I feed the baby at 5am and slip soundlessly back into bed, managing to catch one more hour of sleep before the boys’ bedroom door creaks open. Two sets of footsteps trace the outline of the bed, and I open my eyes to see two little heads right at my level, asking what’s for breakfast. So I feed them. And I feed the baby. I change the baby’s diaper, get everyone dressed. I unload the dishwasher, wipe down the table, and kiss my husband goodbye. I grab that tube of mascara, then load everyone into the van. Dash back into the house to search for my missing cell phone. Arrive at preschool at 9:31. This is what my life looks like these days, and it doesn’t slow down much until bedtime. I consider myself a mom who keeps it simple, but ever since my daughter was born three months ago, I’ve let go of even more. So whether you have a new baby or a new job or are just plain beat at the end of each day, I hope this list gets you thinking about what you, too, can let slide.
1. Clipping my kids’ nails. Or in general, keeping them as neat and tidy as I would like. Lately we’ve gone longer than normal between baths, and if someone’s shoes are on the wrong feet for a while, oh well! I’m just happy to get everyone out the door each day. (But seriously, don’t look closely at my boys’ fingernails!)
2. Deep cleaning. I’m unhappy in a messy house, so this involves the delicate balance between keeping my home neat enough to feel calm in while also leaving plenty of time for what really matters.
3. Volunteering. I feel a twinge of guilt when I don’t offer to help more at church or school, but I remind myself that my family has to come first right now. A stressed mom won’t be able to be there for them in the way that I want to be.
4. Entertaining. As much as I love having people over (and I do!), I’ve come to realize that it involves much more time and effort than the few hours guests are in your home. You cook and clean in preparation, and then you clean some more after everyone leaves. I look forward to getting back into it someday, but until then I will perfect the art of cooking simple but tasty meals for the people who already live in my home. 🙂
5. Putting myself last. During my boys’ daily quiet time, I sleep, blog, or read. What I don’t do is scour the oven like a crazy woman (see #2) or labor over a pinterest-worthy teacher’s gift. There will be a time for that, but for now… I need to stay rested enough to keep up with my kids. I need to feed my interests and hobbies so that I feel like someone outside of a mom. I need to write in my journal and reflect on my life, in order to make sure my internal compass is pointing to joy. Because that is what my children need— A mom who takes care of herself. A mom who takes care of them. A mom who loves their dad. And during this chaotic season, if doing the extras detracts from those goals, I will let go. For now.