Secrets From a Mom Who Does It All

​I woke up an hour before the children, put on a pot of coffee and spent a precious moment with Jesus. I folded the laundry that I ran the night before, and had just enough time to put it away before I heard the pitter-patter of little feet. We had a grand ole’ morning complete with Pinterest-inspired activities and meaningful engagement. My children were smiling and laughing and singing my praises. They shared their toys and compromised over the next TV show selection as if they were royal princes. I found a moment to go for a run around the block while they played peacefully in our neighborhood park. Then I came home to upload a perfectly written blog post that seemed to go viral within minutes. I was killing it, my friends. Not wanting to disappoint the hubs, I prepped and cooked dinner so that it was warmly delivered to the table as he crossed the threshold into our spotlessly clean home. The kids went to bed without a fuss and the husband and I spent some meaningful and intimate time alone. This whole mothering things is a piece of cake, I thought.

And that’s when I woke up from my dream.

Last week I was catching up with a friend I hadn’t spoken to in awhile. We carried on about some trivial details and then, being the sweet friend that she is, she asked me about “my book”. I say “my book” because being asked about “my book” often feels like I’m being asked about a recent illness I was diagnosed with. What do I say here? “Oh the book, it’s getting better. I mean some days are better than others, but I think in the long run it’s going to be ok.” But instead, I muttered something even more awkward because it’s weird to talk about your rare illnesses.

Rather than nodding her head in awkward agreement, this sweet friend fired back with the most uncomfortable words to land on my ears, “I just don’t know how you do it all, McKinley – parenting, housework AND writing a book! You are amazing.” I looked back at her with my tired eyes and unwashed face that reeked of total confusion. “Do you even know me?” I asked her.

So before this myth can perpetuate itself any longer, let me clear up some misconceptions. Would you like to know how I manage to “do it all”? The answer is simple: I do all of it in different seasons.

Let me explain.

Last year, I read an article that highlighted a theory called the Entrepreneur’s Dilemma. The idea was simple, every person has the same amount of time to prioritize different areas of your life and you can successfully choose no more than three of those areas at any one time.  While the Entrepreneur’s Dilemma only highlights 5 areas of daily life, McKinley’s Motherhood Dilemma has six. Here are the six priorities you can choose from, mama:

  1. Family – (this includes the underlings that require every minute of your attention)
  2. Friends – (this is the time spent with the people who keep you sane)
  3. Housework – (this includes ALL THE THINGS that must be done to keep your house out of an episode of Hoarders)
  4. Working Out – (this is the thing that keeps you from ending up on an episode of my 600 lb. Life)
  5. Work – (this is the thing that pays the bills or logs the volunteer hours)
  6. Sleep – (this is the thing that gives you the energy to not hurt the underlings)

So there you have it, friend, six areas of any mama’s life.  McKinley’s Motherhood Dilemma argues that you will only be able to manage THREE of those things well during any one season. Do you want to know how much freedom I have felt by owning this theory? THE MOST AMOUNT OF FREEDOM. There is freedom in letting go of perfection, AMIRIGHT?

The beauty of this theory is that every season, every week, every day, the priorities can change. But either way, you can loosen the grip knowing that there isn’t enough time to manage all six areas well.

Just to assure you that I am not a superhuman, here is how a few of my seasons have played out:

January 2015-April 2015:

  1. Work
  2. Family
  3. Friends

It was during these months that I sacrificed sleep in order to write the majority of my book. I definitely wasn’t working out and I hired a house cleaner to prevent a HazMat truck from making an appearance at my house.

May 2015-December 2015:

  1. Family
  2. Working Out
  3. Housework

After putting on a few (read:15) pounds, I knew working out needed to happen. During this time, we were setting up a new house, so that also took priority. It’s worth noting, that I didn’t have very many friends at this point in Hawaii, and I wasn’t getting much sleep. This was also the most unproductive time for my book, so don’t worry, I wasn’t “doing it all”.

McKinley Rich
McKinley Rich
McKinley Rich is a mom by day and a writer by naptime.  She's a military spouse, a biological mom to two rambunctious boys, and a foster mom to whatever babes God entrusts to her. Her first book, Parenting Littles is Fun and Easy, released in December of 2016.  You can follow her ramblings at

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