Monday, April 11, 2016

One Plate at a Time

I'm juggling a few too many plates these days. Usually, I do that by choice, but currently it's all just being thrust upon me. The books on my nightstand are a testimony to the chaos of life these days. For a while I was stuck like a deer in headlights again, not knowing where to turn or which task to tackle next.

I'm trying to pass off all of my volunteer roles as quickly as possible, since we will be moving as soon as our house sells. I am preparing to list our house for sale as soon as my husband leaves for his pre-deployment training in about a month. And of course, I'm trying to wrap my head around the whole concept of deployment on a practical and emotional level, so I can be present to my children who will need me more than ever this coming year. Those children also need to eat and do chores and continue their homeschool studies, and ideally have a mom who finds some joy and not just sorrow in our coming year. It's a lot.

In fact, all of my friends keep asking me how I'm doing, and I really don't know. I'm keeping my head above water. I'm crying at least once a day. I know that God is with me, and I feel the comfort of His love. I'm definitely not sleeping well. The kids are enjoying that I'm saying "yes" to a lot of their requests for Easter candy and screen time. I'm pouring every ounce of energy into my husband when he is home. My to-do lists are pages and pages long, so there are many moments of recognizing my inadequacy to do it all.

But I have settled upon a daily goal that seems to be working, for now, to keep myself moving forward and not melting in a puddle of irrational emotions like a teenage girl (It probably helps that I witness this regularly to understand how ridiculous it can be!).

My goal: Each day I try to spend time with each of my plates. Some days I spend more time on one than another, but if I at least do one thing from each area, I feel like I am doing more than just surviving.

I might email about a Moms' Night Out, pre-pack one room, listen to a podcast about deployment, check that my name is on all financial accounts, read aloud to my kids, order a Walmart grocery pick up for the next day, make clean up more fun by bribing kids with jellybeans, write out lesson plans for the next month, get on the treadmill while watching an episode of The Good Wife (hooked, I admit it) or Lark Rise to Candleford (finally back on Amazon Prime!), and spend some time reading a novel before bed. And it's a full day.

There is one key element that I think is making this work. I'm anchoring my days in prayer. In the morning, even though I'm back to my old pre-Lenten habit of waking up when my little ones wake up, after feeding them breakfast I sit on the couch with my tea for morning prayers. Because I'm so exhausted, I find myself lying down in the middle of the afternoon, the perfect time to pick up my nightstand rosary and pray a Chaplet. And I'm often falling asleep with my rosary in my hands, usually not completing an entire rosary, but finding peace in the prayers.

What do you do when your plates are spinning out of control? If you don't have a strategy that works for you, try to choose one task from each plate, big or small, each day. I'd love to hear if this works for you or not! (Disclaimer: it might not; God made us all different!)