For Those Who Think I "Do It All" (a snapshot of my life) - Sarah Mae
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For Those Who Think I “Do It All” (a snapshot of my life)

Friends, there is a perception out there by some that I “do it all.”

I really, really despise that false perception.

“Do it all” implies that I do “it” ALL. What is “all?” I do a few things that I believe God has called me to do, and sometimes I do them well, and sometimes I completely botch them.

Here’s what I do:

  • I mother
  • I homeschool my 6 year old
  • I wife
  • I blog
  • I write
  • I host a conference
  • I speak

Let me break it down:

I mother

I cuddle with my babes every morning when they wake up. All three of us sleep together in the mornings, and it is the sweetest thing ever. We get up, we have breakfast, sometimes my babes watch some TV, sometimes they play, sometimes we go to the gym. I’m trying to make bible time during breakfast an anchor, something consistant for them. Their jobs are to make their beds, help me clean up, and unload the dishwasher. This does not happen at the same time every day. Some mornings we have a friend over, or go to a friends house, swimming lessons, kids museum or science museum (depending on the season/day). My 6 year old takes piano lessons, ballet lessons (for $5 a week – a missionary at a church teaches worship ballet), and swim lessons. My 5 year old son and 3 year old daughter only take swimming lessons.

Then I do lessons with my 6 year old, which is very simple and doesn’t take much time. We do math, reading, and bible. Soon we will also be doing art. My other two play, or color, or watch TV during this time. Side note: we stopped all lessons except for reading from January until May because my daughter was overwhelmed and was struggling with reading. We picked back up in May.

After lunch, my babes have quiet times – my 3 year old naps and the other two play quietly in our play room.

After naps they play or have a friend over, or help me clean or go on errands. Every day is different.

My husband gets home at 3:30 every day, and so we spend time together, have a very early dinner (usually around 4:30) and then we just hang out.

Exciting stuff, eh?

I wife

My husband and I have landed in a wonderful groove with each other, and so we aren’t always striving to “work on our marriage.” We love each other, we enjoy hanging out with each other, we make each other laugh, and we do business together. He helps me run the conference, and he’s dipping his toes into the possibility of starting a business where we work together. We have a good thing.

I blog

I blog mostly in the evenings after my babes go to bed (they go sleep around 8:30). Sometimes I don’t blog because I’m tired or want to watch a movie with the hubs. I’m fine with not blogging every day. I also have an assistant who helps me with email, affiliates, and other tasks; she’s amazing. She also runs the Allume blog.

I write

I have written eBooks here and there. For 31 Days to Clean I got up around 5am in the morning to work on it. Also, it wasn’t a book from scratch, I took posts and revised them and that is what made up 31 Days to Clean (and Frumps to Pumps). I only wrote two “new content” eBooks, and both of those I mostly worked on in the evenings. I probably wasn’t blogging very much during the writing of those eBooks. When it came to writing Desperate, I had to hire someone to help during the week, and I was able to do that because of the success of my other eBooks. I have a grad student come once a week for a few hours to clean my house and play with my babes. I would not be able to write a book if I didn’t have her. Also, my husband usually gives me Saturday mornings or an evening to write. I took two months off my blog while writing Desperate. Also, when you are compelled to do something, you just do it, you find ways.

I host a conference

I agonized over whether or not to keep doing the conference. My husband and I prayed, sought out council, and talked it over a thousand times. We believe God led us to this conference, and we made the decision to keep doing it (but we hold it loosely; only as God leads). As for working on it, I mainly work on the conference on Saturday mornings, or while driving somewhere (this is when I make phone calls), in the evenings, or during my kids quiet times. I schedule all meetings with sponsors during those quiet times. I also have an amazing team of women who work with me, and so we spread out the work. We each operate according to our strengths so the work is fun/easier. I also meet once a month with my co-host to work on the conference (this is usually on a Saturday when my husband will do something with our kiddos). I was going to host a second conference, but realized it would be too much, so I canceled it.

I speak

I rarely speak. I’m not aspiring to be a speaker, and I choose very carefully what I’m willing to do. I don’t like being away from my family, so I set pretty strict boundaries on my travel time.

