While SOME people are in the process of saying goodbye to survival mode, our family walked face first into the middle of one of the most stressful situations we possibly could have imagined for ourselves. I’m pretty sure that a move into a school bus in the middle of vacant land during the first trimester of pregnancy qualifies us for hats and badges and the secret Survival Mode Club handshake.
Despite how it might look to outsiders, however, we are not complete gluttons for punishment. There are a few strategies that we are employing so that we don’t dive utterly off the deep end.
We are delegating as much as we can. This basically entails making sure that the kids are pulling their weight around the homestead. The girls are old enough now to be able to be able to handle simple chores and responsibilities: they are in charge of keeping their room clean, making their beds, keeping lights turned off, checking the mail, keeping an eye on their brother occasionally and general fetch and carry chores that vary from day to day.
Our standards are lower. Letting a six-year-old and a four-year-old help out means that not everything looks perfect. To be more precise, it means that NOTHING looks perfect.
Pants are inside out and kind of randomly shoved onto hangers, there are sweaters mixed in with dresses and shirts hung up in the middle of leggings.
Is everything off the floor? Yes.
Did I have to crouch and crawl around on my hands and knees doing this chore? Nope.
Am I thrilled with just those simple facts? Absolutely.
We have been finding wiggle room. We are fortunate to have Lily in an awesome local charter school that utilizes a homeschool/class hybrid schedule. She is home three days a week and has “workshop” the other two days. As fantastic as that schedule is, I was finding it extremely difficult on school days to get three kids ready and out the door a half hour earlier while dry heaving into the sink (thank you, morning sickness).
I eventually emailed Lily’s teacher to apologize for our newfound chronic lateness. I explained the situation and told her that I hated to keep interrupting class and that I do value her teaching time. I then asked if it would be all right if I just brought Lily after recess on the more difficult days.
It might have something to do with the fact that Lily’s teacher is about 7 months along with her own pregnancy, but she agreed and that is now an area where I don’t feel stressed and guilty. Win.
“Yes, that would be awesome!” is our new response when people offer help. A couple friends have brought meals, one of our new neighbors mowed down our forest of weeds, I cooked dinner in another neighbor’s oven (after nearly burning everything to a crisp trying to use the RV oven for the first time), my parents have let us do laundry at their house and gave us a new toilet to put in the bus after the other one broke… the list goes on.
People have been extremely helpful to us. Whether it’s out of the goodness of their heart or simply because they want an excuse to come and see how exactly we’re living, it has been both amazing and humbling.
So, there you have it. In addition to these things, I am currently contemplating my own To-Don’t List, because it is so easy to get overwhelmed with thinking Big Picture instead of just taking things day to day – and that’s really all I’m capable of at this point, for better or worse.
How do you simplify when things are stressful? I’d love to hear your suggestions!