Getting a little bit real today about what goes on over here at Refined + Rugged behind the scenes.
A friend asked me last week if I had a nanny or a housekeeper. She wanted to know how I was keeping up with the every day stuff of life. These were her words, “Do you have a nanny? Or housekeeper? How do you do all these fun things and keep up with the everyday and the littles?”
How was I keeping up with cleaning my house, watching my kiddos, and still doing this thing called a blog? Well with my VAST experience (I hope you’re laughing here because I have been blogging for all of… [checks watch, cough, cough] three months. And I didn’t have a method for maintaining complete life balance before I began blogging.
And I certainly haven’t found it now midst the six-days-a-week posting schedule I’ve assigned myself). The short answer is no and no. I do not have a nanny nor do I have a housekeeper. Both would be nice at times, and I respect folks who are nannys and housekeepers and folks who employ both.
But no, we don’t have help for those tasks at our house. I think what she was also asking is, “Where are your kids when all of this business is going down? What are they doing when you are taking outfit photos? What is the state of your kitchen sink? Where on earth do you find the time to do laundry and still post a meal you made?”
Or maybe I am asking those questions of myself these days. The short answer to those questions is that my kids are basically there, off camera, in the wings in whatever blog business is happening. I mean my six-year-old has taken Outfit Of The Day photos for me, for heaven sakes!
The other part of this answer is that while this blog is managed by me– I do the writing, I make the editorial choices, I choose the outfits, I run the science experiments, I cook the meals– the reality is that the entire endeavor is a family affair. I couldn’t or wouldn’t be able to do it any other way.
My husband takes the outfit photos while my kids skateboard, or shoot hoops, or pick their noses. He takes extra alone time with the boys while I’m writing posts or editing photos or doing research or even reading a book. So how do I do it? How does anyone DO IT?
I’ve followed enough blogs over enough years to have read many, many posts about this kind of BALANCE. I do think it is a balance we all seek no matter whether you blog or not. This is LIFE balance we’re talking about, and here are a couple answers about the out takes I’ve discovered not just since beginning this blog, but as a mother of two small people seeking to fulfill family, friends, faith, and self on many different levels.
1- There is no such thing as balance. It does not exist. Now don’t cry when you read that, like I’ve been prone to do on occasion. Don’t sink into woe or spiral into sadness. I realize it is hard to hear this. But there are some positives to coming to grips with this reality. Like living in reality! Not only have I read this from several different authors (blog and non-blog writers), here, here, here.
I’ve also lived it. I have had plenty of days where dishes were piled like their own sky-scrapper cities, when laundry looked as though a bull dozer may have been needed to move it to the bedroom, or the state of my toilets was, ahem, questionable. This is life.
I have been in grooves where I was religiously hitting the gym, but I simply couldn’t seem to keep the clutter at bay on ANY surface in my house. Or periods where I was rocking it at keeping every load of laundry rolling out like an assembly line, but I couldn’t seem to make a play-date for my kids to save my life. I’ve had moments where I felt like I was winning in the educational department by rocking the Science Fridays (this was long before blogging), but I just couldn’t find an outlet for all of the thoughts jumbling around in my head.
So if it looks or appears like I have it all together here– on this blog or anywhere else across social media, Instagram, Facebook, even text message– please remember that these are snap shots of my life. They are chosen because I want to project goodness, and joy, and beauty and yes, even fun. But they are curated.
Not that they didn’t happen to me or my family. We lived them for sure! But for the thousand words that each picture tells there are 10,000 more pictures that I can’t or choose not to share. I don’t chose to project happiness, joy, and beauty because I am trying to fake you out. I am doing so to lend uplift to my life and yours.
2- I’ve set up my blog to include my family. I talked about this earlier, and I’ve had conversations with a lot of friends and family and some real thoughtful self-reflection when I started my blog about how I would include/exclude my family. After all, my people are still very little people.
They aren’t making a fully conscious choice to participate in blogging. I wanted to make sure that I was choosing my posts for the RIGHT reasons, not incorporating them to gain readership or posting about their activities for selfish reasons. I don’t feel as though I am doing either of those things.
At this point, my blog includes my family because I am still at home with them every moment of every day. It won’t always be that way. I expect that as my life changes, morphing to different phases, my blog will change, as well. But for now it doesn’t make sense not to include the people most precious to me. If I went away from posting about them, I’d probably have to set posting aside for now.
Plus, this has already been such a fabulous way to document some of our doings, our comings and goings, and isn’t everyone with kids looking for ways to mark and remember, document and journal. At least I always am, and this blog has been the perfect mode for me to do so.
3- Tweak and re-tweak, try and re-try. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Here’s where that old adage applies. The deuce of it is that you have to keep this keeping-on midst a constant state of change. There was a time maybe six months ago when everything clicked. I don’t remember my surroundings or circumstances, I don’t remember the day of the week, but I remember this moment distinctly when I thought, “I’ve got it!”
For me, the I’ve got it meant this: I am finally able to both do what I think is a decent job being a mother and enjoy the doing of it at the same time. It only took me seven years to come to this cross-roads friends, seven years. I wouldn’t call myself a quick-study! And in that moment, that very breath, that very feeling of… I don’t know what to call it. That feeling of exultant peak reaching, that feeling of deep satisfaction, that feeling of getting it right after a long, long time trying.
This thought followed: soon everything will/would change again. In a year my second son will go to school full-time, in the fall things will change and shift again, tack on 5 or 10 more years to that and everything will definitely, certainly, undoubtably be different.
So I will have to keep trying. Keep balancing. Keep going. Keep learning. Keep doing and breathing and being and rising and loving. BALANCE. If balance doesn’t exist, I must be looking for something else. JOY. I believe that what I’m looking for is JOY. Joy in living, joy in learning, joy loving. JOY in life.