Striking a Balance in Life – Something’s Gotta Give

I have a really hard time fitting everything into a day. There are so many things that I want to do, so many things that I need to do.

There are the regular immediate household needs, like loading and unloading the dishwashers, clearing off the counter tops, tossing a load of laundry into the washer or dryer, and sweeping the crumbs and maple keys up, which seem to keep me in perpetual motion. There are the household chores that I can put off (but for how long?), like cleaning the bathroom, vacuuming, washing the floors, decluttering the EVERYTHING, sorting out the pile of school communication, and dusting – to name a very few!

There are the immediate kid needs, like feeding, walking to school, making sure their underwear drawer isn’t completely empty, and getting a few cuddles in. Then, there are the just-as-important extras, like making crafts, having them help me make biscuits and cookies, playing outside with them, going for hikes, reading books together, and taking the time to be silly.

There are the outside chores, like raking up the leaves, pulling the weeds, and mowing the lawn. 

There are the things that I want to do for myself, like keeping up this blog (brainstorming, writing blog posts, taking and editing pictures, participating in blogging support groups and challenges), reading Canadian fiction, chick lit, and cookbooks, trying new things (building a bench from scratch!) and keeping up on the many TV shows in my life (Suits, White Collar, Orphan Black, Sherlock, Orange is the New Black, Covert Affairs). 

There are things that I want to (and need to!) do for my marriage, like finding time to hang out with my husband without multitasking on any of the above items, taking the time to do things for him that I used to do before the kids came along (like make him breakfast – I used to make him breakfast every single day!), and enjoying God’s gorgeous creation with him – with or without the kids. 

That’s a lot of things to get done in a day – or even a week, and I’m not even working outside of the home right now! 

I see friends around me pulling it off – their houses are beautiful, their children are well fed and clothed in spotless garments, their hobby projects are beautiful, and their marriages seem as solid as a rock. 

I have at least one friend that stays up until almost midnight every night to make every single little thing happen, but I’m not entirely sure how other people pull it off!

I know that what I see of other peoples’ lives isn’t necessarily the whole picture; I love it when people let me into their less-than-perfect homes. There’s a certain sense of relief that washes over me when I see breakfast dishes on the table at 2pm and livingrooms askew with pillows, blankets, books, and construction paper. 

Last week when we had friends over for dinner, I had meant to clean, vacuum, tidy, and declutter, but then life happened. We spent time at the park in the sun. We had three-year-old melt downs. We made a last minute run (walk) to the grocery store. I took a shower (gasp). And so, when our friends arrived, I greeted them at the door and told them that they had a choice: they could either (A) feel insulted that I didn’t bother to clean up before they came over or (B) feel honoured that I let them into our ‘real’ life. Thankfully, they chose option B – or at least, claimed that they did, which was good enough for me.  

I simply can not do all of the things on my list and do them well. If I want the perfect house, I have to cut the blog. If I want the perfect blog posts, my time with the kids gets cut. If I do ALL THE THINGS with the kids, dinner doesn’t go on the table. All through school, I was a perfectionist and an A student. I like doing things and doing them well. However, my marriage and my kids are the most important things on my list. I need to prioritize those.  It’s hard for me to look around and say, “this is Good Enough,” but I think that I need to get to that place, because I’m not in a place where I want to let any of the other things go. I like being a blogger. I enjoy my bookworm status! I need my down time with the TV, and heaven knows our house requires a good deal of attention.

Do you have a secret formula that allows you to fit everything into your day? Do you have little fairies living in your closets that come out at night and do the heavy lifting? If you don’t struggle to get everything done in a day, tell me how you do it or I’ll come and dump a box of Cheerios on your sparkling kitchen floor! 

Otherwise, won’t you commiserate with me? Tell me that I’m not the only one! 

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Jenn vanOosten

I live in Hamilton, Ontario, and love my city. I'm a Netflixer, choral music geek, bookworm, inventor of recipes (I take Artistic Licence on EVERYTHING that I make), wife of one, mother of two, and owner of a neurotic Schnauzer. I respect people who respect others. I love good food that's well done, but my favourite lunch is KD & hotdogs. With ketchup. I'm addicted to Clearance Shopping. I will ALWAYS get the product that I want at the price that I want, eventually.


  1. I love you. I love that you want to do everything.
    Stop it.
    We cannot be, nor should we be, able to accomplish everything. For, if we did, we would just heap on more to do. Do less. Expect less. Hire help. Bribe for help.
    I’ve managed to squeak out two and a half in one year. I’ve seen my best friends as many times.
    Give yourself a single thing that you WANT to do and a single thing you HAVE to do each week (each day if you’re ambitious). Beyond that, do nothing…. other than make sure your kids don’t leave the house naked and hungry. Your hubby – well, it depends on how much attention he wants to draw to himself.

  2. You’re not the only one who doesn’t have enough hours in the day to get everything done. Mostly it’s the housework that suffers. But essentially what I do is focus on one thing each time I feel like I have time to clean. If I can get that one thing clean, at least that’s one less thing I need to focus on next weekend. There are some things that just never get done, and some things (most things) that I just barely keep on top of. I make it look effortless by taking very selective photos around my home when they’re going to end up on social media!

    • So glad to hear, Tilley! I think that focusing on 1 thing at a time is probably crucial – too often, I find my attention pulled this way and that, because everywhere I look there’s something that needs attention.

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