Life is humming along smoothly and you’re feeling pretty efficient. The laundry is almost caught up and you’re finally getting the hang of meal planning. You’ve even managed to keep some semblance of order in your bedroom. Best of all, your schedule is helping you stay productive and still have some personal time.
As the old saying goes, “Take a picture, it’ll last longer.”
As much as we enjoy the times when efficiency is our middle name, life is bound to happen. Sometimes it’s a minor glitch like catching a cold, and sometimes it’s a major disruption like the whole family coming down with the stomach flu. And those are just the illnesses.
Factor in smaller events like sports tournaments, children’s practices and performances, and holidays. And don’t forget the bigger interruptions like car accidents, out of town funerals, hospitalizations, and the list goes on.
The fact is, we don’t live life in a vacuum. Anybody can do well when life is uneventful and the pantry is organized. It’s the unexpected detours that will test our resolve and attitude.
The first step in not only coping, but thriving, is to ask yourself what you want your life to look like. Know your purpose. Be aware of where you are and where you want to go. Believe it or not, having these things as a solid foundation will help you immensely when the stress of the unexpected hits.
Just because things aren’t perfect doesn’t mean that you throw in the towel. There are ways to adapt and push through and still get work done during a crisis, large or small:
Organize whatever you can. You should be doing this anyway, but it’s especially important during a disrupted schedule. It’s tempting to drop the whole routine, but your household thrives on consistency. Find some time early on to jot down easy meals and stock up on food and supplies. Gather supplies in one place for whatever sickness you’re dealing with. Start a load of laundry before breakfast and dinner.
Keep up with housekeeping. How, you may ask? First of all, decision goes a long way. Kathy Ireland said, “Excuses are undignified and they don’t absolve you anyway.” A champion rises to the occasion and pushes through difficulties. Maintaining the kitchen and picking up the main living areas are a lot easier if you do it in small bites throughout the day rather than waiting until it’s a federal disaster zone later.
Use a to-do list. Write it down. Your situation has probably brought new responsibilities and your brain needs some structure. But don’t push yourself unrealistically. Pare it down to the absolute necessities. Delegate, postpone, break it up into smaller pieces.
You can still have a schedule. It will just look different. Breathe. Keep in mind the end result and the purpose for what you’re doing. That will help you make the decisions about what comes next.
Figure out the simplest ways to do life. Use paper plates and disposable cups. Gather all the sick kids in one room where you can keep an eye on them while you work. Since family life is part of your vision, don’t resent the imposed restraint. Serve with a smile. Stay home and slow down.
Don’t underestimate the value of prayer and don’t be afraid to ask for the prayers of others. You don’t have to be fake and pretend to be perfect.
When illness or a difficult situation shows up, don’t get caught in the trap of making a sweeping statement like “Oh, great! I might as well give up!” or “Now I’ll NEVER get this work done!” or even “This ALWAYS happens to me!”
The next time you hear, “Mommy, I don’t feel so good,” shift gears and look for ways to adapt. Keep going, persevere, and stay focused. Take care of yourself and your family during this short season. Soon you’ll find that things have settled down and you will be all the better for it!