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It's a question I'm asked all the time. If I'm not asked how I do it all, I'm asked, "How can I do it all?"
Can you do it all? Is it possible? That depends. What does all mean to you?
I'm a single mom. That means working, maintaining a household, and homeschooling. I must be mom and dad. In other words, I have to bring home the bacon, fry it, and teach the kids how it came to be bacon. That's what all means to me.
So how do I do it?
It's all about establishing a routine.I try to keep a routine going. It was easy before my daughters grew into their bipolar sleep problems. I need order and structure. They also need it, but their body clock doesn't allow it to happen.
This is a huge struggle in my household.
Even so, I try to keep something going for my sake. Whatever each day brings for the girls, I work with it.
Since I need to have structure in my own life, I have a schedule. While I used to adhere to it strictly, I've learned to use it as a routine on the days when the girls aren't functioning on a 'normal' schedule. This may mean breakfast is at noon rather than 8 a.m. We just start where the day dictates.
My routine looks something like this:
That takes care of chores and homeschool. How does work fit into this picture?
How do I fit work into my day?I work as a blogger, social media community manager, and homeschool consultant. I work at home and control my own schedule.
When I work actually depends on various factors around here such as children's moods, when they got up, when/if they go to bed, and other such things. If they're sleeping late, I work in the morning. If I end up staying up half the night (or all night) with Lorelai, then I work at night.
Fortunately, I can do my writing when I want and schedule it to post. I can do the same with many other things, jumping online or on my phone to engage with people on my social media. That's a thing I can do a few minutes here and there throughout the day.
I don't want to discourage anyone. I do realize that not everyone has the luxury of working at home or having the ability to work when they want. For that reason, I want to mention that that I've worked all sorts of jobs and schedules while single-parent-homeschooling my kids.
- 6 a.m.- 2 p.m. as an answering service operator (I also worked 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. on that job for a while.)
- 3 p.m. - 11 p.m. as an answering service manager
- 10:30 p.m. - 7:30 a.m. as a call center representative
- For 6 years I worked at home as a call center representative on varying schedules. Mostly I worked 9-5.
- I owned a green cleaning business for 10 years. Of course, I made my own schedule and many times only worked 15 hours a week. Then during periods of huge growth, I was working 40+ hours per week.
Nobody Is Perfect and We Can't Always "Do It All"There are days when some things simply don't happen as they should. It's OK. I've learned to accept that.
It's OK to tweak a schedule. It's certainly OK to tweak a schedule for kids, like mine, who struggle with schedules.
The good news is: there are 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week. Lessons and chores can be done in bits and pieces, day or night, playing it as we go.
Still - some days don't go as planned.
Between sleep issues, mood cycles, and whatever unexpected things come our way, there are days when everything is off track.
The children are fed, housed, clothed, educated and loved deeply.
In the end, if I've done those things, I've done it all.