Welcome to the May edition of the Simply Living Blog Carnival – Daily Lives cohosted by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children, Laura at Authentic Parenting, Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy, and Joella at Fine and Fair. This month, we write about what we do to keep the little things from overwhelming us. Please check out the links to posts by our other participants at the end of this post.
My life is organised chaos. With a spirited toddler, a disabled partner, a house full of cats, and two terribly badly-behaved dogs, people often ask me how I haven’t gone insane. And yet, I love my life. Yes it’s chaotic. Yes we’re really quite poor. Yes we live in a tiny house that is a nightmare to keep clean and tidy (I fail miserably). My days are exhausting and often stressful. I rarely ever get a moment to myself. Any child-free time I do get is usually spent catching up on chores, organising our finances or otherwise not doing anything at all just for me. But I’m happy. And when you’re really, truly happy, everything else is just noise.
But anyway, this post is supposed to be about how I keep life simple. I guess the point I wanted to make is that my life is anything but simple. And yet, there are lots of things I do to keep myself sane and prevent things from overwhelming me…
I can’t emphasize enough how much blogging and talking to my online friends helps me. It keeps me centred and gives me a place to vent when things are becoming overwhelming. Even now, as I write this (on pen and paper because Nookie is using both the laptop and my phone), she is intermittently demanding I nurse her and occasionally reminds me she is getting bored of watching her film by kicking me or jumping all over me… Writing it helps me make to light of it. It chills me out.
I manage virtually everything in our household. I do almost all the shopping, housework, pet care and childcare. I manage the weekly budget. I’m practically always busy. And yet there’s one thing I can’t extend myself to, for the sake of my sanity, and that’s the bills and managing the numerous benefit agencies we have to deal with. Other than the couple of benefits that only I can manage (because they’re paid to me), Hedgehog manages everything else. I just can’t think about those things. I’ve tried and I just end up getting stressed and losing track of everything. I’m not good with opening letters, making phone calls and thinking about all the things that need to be paid and organised. I let Hedgehog deal with it and as long as he knows what’s going on, that’s good enough for me.
I’ve given up on trying to get any reasonable chunk of time to myself. Nookie will still only nap on me most of the time (except the rare occasions she falls to sleep in bed and I can get up), and these days doesn’t go to bed until around midnight. My mum has her one afternoon a week so I can do the shopping and walk our dogs (a very hectic few hours of rushing about getting shit done!). She won’t let me leave her alone with Hedgehog at the moment for some reason (the other day I left for five minutes to nip to the shop for milk and she screamed the house down until I returned), and he struggles to manage her alone anyway. So I have to grab a few minutes to myself when I can. I might read a few pages of a book or quickly write a blog post. My favourite hobby is baking, so if Nookie is otherwise occupied I might nip off and bake something (if she doesn’t want to help me). I have to make do with mere moments for myself, and make them count.
I manage my days efficiently and don’t plan too much. On Wednesdays I go shopping. That’s it! On Saturdays I visit my mum in the morning and we grab a few more bits from the shop in the evening. Through the rest of the week Nookie and I might have days out or visit friends, or Hedgehog might have hospital appointments. We tend to stick to one thing each day. Otherwise I get too stressed trying to organise Nookie out of the door, and she can get a little overwhelmed.
Make Peace With Mess
Sometimes the state of our house really gets me down and I go a bit crazy and clean and organise until I’ve gotten it out of my system. Nookie just has to occupy herself… I think I give everyone in the house the ‘leave me alone for a while’ signal! But generally I do the bare minimum needed to keep everything going. Thankfully Hedgehog now does the laundry and occasionally cooks if he’s feeling up to it. But otherwise, day-to-day, I wash up once a day, sweep the floors (a necessity with so many animals!), change the cat litter, and that’s pretty much it. I do the ironing when I manage to get an hour where Nookie is asleep… the basket is always three quarters full. I mop the floors when they look disgusting enough to motivate me. And everything else gets done either when it’s bothering me or if we’re about to have guests! This is the only way I can do it. And I’ve had to make peace with having a messy house. (One day I would dearly wish to find the time (and motivation) to clean the oven… it’s NEVER been cleaned! Ha ha).
Thank you for visiting the Simply Living Blog Carnival cohosted by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children, Laura at Authentic Parenting, Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy, and Joella at Fine and Fair. Read about how others are incorporating stress relieving actions into their daily day lives. We hope you will join us next month!
- Keeping Stress at Bay From Day to Day – Laura at Authentic Parenting sums up some of the things she does to avoid being overwhelmed.
- How I Stay Sane! – ANonyMous @ Radical Ramblings discusses the coping mechanisms she has to stay sane when her life is chaotic and often stressful.
- Organising – sustainablemum talks about how spending time planning ahead has given her more time for life!
- Simple Menu Planning for New Moms – No longer a lady of leisure, new mom Mercedes at Project Procrastinot has had to rethink her cooking style in order to maximize her time in the kitchen.
- Happy Homes/Peaceful Homes – According to Lisa at Squishable Baby, It’s the things that bring us closer together as a family – that keep our home Peaceful.
- Keeping It Simple – At Living Peacefully with Children, Mandy focuses on keeping things simple so that she can spend her time enjoying her family.