Sometimes I mess it all up and feel terrible. My life is not wrapped up in some box with a bow. I’m selfish and lazy. I struggle with listening to voices other than God’s (“You shouldn’t…” You should…”). But, I’m also an overcomer. I choose to not stay in my sin. I go to God, I accept His grace and wisdom, and start over. I persevere in my ideals. I don’t give up. 

So no, I don’t do it all. I do the things that I believe God has chosen for my life. I’m walking by faith and leaning into Him every step of the way.

Why do you think we use the term “do it all” flippantly? What does it mean to “do it all”?

Love, SM

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  • Sara meredith

    I think you are awesome, not superhuman just awesome x

  • homemaidsimple

    I think when people use the phrase it’s them reflecting on themselves. Thinking “I can’t do anything, and look how much she does”. We’re self destructing when we use the phrase, and I don’t think we even realize it.
    You do a lot, but no more than you’ve been led to do, and it sounds like you’ve found a very nice balance.

    • http://blog.ashleypichea.com Ashley Pichea

       “You do a lot, but no more than you’ve been led to do, and it sounds like you’ve found a very nice balance.”

      Exactly! Love this!!

  • http://pinkdryerlint.blogspot.com/ Pink Dryer Lint

    Sarah, out of all of your posts, this one was the most encouraging to me.  

    As I’m finishing my first book that’s coming out this fall (also on motherhood, would you believe it?), blogging, teaching public speaking and writing at PSU, helping my husband with his campus ministry, and mothering our three kids, I often must remind myself that I’m only called to do what I’m called to do — not what anyone else is called to do.

    There’s freedom in this because it truly is impossible to do it all.  Your post really solidified some of these lessons that God has been teaching me.   Thank you.

    I look forward to hopefully meeting you at Allume at some point!

    – Robin @ Pink Dryer Lint

  • http://www.terilynneu.com/ TeriLynneU

    Love this … and appreciate your candor.  I gave up doing it all when I was about your age … and it changed me, my family, my marriage, and my home.  ALL is overrated … living is not.  

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      What do you mean, “when I was your age”? 😉 You’re not THAT much older than me, are you? I’m 32. 🙂

      • http://www.terilynneu.com/ TeriLynneU

        Oh sweet friend, I’m almost 10 years older than you.  So yeah, “when I was your age” fits.  Those early 30s are precious years for learning yourself and understanding the need to stop striving and just be.  I love that you are sharing your journey with all of us.  What a blessing!

        • http://www.ordinaryinspirations.blogspot.com/ Traci Michele

          wow girl you look so young!

          • http://www.terilynneu.com/ TeriLynneU

            Oh that made my day.  For real.

  • Frugalflamingo

    thank you for sharing this sarah…i know you don’t do it all, but you still do more than me…lol  

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      Haha! Maybe, maybe not. Do you have a hobby? Do you sew or garden or scrapbook or lead bible studies or volunteer? I think it looks like a do a lot, but there are a lot of things I don’t do. 😉

      • Ruth@GraceLaced

        I think this is just it, Sarah. I always tell people that I make choices. I do what I find most important to ME. TV, for example, is one that I easily forgo, while having folks over for dinner is a priority in my life, and I sacrifice other uses for time in order to make that happen. I really appreciated the straight-forwardness of this post. Thanks!

      • Frugalflamingo

         yes…sarah…i know i “do”..and yes it just looks different:)  i constantly am encouraging folks myself regarding this.  for some reason when you blog it is always just going to be the image that folks have in their head of you EVEN if you insist it’s not true. and i think where satan sometimes ensnares us is that we simply want to “do” what the other person is doing and not what we are doing.  it all seems so much more alluring. stinkin’ lies we continuously fall victim to.
          i have 4 kids.  i homeschool.  i run an adoption ministry. i garden.  i blog.  well, i did, but that is  sorta tumbling by the way side.  regardless, i was smiling when i wrote my initial comment , BUT the crazy thing is that there is a piece of me that realizes I still struggle with this stronghold that i keep thinking is gone. 
        regardless, thanks for making sure i was ok:)))

  • http://joyfulmothering.net Christin

    Yes. I can relate. People ask me that all the time and my answer would be similar.

    • Rosann

       So funny, Christin, when I was reading this about Sarah Mae, you came to mind as another woman I’d love to know more about in the same regard.  🙂  So basically the secret is just to keep on being the girl next door?  Ha!  I think I can manage that. 

