Every once in a blue moon, maybe ever so slightly more often than that since blue moons only occur every two and half years, I have the appearance that I have my act together—my kids are clean and fed, my house is relatively clean and tidy, we have done an appropriate amount of educational activities, meals are planned (and food even defrosted), everyone’s health regimes are complete, the laundry is reasonable, I may have even completed some routine self-care. It’s all an act I never really have my act together anymore, as hard as I may try, and by anymore–I mean since I had kids. What I have figured out, my secret to at least occasionally seeming like I do have my act together, was a game changer for me and for my family!
Whenever I really seemed on top of several areas of my life, the kids, the marriage, the house, the medical needs, the pets, the education of the kids, the community service at our church, the Sunday school, the, the, the….you get the idea, when I seemed on top of several areas of my life I was always neglected several other areas until either there was an emergency with one of those areas or the neglect was so bad that it drove me crazy.
My secret, the way I stay sane, I rotate the neglect! This way everything gets a little of my attention some of the time and nothing gets so out of hand that it gets to me, at least most of the time. This system is not fool proof but it works for me.
Let’s take tidying up the house as an example. I used to try to clean on a schedule and then someone would be sick or we would be out of the house and an area would be skipped—once that happens a few times either you never catch up or if it always seems to be the same say than one part of your house starts looking scary. So I came up with chunks of cleaning/tidying tasks by area that I can generally get done in a day. I have a mental list of each area and each day that I am able I tackle one area. The next day that I am able I tackle the next area down on my list. I don’t try to make up cleaning if I have missed several days I just tackle my next chunk. Generally speaking I clean/tidy often enough to keep the mess at a manageable level and generally speaking I stay sane—even when my kids and husband don’t put away their shoes—annoyed is still sane right?
The trick for me is to organize the manageable chunks in my mind, or sometimes on paper. Like things don’t have to be rotated with like things, everything just have to rotate often enough to cycle back around to get attention. I try to plan for 15 or so minutes of activity in a chunk because I have little kids and let’s face it more time than that will mean interruption and interruption means distraction and most often failure to complete the task—I have to set myself up for the most likely chance of success.
This doesn’t not mean I never get overwhelmed but I am much more often just whelmed—and whelmed seems just right not over- or under- just whelmed.
Murphy Benet is the mother of two boys, four and a half and one and a half, who both have FPIES. She is in the process of getting her family started in the adventure of homeschooling using the Montessori method. She and her husband live in Melbourne, Florida – just miles from the beach that she doesn’t get to visit nearly often enough.
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