I thought I would be able to get more done on my time off. I thought I would finally be able to catch up. I would catch up on rest. I would catch up on cleaning. I would catch up on time with my kids and my husband. After catching up, I would create routines that would work for the remainder of the summer. Then, I would modify those routines so they would work during the school year.
…I never caught up. Summer is coming to a close, and I am no closer to being “caught up” than when I first began, but I am finding peace in the middle of my crazy. Right in the midst of failed attempt after failed attempt. Right after I “rested” and woke up with a headache and a mile long to do list, I found it. I found it at the beginning of the millionth do over – the day I started with stillness, with uninterrupted silence.
I journaled that day. I journaled my hopes, my dreams, my fears, and my anger. I wrote down my concerns. I captured every thought with pen and paper, and I left my sanctuary with such a sense of peace that I wanted to run back in and stay for the day, but my time was up. It was time for me to move on.
I would love to say that I kept returning day after day, but it is not always daily. I am working my way to daily. I do at least 3-4 times a week though, and in those times, I receive the most clarity about finding peace in the middle of crazy.
If you are trying to find your own peace, which I suspect is why you are here today, here are my recommendations.
1. Accept that balance ≠ “catching up”
Stop trying to catch up. Catching up makes us feel like we are in a race, and we are losing. Catching up makes us feel less than. Catching up makes us feel like we have somehow failed at some grand mission to have it together, and we clearly do not.
Let go of the image of what you think can be done, and accept that where you are right now is enough. Do what you can, and let the rest go. Start each day, and sometimes each moment, with a blank page.
2. Create Routines
And be willing to modify them. When I figured out that I could never keep up with the laundry, I taught my kids to put their uniforms in a separate dirty clothes pile so the uniforms do not get lost in the madness. Instead of beating myself up about not getting the laundry done and vowing to do better or to “catch up”(which lasts all of about 30 minutes), I decided that empty laundry baskets and folded put away clothes did not make the priority list. I save a majority of laundry for the weekend (or my husband) and survive during the week. I have lists in my phone for everything! Blogging, work, house duties, and social media. My husband is the cook, and we eat around the same time every night. We go to bed around the same time every night. I try to do reading, homework, Bible songs/stories daily at around the same time.
Make no mistake, though, please refer to rule number one if routines go astray. Some days are just bananas. All the lists and routines in the world cannot save them, and we spend much of our time after trying to make up for those days. Let the day go. Wipe the slate clean and start over. I did, however, learn that if you find you cannot make it through your routines and lists daily, then perhaps some things on the list need to go (IJS).
3. Time Block
This has been LIFE SAVING for me. Ruthie Gray did a summer challenge where I documented how much time I spent doing things throughout the day. After documenting EVERYTHING for two or three days, I got the picture. Some tasks take much more time than I designate for them. When this is the case, I can do one of two things. First, I can allow for more time. Second, I can recognize that I am spending too much time there and cut back accordingly. I cannot in either case continue in ignorance.
Time blocking has saved me here, and it can do the same for you. For example, you may need one hour to clean. Designate an hour time block in your day for it. You may even break it into 15 minute increments. Whatever the case, watch the clock or set a timer so that you can see how much time you are actually spending doing the cleaning. You can do the same with social media, reading, devotion, kid time, writing, and husband time. I started making a rough draft in the morning, and I was amazed at how quickly all the blocks filled up. It explained in one glance why I was always “catching up.”
Time blocking clearly outlines priorities for you so that you can adjust accordingly. I use the calendar in my phone at the beginning of the day or the night before. You can use whatever method you feel will work best for you but a clear start and finish point (with wiggle room of course because life) will help you find just the peace of mind you need to maneuver and master your madness.
4. Give it to God.
All the lists, catching up, time blocking, and delegating in the world will not help a person find peace whose soul is uneasy. The day I started the journaling and meditation, I gave it all to Him, and when I say all of it, I mean ALL OF IT! I did not realize how much pent up resentment I had for my current state of crazy both at Him and at myself. I tried to rest. I tried to give myself grace, and I still could not find peace because I CANNOT FIND PEACE. Peace is found in God. Period. No amount of sleep can give you rest for your soul. Only God can do that.
Yesterday I walked downstairs to chaos. I took a nap, folded some laundry, exercised, and did a few other things upstairs, and then I went downstairs for water. I was completely unprepared for every throw pillow to be strewn about. Dirty spaghetti plates, enough cups to quench the thirst of anyone on the block, an overflowing trash can, and toys…lots and lots of toys cluttered my once tidy front room. With a sigh, I quickly did some damage control and tried to ignore the rest to maintain some sense of sanity.
We have all been there. We have all walked into chaos more times than we can count. We have all done damage control. We all vowed to teach our kids better and to talk to our husbands about what we can do to fix the madness. There is no fix. There are only priorities and the illusion of balance which may in fact be cleaning one day, and playing with the kids in the chaos the next. Finding peace requires accepting both.
What are some ways that you find peace in the middle of crazy?
Join me in my journey to find peace.
If you liked this piece, please feel free to share with your friends and family. Also, check out my other pieces on peace and enjoying the journey:
- Learn How to Enjoy the Journey
- 7 Hacks for Surviving Motherhood
- How to Be Successful – What Success Really Looks Like
- Live a Blessed Life in Real Life
- Capturing Calm in Chaos