I have been…behind this week.
Since moving here from Michigan six years ago, I’ve heard my fair share of what I refer to as “southernisms.” By far, one of my favorites is “in the weeds.”
It’s used when you’re in the thick of things; in over your head.
And I was having one of those days…
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A day where the kids were bickering before the sun came up, the pancakes stuck to the pan and the baby wouldn’t sleep.
A day that I felt like a drill instructor, barking orders, just to get through the morning.
A day where we’d be lucky to get anything accomplished, let alone my over-zealous schedule.
I was definitely feeling “in the weeds.”
photo courtesy Kumaravel via Flickr
So what to do…
What to do on these days of survival mode? Well, exactly that.
I’m talking, cut all expectations down to an absolute minimum.
Drop the schedule.
Take a deep breath.
Know that this too shall pass.
But, enough philosophy, let’s get practical…
How do I get out of the weeds?
Pause and Plan
- Stop whatever it is you’re doing and think. I’m a list maker so I grab a pencil, too. Answer the question, “what MUST we do?”
- Be realistic, prioritize, set achievable goals, and think bare bones. Instead of “Laundry”, how about “2 loads.” If there is no food in the house, you must go shopping. Otherwise, maybe it can wait.
- Do not try to catch up; just move forward. And most importantly, if it’s not on your priority list, it’ll have to wait until tomorrow.
- Complete one thing. Small successes count and they motivate you to finish one more thing.
- Scratch something off the list. What can go? Something’s gotta go. And don’t worry that it will “go” forever. Just because you didn’t get to vacuuming today doesn’t mean you’ll never vacuum again.
- Those dirty socks you’re picking up off the floor…again…won’t be there when the kids move out. That Lego you stepped on…again…will be packed away in boxes for your grand kids before you know it.
- Be thankful in all things. Did you catch that, friend? In not for. So the prayer doesn’t go: “Thank you, Lord, for this autism meltdown…” or “Thank you that the baby’s teething…” but I promise you there is something – something – to be thankful for despite the trial. I’m not thankful for the meltdown or the teething but I’m certainly thankful for the children having them. No matter how horrible the day is, we are all alive and healthy, my husband has a great job and we have a roof over our heads. And even if we lost those things tomorrow, there is always, always, something to be grateful for.
Secure Your Oxygen Mask First
The flight attendant tells you to do this on a plane but it applies to parenting, as well. Four children waking me up in the morning is the equivalent to getting hit by a truck. So, how do I secure my oxygen mask?
- Fill your cup spiritually and literally. This means having a quiet time…with coffee. If there was a secret weapon in my arsenal, this would be it. I have noticed when I am the most stressed and run down is usually about the same time I lose the importance of a quiet time. It is crucial – even more than sleep – for me to fill my mind with things that are “true…noble…right…pure…lovely…admirable…excellent or praiseworthy” (Philippians 4:8) SO THAT I can then pour them out onto my husband and children and others that day. Every night and every morning my mind and heart must “eat” something healthy. I don’t put garbage in my body (anymore), so why my mind and heart?
- Don’t forget to eat. I’m referring to actual food here. A half-eaten chicken nugget left over from your son’s lunch doesn’t count and neither does that chocolate you shovel into your mouth when you think the kids aren’t watching.
Get Off Your Island
A house full of kids can be a lonely place.
- What can encourage you? Is it a phone call to your spouse or your mom or a best friend? Whatever it is, do it; sometimes just letting someone know you’re in the weeds somehow helps you to get out.
- Acknowledge that there’s life out there by playing the radio, reading a favorite blogger’s latest post, or listening to a podcast. Find something to fit your mood; need calming? Motivation? Encouragement?
- Leave the house. I know, I know, this sounds insane on one of “those” days, but if it’s manageable, head to your family’s “safe place.” That might be the park, the library, Target or a friend’s house just to get out of the situation for a while.
Start tomorrow tonight
- Get your workers in order. I’m talking about the conveniences we enjoy living in the 21st Century: put a load in your washing machine so all you have to do is start it in the morning. Load the dishwasher and set it to run in the middle of the night so you can wake up and unload.
- Do at least one thing to make your life easier the next day, no matter how small. Really challenge yourself here – what’s something you hate to do? Do that. Trust me; you’ll hate doing it more in the morning and you’ll smile at the way you’ve done yourself a favor if you do it. My little thing…filling the Keurig and getting the coffee ready to go. There’s something that makes me smile at 5 a.m. when I realize I just have to press a button and my coffee is on its way.
- Go to bed by 11 p.m. Do I really need to convince you that sleep will help you tomorrow? 🙂
What do you do to get out of the weeds?