Ah, Recovery Mondays, how I love you.
A little under a year ago, I was frustrated with how my weekly rhythm of activities seemed to always leave me stressed out and feeling behind. So I did what any good Type A personality would do: I made an extensive list of absolutely everything I wanted to be doing and then I set up an ambitious schedule to cram it all in. In order to make it all add up on paper, (1) I underestimated how long it would take to do my tasks and (2) I was overly-optimistic about how well my children would cooperate. Brilliant, right? I’m sure you can guess how that one worked out.
Well, when that exercise served to make me feel even worse about myself and my home- and schedule-management abilities, I had a blessed little epiphany: I needed to take the idea of realism to the extreme. I contemplated my daily responsibilities and how they made me feel. Bit-by-bit, I came to understand that I don’t actually dislike many of my tasks, I just don’t like to do them in a rush, or without sufficient preparation, or all-at-once. Also, I am slow. For the sake of my mental wellbeing, I need to account for my slowness in my scheduling.
So I started to formulate some general principles for managing my schedule and my home. Here are the former. Maybe later I’ll write about some of the householdy stuff too. If anyone cares. (By the way, this is the first time I’ve actually typed these things up. I’m not that Type A.)
- Mondays are for recovering from the weekend. They are for resting and getting the house back into good working order and sitting still to think about your calendar and your grocery list. They are not for play-dates or doctor’s appointments or errands. They are most definitely not for grocery shopping.
- Tuesdays seem like a nice day for grocery shopping. But only if you’ve written a list first.
- Whatever day you do go grocery shopping, do not plan to cook dinner. Either stick it in the crock-pot first thing in the morning, or pick up a rotisserie chicken while you’re at the store.
- Also don’t plan to cook dinner on days you’re running a lot of errands or spending all day at a play-date or outing. Make liberal use of the crock pot. Or ask your husband to bring home carry-out. (Though at our house we try to limit carry-out to once every two weeks or so.)
- If you have a long, busy day out of the house, plan to stay home the next day. The little guys will need quiet and rest. You will too.
- Do not plan to get anything accomplished after the boys go to bed at night. Despite your long to-do list and your best-laid plans, you will be too tired. Sit still and read your blogs and don’t feel guilty about it.
- Weekends are for quality time as a family, parties and other social stuff, sleeping in, and big household projects. They are not for everyday household chores, save the most basic of dish-washing duties.
- If you’re planning a party or getting ready to go on a trip, do as much of the preparation as possible a few days in advance. No matter what, the day-of will be very full and stressful. Limit the last-minute tasks so you have the wherewithal to enjoy your event.
- Try to limit your activity on Saturday evenings so you don’t resent getting up for mass on Sunday mornings.
- The weekend thing in #7 goes especially for Sundays. Be sure to make a concerted effort to enjoy and appreciate your loved ones on Sundays. Don’t do activities that feel like work to you. Rather, do activities that bring you joy, even if (like gardening or writing) they may seem like work to someone else.
Anway, these principles are mine, tailored to my personality and my circumstances. You can’t have them. (I say lovingly.) Or rather, you can have them if you want them, but you probably don’t, because they won’t fit you like they fit me. But, if you’re feeling anything like I was about a year ago, perhaps you could do something like I did back then: take a pause and evaluate your daily responsibilities and how they make you feel. And then be über-realistic about how you might approach your schedule to minimize your stress.
Just a thought from me, sitting at my kitchen table, on this rainy, quiet, lovely Recovery Monday.