Monday, September 7

A Successful Day

There has been so very much that has happened over the last year - and so much that I couldn't possibly tell it all in one post - that I'll trust that as I write more, bits and pieces will come out to illuminate my sweet friends that still read this blog. I know. My little blog has quite a lot of dust on it.

But for now, I want to write about a moment yesterday that surprised me. 

Being a mom to two daughters under the age of 2 is busy and demanding, full of interruptions and monotany. And I was a "bored housewife." If by bored, you mean "unable to identify what I had accomplished during the day, but feeling worn out and exhausted."

So I saw this sale on a web series from a blog I like, "Money Saving Mom." It wasn't the best time to spend $10 - at the end of a month in which we deviated greatly from our budget - but I was looking for something that would give me a kick start to figure out, "Why am I so cranky every day?"

I would lose my temper at my toddler, then feel guilty, then wallow in Facebook, and then watch the historical documentary of choice on Amazon Prime. (Soaps? Why would you watch them when THERE'S SO MUCH HISTORY? Real Life drama!) All the while telling myself, "Well, you kept them alive, didn't you?" And "you need more sleep."

It's true. I did need more sleep!

But I needed a lot of other things too.

So far, I've completed 5 of the webinars and done the little worksheets. It's been very good. They have illuminated a couple of realizations that I needed to come to:

1) I need to get up before my kids and husband.  a) Why? Because I am SOOO SLOWWWW in the morning. I need to sit and wake up with a cup of coffee. Before my eyes even begun to focus. And if I'm sitting and drinking my cup of coffee while my husband (who is Very Productive in the morning) and children (How do they EVEN have that much energy?) get going during the day, I'm about 10 feet behind them for the rest of the day.
b) I need that time for myself. I need it. I have never needed alone time - me time - the way I need it now as a mama of littles. I need to refill, and I need to do it with Scripture.
Ok, and let me enter my disclaimer:  I'm notoriously bad at getting up consistently before the rest of my family, so we'll see how well I continue, but I do have some determination.

And then came the thought that shocked me:

2) I had NO IDEA what a successful day looked like.

Not. One. Clue.

Because each day would come with the good and the bad, but I would feel so out-of-sorts by the time Adam came home. That "JUST PLEASE GET HERE!" feeling that most stay-at-home moms feel at 5 pm.

So, I thought and thought about why I never, not once felt like I had a string of good days. Maybe a good day here and there, but not a number of them. 

And I realized I was trying to do too much. All the while distracting myself from all the things that I wasn't accomplishing. And failing at getting every.single.chore done every day. ("Really, Hannah? Really? You thought you could get every single chore done every day? Yes. I did. Yes, I was ridiculous.)

So now I reveal to you my successful day:

I have a list of 1,000 things that need to get done. It's a running list on my Wunderlist app. It is every brain dump thing I think of in the moment. That I can't get done at that moment.

I don't do the 1,000 things every day if you think that's where I'm going.

No, I do Three And Only Three Things each day. I have a separate list called "Only Three Things" and it's the only one I look at throughout the day. I plan out my Three And Only Three Things for the next day at least an hour before bed.

This list excludes keeping my children alive by feeding, reading, teaching and playing with them and it excludes getting dinner prepared and other daily chores that must happen for the world to continue turning.  

Items on this list DO include: Showering and washing my hair. Yep. I don't shower each day. True confessions. It includes vacuuming. It includes windexing the dirty bathroom mirror that has been smeared with toothpaste for 4 days. (That one bugs me, but has fallen below other tasks I feel are more necessary). If I do other things above and beyond my three things I document them so I see that I am accomplishing things, but those are more like extra credit than a sense of "get as much done during the day as possible!"

The other part of my successful day is to remember that The afternoons are chaos. Don't try to manage the afternoons. Just let them ride. Because, one way or another, if I plan a post-child-nap task, it will not get done. There will be a diaper explosion, or a cranky toddler or a needy infant that throws a monkey wrench into the afternoon and evening.

And finally: GRACE. Grace for myself for when the 3 things don't get done. For when I'm angry at Charis or Lathie. When everything just gets pushed back into the afternoon and evening. Grace for me, and Grace for them.

So there it is, my friends. Part of what is making my life less cranky. Realizing that success is really about less, and not demanding more. And therefore being a more loving mom and wife. 
With octaves of a mystic depth and height