Every once in a while, someone asks me how I do it all... and that's when I try really hard not to laugh, because I totally don't.

One of the number one questions that I get, is how I do it all. It makes me laugh every time I see it, because I really don’t get everything done. No one does! But wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could get it all done? People look at my life, and they see that I’ve got 6 kids, and I run a business. They’re already stunned at those accomplishments. But then they find out that I also homeschool. That’s when the fainting and shrieking starts… I just don’t know how you do it they say. I could never…. blah blah blah.

Sure you could! The cool part is that there’s nothing magical about what I do, and I really don’t get “everything” done. For days that I have magically accomplished getting school, dinner, and client work done, there’s umpteen other things I wanted to achieve that just never happened. Sometimes it means that the laundry sits unchecked. Sometimes it means that personal projects were put on hold.

Sometimes it means that we picked up pizza, or tacos, or corndogs for dinner. I know some of the sanctimommy’s out there just cringed. I could never feed my kid that you say. And believe me, I’d love to be the ultimate Mrs. Cleaver… just kidding… I can’t vacuum in pearls.

Can't vacuum in pearls, but it IS easier to clean with a baby wrap.

Regardless, like most Moms, I’d love to have a perfectly clean house, with gourmet meals on the table, freshly scrubbed kids that all use their manners all the time, thriving business, amazing wardrobe, and perfectly coiffed hair all the time. But then I wake up.

The fact is, my kids aren’t always clean… and I prefer it that way. Getting dirty is part of childhood… hell it’s part of life. I actually want to get messy with them more often than I do. Sometimes my Type A takes over, and I cringe at the idea of breaking out the scissors and glue, but again these are vital parts of childhood. I’m trying to learn not to let my own issues prevent creativity in my kids. Or learning opportunities for that matter.

My kids aren’t clean, and they’re not always well-behaved… aren’t you relieved? In fact I have had days were I’ve called my Mom to vent about how it’s only 8:15 in the morning, but I’ve already broken up 4 arguments, told the kids to be quiet and eat their breakfast, and told the boys to get their clothes on about a half-dozen times. Sound familiar? That’s right, you’re not the only one who has days like that.

Then there’s school. Yes we school at home, and some days it’s magical. The kids get in there, and we do history together, and read-alouds… and then the older kids do their independent studies (like math), and I sit with the younger kids to work on phonics. But then there are days that one of the younger ones decides that Duplos sound waaaay more fun than sounding out bat, cat, and rat… and the oldest one has a ‘tude about math. (Not that she didn’t come by it honestly.)

So yes. Like every other parent, there are moments I want to duct tape my kids to the wall, and days I feel sheer relief that it’s bedtime. But then we get up the next day and start all over again. We try to look at every day as a fresh beginning around here.

So how do I “appear” to have everything together? It’s easy… number one I put as many systems in place as possible. Sometimes it gets me accused of being OCD, or Type A, but in general my family appreciates the results of the structure… if not the structure itself. So here are some of the systems we use…

Bullet journaling has made my life easier

 #1. I use a bullet journal.

I used to be super obsessed with planners… I tried just about every one that came around. I tried the Erin Condren, and the Happy Planner, and cheap ones from WalMart/Target. I’ve tried just mapping things out in a notebook… I’ve used Google Calendar, iCal, and Cozi. But nothing every really fully clicked, until a friend of mine started bullet journaling.

I’d heard of bullet journaling before, but when it first became a “thing” it was preeeeetty boring. It was very straightforward, and seemed like it was intended for guys or very left-brained people. But then I saw the pictures my friend was posting on Instagram… and her journal was PRETTY! It had headers, and doodles, and pops of color, and it was like a cross between journaling and art journaling. Uhm tell me more!

So I completely went crazy and dove into researching this new wave of pretty bullet journaling.

#2. I make small adjustments.

Once upon a time, I had the psychotic notion to get up 3 hours earlier than I had been. Why? I wanted to cultivate a writing habit, so I wanted to be up before the kids. But instead of being reasonable with myself, I set my alarm for 3 hours earlier than I’d been waking. I’ll let you guess how long that lasted… zzzzzzzz.

The next time I tried that, I started getting up 15 minutes earlier. Once I had that down, I got up 15 minutes earlier than that… much smarter! And it’s been working a lot better for me.

Some days look more like this

#3. I roll with the punches.

Sometimes the baby is just cranky. Or the toddler is clingy. Sometimes you’ve got the migraine from hell. And sometimes…. sometimes your head just isn’t in the game.  I would never say that you should give up when these things happen… if you give up every time there’s a monkey wrench in the works, the evil monkeys win. And we don’t want that to happen. Sometimes you just need to throw them a banana and get back to your day.

Okay that analogy got out of control. Where was I? Oh yes… Sometimes pushing through isn’t in your best interests. Sometimes if you push through, you just wind up with a crappy blog post, a painting that you’re unhappy with, or kids who are mad at Mom.

In fact today, I started off with the biggest plans. I was going to write copy for a landing page… write a welcome email sequence, and start a blog post draft. But my baby was up playing at 5am, and I’m a really light sleeper, so I was up at 5am. (Hint: I’m not usually up at 5am) So I’m tired today, and the baby is cranky because he was up earlier than usual.

I’ve also spent the last 15 minutes with my toddler on one knee, screaming like someone possessed, because we dared wake her up for dinner. So instead of working on the email sequence, and a new blog post, I’ve been working on the finishing touches for this one.

But you know what? That’s okay. My email sequence will wait. But before I know it, my toddler will.be a grown woman, maybe even with kids of her own. And some day, when she tells about the rough day she’s having with my grandkids, I’ll gleefully remind her about her post-nap meltdown.