  • http://www.sundijo.com Sundi Jo Graham

    Love your authenticity and the willingness to show we women don’t have to have it all together!

  • http://blog.ashleypichea.com Ashley Pichea

    I got a mothers’ day card from my mom that was entitled, “To my daughter who can do it all…” It really jarred me, because she KNOWS that I DON’T do it all.

    I’ve learned to be OK with doing what I do best and letting others help me where I don’t have time or talent {this was the hardest part}. Being a work-from-home, homeschooling, blogging mom who is actively involved at church and who lives 2.5 hours from the closest family isn’t easy!

    It’s by God’s grace that I’m able to do ANY of it – and He helps me to keep the important things first as I yield to His Spirit’s guiding.

  • http://twitter.com/DeniseLThompson Denise L Thompson

    You know I love you and as you know I don’t do it all either.  Thanks for sharing a glimpse into your life.

    You bless me.

  • Rachesme

    Thanks for showing us what is real.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000580647762 Stephanie Dakin

    Oh boy, do I love your transparency here!  “I’m selfish and lazy.”…..two things that I struggle with DAILY.   🙂

    Thanks, Sarah, for this encouraging post!

  • Kristenlila

    can i just say that i SO aprpeciate this post and the honesty behind it? i love that youhave given us a real look into your life and it is SO encouraging! i am about to be a new mom in just another 2 months ish and work ft, trying to start our own business,  among SO many other things stressing to try to get it all done and be able to do it all… obviously im failing miserably…lol… I appreciate you sharing this. any specific suggestions for a new moma to be about trying to transition and trying to NOT do it all? thanks a bunch!

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      Oh my goodness, I wish I had words of wisdom for you, but I honestly can’t imagine trying to work full-time and have a newborn…or little ones in general! Maybe this will help: http://thegypsymama.com/2012/05/tips-for-working-from-home-and-not-losing-your-mind/

  • Beth Williams

    You appear to have a good balance in your life.  Not trying to “do it all” & definitely not by yourself.

    Thanks for the transparency. 

  • http://Godsgracefulness.com/ Godsgracefulness.com

    I don’t do it all. I just fake it till I make it. 🙂 If you know what I mean?
    Sometimes you can’t and that’s okay. I don’t feel guilty for it either. I don’t feel guilty that I post ONCE a week on my blog. I like the freedom but I LOVE the family time even more!

  • Mrsawiggins05

    Each pregnancy, I’ve been told yet again that I have to go on bed rest. And each pregnancy, I’ve had to learn to give a little more responsibility, hobbies, “fun stuff,” and ministry away. I’m very good about finding a balance for those few short months. But then… The baby is born, she is weened and doesn’t need my attention 24/7, and I take everything plus more right back. This is my problem.

  • http://jordaninaz.blogspot.com jordy

    I’ve used the term flippantly out of frustration: “I can’t do it all!” And when we’re in the busy times of life and overwhelmed with things to do, it does seem like we are having to “do it all.” But recently, I’ve given this up and I’ve thrown up my hands at the idea of having to do it all for me to be worth something. I think that’s what it was all about – for me to be worth something, I had to do everything. Not true. This revelation has been freeing and relieving.

  • http://WhimsySmitten.blogspot.com Cara @ WhimsySmitten

    Thank you for this. I have to remind myself {often} that my business is only to be doing that which He has for me at any given time and not look longingly at the lives {or careers, or wardrobes, or perfect homes or book contracts} of others. I can do it all if my “all” is my All-in-all… only what he puts in my life and not everything else I heap on top of it to try and keep up (with what, I don’t know). Thanks for these words and for being an example of a woman who puts first things first, or at least makes a valiant effort at it. 

  • Alison

    I really enjoyed this post. I know you don’t “do it all” but you sure do a lot, and it inspired me a bit… I’ve been contemplating a new opportunity that would take me out of the house a couple times a month.. not a huge commitment to say the least, but I worry about doing too much…it was helpful for me to see how you make time for things that are important to you while prioritizing the things that are most important–family, kids, etc.

  • Brittany Guess

    I love it!  Thank you for posting!  It is very timely as for me and my life right now.  Reminded me it’s okay to admit and even good to admit those weaknesses and only do what you can.  I too feel very selfish and lazy at times which if I give it too much thought without getting back up; I spiral down.  But, God’s grace is always there and His mercies are new every morning! 

