Monday, May 21, 2012

Minimalist Monday: Waking Up To A Different Monday

At one time in my life, before I became a wife and stay-at-home Mom to 3 loving, yet demanding children, I had an even busier schedule, which is hard for me to imagine that it was even at all possible.  But I did.  All day long, I ran around like a chicken with her head cut off, trying to stay afloat at my day job till about 6 or 7 at night, picking up a small dinner on the way home, turning on my computer to work on magazine articles till about 2 in the morning, attending a networking event or show every other day, all the while having my phone attached to me as if my life depended on it.  And it did.  That was how I ran my life for a few years.  All work, no (real) play.  I think if I kept at it any longer, I would have had a breakdown.

These days, my life is hectic in different ways.  I still feel that there are days I want to pull my hair out and just cry for no reason, but it's something that I'm learning to fix slowly and carefully.  Even though my days now revolve around raising children and keeping them happy, managing and keeping the home clean (enough) and welcoming, leading a new Girl Scout Troop and making sure they stay busy, finding creative ways to keep us living healthy and green on one income, and trying very hard to keep this little blog going, it seems my life is not any less hectic or crazy as it was years ago.  I still have my phone attached to me, and I'm constantly checking my emails.  Ah!!!

Originally, I was going to title this Minimalist Monday post, "No More Mondays."  But after I started writing, I realized, I will always have Mondays.  And as my husband said this past Sunday when he grunted about how the weekend was ending, and how I agreed that I can't stand Mondays, "Your days are the same everyday.  They run all together."  And that's true.  My weekdays are no different from my weekends, except for the the fact that I get to enjoy them with my hubby, and it gives me a break from running around after the kids. We will always have Mondays, no matter what kind of job you land, where you settle your home, and even when you become debt-free.  It's just a matter of how you choose to wake up Monday morning, and what you decide to do that day and the rest of your week.

Life is funny like that.  We grow and adapt to our environments, only to transition to the same type of life only in different settings and different perspectives.  So, what can we do to change that?  What can we do to live a simpler, less stressful life? It's all in our behavior.  It's all in what we choose to change - the habits we have made, the schedules we have created, the people we surround ourselves with, the endless lists that never gets thrown away.  It's not going to happen for us.  WE have to do it!

Now, it doesn't have to occur all at one time.  And it doesn't have to happen in one area of your life.  There are so many different aspects that we didn't know we could lessen or remove all together to help breathe easier and live better.  Here are some of my suggestions that I know I can work on, and perhaps they strike a chord with you:

  • Email accounts.  I have 9.  Why?  Don't ask.  But I do, and having that many means receiving 9 times more emails than I need to have.  Time to reduce and get more time back.
  • Books currently reading or perusing.  I don't know why I thought it was a good idea to have two different books, along with another one on Kindle, to take turns flipping through, but I did.  I have yet to finish one of them.  Definitely a bad idea!
  • Craft projects.  I like to tinker in a lot of different, artsy things.  They don't take too long, but when I start to do them all at the same time, I get so involved, and it takes all of my time from everything else, including my kids.  And let's not mention that mess it makes in my home.  Fabric, ribbons, hot glue guns and glue sticks, scissors, pictures, envelopes, craft paper - you name it - they take over FAST.
  • Magazine subscriptions.  Now, I've actually gotten pretty good about canceling subscriptions to parenting, kids, home, and cooking magazines.  Now, if only I can make time to read all of the ones I have accumulated since 2010.  Ah!
  • Shows on DVR.  We don't actually have a DVR.  We haven't had cable in almost a year.  But, we do have Netflix.  And they have an "Instant Que" section that is almost like a DVR where you add shows or movies you want to watch later.  I won't even begin to tell you how many are on there, most of which are documentaries that I would really like to see, but I have no idea when I'm ever going to get to them.
  • Sending out birthday cards.  For a good while, I was a very organized and punctual person when it came to mailing out cards to family and friends.  Then when the kids came, I resorted to mailing out cards and letters at the end of the month, still proud that they went out even though they were late.  And now...well...I'm lucky if I remember to look on my calendar.  But I've gotten better at looking at my phone reminders, and if I do anything at all, I at least text message people.
  • Scheduling in a girls night.  My husband has gone camping or tubing with his friends every year for the past 3 years.  They know that it's the ladies' turn.  But somehow one of us is always pregnant or nursing and unable to enjoy a margarita or two.  And this year is no different.  So, instead of trying to pencil in a weekend getaway, we're trying to at least work in a couple of hours of relaxation every few months.  I would definitely be happy with one of those every now and then than have nothing at all.
  • Having too many activities for the kids.  Summer is practically here, and when the kids are not in school, we want to make sure they stay as busy and free of boredom.  I homeschool my children, so their schedules kind of run together like mine, but it doesn't stop me from looking for classes and events for them to attend.  Children get burned out as much as adults, if not faster.  They can only do so much in a 24-hour time period before they begin to show you that they've had enough.  Slowing down and enjoying more of your life also means making sure your kids are on the same track.
  • Removing negativity from our daily lives.  This one is a toughy, especially if that negativity is from someone at work, your family, or your marriage.  And it may take a lot of planning, counseling, and mediating, and in the long run, the negativity may still be there, but we all deserve happiness.  We all deserve a healthy, peaceful, stress-free state of mind, and we all have to do whatever it takes to achieve that.
I know I have more that I would like to work on, and as mentioned before, some of these may ring a bell with you.  Not everyone who will read this post are SAHMs, and so your "list" will be different from mine.  I don't workout at a gym, but maybe you do, and perhaps spending an hour there everyday after work doesn't leave you much time for anything else.  Or social networking  is marked down in your calendar more times than your planner has room for.  Or there are freelance jobs that need to be completed in addition to your 9-5 job.  We all have different lives and different circumstances that result in our Mondays being different.  But as I start to list things off for me, I'm noticing that writing this is already taking up much of my day.  I'm going to take off, work on having a different Monday for me and my children, and breathe a little.  I hope the same for you.


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