Behind The Scenes / From The Workroom / Personal & Faith

How I Do It All

How i do it all

The question friends ask me most often is how I do it all. Wife, mother, homemaker, designer, friend? It’s a question that embarrasses me 100% of the time, and makes me laugh out loud 99% of the time. I had no idea I was sending out some kind of a superwoman vibe. The truth is, I don’t do it all. I can’t do it all. The truth is, no-one can do it all. You know what we do? We prioritise. My life is all about choices and prioritising towards what is most important to me.

I actually spend a lot of my time feeling guilty. Sure on any given day the house is (relatively) clean, I’ve played with kids (and cuddled the heck out of them!), I’ve filled orders & grown a business, talked to my mom, spent quality time with hubby and cooked dinner… but (and it’s a big but) a lot of things get left out.

Here is how I’ve had to prioritise my life recently (normally 2 and 3 are switched):

  1. Family
  2. My business
  3. Friendships
  4. Housework
  5. Everything else (including chill out time for me)

How i do it all

For me it’s all about choices. I choose to suck at being a housewife so I can do both my business stuff & look after the kids properly. Sometimes I don’t feel like I’m as good a friend as I could be because I have to choose to work that day. I could choose to be better at housework, but then my business would suffer. Thats life. You can’t do it all. You choose. For example, I suck at laundry. No I’m not showing fake modesty. I really truly honest to God, suck at laundry. Every morning my husband asks me where he can find some clothing for work. It’s not because he’s lazy, it’s because the poor guy simply can’t find a clean shirt. Every night is a desperate hunt for pajamas for the kids. I try, but I never catch up with the load, and if given the choice, I will prioritise towards something else that’s more important to me than Laundry.

But I do have a few tricks up my sleeve to help me get through my work load.

  1. I prioritise. Simply put, I channel time to what is important to me and neglect what isn’t. I’m not proud of that, it’s just the reality. We’ve already establish that I’m no good at housekeeping,  so lets move on!
  2. I am very organised. I have long to-do lists for everything, and i’ll make a spreadsheet for anything. I file everything, and everything has a place. I have special drawers for pending orders, shipping supplies, half done projects etc etc. I do this so that I can be more efficient, and also because I have kids and need to protect my sewing things from them, and protect them from the dangers of playing with sewing equipment.
  3. My kids are on a schedule. No I’m not one of those crazy people who has their kids on such a tight schedule that the poor child is starving but isn’t fed because “it isn’t snack time”. But, I have worked very hard to give them a good day time routine, which means predictabilty for all three of us. They have their needs and wants met, and I also get some time for me.
  4. My kids have play time on their own. Buddy is obviously too young for this, but something I recommend to all my friends is having a designated time for their toddler to play on their own in their room. Currently Bunny will play alone in her room for 45 – 60 mins every morning. It’s wonderful for me, because it gives me time to work on my business, and do chores, but it’s also wonderful for her, because she learns discipline and concentration skills. Now when I tell her it’s time for “room time” she yells “yay!! room! room!!”.
  5. I run don’t walk. When I have free time to work, I run! (perhaps why I keep breaking toes? I kid!) So at 9:30 when Bunny has her play time, I run to my sewing studio & I get cracking, I work solidly for an hour, and then at 1pm when she and Buddy go down for their afternoon naps (2.5hrs) I once again, run to my study & get working.  While they’re awake I balance my time between playing with them & doing my housework and other chores like dinner. Also, I know I’m naturally gifted at working fast. I don’t like people who constantly tell you what they’re good at, but that’s one thing I feel like I am really good at. I work really fast.
  6. My husband picks up the slack. A lot. I would not, and I repeat I would not be able to continue with my clothing line if it wasn’t for Chris. He encouraged me to do it to begin with, helps with my housework, keeps the kids away from me when I’m under the pump, doesn’t mind if I have to work at night sometimes, supports me through all my breakdowns and panic attacks, and allowed me to take over 2 rooms of the house for my sewing junk. Without his support I couldn’t do anything. end of story.

How i do it all

It’s tempting to look at someone elses life from the outside and think they all have it together. Especially when you just read their blog. But really, no-one actually has it all together!

So don’t envy me, and please don’t think I’m some sort of a hero. I’m a normal girl, who’s just figured out she can’t do it all… and that’s okay.

How i do it all

About Author

Meg is the Founder and Creative Director of Megan Nielsen Patterns, and is constantly dreaming up ideas for new sewing patterns and ways to make your sewing journey more enjoyable! She gets really excited about design details and is always trying to add way too many variations to our patterns.

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13 years ago

I love this post. I do often wonder how I would get anything done if I had kids, I can barely get the laundry done now! So it’s interesting to hear about how you balance work, kids, relationships and keeping up the house. such a good reminder to prioritize and not crucify myself when I can’t do everything x

13 years ago

Isn’t is Maria Shriver who said something like “you can do it all, just not at the same time”? So very true. Kudos to you!

