Friday, June 27, 2008

A Question of Time

By Rebecca Talley

As a mother of ten children, I’m often asked questions like, “How do you eat dinner?”, “What kind of a car do you drive?”, and “How much laundry do you do?” I try to be succinct and polite because people seem to be genuinely interested in how things work in a large family.

We eat dinner just like everyone else. I prepare, cook, and serve food to my family three times a day. I have to double and triple some recipes so there’s enough food, but we eat like everyone else.

As far as the car we drive, we have a 15-passenger van that we use for trips (or when we have all of the kids together) and a Yukon that we drive regularly. Most of the time, I don’t have all of the kids with me, especially now that my son is serving a mission and my daughter is attending college.

I do many loads of laundry. No matter how many loads I wash, there always seems to be another load right behind it. I’m convinced the laundry invites other laundry to the party when I’m not looking. So, yes I do more laundry than the average family, but I’m used to it.

Now that my secret is out and people know that I write, I’m often asked, “How do you find time to write with so many kids?” I wish I had a magical solution to that, but I don’t. I’m a wife and mother first and foremost and I try to attend to my family’s needs before I write. I like to read with my kids, play games with them, and listen to them play the piano. I love to watch movies with my family while we eat popcorn and ice cream (those are part of the food pyramid, right?). During the summer, I love to spend time outside while my kids play in the sprinkler or the kiddie pool. I also teach the Beehives, have a garden, tend to the goats, serve on the Boy Scout Troop Committee, plan dates with my husband, and try to work in a daily exercise program. Yes, my life is full, but so is everyone’s.

We all have things to do and places to be. We all struggle to get everything done. For me, I squeeze in writing whenever I can. I’ve also given up hobbies and interests. I used to knit and crochet quite a bit. I also used to practice playing the piano. I’ve found that I can’t do everything and I had to make a choice. I chose writing. Every spare moment I have, I spend on writing. Some days I can write more than others.

I think it comes down to priorities. We all have what’s important to us and that’s what we spend our time doing. The gospel and my family come before writing, but every once in a while, I let the laundry have a big party and invite as much laundry as it wants to join in the fun while I sneak in some writing time. Works for me.

4 comments:

  1. I know I'd be totally insane. I only had 2 children and at times couldn't keep up. I am in awe that you can still find time to write.

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  2. I'm amazed at all you accomplish. Every day I still struggle to try and balance everything so I can get the writing done.

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  3. I agree with you, Rebecca. Everyone I know struggles daily to "get it all done." I had to laugh at your multiplying laundry. I remember one day my goal was to get all the laundry done and folded and put away before anything else made its way into the dirty clothes basket. I think I won by about thirty seconds.

    Life is about choices...and we really can accomplish the most important things. When we were moving to a small, Mormon settled, Arizona town, I looked forward to living in a place where over 50 percent of the population believed in seeking out that which is virtuous, lovely, of good report and praiseworthy. I learned that everyone has a different definition of what that means!!!

    I so wish we lived closer to each other. I look forward to meeting you in person someday!

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  4. I agree with Kari! I would SO love to be your next door neighbor! I'd babysit the kids and feed the goats to free up a little more time for your gift. You truly have the gift, you know. I love your blog!

    PS - That's not a huge sacrifice I offered there. I love kids and goats. Human kids, I mean, not the offspring of goats, although . . . you know what? Never mind . . . :)

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