I’ve had a pretty packed last six months or year. There have been many changes and different challenges. There has been a lot on my plate, and even more on my husband’s.
At times, this year has put me in a place that has become completely overwhelming. Too many things that need to be done all at one time. For lots of people, it works to give a few things up in order to make life less complicated. In some ways, I have done that. But mostly I gave things up that I was already not doing (or at least not doing properly). I resigned a volunteer job I’ve worked at for the last eight years, and though I’m really sad about it and loved (very much!) the organization and the work, I wasn’t. actually. doing. anything. I was asked to be on a committee at the Parish to help with a process we are involved in. I helped for the first stages of the committee’s work, but since spring hit I’ve missed everything and in two weeks the job is over. Mostly I’ve given up things like keeping the house, van, or yard very nicely.
Then, I started Flying again. And I came to terms with the fact that I am really not happy unless I am UP TO HERE in activity. I’ve been that way since I was able to choose my own extracurricular stuff. I really like it. But I need to find balance. Flylady has helped me stay more organized at home so I can be more efficient with my time, and though housework is the first thing I tend to let slide, it is the first thing that makes me grumpy and unfit-to-live-with.
Then, a couple of weeks ago, my BFF mentioned feeling like things were out of control in her world so she put a list of her priorities on the refrigerator.
Blew my mind. It really helped me to figure out what I’m doing with trying to get things re-balanced. This was one of the main reasons I began looking for an “all-in-one” curriculum that will require as little planning/legwork on my part as possible. Money and control were less important to me than making school a pleasant and stream-lined activity that we can do well at home and still have plenty of time and energy for all the other things we want to and (I) have to do.
What I feed my family is very important to me. I try to make different meals with as large a variety of foods in as close to their natural state as possible. I’m going to allow myself to keep this as important and make time to cook meals from scratch and buy the expensive fresh produce without guilt. This is one of my priorities. And because I allow this to be a focus, I’m not going to worry about it when we ‘fall off the wagon’ for a time period or with a specific product that makes things much easier for us when things are especially busy.
Helping with the farm is very important to me. I am going to work to streamline my other responsibilities (see curriculum comments above) in order to devote enough time (see remarks about giving things up) to stay involved and be dependable. It brings My Farmer and I so much joy to work together, whether it is in the office or in the field. It was always part of our vision and work is one way we both show our love and find personal reward.
Being a kind and fully-present parent is important to me. I will apologize when I am not doing so. I will continue to pray an act of contrition each night, and a self-offering prayer each morning. This is a practice I began with Lent and it has helped me so much – I take time to think about my errors and forgive myself each night, then start fresh every morning with my priorities in mind. I will work to stay organized so that I can be more focused and less pressured in my daily life. (For my non- or less-religious readers, obviously this can be done without the praying part. The forgiving and offering parts are the critical ones to include if you want to give it a try.)
God is important to me, and being a part of the community of Church. This is one area in my life where I feel satisfied with the way things are working – probably because everything is easier when it takes the approach of “community.” I don’t need to do it all – there are lots of us! I just need to do what I can with the gifts that I have. I will continue helping where I can, taking my children to weekly and holy day Masses, and incorporate faith into our regular, daily routines.
Exercise is important to me. It keeps me healthy, and most importantly it keeps me sane. I will give up other activities (like sleep) and bend my other priorities (for instance taking my children to the gym’s childcare area while I run or work-out) so that I can participate in this. I will seek out opportunities to do so and not feel guilty about time away from my family so that I can take good care of my own body and mind.
Staying organized is important to me so I can accomplish all of these priorities. I know this is just the tip of the iceburg as far as what is important – I don’t have anything in here about friends or extended family or time with my spouse (which are all critical priorities for me as well) but there’s only so much I can write before you all are going to get bored (you are already? Sorry – almost finished – just give me a few more minutes). And these are the biggies that are currently front-and-center for me. Any tips or suggestions would be most welcome – What do you keep on hand in the pantry for quick, healthy meals? How do you maintain an uncluttered house? How do you fit in a big project? When do you make time for yourself? Do you have a system for keeping lists, files, or items that would help me?
C’mon, people! I know you are full of ideas so let’s share!