I’m not a good solo parent. I am used to my husband helping – he gets home from work by 4:30 and joins our little rodeo. He’s not one to sit down and watch TV while I take care of kids or make dinner. He’s right beside me cooking, cleaning, putting kids to bed, the works. And I love him so much for that. I really couldn’t do this mothering three kids thing without him. There is no substitute for him.
But a while back he was gone. He had to be gone over the weekend, which meant that I got NO downtime during the weekend. Come that Monday morning when he got home, I felt like it should have been Friday. But I still had FIVE MORE DAYS. It was mind boggling. And so exhausting.
Here comes the lesson. At the end of the week I had a choice to be and feel revitalized.
Yes, somehow I got through the week and my superman husband offered to take the kids Saturday morning for a while so I could “get stuff done” and get some quiet time. And sometimes “get stuff done” means cleaning and organizing the house and sometimes it means “quilting.” In this case, it meant “quilting.”
Over the years I have read some parenting books and have realized that to be a good person, I need to
- Get Stuff Done
- Be left alone for a while.
And if these don’t happen, I feel like my life is imploding. Or maybe it will explode. Not sure, but it gets scary and volatile. Must. Get. All. The. Stuff. Done.
Saturday mornings at our house are for cleaning, grocery shopping, and family time. So when Friday night came, I started planning my awesome big-kid free morning and was faced with the choice to either clean the house and grocery shop, or quilt.
My awesome other half urged me to GET MY STUFF DONE. Ignore the dishes. Ignore the 1,430 toys left on the ground. The dirty clothes. The shoes, everything. Ignore that and enjoy the fact that I only have one sleeping baby to take care of.
So I did. And it was mighty hard looking past the big mess. But I did it. I cut fabric and pinned it together. Why is that so relaxing for me? Maybe it’s the Netflix episodes that accompany quilting?
And I quilted. The wonderful process of taking a bunch of fabric, then cutting it up, pinning it, and sewing it back together is so therapeutic. Gosh, I really love it.
Also, that late Friday night, a good friend was inspired to suggest I write an article for this publication. I had that one my “to do” list for months. But I finally did it that Saturday morning.
And by the time superman and our kids came home, I was revitalized. My mind was calm. I was ready to be a parent again. Of course the house looked like a bomb went off, and I really needed a shower and serious maid service.
But I could handle those tasks when my mind felt peace.
Sometimes I feel like I can only feel peace and calm when everything on my “to do” list is checked off. Dishes done. Check. Toys cleaned off floor. Check. Laundry done. Checkity check. And after that is all done, THEN I can feel that peaceful revitalization. But the reality is, is that you probably don’t have time for all that, in that order. Because life happens.
Get the good stuff done first while you can. Of course, this can’t happen every day, but when you have those moments where it can happen (i.e. children are away so I can sew in peace) then DO IT!
If I had tried to clean everything and gone grocery shopping and THEN done my writing and quilting, I would have met my husband and kids at the door with frustration. Frustration that I had to “do it all” and I still didn’t’ have enough time left for me to do something relaxing.
Instead, we had about 15 minutes to work together to clean up the house AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE before a sweet neighbor came over to watch our kids so Jake and I could have a late lunch date. And we worked a miracle on that place in 15 minutes. Seriously.
That Saturday I learned there are times to get the cleaning and organizing done. But there needs to be more times where I look past that and do what will revitalize me. Because when I feel at peace, I’m a better mom and wife. Do the things that will impact your brain and mood the most before you do what you HAVE to do. Because I can always do laundry. Or dishes. But quiet time is sparse around here. ((3 kids that are 5 and under)) And make those moments count. Choose to be revitalized, rather than getting it all done.
Because in reality, housework will never be “all done.”