Ever since i can remember i have always been someone who likes to plan. i have a big, bold monthly calendar nailed to our kitchen wall i oh, how i love pulling back the old, tattered, scribbled on page to unveil a fresh clean month, only to fill it up again (quickly) with black ink.
i am like that with lists too. i make them all the time, these long, overly-specific lists to commence my day, whereupon i strategize to tirelessly check those little boxes until each last one is no longer staring back at me, blank and pleading. and i almost always add silly things to said list like both “load dishwasher” and “unload dishwasher” on separate lines. sometimes “shower” makes my list. a stay at home is obviously writing this post.
i have always felt the need to fill my plate extra high and i have no clue as to why. i suppose it is just a part of who i am. part of my makeup. always feeling the need to have things in their proper place and written down and all tidy and always full. which seems pretty great until the inevitable happens not too far down the road.
utter burn out and anxiety.
luckily, i am at the point in my life where i can sense it coming before it gets here. like an eerie green cloud hovering before a storm, i see it looming overhead before it showers me with with agitation and unease. it has not always been that way. in the past i would recognize my anxiety mid-storm when all hell was breaking lose. some rather unsavory happenings in years prior have taught the ways of listening and watching for those unwelcoming storm signals. over time, i have learned how to lasso that ominous cloud and hurl it far, far away. sensing that i am about to get worked up, these tools i have acquired have given me permission to retreat and edit parts of my life. to cut away those sharp thorns so that the roses in my life can really be seen.
it boils down to this: simplifying always leads to satisfaction.
whether it be cleaning out my underwear drawer or getting rid of all my mis-matched dinnerware or saying so long to random toiletries in our hallway closet or keeping a week free of obligations out of a otherwise busy month…editing needs to be done. by assembling my life in a simpler fashion i feel those dark clouds quite physically drift off into another direction allowing for more joyful feelings to take their place.
i must say, being left with a few choices instead of many is freeing in this regard. it effortlessly forces me in a direction of peace and contentment. when i had a free moment today i did just that. i opened a few drawers, ruthlessly edited some of my belongings. i filled a garbage bag and threw it in the back of my car to donate later this week.
i felt lighter. less tense. freer. that green cloud i sensed this morning was gone. i was now able to focus more on my kids, helping stella learn the letter “B” and help theo use his plastic fork. it’s not about these particular things you know, it’s about making space.
i think as stay at home parent there is a need to fill up one’s agenda in order to feel worthy and valuable. this is true for me anyhow. while i think playdates and field trips and outings are all well and good, i am learning that so too are quiet moments at home spent doing less exciting things like making dinner and folding laundry on the bed. the older i get the more i know this to be true.
Because we live in a world that rewards a fast pace, sexy, free-spirited, and independent lifestyle, the importance of being a young mother that focuses on domesticity is sometimes overlooked, scoffed at even! Ridiculous as it is, I have been criticized, even ridiculed, for being a young mother, and a stay at home mother at that. Therefore, in my own fleshy and insecure mind as a parent it is sometimes difficult when reminding myself that simple is indeed really good. truthfully, there are days when it is pretty hard being confident in that seemingly transparent but not culturally celebrated ideology.
So I tell myself all the time and mostly out loud, that quality is always better than quantity and by keeping a minimum of good rather than handfuls of so-so’s is ideal. Because sometimes saying it helps, too.
As the months get crisper and leaves start to fall, this will be my personal goal as a mother. Probably after the fall and winter months, too. To not just keep it simple, but be okay with it, and embrace it.