Tuesday, January 25, 2011

How do you get it all done?

"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.

24 comments:

  1. That sounds like an interesting book! But I hope that my blog is not one of the ones that you find you need to give up! LOL.

    ReplyDelete
  2. thanks for this post! it was a good read, and i am interested in checking out that book. quilting is still new to me, so sometimes i feel like i get in over my head, because i'm so excited about it all, but then i have too much on my plate, and i don't feel i have enough time! i know i'm not the only one that feels this way, but it's still nice to read about others who do. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Fabulous post! You have it absolutely right! My kids are grown and I was a 'stay at home' mom. I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. I love the idea of rhythm and adding sewing to that rhythm. I think I just might read the book and then share it with my kiddos. Hugs to you. Your family is blessed.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I am going to have to check that book out...sounds like it is awesome.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Awesome post. It's something so many of us struggle with. Trying to find balance in all the the things we should, could (and shouldn't) do each day is something I think about almost daily. I'll have to take a look at that book. Thanks for the recommendation!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Very impressive post, Rachel! You've managed to put into words what all of us seem to be trying to achieve. Sounds like you have a good handle on what you need to do to maintain a balanced life with a happy family! Thanks for sharing!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I really need this post today : )

    ReplyDelete
  8. I totally agree with what you're saying. As a parent, it's hard to wear so many hats. Honestly, I would rather play with my kids than have a clean house. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'll be checking out that book for sure! Thanks for sharing :-)
    I stay home with my 9mo old son and at times I feel drawn in a thousand different directions. Cooking, Sewing, blogging, laundry, playtime, reading, cleaning, shopping, and who knows what else.... sometimes I wish I could just focus on one thing and do it at an ELITE level. But ya know what, being a mom is one of the best titles I've ever had and spending all day with my boy is the best :-)

    ReplyDelete
  10. I love the idea of simplicity in parenting and family life. It breeds calm and contentment, in my opinion.

    I've just done a cull of the blogs I'm following, too. (Yours made the cut. :))

    Simplifying.

    ReplyDelete
  11. We must be on the same wavelength ;) I need to read this book. Maybe that's what I'll spend my $15 gift card to BN on!

    ReplyDelete
  12. 1. I love love love Simple Gifts. 2. I also need to admit to myself that I am trying to follow too many blogs. Lately when I open Google Reader, it's like I'm not really reading, more like my eyes are just skimming along, not picking up much of anything. 3. You are awesome.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hooray for Rachel! Thank you for sharing this, such a great post. I love the word simplicity, what a wonderful concept.

    ReplyDelete
  14. What an interesting blog post today! One of my friends recently asked me to define "the simple life." We spent a good hour working our way through that topic and still call each other when something new comes to mind on the topic. I have even gathered other groups of women and asked them to define the simple life. 95% of the time the women are stumped and take a few minutes to collect their thoughts. Eventually they throw some words out there because most people are uncomfortable with silence, but as their minds start to wrap around the subject the discussion is always amazing. I would suggest asking your book club the same question. I am keeping a list of responses in my note book. One thing for sure, is that the simple life is different for everyone.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thank you for posting your thoughts today. It really helped me- just what I needed to hear and think about today. The idea of a rhythm versus a schedule is perfect.
    I am forwarding this post to my friend because it will help her (she is single and has no children, but this is a universal principle).
    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I don't have children at home anymore, although I try to get as much time with my two grandchildren as possible. This was a very timely post and I'm glad you took the time to write it.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I really enjoyed reading this post. I don't have children, so I'm not struggling to find time to spend in that area, but I have been juggling a new work schedule with house priorities, and still trying to shoehorn in time to work on my book.

    I had to remind myself forcibly that the reason I took a part time job was so I could have time to work on the book, that the book was number one priority, and it's not that big a deal to ask a housemate or my boyfriend to occasionally do the dishes (a responsibility I had taken on willingly while unemployed and am finding hard to relinquish because I want things done *my* way).

    It's nice to know I'm not the only struggling with prioritizing and simplifying my life. :) And it's always nice to view the process through someone else's perspective.

    ReplyDelete
  18. It is scary how much we have in common! We run our lives very similarly and it works (most the time.) For when it isn't, I read this favorite quote I have framed on my wall from Practicing the Presence of People -- "Loving yourself has a lot to do with slowing down... Rather than adding one thing more every day, why not try adding one thing less? Try editing your days; craft them to sing concisely like memorable lines of poetry." ~ LOVE! Rhythm is key!

    :)maureen

    ReplyDelete
  19. excellent post, Rachel. your words bless and are so true...a focused, prioritized, rhythmic life brings freedom and creativity and joy. Thanks so much for this!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thank you for the post. I follow your blog because I find that it inspires me with my new love of quilting. This book sounds like it's right up my alley. 1) to make sure I'm on the right track already (we don't have television or that kind of distraction so we can focus on our son) and 2) to deal with my guilt of not cleaning on a daily basis so I can focus on my almost 3 year old son when I get home from work in the limited couple of hours I have with him before he goes to sleep. I ordered the book. Thanks. Here's wishing you a 'simplified' yet fun filled day!
    Cristina

    ReplyDelete
  21. so glad that somebody else prefers to spend some time with their kids or her own instead of cleaning the whole week. and I would turn nuts if there would be no time just for me - whatever I decide to do with it (as would my kids)

    ReplyDelete
  22. I really like the idea of rhythm versus scheduling. I hate scheduling because it feels so rigid and timed. Having a rhythm to my days and weeks sounds much happier!

    ReplyDelete
  23. ah yes, the eternal question in my mind as well. I think like most moms I try and do it all, but most of the time when I get going in that mode, the end of the day is like a total meltdown. I've always struggled with reading blogs and commenting and trying to keep up, every so often I thin out my reader and the only the ones I really love and miss pop back in! Anywho, just want you to know you're not alone and I definitely want to read that book. Books seem so fun lately! :)

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts with Thumbnails