Have you ever been through a series of weeks in your life when you feel like everything is going wrong and you’re being pecked to death by angry chickens? Maybe your work life is insanely busy, or your family’s schedules keep colliding, or you just need to simplify. Perhaps, like me, your kids have been ill and all your appliances decided to break at once. It’s been fun around here, let me tell you. I wrote about ways to connect with your sanity here when things get nutso.
Staying chill in the face of chaos is important. When life goes crazy, though, it’s critical to keep the family ties pulled tightly. Last fall, I had the chance to speak to mothers at my school through the iMom program about shortcuts that will simplify your chaos so that you will have more time left over to connect with your family. Here are a few of the highlights.
Since I have never started, this one is delightfully easy for me. That’s what dryers are for, right? If the thought of letting your iron collect dust gives you heartburn, then only pledge to put your ironing board away until things quiet down. Get yourself a bottle of spray wrinkle remover if you aren’t pleased with your dryer’s de-wrinkling skills. If you’re super-cheap like me, the brand from your dollar store does just fine. I swear that stuff has saved me hours of work and really helped me simplify. This wonder-spray does not work on the stress wrinkles folding in on your face, though. Just sayin’. No, I didn’t try it. Seriously.
Cut back on your housecleaning.
Pick up your clutter and stick it in a box or basket until you have time to sort it. You can hide the container of random junk so that your house doesn’t appear completely destroyed. Limit yourself to those couple of chores that will drive you nuts if left unattended. For me, I need to keep the toilets clean and sweep the kitchen floor. Dusting and vacuuming can wait. Febreze will keep the stink under control. Just don’t spray this on your kids in lieu of baths. I haven’t tried this either.
Opt for convenience foods
No one ever died from eating a chocolate Pop-Tart for breakfast for a few days in a row. Lunchables won’t kill anyone for a few days either. Throw in a few raw veggies here and there, and you’ve got it made. Now is the not the time for carefully packed Bento Box lunches or gourmet dinners. Hit the local drive-thru and move on. Chicken nuggets never hurt anyone.
Venting to friends is great, but it can be a time suck if neither of you can come to any solutions. Take that time you might usually spend griping to meditate. Sitting quietly and slowing your thoughts down for fifteen minutes is good for the soul and your overall health. You might even come up with a solution or two. Busy times end eventually, but venting uselessly can prolong the agony.
Put your phone down.
At the end of a long day, I love to aimlessly scroll through Facebook. Spying on everyone reading nice articles on social media has its perks, and watching funny cat videos can soothe a worn-down mind. Limit your time on-line, though. This time-waster can really stymie your productivity. Besides, now isn’t the time to drool over Pinterest projects or look at pictures of beautifully organized Pinterest-y homes. It’ll just make you depressed. Save that luxury for calmer times—like, never?
Set aside a few minutes each day to spend time alone with each family member.
Now that you’ve simplified by wearing wrinkly clothes, eating junk food, and Febrezing your way to a clean house, take time to really be present with your spouse and your kids. Discuss their days, make something, color, or play a game. It’s amazing how little time an Uno match will take, but your kids will benefit greatly from that fifteen minutes of uninterrupted time with you.
This craziness will pass. Trust me. Life will get back to normal eventually. But while you’re waiting for things to slow down, your kids are growing up. Your job, schedules, and other obligations don’t deserve to take these years away from you. So head to your nearest fast food joint, load up on some fries and shakes, and head to the prettiest place in your town for a little picnic. It only takes a few minutes to make a memory!