Lisa Leonard Designs

fitting it all in.

June 25th | older posts

.If I have a clean house, we’ll probably be ordering pizza for dinner. If there are groceries in the cupboard, the laundry probably isn’t done. If I am all caught up on emails then there are probably toys all over the floor. It seems like there is too much to fit into each day. I am trying to let it be imperfect without feeling like a failure. I want to let our lives be a bit chaotic without going crazy myself. How do you fit it all in?

40 Responses

  1. Kim's Treasures says:

    My husband and I were talking about that same thing this morning! I just have to let it be imperfect in some areas and all finished up in others. If it’s too perfect I go a bit nutty anyway.

    Have a great day!
    P.S. My daughter wears the necklace I bought for her (from you) everyday! Lots of compliments and she loves it!


  2. the donovan family says:

    I am exactly the same way! I wish I had the answer. I called my husband the other day and said, “I managed to get to the grocery store today, so you need to stop and pick up dinner.” Just because I bought the groceries, doesn’t mean I have time to cook anything!

  3. Laura~ says:

    Just like you, I choose one or maybe two goals for the day. Sometimes it gets done and sometimes it doesn’t…..being a mommy is #1!
    I think you’re great and your honesty inspires!

  4. Jeannett Gibson says:

    Wow. You just described my LIFE.

  5. Jess says:

    I just came across your blog….and instantly relate to what you are feeling…someone once told me “a messy home is a happy home” I try to tell myself this (as I pick up the toys for the 3rd time today!) my house doesn’t seem to get totally cleaned until we have a party or company over…only to be a disaster in the end…I just wave the little white flag…with little ones in the house its impossible….love your blog! -jess

  6. the7gerbers says:

    You’ve got young children. At this stage of the game, they matter more than having a perfect house. Time enough for that later!

    From a momma who has been there! 😉

  7. Jenn in GA says:

    i’m a very ordered person, so having environmental chaos was enough to undo me when i had a little guy under foot. i think i squelched his creativity by keeping things too picked up and by not letting him be messy with paints, crayons, playdough, etc.

    my advice is to keep one area of your house the way you NEED to have it, in order to be able to go somewhere and find sanity. other than that, just do what you need to do and don’t let yourself miss these days made up of moments by focusing on tasks to the detriment of time spent lovin’ on those boys. they’ll be in school full-time before you know it, and then your house will be easier to maintain, the laundry will get done, and you might even be able to make dinner!

    all in due time!

  8. Diane says:

    Add working p/t outside of the home to the mix and I don’t fit it all in, which makes me feel like I’m doing something wrong because other Mothers can do it, so why can’t I?

  9. Elizabeth says:

    I feel the exact same way, I have two children, 3 1/2 and 1, and I hate that when my house is clean and dinner is on the table, I feel like I haven’t spent enough time with my kids, so I devised a plan to keep things in order. I work part time on tuesdays and fridays, so I do one task that needs to be done each day I’m home-Monday is errands-grocery shopping (kids love it), wednesday is cleaning the bathrooms and vacuuming, thursday I change the sheets and do a little dusting. I try to get a healthy meal on the table every night, and I throw a load of laundry in now and then (never gets folded and put away unless we’re having company!)
    I think at the end of the day, I am happier saying that I had a lot of fun with my kids rather than my house is spotless. This system works for me right now, but that’s not to say that I don’t defer from it as needed. I also get my son involved, he loves to take a wipe and wipe down the table and empty the dishwasher with me. I do think it’s important that they see you getting some things done, but not spending long periods of time cleaning!
    It’s all a balancing issue…..Off to clean the bathrooms-YEAH!

  10. Beth H says:

    AMEN sister!!! I feel the same way everyday. Let me know when you find that Secret Answer.

  11. Michelle B says:

    thanks for keeping it real. :)
    same thing here! Two little boys and lots of toys!

