Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Why today was better than yesterday

The past few weeks have been really tough. Last week Emily was here, which took some of the sting out of Caroline's crankiness, but since she left it has been brutal. For some reason, the kid has decided not to nap (and don't you love how now she's "the kid" since her behavior is less than desirable?). Plus, having Erin home on Spring Break has been really hard on everyone - I especially need schedule and routine to function properly.

Today was tolerable. And quick while I have a few minutes to myself, here are a few reasons why:

1) Sunday night I finally sat down and made a new 12-week meal plan. I always make a weekly meal plan but before Caroline was born I sat down and planned ahead, anticipating some rough weeks. It made things so much easier those first few months. Now that we're back to infantile unpredictability, why shouldn't I do one more thing to make life easier?

2) Last night I spent about 2 hours setting things out on the dining table for school today. I needed to have things for Erin to do while I was teaching Luke, and I needed to have things for them both to do independently while I was attending to Miss Cranky Pants. It's 4 pm now and we actually got through everything! Guess what I'll be doing again tonight?

3) Before I go to bed each night I make a "to do" list for the next day. It occurred to me that a shorter list would mean less guilt/frustration when it didn't all get checked off. Duh. My list today (which I made known to the kids so they could help) was: Supper, Laundry, Dishes, School. So far so good - just need to fold the laundry.

4) Along with a shorter list, I need to lower my expectations. Not that I'm accepting defeat, just accepting that not everything is urgent and important right now (remember those charts of how to prioritize?). The house may be a little messy but everyone is fed and clothed (although I did decide this morning at 6 am that extra sleep was more important than a shower - I'm glad I made that decision).

5) Yesterday while I was cleaning off the desk I found an envelope of encouraging notes my friends had written for me at my baby shower last fall. They were meant to be saved for such a time as this. I cried a little reading them, but I'm keeping them out now to read frequently.

6) Last night right before bed I checked email and Facebook. I don't know why I did (probably a God thing), but I clicked on a link to a blogpost by my friend and former student, Kayte. She helped me see that I am in the puberty of motherhood and can allow myself some time to get good. I know it sounds like a funny concept - read the post and be encouraged like I was.

7) I remembered today something my friend Brian used to do with his middle school students to help them have more subjects for writing projects. He would have them wear around their neck a little notepad and pencil for a whole week and write down pretty much everything. I don't need ideas for writing assignments, but writing down everything to be thankful for today helped immensely so I'm keeping my little notepad out on the counter. I'm pretty sure that's part of the theme of the current book I'm reading, too (but don't have much time to read so I don't know for sure).

8) ROUTINE! SCHEDULE! Today we didn't go anywhere this morning. The only thing we have to do is T-ball at 6:30 and I planned ahead with a crock pot meal. Everything seemed to go a little better because I planned ahead. Imagine that. In the back of my head I heard, "Plan for the worst. Hope for the best." So far it hasn't been the best, but it has been by FAR better than the worst.

And the number 1 reason why today was better than yesterday:

All I can say is God is good. All the time.


Melanie said...

No one ever said motherhood would be easy. But, on the whole, it is the best job in the world and the results of perseverance are they will rise up and call you blessed--maybe not in those words but they will let you know that you are loved and appreciated someday. Hang in there!

MLE said...

You are absolutely allowed to lower your expectations! That's not admitting defeat at all -- that's facing reality. The reality is this (and what I saw during my visit): you are a great mother. You put delicious food on the table every night, your kids are clean, well-behaved (yes -- compared to SO many other), the kids want for nothing, and you are consistent in your discipline and your training them in Christianity. You are patient (mostly!) and juggle a lot of things. I think that is nothing to sneeze at! I know you are a planner -- go with your strengths and use that to help you feel more successful on a daily basis. I have only me, but I still make my daily lists and plan my meals out a week at a time -- it eliminates so much stress at any meal time. You are a great mom -- you did fine with the first two, and the baby will come around as well. Keep in mind that overall things are pretty good. :) I love you.

Gayle and Rob said...

I think you're doing a marvelous work as mom and wife. But then, I've been a big fan of yours your whole life! Love you, Katie!