The last few weeks have been an adventure for me. I’ve embarked on something of a life-overhaul! I feel like there are pages and pages of musings I’ve been writing in my head and they could account for a whole series of blog posts. Honestly I’d love to write it all down but I’ve been having a hard time knowing how to introduce what I’m up to and I’m not quite sure I want to allocate any time to talking about it all after that.
But to start. Here, let me at least start and see what comes of the effort. This post is going to be a mess. Hopefully you can make some sense of it.
There are all sorts of nooks and crannies to the explanation of how this overhaul began. I’m not sure I can tease it all out, but I will tell you this. I had hit a wall in home management. It’s ironic that someone like me, a girl who wants to be open to having however many children God might choose to send me, would not have also at some point committed to creating a proper framework on which to hang the many tasks involved in taking care of those kids. But I hadn’t. Oh I tried now and again to harness control of certain aspects of our days, but never on an over-arching, all encompassing level. And most of my attempts in the past have disappointed and exhausted me.
Until I just had enough. Had enough of a life “too big” for me to handle.
I guess in the past, I hadn’t reached that point where I couldn’t fly by the seat of my pants. But when you have four, you just can’t anymore. You can’t do everything you need to do without allotting time and energy to do it. You realize more fully that time and energy are finite resources. (I know, I know! But now I know.) For the most part, there was enough of me to go around in the past, when I had fewer kids and less on my plate. Not so much these days.
Okay, so I realized I needed to overhaul my life to make it manageable, but how? Where to start?
A few weeks ago I wrote down all of the tasks that need to be accomplished to cover the bare essentials of caring for my family for a single day. I needed to visualize it. Play with it. I took apart tasks and wrote down not just “lunch” but “prep food” “prep table” “get drinks” “serve/eat” “clear table” “wipe table” “sweep floor” “put food away”. It helped me to grasp both the amount of work involved but also the number of things that I didn’t need to be doing. It was a place to start. Helped me own my life to some degree.
Since then I’ve started playing with a schedule and following it. Finding a natural place in each day to do each thing. Forming task relationships (aka do dishes whenever the baby is in the highchair). Making goal times during the day to complete certain things (tidy my room before Evie takes her first nap). That first week, I exhausted myself simply trying to bring the house back into a maintenance level. Things devolve quickly when you have more kids. It’s almost shocking how quickly!
My thinking is that I should be able to keep the house reasonably clean, my children fed and clothed, and the priorities taken care of.
I think this whole adventure is really a journey in doing that — bringing my life down to my level and to the place where I can be “on top” of my life and not drowning in responsibility.