  12. Laura and the family says:

    Welcome to our boat! Many of us have been there– all I can say, Spend your times with your kids while they are young. Once they are teenagers, they would rather to be with their friends at almost all the times. (I have listened to many of my former teenager students telling me about their weekends: spending times with friends.)

    I would agree to take one at a time to do the chores. I always made a rule to my sons. If they want a new small toy such as cars, then they need to prove their responsibility: clean their toys up, put the dishes up in the kitchen counter when they are done with their meal, and few other light chores. (I started with them when they were three.)

    In meantime, just enjoy spending times with your kids.

  13. Jan says:

    You know, when you read in the scriptures and it says “And it came to pass . . .” — I love that. It didn’t say “it came to stay” — because today is not forever. Your kids won’t be little forever and your house will be clean and all the chores done at some point. Just love those little ones and do the best you can. That’s all you can ask of yourself.

  14. Kira =] says:

    Ahh, it’s kinda comforting to know I’m not alone. =] try reading this entry of mine-specifically the poems at the bottom. i printed them out and put them on the wall to help me remember.

  15. rohanknitter says:

    I tried for balance when the boys were little – nothing was perfect, but hopefully nothing was a disaster.
    Oh, and I got a housecleaner 2x a month, lol!!

  16. Maggie says:

    So glad you wrote that! Sometimes I feel like I am the only one that can’t get it all done, or at least the only one that lets it bother her. It is overwhelming! Plus I work outside the home and have a husband who is gone a lot for work. I keep telling myself to find the balance – not there yet.

  17. jen says:

    i hear you :) my house is never clean, but im usually pretty happy :) so are my kids!

  18. mamalife says:

    I have the exact same issue here! I think it is the battle of mamas everywhere. I am very OCD, organized, clean… so one of my biggest challenges in having a child is letting go of that a bit. It simply is not possible to have a child and have the house perfectly neat and clean – at least not for more than about 5 minutes!

  19. Jenni says:

    Perfect is the enemy of good…

  20. markruinsdinner says:

    Welcome tomy world Lisa! Sounds like you guys need to have another kid!

    BTW I think your photography is amazing.

  21. Beth says:

    your children will never remember a clean house, or what they ate for dinner or if their clothes were clean….what they will remember is that you were there for them…always !!!
    and it sure looks like you are doing a perfect job of that !

  22. kari says:

    very appropriate for my day today!

    beautiful jewelery, beautiful photography, beautiful family-
    thanks for sharing with us!

  23. alexandra says:

    I fit it in by jamming the mess into cupboards, into baskets and hoping no one discovers my secret mess! The main thing is, everyone’s fed and into bed! And that I get some ‘solo me time’. Otherwise I go completely batty!

  24. asnipofgoodness says:

    a very wise older Titus women once told me, that instead of starting the day writing a ‘to-do list’, that at the end of the day write a ‘did’ list. It can be very encouraging!!! Sometimes I feel like I have spun my wheels all day, until I write that list. It is also very motivating as you want to write more down tomorrow. Try it, it will make you smile!

  25. Melody says:

    After nearly 20 years of being a mom, I still haven’t mastered “fitting it all in”. But, when I write detailed schedules I get in more than I do without them.

    When things are just medium busy at my house, I just schedule events in order of importance. For example, if my Michael has pt or ot at 12 on Wednesday, I allow plenty of drive time to and from plus allow time for going to any stores or the park or whatever. Then I go and fill in the rest of the schedule with things I’d *like* to get done on that day.

    When life is so chaotic that I am super overwhelmed I resort to scheduling hour by hour so that I make sure I have some down time at some point and still have time to get everything done I need to.

    I go to Microsoft Excell and in the A column I go down starting with the time I get up and end with the time I go to bed. On the schedule I write down all of the things that have to be done at a certain time first, then go and fill in what needs to be done, but not at any specific times, next. I make sure to schedule down time for myself to do what I want to a couple of times during the day so that I don’t burn out. I try to do things during the day that fit my personality and energy level, too.

