Today, I had a meltdown. Don’t you lie to me! I can just picture you starting to put on the passive mask of indifference “oh really, a meltdown? That’s too bad!” You know what I’m talking about… that day when all the little things that drive you crazy throughout the days/weeks/months come to a head and you lose it. It may be exploding in frustration, or crying into the porridge, or locking yourself into the school room with your coffee to “breathe”. Or, if you were me today, all of the above.
My Day Took a Disappointing Spiral Down
I woke up early, good start! I felt good, not my usual exhausted self. I had coffee, made breakfast, cleaned the kitchen. It was 8am when everything started to deteriorate. It’s the little things, throwing a load in the laundry and realizing that the dirty clothes have mixed with the clean clothes and laundry is all of a sudden doubled for the day. Then moving on to the school room to discover the kids got in to make you a “special craft” and it is utterly destroyed (as was my sanity at that point). After cleaning that up, I attempted to make an early lunch and all my kitchen cupboards had lost any semblance of the order they had been arranged in just a few weeks past. And I lost it. I vented frustration to the kids for not helping out, then I kicked them outside to finish lunch and cried into the muffin tins (a little extra salty tang in those bran muffins today). Then I took my sacred coffee to the sanctity of my school room and locked myself away, where I tried to understand the total spiral the day had taken. And to be brutally honest, I didn’t get very far. But here are some of my many scattered thoughts.
It’s just out of my reach: the answer
That right curriculum that will work for the kids, for me, and fill all the gaps. The routine that will help me manage my home and build healthy habits to be more organized and on top of things. The ability to get up early and wear anything without an elastic waistband. I spend all my time searching for the answer to my problems, trying to find a way OUT of them, to fix them because I feel like if I don’t I will crumble under the weight of my failure. But the alternative, letting go, seems just as unattainable to me.
The best I can figure is it has to be somewhere in between. Feeling like I can’t operate in a disorganized mess, that’s part of who I am. Letting go of that is just not in my make up. I really do think it is key to having a more successful day. However, finding that system, those bins, that bookshelf, that curriculum, to make our home schooling days idyllic… maybe that is not as practical of an expectation. Trying to blend my teaching style with 4 different children’s learning styles, with four different levels, with everyone needing my help and only one of me… severely limits what kind of program I can do. It may not be the perfect fit for me or the kids, but it might be the only thing that works in our family until they can do their work more independently. And although getting up and doing my face and hair is a nice goal, I have to give myself grace for those rough nights or those mornings (um, seems to be every morning) when the alarm makes me want to crawl in a cave.
I have to change what I can realistically change in my environment, routine, supplies but also learn how to let go of my unattainable expectations.
A true perfectionist can look like a total slob. They are the ones who have the Martha Stewart meal in the oven with their perfectly organized bins and vintage dress and hairstyle one day, but the other 9 days you see them they are a total mess. The reason for this is that if they can’t do it PERFECTLY, they don’t do it at all. Anything less is unacceptable. And this is the hardest thing for me to let go of, being willing to do my best in the moment rather than living in extremes.
Ten steps to a PERFECT life!
Well, dear reader, after this highly unpredictable day I can say that I finally do have the answer. I have found that perfect balance, I have written it down in a ten step plan for success that will revolutionize my home and create perfectly balanced children!
- Wake up: time is not important, the important thing is that you got out of bed this morning! Give yourself a pat on the back and a verbal expression of your overall awesomeness
- Start thinking about dinner, for TOMORROW: if you start thinking about dinner by 7am today, you are pretty much guaranteed to have an idea of what you want to make by the time 4:00 rolls around tomorrow!
- Shower: even if you look like a total hag afterwards, the important thing is that you will FEEL like you accomplished something and you are taking an important step forward into your day.
- Eat a balanced breakfast: what you eat is completely inconsequential, but be sure to drink your daily allotment of caffeine, your kids will thank you!
- Make it Fun! Dance and sing as often as you can for the kids, then if the day is a total bust and nothing gets accomplished, the kids will still think it was an epic day.
- Make a very long list of embarrassingly simple tasks: ie. change the baby’s diaper, make lunch, turn on the coffee maker, etc. Checking off each item will make you feel accomplished and give you a positive outlook on the day.
- MUSIC: turn on inspiring and/or fast paced music loudly and often. This will help motivate you or at the least make you think about being motivated in a fond manner. In the very least, the neighbors will think you are doing something productive with all that Katy Perry. “Baby you’re a firework!”
- Blog: writing about your thoughts and dreams, although not actually doing them, is an excellent way to keep them in the forefront of your mind so you can do them another day.
- Update social media: Take pictures and selfies each time you accomplish something in order to post them to social media sites throughout the day. Each virtual thumbs up you receive will make you feel like a winner and help validate you as a mother, homemaker, and woman. Try not to think about the time you are wasting doing this simple practice, soon it will become a complete habit and you won’t even know you are doing it.
- Lastly, if all else fails… do a ten minute tidy up before hubby gets home from work. Men are notoriously blind to detail and they will think you have had a very productive day. Fake it until you make it right?
Ok, so polite chuckles aside, I do NOT have the answer. Life never lets you get too comfortable and just when you start to think you have it, there’s a new dynamic to adjust to. However, I feel like I have some understanding and will be working very hard to be more realistic with my expectations for myself, my home, homeschooling, etc.