I don’t.

This last week I’ve had several people; nurses, friends, family members say the same thing to me: “I don’t know how you do it.”  I hear that phrase a lot. Even if I only mention that I have four kids (in any place outside the state of Utah, that is) and nothing else it comes, “I don’t know how you do it.”

I’ve said the exact same words to people. People whose lives I’ve never lived, shoes I’ve never walked in. It’s easy to imagine that we couldn’t go through the trials we see others going through. So, for me only, I give you a look into how I do it:

I don’t.

My laundry pile is four feet wide by three feet deep. We’ve been rifling through that pile, taking some clothes when we need them, adding more when they get washed, for weeks.

I can’t remember the last time I did my hair.

Christmas presents this year will probably be unwrapped, not thoughtful at all, and late.

My kids homework has been forgotten too many times this week. 

The list goes on.  I’m not saying I’m a slobby person or that I’m a bad mom. I just know that with everything else going on, I’ve got to pick carefully my battles. I don’t do it all. I do what I have to because I have to. Because at the end of the day, we still have our choices. I choose to be okay with a little mess. I’m okay with looking tired and undone because right now I’m exactly those things.

I don’t put on a brave face if I’m not feeling brave. I let myself fall apart, too. I let myself cry. I let myself be pissed off. We don’t have emotions just so we can deny them. They are a part of the human experience. I’m grateful for the times I’ve spent curled up in my bed crying until my body ached as deeply as my heart. Those times make the good times SO much better. I’m okay with feeling the depths of sorrow because they give way to even more joy. 

And I don’t do it alone.

And quite honestly, that’s the biggest part of the answer. I have my husband who provides me with space and time to work through things. I have friends, magnificent friends, many who I’ve made because of autism or Down syndrome (or both). They understand the heartaches, they understand the joys. Many have gone through what I’ve gone through, most have gone through much harder things. I’ve found from them that it’s never just autism. It’s never just Down syndrome. It’s cancer. It’s mental health. It’s money issues. It’s crappy spouses, mean families, and financial issues. It’s real life. I gain strength from their examples.

I would not have chosen this life for myself. I’m super glad I didn’t have that choice. My life isn’t the type you’d put in a magazine or a calendar. I don’t go gallivanting off to far away places. We don’t do fancy things. We don’t have fancy things. We just have a real life full of the full range of the human experience. Both the highs and the lows. And I’m grateful for that.

12 thoughts on “I don’t.

  1. My response to "I don't know how you do it" is similar, even if it sounds like just the opposite. I say, "You just do." When crazy shows up you just, well you deal. You drop some balls, you pick up others. Life goes on.

  2. THANK you! I don't do it all either. My kids eat crap a lot of the time and my bathroom floor is disgusting. But we're muddling through, and my kids are happy–mostly.

  3. its up there with them saying "i could never do what you do…". if only they knew that that makes me look at them a little differently. Im just being a mum!…some days i rock it! most days im just wingin it.Allison x

  4. LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!!! We all live the life we are given. We do the best we can. Which means not everything happens or gets done or is perfect. That's impossible. We do what WE can do. And each of us does things our own way, the way it works for us. I could go on and on and on. But I won't. Except to say that I miss you and wish you still lived here. Even if we only had your for a year. I'm just happy you guys are all home in one place for christmas. Better than a stinking hospital room.

  5. I, like many, "just do it" and ignore the rest – as if we had a choice. Kids are clean and fed, clean clothes are somewhere, the grocery store is open 24h, the bank of mom and dad cover the gap, hubby is working, anxiety meds take the edge of for my son with autism, he will hopefully sleep through the night eventually.. I am exhausted, alone with the kids again, the house is a wreck and Christmas is coming ready or not. I pray for all of us.

  6. I don’t know how I missed this the first time! I always love your honesty!! I generally come back with “You just do.” We’ve made commitments to be parents. Great post!

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