Another Sunday morning, another round of goodbye kisses. It’s been eight years since we settled in our home and my husband began working out of state. Before, we had just packed up the two little ones and moved wherever construction work took him. But, our need for roots and security led us to buy a home here in Beaufort County, away from our hometowns for personal reasons. I would stay home with the kids and he would travel for work, coming home on rotations every few weeks. We had no idea how difficult it would be, but we knew it was best for our kid
Since then, we’ve had two more children, and I’ve learned a lot. After a very long period of loneliness, I realized we needed community with other families in similar situations. Together, we’ve realized the definition of perfection is different than we’d previously thought. I’ve learned to let go because I can’t possibly do everything alone, and even if I could, I certainly don’t have the energy! We look at social media and feel the pressures of feeding our children made-from-scratch organic meals, when in reality I’m thankful for spaghettios and boxed dinners. After dinner, I have to make a choice between cleaning up or bathing my kids. Baths obviously win, with reading and bedtime close behind. Many nights I don’t make my way back into the kitchen until around 10pm when all of my kids are in bed, all of the drinks of water have been retrieved, all of the books have been read, and all of the eyes are finally closed and sleeping.
Parenting alone means never going to the grocery store by myself – ever. Mom brunches, book clubs, Bible studies, or even just getting your hair cut are not options. Alone time to unwind happens in the wee morning hours before the kids are awake, or very late when I’m sweeping the floor in the quiet of the night. Almost daily, I choose the outside time they need over the clean house that I want. As a homeschool family, we need activities like dance, church functions, baseball, football, etc., but absolutely have to limit what and when with just one parent for transportation. There are battles I choose not to engage in, such as matching clothes or fixing hair. Being the only parent in the house means there’s no backup or buffer, so I take a deep breath and pray - A LOT.
I could go on forever about how difficult it is to be the parent, nurse, teacher, housekeeper, yard worker, banker, etc., and how I rarely do anything alone. Even as I write, I have the cutest two-year-old in the world sitting on my lap, and a four-year-old who keeps interrupting because she just needs a hug. The truth is, I wouldn’t trade this exhausting, whirlwind life for anything. I’m thankful I get to spend every day with these precious children who challenge me every day. I have a hard-working husband who provides for his family, and friends who encourage me to not compare myself to the unattainable perfection we see everywhere on social media. No matter what your parenting situation is, we’ll all face challenges that bring us to our knees and make us cry in frustration and exhaustion. All of that said, I couldn’t be more thankful for this messy, imperfect, beautiful life.
PIQ caught up with Marion, who insists that while others might think this is a bit crazy to read, it’s her normal! We asked her for her tips and tricks, and this is what she has for us (keep in mind that she says she is not a naturally organized person so this is hard for her!):
- Keeping a routine works for the weeks when Dad is away. He comes home and that throws that routine off a lot. So it’s hard to stay organized. And she is okay with that.
- She writes everything in a planner.
- She uses Walmart grocery pick-up and mentioned trying to use Alexa to manage her lists and reminders (see this list of mom-hacks from Erica Pepper)
- Marion tries to keep up with laundry by doing a load or two daily (her family is 6 people, total!)
- She took up a wood-working hobby to make the family’s furniture (yes, furniture--and not a shelf, we are talking about BEDS!), as their organizational needs change. Note: This doubles as her outlet and while she has less time for it lately, it’s incredibly important to her and she reminds us all that every mom (or dad) needs an outlet. Whether it’s woodworking, working out, or knitting...we all need something.
- Above all else, Marion rests on her faith. When you are so exhausted you feel like you can’t do it (parent) for another day, you must seek something healthy on which you can rely.
Marion Bohn is a wife and homeschooling mother of four (ages 2-12). She enjoys woodworking and runs her home like a boss.