Well, term one of 2022 was much bigger than I anticipated it to be. I very naively went into the first term of the school year expecting to have a lot more time in my day to work through my very long To-do list. After seven years of homeschooling and always having someone with me, I was finally going to be childfree for 6 hours of the day. I was excited to have time on my own, and to have time to get my ‘To Do’ list done. My personal list of things that need doing or sorting out has been growing over the last few years, so I really need to get a move on this coming term while the kids are at school. I don’t want to get to the next block of holidays without having conquered my list. Sadly, the holidays weren’t as great as we would have liked them to be due to sickness in our household, but, we had a lovely and incredibly busy Easter weekend as a family.
Can we please start the holidays again? I’d like a re-do please!
While Term 2 will be busy conquering my crazy list of must do’s and the like, I also have a plan to combat some of the day to day busyness. My ultimate goal is too break the habit of busy in my life and create a more calm lifestyle. I probably sound like a broken record talking about calming and simplifying my life, but I believe it is possible and it is ultimately important for our health and wellbeing. I am hopeful despite our household of teenagers. JJ might not be a teen just yet, but he is growing up fast and is influenced greatly by his big sisters. To achieve a calmer and more simplified lifestyle, I realise I will have to plan, pray, and pushback. Calm is possible, but it is also something we all have to work on. Calm will come with the sacrifice of opportunity, fun, and fear of missing out, but when you know that certain elements of your life needs to slow down, you just have to make it work out for the long term. I have to believe it is possible because I know I need more calm in my life.
Intentionality is the key word here because it means putting boundaries around what we can and can’t do, it’s realising we have a certain amount of hours each day to do specific things and once that time window has gone, it’s time to move forward with the next thing. I know many friends are talking about feeling too busy in their lives at the moment, and the number one key to getting back some control is intentionality, prioritising, and good planning Calm is not an easy goal to obtain specifically when you are a mum, but my ultimate goal is a calmer life. Why? My ‘why’ for a calmer life is to feel less stressed, feel better in myself, feel less busy, feel less anxious, be able to give out to family and friends from a place of calm. I don’t believe we are supposed to live as though we are racing through our lives – I want to stop and smell the roses and enjoy the experiences along the way, but it is hard to take it all in when we are so busy.
First steps to a calmer life always start with a pad of paper and a pen. Calm means I need an element of organisation around me, so with a pen and paper I brain dump all that I am thinking about onto paper. I find that I have five categories that jump out at me – A meal plan category; a Shopping List that also includes things such as birthday presents and miscellaneous items I need to look at; A Must-Do list; a Wishlist; and a section where I put the days of the week. I recently added a Mum category so that I can fit in catching up with her, but also appointments or a simple phone call. This helps me organise my thoughts in terms of when I should do things logistically over the course of the week. I add in Nell’s gymnastics, J’s robotic class to help build the framework of what each day might look like. This action plan then goes into my calendar.
I have realised that I don’t function well when I feel like I am flying by the seat of my pants. I don’t actually feel like I am living my life well when I don’t adhere to my action plan. I have discovered that my weekly plan helps me create a calmer life. The secret to a calmer life in the busyness of family life is not over committing my days, and realising that it may mean less spontaneity. There will always be issues/events/funerals/parties that come up unexpectedly, but I do find that my plan for the week actually helps me work out whether or not I can add these spontaneous events into my week. I used to really suffer with FOMO (fear of missing out) but now I can put things into perspective and realise that it is impossible to be at everything and do everything I need to do in my life. Something has to give at some point. There is an art to living well and it basically means that whenever I say yes to something, I am also saying no to something else.
Many years ago I read a book called ‘Healthy, Wealthy and Wise’ by a Sunshine Coast Author called Sandy Forster. It was an interesting book and much of it did not align with my personal belief system, however, she asked the question I needed to hear, and since then I find myself thinking about her question. Simply put, What would you like your day/s too look like?
Often I let distractions get the better of me. Sometimes I bathe in the annoyance of things I am unable to change, sometimes my dream day seems like its a long way away. Nobody said raising teenagers was easy, despite there being a lot of spontaneous moments of fun and laughter, there are a lot of course correcting moments, disciplining and moments of insanity! All of these things can’t be scheduled into a calendar, and most times they happen at the most inopportune times. I have come to realise that while I would prefer to go without the moments of insanity, we are all very good at just doing what we need to do in that precise moment, and if we need to change plans we can do just that. It is vital that we are flexible when we need to be. There is no such things as ‘the perfect family’, or ‘the perfect day’. Thank God for new mercies every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23).
There will always be a long list of things to do. I think that is just the way motherhood is. Acceptance of what we can’t change is half the battle in motherhood – there will always be elements of every job that we don’t like, but the good will always be better than the negatives of this job. Motherhood is not easy, but so incredibly worthwhile.
Till next time,