Prioritizing: a Step by Step Guide to Sanity
When you have two children (ohman my friends who have more!), and you stay home with them, and you blog, and you have an Etsy shop, and you cook from scratch, and you are an urban farmer, and you love playdates, and you love mommy-centric playdates (here, kids, play with this while I gab with my girlfriend), and you love to make elaborate dinners, and you love to go out of town to your family’s lodge in the country, and you love to stay connected to all 700 of your electronic friends, it can be hard to stay sane, and keep your priorities straight. (Nota bene, this post is a confession.)
Here’s what I should do, and how I should do it, and how I would be happier:
1) Spiritual life. Family.
My spiritual life is intrinsically linked to my family life. We sing prayers all day long (SuperBoy is a big fan of Pater Noster (the Our Father in Latin), Tantum Ergo (another Latin ditty), and Jesus Loves Me), we pray before and after meals, we pray before bedtime, we talk about our dead friends and pray for them, etc. But my own spiritual life isn’t getting personal attention. It gets attention by proxy. I would like to make time to do private devotional reading. I would like to make it to Mass beyond just the Sunday obligation. I would like to go to confession regularly. Hey, maybe throw a holy hour in there?
Family is my job, my love, and all I do, pretty much. So yeah, it’s top on the list. But how present am I as a mother, wife, sister, and daughter? Am I multitasking on my IPhone? Am I checking Facebook? Am I checking my Etsy shop stats? All while my mom is talking to me over a shared breakfast? When my phone buzzes or explodes into a spasm of sounds, and my 2 year old announced, Mama, someone wants you, is that a sign that he thinks I don’t want him? When I’m up late sewing, and then tired, am I taking too much away from my kiddos? Balancing a little me time in with a lot of them time.
2) Homemaking, housecleaning, and cooking.
What does homemaking mean? I’m not sure. For me it means running a household, taking a break from my legal practice, and ensuring my husband and children are well-fed, clothed in clean clothing (mostly), and shaping & nurturing & teaching our kiddos during the day while my husband goes to conventional work. Somedays I am terrible at it. Somedays all we do is change diapers, take naps, eat three meals, and nothing gets cleaner, and no errands get run. Somedays we just draw and read books.
Housecleaning? I suck at it. I can keep things tidy, at least, passably tidy, but insofar as really clean. Ugh. Don’t look in my bathrooms. They’re not germ free. This should be a higher priority for me, above, say, blogging. And dusting? Oh Lordy. The cobwebs are thick around here.
Cooking. This I do care about, and try at. Lots of new recipes every week, and trying to get a good baseline of what I always prepare. I am launching the Domestic Arts Series soon, promise! It will be a photo journalling of the exercise of the Domestic Arts, focused around my eldest sister and her partner who are fantastic on the kitchen front.
A few blogs I follow post their weekly menu. I am going to aim for that. It would get my grocery shopping more ordered, save time, money, and effort, and ensure I’m not scrambling at 4pm with two tired little ones, and me, a tired big one, to get food together. Balanced, nutritious, and delicious food is a very high priority. (Not counting the brownies I ate yesterday.)
3) Life outside the bubble.
And the final element to sanity: keeping connected with those outside your bubble, whether that be your home life bubble or work/home bubble. Remember you have neighbors. Smile at them. Remember you have friends from pre-parenting life. Have dinner with them. Remember it’s okay to take lunch at work and actually go out to lunch or have a brown bag lunch with your coworkers.
Reach out, touch faith, and try not to talk about yourself, your kids, or how wonderful your married life is with your single or child-free friends. Read the news once a week, so you have something to talk about besides the weather 🙂