I Don’t Do It All

posted in: Family, Life, NaBloPoMo 37 comments

I feel like a fraud whenever someone says to me, wow, you’re such a supermom, four kids under the age of five, blogging, writing, all the social media-ing – how do you do it? You are amazing!

I am not amazing. I am an ordinary human being, who is incredibly blessed. I have help and support on a daily basis. I DON’T do it all, and I certainly don’t do it alone. (Though I do manage a daily shower, regardless.)

My husband is incredible. He takes the boys to school and picks them up every day. We are lucky that his working hours are flexible and he works from home a lot. He is also very aware of the amount of work it takes to take care of four kids, and he pitches in where he can, mostly with the older two. On weekends, he takes the boys out so they stay entertained and get fed (heh). He also buys me lunch most days, and comes home with treats (think doughnuts, chocolate, ice cream, cupcakes! Also the reason why I have no chance of losing the rest of this baby weight). He’s even been doing the grocery shopping – he’s a keeper! 

I have great in-laws, who live five minutes walk away. The older two head over every evening for a couple of hours, so their dinner (and entertainment) is taken care of. My mother-in-law comes over every Sunday morning for two hours to look after the twins, so I can actually leave the house and be with the rest of my family. It’s a sanity saver. 

Housekeeper – I’ve got one five days a week, from 8.30 am to 3.30pm. She does all the cleaning and laundry, and sometimes, helps me with the babies. It’s always handy to have an extra pair of hands when you have twins. We are SO lucky that domestic help here is affordable, and I lucked out with J. She’s been working for us since mid-September (right after the twins were born), and the boys like her. She’s incredible, and I’m so glad I don’t have to worry about chores. Except for weekends – I still do laundry and (minimal) cleaning, just enough to stave off the filth.

And? My boys are really good big brothers. They don’t begrudge the attention I have to give the twins (though yes, there is some acting up on occasion). They have each other (thank goodness), and though they bicker and fight, for the most part, they are really good about playing on their own and entertaining each other. Fortunately, they have no activities outside of school, except for my oldest son’s weekly speech therapy sessions.


So you see, I don’t do it all. I am mostly nursing, rocking, holding, cuddling and photographing the twins. I steal some time to hang out with the older boys when I can, and at night, I watch TV with my husband, each holding a baby. When all is quiet like now, I write.

I am just an ordinary person, with an extraordinary family.

Alison Lee is a former PR and marketing professional turned work-at-home mother. After a 10-year career in various PR agencies, and of the worldโ€™s biggest sports brands, Alison traded in product launches and world travel, for sippy cups, diapers, and breastfeeding. Alison's writing has been featured on Mamalode, On Parenting at The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Everyday Family, Scary Mommy, and DrGreene.com. She is one of 35 essayists in the anthology, My Other Ex: Womenโ€™s True Stories of Leaving and Losing Friends. In 2012, she founded Little Love Media, a social media consultancy specializing in blog book tours, and because she doesnโ€™t sleep, is an editor at BonBon Break, an online magazine. Alison lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with her husband and four children (two boys and boy/ girl twins).

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  • November 22, 2014 Janine Huldie

    I totally get this, as we have my parents who help us daily. My husband also comes home from work in the evenings and helps me tremendously, as well as the girls, who are great sisters to each other. So, I also don’t do it all either, but am so thankful for the help I do get ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Janine Huldie recently wrote…PlaceUs Makes Relationships That Much EasierMy Profile

    • November 22, 2014 Alison

      I am eternally grateful for all the help I do get! I would never survive solo parenting without my in laws. And because I rely so much on my husband, solo parenting REALLY sucks. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • November 22, 2014 Tonya

    Keep doing what you’re doing, mama because it’s working! Also, it takes a village.

    • November 22, 2014 Alison

      It does! I am thankful for mine.

  • November 22, 2014 tracy

    I can hear your clear, strong, and honest voice in this post. Love you so much. More every single day. Because YOU ARE amazing. And the support surrounding you makes my heart so happy. xo
    tracy recently wrote…My TweenMy Profile

    • November 25, 2014 Alison

      I am only as amazing as the people around me! And yes, that means you. Love you! xoxo

  • November 22, 2014 greta

    You are incredibly lucky, my friend.

    • November 25, 2014 Alison

      Yes, yes I am.

  • November 22, 2014 Susi

    Ive been thinking about getting a cleaning lady every other week to help with the major cleaning (bathrooms, dusting, etc.) because I’m at the point where I know that I can’t keep going this way. I work about 10 hours a day and when I come home all I want to do is rest and relax and hang out with my kids and I hate to spend most of my weekends cleaning. Forget about blogging regularly- that’s just not happening. Life as a working mom is definitely different from being a working mom and after a year of being back in the work force I look at things in a different light. I’m happy for you and all the help you get from your husband and family. It makes life so much sweeter and enjoyable!!!

    • November 25, 2014 Alison

      Susi, if it saves your sanity, then do it. Even before the kids and it was just us two, we had a weekly cleaning lady. I worked very long hours, even weekends, and I didn’t want to worry about the cleaning. It was a lifesaver!

  • November 22, 2014 Tamara

    Wow, that’s amazing. Domestic care help here varies.. but a housekeeper five days a week who also helps with kids is pretty much a fantasy of mine!
    I have fairly close in-laws, but mainly, Scarlet is in full day kindergarten and Des goes to daycare 3-4 days a week with a total angel of a teacher.
    Tamara recently wrote…I Thought I was Going To Die When..My Profile

    • November 25, 2014 Alison

      Before the twins, I didn’t need a full-time housekeeper, since the boys are in school for half days, Monday to Friday. I had a weekly cleaning crew for 2 hours on Friday, and they cleaned the toilets, did the ironing etc, stuff I hated doing basically. I still had to do the majority of housework. So with the twins, we knew that realistically, I couldn’t do what I did before, so the decision was made. It’s very affordable here, and very common to have domestic help. Most people actually have live-in help!

