I wrote this draft in February of 2014. On reflection, I realize how very much was going on. I was dealing with ‘weening blues’… Little Man had started weening the fall before and it was wrecking havoc on my hormones. We were wanting to try to get pregnant again, which meant we needed Little Man to finish weening, give my hormones a chance to settle down, then we could see what would happen. With that in mind, here’s what I wrote:
My dad gave me a great compliment the other day… he said “I’m so proud of you. You’ve really got it together and you don’t get overwhelmed, stressed out, or depressed over the business of life.” I felt an odd need to defend myself in that I don’t have it all together, I do get overwhelmed, stressed out and grumpy over all of it. But the Hubby-man is amazingly able to help me pull it together, get a few things done, and move on.
I’ve had several projects recently (as in late 2013) that I reached an “ARGH!” point where I stressed, freaked out, and verbally vomited all over Hubby-man. He is so effective at helping me deal in these situations that those outside our family rarely see the moments. And they are short lived, as in less than an hour usually.
It struck me, though, when Dad complimented me, that others might see me in the same light. And I desire that people know I don’t always have it together, but I try to be proactive about living life intentionally and living life in a state of peace and joy. As I thought over this, I realized my general ability to get back on track comes from three different areas, and I thought I’d discuss each area in turn. Today, the practicals of getting a handle on life at this point in life. Tomorrow, the foundations of having the right perspective on getting a handle on life. Day after, how knowing yourself helps a ton in getting a handle on life.
The practicals of getting a handle on life at this point in life
In light of the many flopped 2013 goals, my primary ‘goal’ for 2014 was something to the effect of ‘get a handle on life’. I flopped on so many of my 2013 goals that I decided to not make any such goals for 2014. For those who know me, they know that this is revolutionary and very out of character. I am a goal setter, list maker achiever. But before you start to wonder who this is and where did the Mom-mom go, I did decide to work on 1 or 2 habits each month this year to help me ‘get a handle on life’. And there were several things I decided to stop doing. So, here’s how 2014 is different…
- No goals. Having a 2 1/2 year old (who turns 3 in May) around means less time for projects of the ‘no, you can’t be involved’ sort. My goals tend to be oriented in this way. Yes, I’ll still do some sewing and other projects, but I take them on as I have time and inclination. I’m not setting out a set of them as goals to do in 2014. Its just the right time of life to work like this. At least for me it isn’t.
- Work on establishing good habits. For example, for January, I focused on daily routines and regular exercise. And, I’m working on the same habits in February since I felt that I didn’t really establish these as habits yet.
- Not gardening. I love getting out in the soil, planting, watching things grow. I don’t like getting up early to water and weeding. I certainly love the idea of canning and preserving and having a store of food that we raised ourselves. But really, this is a family project. I’m so thankful I have the freedom to just buy my fruits and veggies and meat from the store and be done with it. I will garden again, just not in the near future.
- Sometimes laundry stays piled in the living room for a day or two (or three). Sometimes the floor of the dining room gets a bit grimy. In other words, I’ve figured out what things I can live with and when I need to slack on something, I have a few things I can slack on without feeling guilty.
- Remind myself often that most tasks are not huge tasks that take a long time to do. They are relatively quick. Rotating laundry. Wiping off the table. Putting books away (goodness, I’m as bad about having stacks of books around as Little Man is!). Making the bed. Vacuuming. Sweeping. Flylady teaches “You can do anything in 15 minutes (except whine).” Sometimes, I have to verbally remind myself, “this is a 5 (or less) minute task”.
I figure that as life progresses and our situation changes, I’ll have to make more adjustments. It might be that in 2015, I’m ready for goals again, and that might not happen till 2016. And I’ve decided I’m gonna be good with that. It helps that I know what’s important.
The key here is that I stepped back from what wasn’t working (making goals) to consider why it might not work (full time caretaker and Mom-mom of a little, sleep deprivation at times, general natural tendency) and how I might still get to where I want to go.
I’m inclined to say that if you feel like you don’t have a handle on life, work on some simple routines first. Simplify your general expectations (any other perfectionists out there?). Cut out extra projects/tasks (simplify!). Figure out what is truly important and focus on those things. (more on that tomorrow)**
**I didn’t end up doing more on this series. I might pursue it, especially now that I’ve come through that time, found my feet and am finding myself *feeling* rather stable. Just remember, no matter how together someone seems, they probably aren’t *that* well put together.