Since returning to work, the question most asked of me is How do you do everything? (followed closely by Are you tired?)
Everything means different things to different people, so I usually ask for clarification. A quick rundown in no particular order shows everything to involve getting dinner on the table every night, keeping up with housework and laundry, taking care of the household needs like shopping and organization, spending time with people, and other tasks I’m sure to be forgetting at the moment.
I have a secret.
Dinner is sometimes apple pie and ice cream and leftover macaroni and cheese and frozen chicken nuggets. The kids help by doing their weekend chores, and sometimes an adult child sneaks in and cleans for me while I am at work. Sometimes everything is a disaster. Often everything is a disaster.
Morning grace is recognized when the laundry room is piled sky-high with dirty clothes, and my picky dresser is gearing up for a meltdown because she has no pants to wear on a cooooold morning and leggings materialize from somewhere and a tunic from somewhere else and boots zip onto feet with smiles.
My husband makes lists and helps to shop and stops at the store for us and packs a mean lunch. He eats apple pie and ice cream and leftover macaroni and cheese and frozen chicken nuggets for dinner, or BLTs, and helps to clean up afterwards.
I don’t do everything.
Just like I didn’t do everything before I returned to work.
Some things I do better like waking up early and getting a shower and knowing what my kids are up to all day.
I appreciate my mom’s answer to that question all the more, these days. When asked How do you do it? when we were young, she replied To what extent?
And isn’t it like that for us all?
To what extent are you doing it these days?
Oh, and of course I’m tired! (Just like I was during that 14 year season of infants and toddlers.)