  • Lisa

    You don’t do it all. You simply live in the skin you’re in, using the gifts you’ve been given, to serve the Lord you love, because of the grace offered by your family and support poured out by your husband.

    Hmm.

    Sounds a lot like me and a number of other women I know.

    I think the heart of the issue is the insecurity and inadequacy so many women feel when they walk down the comparision road, tick marking off what they can and can’t do. But they’ve failed to recongize their unique calling and gift set. They’ve failed to recognize their God given purposes. They fail to recognize that we wouldn’t measure up to them if we started comparing ourselves, too.

    Sarah, thanks for sharing this post. If you don’t mind, I’m going to use it to address these issues at my life coaching website with the prayful hope to free women from a life of comparing into a life of discovering their own God-given passions and purposes.

    Blessings,
    Lisa

  • Marcela

    This is so refreshing and encouraging!  Thank you.  I  spent so many years in the comparison trap.  I worried  about my friends coming over to see the “lived in” mess we operate in.  I’m not the most organized gal you see (according to me).  After asking God to help me with this EXASPERATING burden and prayer after prayer, God revealed to me that my house is clean enough!  Imagine that.  There are piles but we are not buried in clutter by any means!  I was so critical of my housekeeping that I failed to see the good.  My dinner table is set every nite, I cook a nice meal for my family.  I do the dishes every nite!  The baskets of laundry have clean clothes and that is allright.  It is not perfect but it is clean enough because the time I’m not cleaning, organizing or cooking, I am at baseball games, basketball games, Brownies, dance class, helping my husband with errands he needs done, visitng friends and family.  If the price to serve others is to have a “clean enough” house that is absolutely worth it.  I’m learning to be honest with myself.  To take a step back and really weed out irrational thinking.  Is the house messy because I spent too much time reading blogs or is it messy because I wasn’t feeling good and took it easy.  Is dinner not done because I spent too much time reading a book or  is it because I spent the afternoon at an impromptu play date at the park with my kids.  I weed out the wrong thinking, pray to God for help, receive his grace, and then do what needs done.  If I’ve been lazy I step up my game, if I’ve been mothering I say “kids we’ve had so much fun today and now we need to work together to clean this mess!”.  It’s working and it is doing wonders for the mood in our home.  I’m no longer a frazzled mommy who’s mood is determined by the next catastrophe but a mommy who is confident in who I am in Christ!  Thanks again for sharing your life.

  • http://heedinghisvoice.blogspot.com/ Michelle

    I love the way you say, “I wife!” That tickled me.

    We do tend to use many words flippantly in our culture, with “do it all” being one of them. I don’t do it all-not all at once, anyways. My health issues might very well be the biggest blessing in my life because I am forced into considering my activities in a  sober light.

    What personally goes out the window for me, (and I am cringing as I share) is housework. It is just too hard to do physically sometimes. I am blessed though with older children now, so they do help.

     

  • http://profiles.google.com/jess.salts Jessica Saltsgaver

    I really enjoyed reading this, it’s always encouraging reading about other peoples lives. I definitely keep my life simple. I’m a wife, mom to four preschoolers, and I keep house.  Next fall I’ll begin homeschooling more intentionally, but other than that I lead a pretty simple life! Never boring though! 🙂

  • S Club Mama

    Thanks for sharing this because you can be intimidating. 🙂 You do seem to “do it all.” I have to ask you a few questions because I’m praying hard over whether to homeschool or not. How long do you homeschool (2 hours, 1 hour)? Do you use a curriculum or do you piece it together on your own? I feel like when I’m home with my kids, I should be doing something with them, but then I feel conflicted to just BE with them as they play. I’m not much of a “player” so I read a lot…or used to. I’ve been in a funk for a few months. Homeschooling, even the thought of it, overwhelms me.

