"How do you get it all done?" It's been asked before, and my answer usually begins with "I don't." Because, no one does. But I the rest of that answer is dancing around my brain just now. Do you mind if I share?
Tonight I'm thinking about Simplicity Parenting: Using the Simple Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier and More Secure Kids by Kim John Payne. I read it first about 1 1/2 years ago, and found it both affirming and inspiring. The book speaks with friendly respect to today's modern parent, challenging one to create a simple, peaceful home in the midst of today's fast-paced world. Hip, hip hurray for childhood! I'm rereading the book now for book club, which meets tomorrow night at my house. As I take notes for discussion topics, I find myself repeatedly applying this book to me. How simple is my life? Where can I simplify?
Simplifying and saying "no" - if you want to get what's truly important "done" you have to go there. And so, for starters, I get things done because I don't watch a ton of TV (typically 0-2 hours a night), I don't run a lot of errands (online shopping!), I don't keep my house spotless (weekly cleaning on essentials, the rest when it bugs me), and I don't run around aimlessly. Yeah, I have a plan.
Lately, my "plan" has been in flux. My schedule has changed a bit with my online boutiques and I'm trying to fit in more time for Stitched in Color. That plus accommodations for the kid's sickness has left me feeling pretty off kilter. Reading "Simplicity Parenting" reminded me how important a sense of rhythm is to my life.
Rhythm is not the same as "schedule". Schedule sounds like timelines, due dates that box you in and appointments you cannot miss. In contrast, a rhythm is a workflow, a pattern that supports you and a "way" that shows you where to step next. Like, why rack your brain about "what's for dinner" every night when you could plan your whole week's meals in one gutsy shot? Why figure out every day when to sew, when to go and when Suzie should have a snack? It works so much better if you have a plan based on your true priorities.
My own rhythm includes habits that keep the house running smoothly, such as Sunday's week long meal planning and grocery shopping trip, Tuesday is laundry day, and Wednesday or Friday's I clean. Then there are those habits that keep me connecting with my loved ones: times for storytelling, times for read alouds, times for play dates, times to facilitate projects/art for my littles and times for spending with Brandon. But I could not survive all that if I didn't also schedule for myself DAILY breaks (i.e. "rest time") to recharge and relax with sewing, blogging or stealing a sweet treat. And the exercise - can't forget that. It does so much good, on all fronts.
And so, life is busy - for all of us. No matter how you slice it. For me, I have to take care not to let my love for blog reading steal time from all the rest. At the moment, I need to admit that I'm trying to follow too many blogs. Which are the ones that are most inspiring, most uplifting, most real? I also need to work on truly being present when I'm supposed to be with my littles. I've been known to take a wrong turn in the car for having sewing on my mind! If there's anything that I don't want to miss, it's the privilege to be "mom" to my children.
If you are still reading, bless you! This post is a far cry from the usual stitchy goodness I love to serve up. But I hope that it has been helpful to you in some way. I hope you don't mind! You mamas should check the library for Simplicity Parenting. I think you'll find it inspiring too.
'Tis a gift to be simple. 'Tis a gift to be free. 'Tis a gift to find yourself where you want to be.