    I had to resort to my every-hour scheduling for the past couple of days. Funny thing was, my kids loved it! They’d look on the schedule and say, “Ok, it is time to do chores in 5 min.” “Mom, at 10 it says that you are going to (do whatever) so during that time can we go play at a friends house until lunch at 12:30.” They love it when I schedule and they can see what is expected to be accomplished during the day.

    I hope this helps, but I’m sorry to be so long-winded!

  26. Denise says:

    i need to learn to do this…let go.
    i tell myself to walk away, let it be..on a good day it works.
    if you come up with a plan, be sure to let me know.

  27. Melissa says:

    How do I fit it all in?? Simple…I don’t!! And I am working really, really hard to be OK with that. Like you mentioned, we want to get it all done or there is a feeling of failure. I’m trying to remind myself that if, at the end of the day, my 2 little girls feel loved, then I am far from failing!!

  28. Meg says:

    It’s comforting to hear I’m not the only one who is going through this. I posted an entry about the same thing this week.

  29. the camp says:

    i don’t. some days i feel panicked trying to get paintings done, design work deadlines hit and
    run my kids all over town. i just
    don’t get it all fit in.

    love all the images in the post below. you and your sister really look alike.

  30. Jen says:

    Thanks for the reminder that it doesn’t always have to be perfect. Actually, if it is, then we are probably misssing out on something else fabulous….like our children growing up!

  31. Jessica says:

    I hear ya…It feels like some days everything is under control and I think “I can do this.”..followed up by the next day feeling totally overwhelmed, unorganized, and exhausted. I find if I can get myself up an hour before the kids wake up ..shower, and have my coffee it is usually a better day!
    I try to have fun with my kids and not sweat the small stuff..easier said than done since I love a clean house! I love your blog:)

  32. Jeannie says:

    Embrace it. Its my husband who needs the clean house. But I often tell him, a perfect, clean, filled house isn’t “lived in.” But how do we do it? Husband does all the laundry Thursday nights. I am responsible for the bathrooms, dusting, and vacuuming. We both are REQUIRED to cook. We depend on the dishwasher. Kids are required to put the dishes away (for the reason our utensils are on the second drawer for our 4 year old – older kids put anything located taller than her). Boys do trash, 4 year old folds towels(its not perfect, but its done).

    Shared responsibilities – and its okay if someone can’t get to it, then the other will.

  33. Deborah W says:

    Hi Lisa, your digital scrapbook layout is finished! View it at The photo on it is low-resolution so it doesn’t print well. If you’ll send me a high-resolution copy via email ( then I can place it on the layout, print it, and mail it to you. I hope you like it, and thx for letting me do this!

  34. Carolina Mama says:

    It’s definitely a juggling act and for me it’s keeping the graciousness while juggling it all. God Bless!

  35. Elizabeth says:

    I don’t!!! And it’s so refreshing to know that you don’t either :)
    Sometimes it does feel like utter failure, but I also have to remember that I wouldn’t want my life to be any other way!!

  36. Stephanie says:

    I don’t! I make sure the basics are met: family is fed, bathed, safe in bed, email is checked. Then and only then do I start picking up, cleaning up, putting away. That’s probably why my house is always in a state of disorder.

    If you find the magic formula please share it with the rest of us!

  37. Susan says:

    You took the words right out of my mouth!

  38. D@nielle says:

    ahum same as you … Letting go that it can’t all be a martha stewart like home …. My efforts are concentrated in the living room and the rest wel I try …. we all try our best but hey sometimes juggling family, jobs, businesses, social life and a healthy life gets in the way of housework. Finding the balance is a mommy’s life goal I guess.

    btw I got the pearl in, thanks so much.

  39. Paige says:

    I heard this line a year or so ago, and it keeps me sane and focused. “There are NOT enough hours in the day to do what we want to do. There ARE enough hours in the day to do what God has for us to do.”
    May that simple reminder bless you as it has me.

  40. LASdesigns says:

    I think the key is that we don’t fit it all in and the important thing is that that is OK!

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