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      Homeschooling lasts only about 1/2 hour to an hour. We piece things together. The thought of homeschooling used to overwhelm me when I tried to be like other homeschool moms. I had to find what fits for me and my family. We believe in kids just being kids, and not to push them before they’re ready. I lean this way: Better Late Than Early http://www.amazon.com/Better-Late-Than-Early-Education/dp/0883490498

      🙂

  • Brandi

    Spot On with your last sentence of “Why do you think we use the term “do it all” flippantly”.  I’ve felt this way so many times.  I think many times, people will see or hear all that another person is doing and because the “things” being done by the person they’re looking in at, is different than what they do – well, Gosh somehow “you must be doing it all”.  Maybe because what we’re doing is different from what they do is where the flippant phrase derives from?  I can say for me that when someone coins that phrase toward me – it can sometimes hurt because it negates all of the challenges, hardships and balancing that I face within a days time.  By that phrase being used, it comes across as, the “do it all person” doesn’t face many challenges with balancing everything within their life and that it just comes easy.  In my recent years of coming into my learning of wisdom and good people skills, I pay very close attention to how I word things or how what I say may affect someone.   I also know that this phrase is used as a complement of someone looking in with amazement.  God Bless 🙂

  • http://aboverubies.net/ jasmine

    Love it, Sarah. You broke it down well – not only for yourself, but for many of us. 

  • http://twitter.com/StephneGlidden Stephanie Glidden

    I loved this post! Bravo!  

    But I beg to differ 😉  You are doing it all, because you are doing ALL that God has called you to, prayerfully and intentionally. It may not be the worlds standards of “doing it all”, but that is the beauty of it. God doesn’t call us to things that don’t fulfill, encourage, and move us forward and you recognize that. And that is admirable 🙂 

  • Rosann

    What a beautiful snapshot of your life, Sarah Mae.  🙂  It’s comforting to know, even with all we perceive you to be doing, you’re just a girl next door like the rest of us.   How wonderful that your husband is considering starting a business where you can work together.  I would love that opportunity with my man, but I’m an idea girl/big dreamer and he analyzes risk for a living, so I think our business heads would clash.

    Blessings,
    ~Rosann

  • Natasha d

    Great post, Sarah Mae!  I love your simple, flexible schedule.  that is the kind of schedule I seem to live by as well.  As soon as I plan some rigid cleaning schedule — a visit with a great friend pops up and messes up teh schedule.  But life is all about relationship (with God and others), so why let an inflexible schedule mess up a visit with a friend????  I am learning!!!

  • Veralynne Malone

    OK, so now I don’t feel so bad. I am trying to take of elderly parents, my partially disabled husband, do craft shows, work on my crafts, blog and the list goes on.  Thanks so much for this post. It really helped me!

    V

  • http://myhometableau.com/ Johanna Hanson

    Thank you for this post! It is so good to see the real life behind successful bloggers/writers.

  • Alicia

    Thank you for being so honest.  Most moms have a sense that they need to be “Superwoman/Supermom” just as I do.  But the truth is we get swept up in our commitments and obligations that we forget to enjoy the reason we chose to do these commitments…our families.  I’ve been struggling with where my life is heading for most of this year and trying to find a balance at what I should be doing for my family and what is just an obligation.  I’ve felt guilty over not having enough time to spend with my kids, my husband or friends and I’ve felt guilty for not letting God help me with my struggle.  But as I came across your blog and thought about your honesty throughout your posts, I realized that I will get through this.  God will help me through this.  I just need to spend more time with him in prayer, in praise and even during my “me” time (of course, I need to carve out some “me” time first). 

    Thank you for being so honest for all of us moms who think we need to be “Supermom” to be a good mom for our kids and a good wife for our husbands.  May God continue to bless you and your family.

    ~Alicia

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      You are welcome, Alicia. We need each other, and honesty sure helps us feel like we’re not crazy…or alone. 

  • Andrea H

    Sarah Mae, your honest, humble posts keep people coming back for more because they don’t feel intimidated or scared by you; we feel like we can be honest, and not be criticized for our failures!  Thanks for making a safe place for us 🙂 

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      This is the best compliment ever. Thank you!

  • http://www.facebook.com/monica.pruett Monica Pruett

    I’m not sure what it means to everyone but I know if I say it to someone it usually means that she is doing more than I am.  But I also recognize that my life has seasons – I can’t do it all, all the time.  I trust God will lead me and our family and I am thankful for the doors He opens and closes on seasons of my life.  Thanks for sharing.

  • jwolstenholm

    Sarah Mae, thank you for sharing do personally here. And thank you for sending me this link. : ) I don’t know why I think some women “do it all”. We’re really all just so much alike. But I appreciate this insight and some of your strategies. Above all, I know it’s the grace of God that allows us to do anything as his children. Blessings to you!

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