  • November 23, 2014 jasbir

    You are very lucky and your boys are lucky too. That’s a beautiful picture. So much love.
    jasbir recently wrote…Flawlessly flawedMy Profile

    • November 25, 2014 Alison

      Yes, we are most certainly blessed in many ways!

  • November 23, 2014 Echo

    I totally get this. It’s all about teamwork and things running like a well oiled machine. I too, am blessed with an amazing husband that helps me a great deal. Yes, I blog, I clean, I cook, I homeschool and I parent two children (one with special needs), but I have a FANTASTIC support group! I do have to say though, I am insanely jealous of your housekeeper!
    Echo recently wrote…Snowman Fun with Spark and Pook!My Profile

    • November 25, 2014 Alison

      You are amazing!! We are very lucky with our housekeeper. In Malaysia, domestic help is very common. Most people I know actually have live-in help.

  • November 23, 2014 Lisa

    You do have a wonderful support system! I have someone who cleans my house every other week. At first, I felt guilty for the money we were spending on her, but I have since come to the realization that it is worth every penny to save me the hassle and stress.
    Lisa recently wrote…The Pros and Cons of Life with a Traveling SpouseMy Profile

    • November 25, 2014 Alison

      Oh yes, it’s definitely worth the investment on our end!

  • November 23, 2014 Tricia

    I love this. Both that you have such great support and that you are so honest about it here. We all have help. Mine makes me a better mama.
    Tricia recently wrote…Growing Together: Lara of Joy, Lovely JoyMy Profile

    • November 25, 2014 Alison

      I had to be honest. It got to the point where I just felt bad when people say, I wonder how you do it all, because I really don’t.

  • November 24, 2014 alexandra

    What astounds me is not your housekeeping, mothering, the honesty of your writing in the attempt to make others feel just as valuable. It’s the TIME you make for the people you know. That’s what humbles me in contrast. I say, if Alison can do it with 4 under the age of 5, I can do it, too.

    • November 25, 2014 Alison

      YOU humble me with this comment, Alexandra. Thank you.

  • November 24, 2014 Robbie

    Kudos to you for giving credit to those who support you. It sounds like you have built an amazing village.
    Robbie recently wrote…Status UpdateMy Profile

    • November 25, 2014 Alison

      I have, and I’m so blessed!

  • November 24, 2014 Rorybore

    I love real posts like this! Who is Supermom anyway? does she even exist? Because I know I can do a lot of things. Like, LOTS. But I never do them all well at the same time. Something always gives. I think it’s more super to know your limit, and to accept help when you need it. Leaving you time to really enjoy those super little bundles of joy.
    Rorybore recently wrote…I Moustache You A Thing…or FourMy Profile

    • November 25, 2014 Alison

      Yes to everything you said!! I love having a clean house. I NEED a clean house, but I know I will sacrifice what matters more to achieve that. So I’m not ashamed to hire someone to do it for me.

  • November 24, 2014 Stevie

    So Super Mom isn’t the right name. But I hope you will take this compliment, you are amazing. Even though you don’t do it all. You are amazing because you acknowledge you need help, you accept it, and you are grateful for it. And you give credit. You are finding a way to prioritize so you can do what is the most important. And not a lot of people can do that. And yes you are blessed and I’m really happy that you have that support.
    Stevie recently wrote…Welcome to the WorldMy Profile

    • November 26, 2014 Alison

      I’m just Mama ๐Ÿ™‚ Just a regular one who gets things done, sometimes well, sometimes not so much, and always with support and help.

  • November 24, 2014 Kerstin

    So, maybe you don’t do it all (and you shouldn’t anyway ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) – but: you are indeed amazing. xoxox
    Kerstin recently wrote…It’s a Foursome!My Profile

    • November 26, 2014 Alison

      You are always here to boost me up, Kerstin. Thank you.

  • November 25, 2014 Bev

    I still think you deserve some credit ๐Ÿ˜‰ But I do appreciate your honesty, and I think it’s awesome that you have such great support. My in-laws live about 20 minutes away and I am so grateful for this. They take Eve some nights and for entire days on the weekends, and sometimes even in the middle of the week so I can’t get work done or my husband and I can have a night to ourselves.
    Bev recently wrote…I have some holiday surprises up my sleeve!My Profile

    • November 26, 2014 Alison

      That is awesome! I’ve rarely had nights away from the kids.

  • November 30, 2014 Naureen

    You are doing a great job ๐Ÿ™‚

  • December 4, 2014 Dana

    I love this entire post, and especially the last line. I’m a stay at home mom of two kids (6 and 3) and my husband also has a flexible schedule (thank goodness). My dad is only an hour away, and he comes once or twice a week, which is a gift. Having family to help is crucial, isn’t? This post is a lovely way to say thanks.

    Glad to have found your blog! I’m looking forward to exploring a fellow mom-writer’s words ๐Ÿ™‚
    Dana recently wrote…Welcome toโ€ฆMy Profile

    • December 4, 2014 Alison

      It takes a village as they say! Thanks for finding me ๐Ÿ™‚

  • December 10, 2014 Rebecca

    I always love your honesty and I’m deeply jealous that you have a full time housekeeper. That’s basically my dream lol and a chef, too. Your husband is incredibly helpful! You deserve all of it!!
    Rebecca recently wrote…8 [Often Overlooked] Resume Polishers for ParentsMy Profile

    • December 10, 2014 Alison

      I was actually reluctant to hire one, but I’m glad we did!

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