4 Ways We Are Making a Stressful Situation Less So

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.

Case in point, this is their closet right now: 20140421_094310

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! 

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8 thoughts on “4 Ways We Are Making a Stressful Situation Less So

  1. I love reading the chronicles of little Bus on the prairie, and though I’ve never lived in a bus, it is something I may do if in a pinch! :) 2 little teeny pcs of advice for you to keep your sanity…
    #1. Anything not absolutely necessary should not enter that small space. IE: less clutter = less crazy. and #2. Go to Menards or Lowes, (you know, your favorite store?) :) and buy a 8X10′ (or bigger) indoor/outdoor rug to slap down in front of the door of your bus. Shoes can be left on it, and I think it will really cut down on the tracking dirt in problem. :) Best wishes, if i lived closer I’d come see you. :) 3 cheers from Ohio!

    1. We are definitely paring down on the STUFF factor for sure! And I think that’s a great idea about the rug. We have a couple of small mats, but they seem to just get filled with dirt too. Something we plan to do when we get a spare minute is to lay down a layer of mulch over the dirt to help in that area as well.

  2. Delegation is a great thing. My philosophy when my kids were young was that if they were doing something in the way of helping, even if it wasn’t close to being done right, at least they weren’t doing something to create a new mess during that time. As long as they are making beds or sweeping the floor, they aren’t getting out more stuff or tracking in more dirt!
    One summer, my kids and I stayed in my parents travel trailer, minus the truck, out in their back yard. They were living in a mobile home while building their current home. The problem, besides one tiny bathroom, was that it was spring in clay county. The red clay here is just terrible, but even triple-y so in a construction zone. The clay would just stick to your shoes, feet, flip-flops, whatever. You couldn’t scrap it off with a putty knife hardly. So, we put a plastic dish tub out by the front steps to the trailer and everyone had to leave their shoes (with mud) outside and wash their feet before they came inside. It kept the coming and going to a minimum, because it was such a hassle. We even had a hose hooked up behind the trailer for cleaning shoes with. I remember being tired of it after a couple of weeks of that. We did finally put a piece of plywood out front, along with the tub of water. It did eventually dry up. Good times!
    Keep accepting the help. Even if you were living in a normal space, having 3 kids while being sick with a new pregnancy is reason enough to accept the help. I’d love to come to California and be your nanny. It’s snowing again here today and I just don’t know if I can take anymore of it. We’ve almost broke all records of snowfall here this year. Most of Lake Superior is still frozen over and it’s almost May. No more snow!

  3. Ohmigosh! It does feel like everyone else is saying goodbye to survival mode, doesn’t it? Meanwhile… I’m still right in the thick of it. We’ve been renovating our house and not living in it because, well, with 3 little people and two dogs, you kind of need a working bathroom. And kitchen. And to not be living in a construction zone. And so I had these dreams of how once we moved out, I’d have all this time to go through and pare down our stuff. Sell the baby gear and hand down the too-small clothes. And here we are 7 months later, moving in 4 days and somehow we will be shoving stuff in boxes and dealing with it when we get back. *sigh* So really no good advice for you; but wanted to let you know you’ve still got company in survival mode. Hang in there. It’s an adventure, right?

    Saw this and thought of you: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/23/celebrating-tiny-homes_n_5193668.html

    1. I loved those photos! And it can be discouraging watching in the sidelines as everyone else seems to be getting their act together, but I just have to remind myself that it’s only a season!

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