Wednesday, December 30, 2009

How do you do it all?

Letter from a friend received November 29th on Facebook
I am the Relief Society Pres in our ward and I am making your Dooley's Doodles blog mandatory reading for the sisters--what a treasure trove of information! I am going to subscribe for the latest updates. Do you really feed your family on $60 a week?

And most importantly, how do find time for all you do? Do you home school your kids too? I feel like I am living life in fast forward and dragging my poor kids behind me as I do so. I don't feel like I ever am spending any quality time with them. I'm afraid I am really going to regret it later.

Thanks so much for sharing your great tips with us mere mortals.
A. P.

Dear A.P.,
I'm glad you like the blog. I have a lot of fun doing it. I used to always write in a journal as a girl. I hadn't done it in years and I found that the blog gives me a reason to write--a responsibility to my reading public! :) I had read over the years many stories of women who have kept detailed records of their household and how helpful it was to their descendants. I wanted to do something like that. It also helps me to see that I am making progress and accomplishing things--so often as women we are so busy with so many different things and feel like we are getting nothing done. The blog helps me to substantiate that I am doing something.

Yes, I really do feed my family on $60/week. It used to be $50 a week and then Heath turned 13--wow, what a chow hound he's become!There are times when I spend more and times when I spend nothing so it averages out but usually I stick pretty tight to that $60 mark. That $60 includes our breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks, desserts, toiletries, cleaning supplies and food storage. Yep, I have built up my food storage from nothing to quite notably something in the 3 years we have lived here on that $50-60/week.

As for getting it all done?!--Wow, you really are asking for the whole recipe today aren't you! :) I am a very goal oriented person--VERY goal oriented! My father has accused me of living life with blinders on (you know like a horse. Can't see anything outside of my goal). My husband accuses me of being extremely stubborn and driven and difficult to distract. These can be strengths or weaknesses depending on how you look at it. In my blog of course you read about all the things I am driven to do and you hear the good sides of me because I'm writing it--I'm not going to tell the world anything but good--right?!

You may have noticed in the blog a theme, what my goal/s are that I am driven to accomplish that guide everything i do. When I say everything, I mean everything. Everything I do is done in an effort to remain a stay-at-home mom at all costs. I spend $60 a week on groceries because that's all I can afford and still provide my family with a roof over their head and clothes on their backs. I garden for the same reason, it's practically free food and it teaches my children the importance of hard work and patience. I do my own home repairs because I wanted to live in a cul-de-sac, near Dave's work, near the kids schools and have a decent sized yard and the only house in my price range with those qualifications was a piece of crap :). I don't have the money to have someone fix it so I teach myself and do it myself. I make homemade gifts and dresses and such because it costs less and means more. I could go on and on but I think you get the idea: Dave makes the money first, I make the money last. And, my family is my only priority.

I routinely turn down offers for jobs, participation in clubs and events, money making opportunities and other good causes that may distract me from my goal. My family and friends at times get very frustrated when they cannot get me to do something for or with them that i deem unimportant in my scheme--one of my weaknesses, I don't care what others think if I think i'm doing what I ought. See what my dad means about blinders?! Knowing what things are important to me and what things aren't is very helpful because then I can let some things slide or go altogether without any guilt.

Lastly, I don't homeschool my kids anymore. They all mutinied and wanted to go back to public school. I took this personally at first but then when i realized that homeschooling wasn't necessary in achieving my goal I came to accept it. Being actively involved in their lives was still integral to my goal however so that's why I got so involved in PTA. I'm at the school, I know their teachers and administrators very well. I know their friends very well and more importantly their friends, administrators and teachers know that I am dedicated to my children's future and thus I am dedicated their school and it's success as a whole. I'm not very good at doing things halfway.

I suppose I should also let you know my deep dark secret too: that depression has a bit of a hand in my motivation to do so many things. I have struggled with depression since I was a teen. It is mild enough that I am not required to be on medication so instead I use projects--they are my drug of choice. When I am actively involved in something, lots of things, I don't think about myself as much and am able to push myself to stay out of that little hole of depression.

So I suppose this turned out to be a lot longer than you expected. It's definitely longer than i expected--sorry! I hope you find a few tidbits helpful. I wish you the best in your role as RS president and if I can ever be of help to you please let me know.



  1. thank you dani so much for this post. this is why i love your blog so very much. you are very real in the things you talk about. you don't hide things or glamorize things. they are what they are and i think so many people lose sight of that. thank you!

  2. Dani, Once again, you ROCK! I love you!

  3. Amen Sistahhhh. I think that this is the reason why I really loved you so much when I first met you. I felt that you and I were friends for a very long time when in actuality it was on a short time. I know that we must have been friends before, ya know. Knowing you is what helps keep me motivated to sacrifice some things so that I can have other things that are of a large importance. I am also tight with the money, because if I am not, then I know that I have to get a "real" job and not be home. That is always the carrot that I dangle in front of my eyes. You are the best and I am grateful that we are friends and that I live so close to you. It is nice to zip over to your house when I need inspiration .


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