This post contains affiliate links. #7. NUMBER 7! It’s a book called The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande. You get it via that link, and I get some loose change. Then you can check that off your list. Also, the Aladdin movie is linked. I miss Mr. Williams.
No, You Can’t Have It All (By Yourself)
I strongly, strongly dislike the people-can-have-it-all message. But admittedly, there are are times when I try to do just that.
- I can take care of all the meals and dishes and the house a-by my own self.
- I can run, run, run, all day ’round the house and up the stairs and bustle, bustle, through chores and tasks and hit my wall at the end of the day, exhausted.
- I manage things all the live loving day long.
- I can manage all the homeschooling/teaching work.
- Take kids there, take kids here. And back here again. And then over there. Back to that. And back here.
- And then I can stay up and play around on YouTube, looking up favorite scenes from movies and steal sleep from my body and soul and mind.
That’s just all wrong. Really wrong. And it brings no glory to God.
My family and I had an unusual summer: unexpected, disjointed, sad. And now we’re in a season of separate schools for kids and part-time homeschooling for one. All my anxiety and frenetic activity couldn’t last.
I could make changes, even very small ones, that would help me help myself and my family or I could keep truckin’ along and keep having mini-burn outs (and meltdowns) during all of it. So far, these little life changes have made days easier and some decisions simpler.
I know what some of you are saying. This crazy girl. She’s just finding out about this stuff!? I’ve been doing this foreva. It’s ok, you can talk about me and think about me behind my back, or in front of the computer screen. I’m telling you, I feel like I’ve opened up a Whole New World. I know none of this is rocket surgery, but I’m willing to bet that a few mamas out there in the great big whole wide world need to try a thing or two to give themselves a break.
9 Ways I’m Making Life (a Little) Easier
1. I have outsourced once-a-month housecleaning. Yes, I sweep floors and swish toilets in between. Don’t worry; when the bathrooms smell like outhouses, I take care of things. Only once a month because it’s not free. But certainly once a month because I choose this over: spa days, regular pedicures, all manicures, sports television, lots of television channels, my dream car (extended cab, full bed, pickup truck), or a wave runner.
2. Letting the younger boys get school lunch on Fridays. It’s unbelievable the difference one day makes in taking a tiny break from making 15 lunches during the week. And it’s unbelievable how much the kids love having a “tray lunch.” Winning, winning.
3. Letting up on the Micromanagement Of Everything. (Trying really hard, at least.) Turns out I’m in everyone’s way quite a bit. And also in my own. Real-life example: Walking away from the kitchen where I made the meal and where the dirty dishes sit, letting others do the job of cleaning it up without my every-second instruction. (If you need to hand over a responsibility, you often have to light out from the territory in which it takes place. You know, like Tom Sawyer. If you don’t, others might not take it on.)
3b. Not worrying that my children’s lives will be ruined (ruined, I say!) if things are not the picture portrait of my expectations. This goes along with #3. A lot of things go along with #3.
4. Buying ground coffee. So I don’t have to grind beans myself every day. Stop your laughing. Also, I’m keeping this kind of coffee on hand, because I found it and loved it and it’s easy and good.
5. Keeping a simple paper on the refrigerator with a list(ish) of what’s in that big white thing that holds all the food. I cross out foods once they’re used up, and highlight leftovers that can be added to meals, and used for meals. It works pretty good for someone who’s not much of a meal-planner.
6. Remembering that I’m supposed to be using “no,” as a complete sentence (see #4). I forgot how great that is. Empowering, even.
7. Using checklists for the kids, and a few picture graphics for the younger one. We’ve done this in a few ways over the years, but it needed some simplifying. If you think checklists are kind of silly for simple routines, you might want to read this book. Surgeons use checklists. You know what? So do pilots. 😉 #pilotwife
8. Slowing down a wee little. Now I don’t mean the slowing down whereby I take a spa day in the middle of the week, or where I literally stop and smell the roses on a morning walk (although that’s fine). I mean slowing down in the minutes of the day: not rushing crazy hazy to push everyone in the car when we’re not even running late (which is super hard because when you’re an on-time person, EVERYTHING is running late), not getting quite so worked up when the boys are sibling-spatting.
9. Binge-listening/binge-watching while binge-working. Do you know how long it takes to clean out a closet? Two and one-half commercial-free episodes of Law & Order (the original). How about the amount of time needed to fold a load of laundry? One episode of the 10-Minute Writer’s Workshop. It’s the good kind of multi-tasking. (We use the low-cost DVD option from Netflix because we’re old school. Also, our library stocks DVDs for free check out. Maybe yours does to).