My boys are out shopping with their grandma, and that means I have the house to myself. In this instance, it’s my in-laws’ country farmhouse, and I can literally hear the crickets chirping.
Two glorious months are coming to a close today. I’ve been living in a fantasy world this summer where my husband is home every day, there are cousins to play with, family to watch my kids, and housekeeping is an afterthought. We’ve been living the country life dream: playing in the pond, helping in the garden, reading on the porch swing. Ice cream every day is a given.
But in just a few hours, we’ll board a jet plane or two and fly across the country to our town home in California. We’ll trade the slow mornings of summer for a packed fall schedule. My oldest will go back to school. My husband will return to his teaching. I will juggle all the things. And as much as I’m looking forward to reconnecting with dear friends and resuming our (mostly wonderful) normal life, I am aware that we are about to enter a busy season. The transition back to our routine will likely be stressful and overwhelming; even now, thinking about all of the unpacking, the cleaning, and the grocery shopping that awaits me is enough to make me run for the woods.
In an effort to be proactive in my own life, I’ve developed some guidelines to help me survive this stressful time.
There is going to be 101 things on my to do list as soon as our airplane lands and I’m going to be tempted to try to do them all in one day. I know this is madness, and downright impossible, but I tend to want to get the hard parts over all at once so I can get on with my life (it’s why our boys are only 18 months apart.) This year, I’m going to brain-dump on a master To Do List, and then I’m going to sort by most important and most time sensitive to the least. I’m going to focus my attention and energy on the top of the list and ignore what’s at the bottom, day by day, until every task is finished.
Add Fun to your List
Amidst all the drudgery, I’m going to schedule something to look forward to in the first week that I’m back. Maybe a pedicure. Maybe coffee with friends. Maybe a play date at the pool. When you are in the midst of doing all the adulting, it’s nice to have something on your calendar to look forward to!
Carve out Time
I know myself. If I don’t get time to recharge, to sit quietly, to reflect, I will go insane. So I will carve out time either in the morning while everyone is still asleep, or during the day when the boys are watching their allotted TV shows, to do something that is soul-filling for me. In this way, I can be sure that I have the mental and emotional energy to keep going.
I don’t have the budget to hire a cleaning lady for a few weeks, or order meal kits for dinner time, but maybe you do! I do have friends and family nearby that I can call on for help. It takes courage to reach out, or accept an offer of help, but in the end I know I’ll be blessed if I do!
It’s okay to guard your time during a busy season. It’s okay to say no. It’s okay to miss out and ask for a rain check. During a stressful time, just keep the main thing the main thing.
Give yourself Grace
You’re going to mess up. You’re going to overdo it. You might leave some things undone. Your to-do list might take longer to tackle than you had anticipated. You might eat too much chocolate after the kids go to bed. It’s okay. Be gentle with yourself, and cut yourself some slack when you need to. You’re human. Your worth is not determined by your productivity. You are enough.
I would love to know what helps you stay sane in a stressful season! Share your ideas below!
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