January 08, 2009

Baby Stepping Towards A Saner Existence

"I can't take it any more." A young baby, homeschooling, housework, too many places to go, too many house guests and not enough sleep have been pitching me over the edge recently. I'd be in tears at the drop of a hat and saying the meanest things to my husband, who was frustrated by me and started suggesting it might be time to put the kids in school.

Nothing seemed to be going well for me towards the end of last year. Putting the kids in school wasn't the answer I was looking for, but nothing seemed to be working.

A friend reminded me of a book I'd flipped through in the past called A Mother's Rule of Life by Holly Pierlot, which seeks to help a woman in my position figure out how to put all the parts of her life into the proper order and find balance. My first thought generally is not to turn to self-help books or anything of the sort, but one gets to the point where one must do something.

The author suggests not just writing a schedule willy-nilly, but actually considering one's vocation as a wife and mother and working to fit various important areas into ones day in the proper order of importance.

I think the overall idea of the book isn't terribly new or different, and yet it addressed needs I'd been having of late better than other things I've run across. One idea that really struck a chord was that when one creates a scheduled plan, it gives one a lot of freedom to know that something will be done. You don't have to fret over getting everything finished all at once, because every job has its time and place. As I've seen myself alternate between staring at the walls not knowing what to do, but knowing I had a lot to accomplish or running around frantically trying to get everything done all at once, this idea of putting everything into its proper order in a scheme and knowing when something should be done (so that it actually gets done) appeals to me.

Her schedule is not mine, but then again I am not her. In fact, I have yet to fix a complete schedule for myself. I have begun by making a few changes though. I've set aside a time to pray every day. Now while I am in the kitchen cooking dinner, I turn on my CD of the rosary, since I can't cook and hold beads at the same time (plus I really like the meditations by St. Therese). I also got my husband to sit down with me and help me write up a schedule for homeschooling. Not a schedule of specifically when to do what lesson, but a schedule of what lessons to try to get through in a day and I pulled out a three-ring notebook for each child with a section for each day of the week to put their readings, copywork and other similar assignments in so that when we get to something I am not fumbling around and asking them to hold on while I scan and print out work for them.

Is my house clean and tidy and my day perfectly ordered? Sadly no. However, I feel like I may be making my way out of a cloud of depression and frustration. The next steps for me are creating a housekeeping plan of tasks I'd like to get done each day or week and figure out which children can help me with them and perhaps to line up a babysitter who can watch the kids once every few weeks for a few hours so that I can have a chance to be alone.


You do have a full plate. ((HUG)) I didn't realize you were feeling this badly.

I need to adopt some of that book, I think. I was thinking last night that I should make a list of things to do at certain times in the day and then check them off so I don't forget stuff and find myself scrambling.

Thanks for sharing.

Posted by: Musings of a Housewife at January 8, 2009 12:48 PM

Sounds like a good resource. I hope things feel better to you soon - you do have a lot on your plate. I look forward to hearing what works for you - I'm sure it can be helpful to all of us. :)


Posted by: Jennifer at January 8, 2009 12:58 PM

See, I don't know that I could even get started doing what you do, and I've only got three. Just last night I was telling my friend KYP that you're one of my heroes. For what that's worth! I'm glad you've got a plan. Praying for you!

Posted by: Lenise at January 8, 2009 02:25 PM

Ahhh. A CD.

When you told me you were saying a Rosary while making dinner, I had to concede that you really are a far superior cook than I.

I couldn't figure out how you could do both at once without botching dinner.

Posted by: Meredith at January 8, 2009 05:33 PM

I get you, sweetie. You know I do. My solution is to lessen the work load. I read somewhere, and it makes sense to me, that if you're not getting it all done, then you've got too much on your list to get done. (I sound like I'm babbling, but I guess you get my drift.)

I have to lighten up the schoolwork first, keep the house reasonably tidy (that serves my mental health) and getting sleep is major. That's my problem....exhaustion. A nap in the afternoon, where I really close my eyes and doze seems to work wonders.

Take care...I'll quit now. :)

Posted by: melissa at January 8, 2009 06:08 PM

In early days of motherhood, I found the Sidetracked Home Executives book helpful just for its list of various tasks that tend to keep a house looking a little more together. I think FlyLady has a similar 21st century approach.

I'm working through The Power of Less right now and find its "simplify, simplify" approach helpful as I think about the three big priorities in my life right now. It has been hard to get on track with these things but I hope to have some success like you're having by breaking things down.

Posted by: Patricia at January 14, 2009 08:06 PM

I have said it before, but you are not only a brave, brave woman but a model for me. Homeschooling one preschooler while chasing a toddler has already begun to edge me toward finding a nice little private school somewhere (and then finding the money for what may well be a not-so-nice-or-little tuition).

Posted by: Jordana at January 21, 2009 02:57 AM