“You just have to learn to let things go undone”.

The line of unsolicited advice I’ve heard the most since children entered my life.

Advice that comes wrapped in love and good intentions. My life did, after all, swirl into a form of chaos for which I could have never prepared as we went from zero to three children (ages three and under) in a matter of 15 months.

But here’s the thing: while I’ve been able to loosen expectations a bit, and push back the frequency with which some things are addressed in our household I can’t just “let it go undone”.

Management of the family (including our home) is my job, and I take my job seriously.

We don’t have the resources to hire someone to help with cleaning and errands. If I don’t do it, it never gets done (or piles up until it’s overwhelming). Never getting done, or piling up isn’t an option. Not for me.

Putting the house to sleep and preparing for it to wake back up are essential times for organizing our chaos.

It requires my candle burn a bit at both ends because the time between morning and evening shift are jam-packed with all the other things.

After the kids are tucked into bed, the evening shift begins.

Starting on the bottom floor and working my way up: checking that doors have been closed and locked. Turning off lights. Picking up random toys (aka middle of the night toe-stubbing, tripping hazards). Running stinky trash to the garbage. Wiping counters, setting the dishwasher to run, pulling out elements for tomorrow’s dinner, preparing the coffee to do its own thing at 4:30 a.m. so I wake up to a hot pot. Putting away bath toys, swabbing up the small pond on the bathroom floor, and rinsing out the tub from kids’ bath time. Re-routing dirty clothes to the hamper. Folding any remaining clean laundry (sorry, not sorry, I cannot/will not embrace living out of laundry baskets), etc.

Then morning rolls around.

Often times much sooner than I’d like, and my body might be screaming to stay put but I know this time in the early morning is often the only time I get to myself all day. Time for quiet and coffee. Time for planning, preparing, and centering for my day. Time that requires being out of bed EARLY in order to make it happen.

Maybe it seems a lot and that’s why all the unsolicited advice to “just let things go undone.”

You know what? It is a lot.

And this time invested helps me to unwind before sleep without a list of to-dos running through my head or wondering if the garage door was ever closed (until I finally just get up and check). Morning quiet time isn’t productive in all the right ways if the house is in disarray.

Telling me to “just let things go undone,” no matter how well-intentioned, is never going to work for me (so please stop). I appreciate the love behind the sentiment and if you’re able to navigate life in that way: I admire that! You do you!

In the meantime, my kids love an outing at the park and this mama could use an hour of mid-day quiet in the house. What time will you be here to pick them up?

PS – This is why tired moms stay up so late.

Hilary Doyle

Hilary is a wife and mother of three living in Colorado. She enjoys projects (especially with her young kiddos), gardening, writing, reading and swinging a club on the golf course. Her education and work experience fall in the category of mental health but her heart is in her home - just as God intended. Follow her at SimplyWriteous.com.