol. A cruel joke at this stage in life. So I walk past this luscious shelf of goodness all day long just waiting for my “one glass” which…let’s be honest…isn’t enough.


Oh man - we need to paint that trim. Add it to the list.

So – am I painting a picture of the fresh-faced and energetic Ms. Kristen you see when you come to class each week?


I'm sorry to shatter the illusion. I share all this truth because I REFUSE to perpetuate the myth that some people just “have it all together. Behind every successful, put together mom or dad, there’s a truth like this – and you know what it’s called? LIFE.


How in the world can life with children be anything other than messy? Can you even imagine what a crisp, clean, “inside the lines” life would even feel like?! The moment I let go of the idea that a life like that was even possible, I began to truly embrace the life I was living.

I have so often said that in order to enjoy parenthood, you must fully submit to it.


Parenthood requires complete and utter submission to the chaos. Once I realized that, I also realized it’s this crazy, messy life that FUELS me.


And adding a business to the mix? Well, all I can say is THANK GOD I went for it when I did. The chaos of my home life mixed with the control I am able to exert over my business have united in wedded bliss and they’ve produced a love-child I have named: BALANCE.


Through my work with all of you, I have found balance for the first time since starting this crazy parenthood journey.


So the next time you see me lost in a moment of joy with your children and wonder, “How does she do it all?” I want you to pat yourselves on the back and say, “I have given her this moment…which has changed her life forever.” Because of YOU and your support of Music Together North Shore, I’m a better mom, a better wife, and a better person. You are helping ME to let go of SO much that just plain doesn’t matter. Don’t wonder about how I do it – I CAN do it and I jump out of bed to do it every day because I wouldn’t want it ANY OTHER WAY.


And it’s my hope that I, in turn, am helping you to focus on what DOES matter. Those moments together in class are EVERYTHING. But also – putting on the t.v. (or your Music Together C.D.) at home to sit in peace for a moment so you can recharge or take care of business is also EVERYTHING! Find ways to exert control over what matters most, and allow the chaos enter your life. You just might find some balance, too.


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