13 years ago

Thank you for this very encouraging post. I work overtime most weeks & feel like my life is just a bunch of loose ends most of the time- not enough time left over for creativity or the husband. Your thoughts make me feel rejuvenated/like I can pull it together and less guilty about wanted to let the overtime go away. (o:

Trudy Callan
13 years ago

I loved this post so much! I think it is so helpful to read about how someone else organizes their life. I will be thinking on this for a while to see what I can take from it and apply to my own life. Thank you so much. Oh, and laundry is one of the hardest things for me to keep up with, too. I have five kids; so you can just imagine. I find it’s my housework that suffers as well.

Also, I just love what you are wearing in this post. You look so very pretty.

I hope everything goes smoothly during your move and transition to a new place. I will lift you and your family up in prayer.

13 years ago

Thanks for such a refreshing post. I hear so many other busy, blogging and home-business women say virtually the same thing but I’m still left thinking they are superwoman. Your words, on the other hand, truly make me feel like its okay NOT to be superwoman.
Everything is about priorities and often they change during the different seasons of our lives. I’m learning to accept that. I would much rather look back and say I did my best with the life and situations I was given at that time then feel sad because I was trying to do everything and be someone else.

PS. I LOVE your polka dot skirt and boot combo!

13 years ago

omg. THIS SKIRT IS AMAZING!!! u look beautiful!!!

xo, Kim

13 years ago

Thank you for sharing with us. I was pretty curious how you actually did it “all.”

Btw, I love your polka dotted skirt!

Just Better Together

13 years ago

“I’m a normal girl, who’s just figured out she can’t do it all… and that’s okay.” That’s what makes you a superhero!

13 years ago

well said, dear! this is precisely why i closed my shop…i just didn’t have time. i ended up half-assing everything instead of doing the important things really well. know what i mean? great post. :)

13 years ago

Hello! I found your website/blog through my friend Kendi. Your work is wonderful! Really classic with gorgeous, feminine details.

I have to agree that prioritizing is the only way to go. In fact, I’ve stopped saying things like “I just don’t have time to work on my writing.” And instead try to say, “I’m not making that a priority right now.” Because that seems to own up more to the time I do spend doing TONS of things– and I do in fact have time to write, but I may be choosing to spend that time doing other things. One thing I haven’t done is actually list my priorities the way you have. What a good idea! It seems like that would really help you to stay focused, and maybe not worry or feel guilty if some things aren’t perfectly in order.

13 years ago

Well said Meg! Totally agree. Laundry is NOT my priority right now. (as you can tell by the big pile in the basket and the clothes left in the dryer AND washing machine!) .. but I admire you for being a fast worker (and so organised). I would love to do that… I have it at times but mostly I’m a procrastinator or get overwhelmed on where to start!
I bet you’re excited about Perth!!! YAY. xo

13 years ago

Read it. Agree with it. And it made me think about how quickly a day gets filled with heres and theres.

I am not a mother or a wife, so my list is much different than yours, but I can appreciate where you are coming from and how much is on your plate.

I still think that you are doing it all, because you are happy with all that you are doing.

13 years ago

No, no-one can do it all but you are making a good fist of it. You go girl!
p.s maybe hire someone to do the laundry?

Pam Speak
13 years ago

You hear about women who claim to do it all, but they don’t seem very believable. I find it refreshing when women admit that they don’t do it all and still manage to have fulfilling lives. I think that this idea of women being able to be wives and mothers and career women has given people the idea that everything has to be perfect from the word go, which completely ignores how imperfect humans are. I respect the fact you stand up and say I do my best and sometimes things fall by the wayside, you’re more human that the career/mum/wife-bots who will probably have a nervous breakdown by the time they are thirty-five.

I was also totally shocked to see you were only a year older than me, I’m unmarried with no children and to see someone so settled and successful at such a young age, you seem so much more mature than I am, at my age I couldn’t contemplate doing all you do. Bravo.

13 years ago

This was a great post–I find you so inspiring. I love your views on family and mothering as well as fitting in your business. You seem like an amazing person to me! You’re also beautiful inside and out. Thanks for your encouraging words!

Linda W
13 years ago

(I haven’t commented on this? I could have swore I did.)
Wonderful, honest post. I am in awe that you have accomplished so much at such a young age. You should be very proud. You can also be proud of your priorities and you ability to make them all work.
I not a mother, but I am a teacher. As such, I love that you have your kids practicing their own play time. It is a great skill to be able to be creative enough to entertain yourself and not a lot of kids have it these days.

The Auspicious Life

13 years ago

I think you are truly amazing and inspirational in all you accomplish! I can’t wait to have kids, as long as I can continue to be as productive and sulf-sufficient as you prove is possible!

12 years ago

Meagan, I’ve never seen this post before and I love it. Mostly just because I’m so glad that someone else knows about the great pajama hunt before bedtime!

Your business is incredible, you’ve done so well. (P.S. You are superwoman…just so you know.) :o)

11 years ago

I think every modern woman should read this post. Well said, the life of a woman is always dedicated to others. She has to play multiple roles in a single lifetime. The main thing is to prioritize and balance your responsibilities in a manner that nothing is left out. However from the perspective of a woman, the grass always seems greener on the other side. Have you ever asked a man to play so many roles in a single day? No point. Hats off to the woman of today!