Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Just Three Things

Life... sometimes I feel like I'm living it well, and other times I feel like it is eating me alive. 

This fall has been very, very hard for me physically and it has taken a toll on all of us.  We've been in survival mode around here, but beyond just the week-long flu bug kind of survival mode, more like the month-and-a-half-long kind of survival mode.  And because your family will be able to make it if you go for a month without dusting and cleaning windows, but will not make it if you go for a month without washing the dishes or doing laundry, I have found that it helps so much to keep the three most essential chores at the forefront of my mind.

If you can only do three things, do these three:

Hungry people are unhappy people, especially children.  #1 of the top three is to get everyone fed each day.  Your meals don't need to be gourmet.  Sometimes you just need to fill the bellies.  Use your stock of freezer meals, and when you run out, buy some convenience foods, ask others to bring you meals, and eat PBJ every day for lunch if necessary, just make sure you fill the bellies. 

#1 is going to get complicated if you can't keep up with the dishes, so washing dishes regularly is second in importance.  Try to wash all of the dishes after each meal.  If you keep up in this way, it will only take you about 10 minutes of work at a time.  Really.  If they pile up for 2 or 3 days, it will be a huge project and you may not have the energy to tackle them.  If you are struggling to keep up, buy paper plates, bowls, and cups and use them. 

Do a load of laundry each day.  Just one.  If you have a little extra energy do two so you can take the day off tomorrow.  You can fold laundry while you rest on the couch, and throwing in a load takes minimal time and energy.  You can do it!  Putting them away is great if you have the energy, but the most important thing is just to get the clothes washed, dried and folded so they can be worn again.  Re-wear clothes that aren't dirty so you don't make more laundry than is necessary.

Another way this mental prioritizing is helpful is if you are working outside the home and are struggling to keep up day to day, or if you tend to get sidetracked with hobbies and not get dinner ready... force yourself to have the self-discipline to take care of these three things every day before you do anything else.

On your better days, try to wipe down the bathroom and get the floors cleaned.  Work for 10 minutes and rest for 20 (or more).  Bit by bit, you will get by.  This is a good time to give your child a crash course in using the vacuum or rinsing dishes for you.  My friend Amy says that a job done imperfectly by a child is an improvement over not being done at all by you.  

Lastly, keep praying and reading the Psalms.  It helps.
Auntie Leila has some wonderful advice on this as well.

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