I’ve taken a long hiatus from writing on this blog. I had to…simply because I wasn’t doing an effective job plunking it into my schedule.
Writing had become an awkward-shaped Tetris cube that wouldn’t lie flat along with all the other cubes that were flying at me. Getting kids dressed, fed, and to the bus stop. Volunteering at school. Meeting with my women’s group. Leading service projects. I’m happy to be busy with meaningful activities, but it requires intention and attention to include the most important things in our daily lives. Here’s how I keep things moving smoothly.
- Ritual. As soon as I get up, throw on the new seasonal light and check my emails while the tea kettle is heating up. In the evening, my husband and I set out the kids’ clothes for the next day. All these little things make the daily necessities run smoothly. Not to mention that me and my kids need the structure to stick to things.
- Setting boundaries and saying no. I never really learned this lesson as thoroughly as I did upon moving into a cohousing community. It is a time-demanding lifestyle and our family reaps the rewards from it. But it is still just one gear in the machine of life which also includes our school community, our spiritual community, our families, our lifelong friends, and our employment or volunteering communities. Soon after we moved into cohousing, a longtime resident shared “Don’t be afraid to say No. Your No’s empower your Yesses.” It feels good to say no when I need to, and reminds me that I’m adjusting my sails.
- Be accountable to myself. I feel deep down that when I say yes to outside requests that I am making a conscious choice to help. I might not always like what I accepted to help with, but at the end of the day I want to take responsibility for the things I say yes to. It isn’t anyone else’s fault if something isn’t working out like I wanted it to. And what this ultimately comes down to is listening carefully to my intuition. If my schedule gets out of whack then usually it has to do with me ignoring my inner wisdom.
- Know thine own personality and work style. I know that I’m an idea generator, an organizer, and a delegator so I try my best to work in teams. I feel good about putting in extra time to make things run smoothly. For example, a massive purge and cleaning of the storage space early this fall would have been daunting if I hadn’t viewed it as a way to free up space that could be used to thin out the clutter that my family looks at every day.
- Know my home. My city will predictably rain for months-upon-months and that will take a toll on our Vitamin D reserves, but it can usher in opportunities to do those indoor things we like to do. For example, the kids have been digging after school programs and they have proven to be a great time for me to hold meetings or get some unplanned social time in. I know that summer will be a downtime for school events, but cohousing life ramps up and I can increase participation then.
- Allow this glistening castle of organization and progress to crumble once in a while. The kids will get sick. I will be stuck in ridiculous traffic – a given these days in Seattle. I will get beyond grumpy in the depth of winter. And I will sit and mope and might miss a day or more’s worth of best laid plans. And the world will continue. And my family will survive.
I suppose sitting my butt down in the seat and just committing to something is also how I get things done. I’ve had seven years of stay-at-home motherhood to mull on what sort of life I want to live and how to make that happen. Getting honest about my priorities allows me to put those things first in the schedule and move around that.