A few weeks ago, I sat down at the computer and wrote a meltdown email to my husband at work. It said things like, "just getting by each day", "losing everything", "no time for anything", "disorganized", "grumpy", "tired", "always rushing"….
And since email is never the best way to communicate, especially with your own husband, his response wasn't exactly what I wanted to hear…."Maybe if you had dinner ready right when I got home, it would make the evenings less stressful and rushed at bedtime."
Thankfully, I know my husband well and I know that he meant to be helpful with his response, but of course in my fit, I took it all wrong. I think I wrote something back along the lines of, "but it's all the stuff BEFORE dinner that I'm having a hard time with!!!!!" (you jerk!) no. I'm kidding. I didn't call him a jerk.
But after unloading to him in that email, I was somehow reminded that most of the mood of our home life is set by me. I set the tone for our days and my attitudes and outlook are extremely contagious for the rest of my family.
That afternoon, I sat down with a large stack of blank paper and began writing down all the things that I felt needed to change. From simple "rules" like "no toys in the bathroom", to a weekly schedule of which days the kids would take their baths and showers. I put down everything I could think of on those pieces of paper–homeschool lesson ideas, meal ideas, things that I needed to finish or find (ugh.) and reminded myself of the things that would help me feel like I was back in control of our home life. If nothing else, it felt so good to get all those things out of my head and into print that I could read and scratch through and erase.
Oftentimes, I feel like I need to hit a rock bottom of sorts, before I snap out of my funk, shake off the dust and get my act together again. It takes me getting a little overwhelmed before I make real changes. I wish it weren't that way. But unfortunately, that's often my reality.
So we're not uber-organized now. I'm not the drill sergeant demanding a tightly run household as a result of my latest meltdown. In fact, it may be just the opposite.
I've toned things down. I've slowed down. I've let go of a lot of things. I've said "no" to things. I've made some healthy changes. I've returned to some good habits I used to have.
A few specifics?
I've started planning our meals again.
I've started counting points again. And being extremely mindful about what I put into my body, and my children's bodies–(another thing I want to write about)
I've given my children a few things to look forward to on specific days. Things they can count on.
I've stayed away from the computer until afternoon naps. (sometimes I sneak in a check of email, but that's about it.)
I cut back on my babycenter posts. No more "A Bushel and A Peck".
And the other thing I'm trying to do is not be so super-focused on the things I have to accomplish each day. They weigh me down and distract my attention away from my children.
Today, it was 11:00am before I had the breakfast dishes completely done and all the school work set out on the table. I let my loading of the dishwasher be interrupted by a trip to the chicken coop, a toddler wanting to feed her doll in the highchair and a little girl wanting to hold her dove and have me take pictures.
And the irony is, though I felt like I was moving at a snail's pace this morning and wasn't getting very far, very quickly, I still got everything accomplished today that needed to be accomplished, today.
And I realized there's still tomorrow. Except for a few things…
Tomorrow, my children will be a little bit older.
And tomorrow they'll be carrying around memories of yesterday.
And I can stand behind them and rush, rush, rush them through to tomorrow.
Or I can stay with them, and alongside them, and savor them. Today.