Non-stop

crazy lifeLife is so very full right now, and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in feeling as though we’re running at a relentless pace. I wrote a status update on Facebook about two weeks ago that said, “Wouldn’t it be great if all the activity of the first three weeks of May could be spread out over the boring and sad months of January or February?” Isn’t it the truth? This non-stop life, it’s crazy! Truly, insane. Throw in there seasonal allergies, and I’m talkin’ we’re going through boxes and boxes of tissues, jars and jars of local honey, and just about every over-the-counter remedy that’s out there to give a little relief, and this crowd can’t catch a break!

I won’t bore you with the details of our Family Google Calendar, but here’s a list of the activities and events we’ve been running around to over the past couple of weeks:

  • Soccer practices twice a week for two boys
  • All Star soccer try-outs
  • Irish dance class twice a week for one girl
  • Band practice once a week for one boy
  • Field day
  • Mother’s Day Tea at preschool
  • Poetry cafe put on by the 4th grade
  • College graduation of two cousins in Ohio
  • Appointment at the allergist’s office
  • Two visits to the orthodontist

And coming up?

  • Band trip to Hershey Park
  • Marian Tea for moms and daughters at our parish
  • Irish dance rehearsal and recital
  • All Star Soccer practices (he made the team!)
  • Parents vs. Students dodge ball
  • Pre-K graduation
  • Memorial Day Weekend cookout
  • Soccer practices twice a week for two boys
  • Irish dance class twice a week for one girl (even after the recital)

Thank goodness we don’t have a First Holy Communion or Baptism this spring. Can you imagine? This is going to sound really strange, but man, am I glad I didn’t plant pots of flowers for my front porch and our back deck. Ain’t nobody got time fo dat! You know it’s bad when I’m wishing it was summer vacation and all the kids were home all day just so I could have some relief from all these school-related events!

I truly do not know how on earth to make the busy-ness of life slow down. The fact is, we have five children and four of those five children go to school and three participate in sports and activities, so, we are busy! There is just no way around it. It’s exciting sometimes, to have places to go and people to see, lists to make and things to do, bags to pack and un-pack. On the other hand, it’s exhausting and requires balance. As a family we have policies and procedures that I’ve shared here before. We have rules and regulations that we try to uphold and these things keep our household running smoothly. But if you’re never home, it’s kind of difficult to stay on top of the day to day stuff of life, isn’t it?

Thank goodness this pace didn’t start ten years ago when we had our first child! I remember the good old days when Smarty Pants and I used to go to the playground in the morning, then home for a nap, then out to run errands, then home for a nap, cook dinner, dad’s home, bed time, hang out, do it again the next day! Every other year another baby was born and then when our oldest was half-way through pre-K, we had our 4th. Three and a half years later, the summer before our oldest started third grade, Little One was born. So we’ve had some adjustment time between each new addition, either of a new life, a new activity/sport/hobby, or another child in school. If I’m being honest, and I think a lot of you with children in traditional schools would agree, it’s work to have your child in school. I mean there are days when I sit at the computer reading and answering emails, updating and printing out our Family Google Calendar when I think, “I understand why wealthy Hollywood types have personal assistants!” If I were a Real Housewife of New York City, I would totally hire an intern! No question. I mean just keeping up with five children’s dental/orthodontic/doctor appointments is a job in itself!

I hope I don’t sound like I’m complaining. I really am not complaining. What am I doing? I’m trying to draw attention to the fact that this life, this crazy life, is non-stop this time of year. In my ten+ years of being a mother I have learned that speaking the truth about what we’re going through or experiencing in life is a powerful thing. I’m not airing any dirty laundry. I’m not saying, “I have problems.” I’m simply drawing attention to the fact that I feel like life is incredibly full and slightly insane right now so that if any of you are feeling as though you’re drowning, you are not alone! And this would all be pointless if I didn’t offer some wisdom, so here goes. I’m not an expert, and I don’t play one on TV, but I do have a couple of tricks up my sleeve for thriving during the busiest of times. Ready?

  1. For the love of all that is holy, take a nap everyday! There should be some sort of quote by some saint or really smart person about napping everyday. Is there? Okay, then I’ll write one. Maybe I’ll even turn it into a meme and spread it all over social media so that all the moms out there can give themselves permission to take a nap everyday. I went to a talk by a very wise mother of eight a while back and she said that it is an act of charity toward your family to nap. I agree wholeheartedly! And if you can’t nap everyday, find a way to nap on Saturdays and Sundays when your spouse is home.
  2. Say no sometimes and talk about sacrifices. It’s healthy for our children to be told they just can’t do everything they want to do. It’s also good for them to know that we grown-ups turn things down as well. A Dominican sister gave a beautiful talk on motherhood once and she shared that her parents would tell her and her sister about the sacrifices they were making as parents. We don’t do it often, but every once in a while, when the children seem to be feeling as though their friends at school get to do more than we do, we try to share the things that we give up so that they can go to catholic school or go to camps and participate in activities. It’s not that we want them to feel guilty. We just want them to focus on what we are doing and appreciate the sacrifices we’re making in order to make those things happen.
  3. Go to bed early and wake up early. This has been a life-saver for me for the past decade. It’s just not worth it to stay up late, but it is worth it to get up early. And if you don’t go to bed early, then you sure won’t be able to wake up early! Make sense? I talk a lot about this morning quiet time, maybe because I’ve seen the fruits. If you’ve never tried this approach, then I would suggest starting now and giving it a good ten days to two weeks before you decide it isn’t working.
  4. Pick one chore to stay on top of. Mine is laundry. If the laundry is done on my “laundry days” each and every week, the stress that comes from being so busy tends to be more manageable. Clean laundry? Happy mommy.
  5. Talk to your spouse. I cannot believe how little time The Hubs and I have to talk these days. Lately, we’ve been making appointments with each other just to catch up. I’ve talked before about date nights and how important they are to our marriage, and they are. But I also think it’s really important to just catch up with one another as often as you can so that date night is for having fun and making memories, not talking about activities, schedules, kids, and how stressed out you are.

I hope your crazy life is a happy one. We can manage, you know. Our mothers did it and so can we! We just need to be honest about what we’re dealing with in order to be able to enjoy the craziness. Hopefully the things that I have tried over the years are helpful to you. And, as always, I’d love to hear about what you and your families do to manage all the crazy of this time of year! The comment box is waiting for you, or you could email me. I really love to hear from readers.

Categories: Reflecting

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2 Responses to Non-stop

  1. Oh my goodness, these are such great tips (and ones I absolutely do not do well heeding!)!! I am getting much better at the saying no, but the naps and the “early to bed, early to rise,” just don’t seem to work for me. My inner clock is built to be a night owl… :/ Our two are still young, so this is a good reminder for me to get these things under control before they are running everywhere.

    • Rakhi, I have friends who are night owls and truly, I have no idea how they function in the morning. Since having children school age, I have found that more happens before they leave than for the entire remainder of the day! However, if you plan well, and make sure lunches are packed, clothes are laid out, breakfast is planned, and the coffee pot is ready to brew, all the night before, then perhaps the morning after a late night wouldn’t be so bad.

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