May is always a busy month for our family. There’s all the school craziness that comes from having a teacher in the family as well as an elementary school student, paired with baseball starting up, two birthdays (our almost 7 year old’s and mine), end of the year field trips and choir concerts, work deadlines, and Mother’s Day. While I am trying to simplify my life, there’s no getting around the fact that no matter what we do, spring is always going to be a busy season for us. Here’s how I’m coping:
Deep breathing and time outside. Every day at work, I feel the pressure begin to build and build. Right around lunch time, I’m twitchy and just need to walk. Thankfully, there’s a nice path through a prairie right outside my office. A few minutes of deep breaths, the warmth on my shoulders, and nothing but the sound of crickets and frogs, and I can feel the pressure slowly ease up in my body. I go back to work refreshed and ready to tick more things off my to-do list. Often I think I won’t have time for a break because I’m so busy, but I’m far more productive when I force myself to dash outside for a short time. We’re also spending lots of time outside as a family, whether it’s in the front yard of our condo, playing soccer, riding bikes in the cul de sac, drawing pictures with chalk, or taking a walk down to the playground.
Lists. I’ve got a lot of lists going on right now. A color-coded one at work, keeping my many projects on task; a check list of items to buy for my son’s birthday party; our online shopping list. We do a lot of things with Cozi, but there’s also not much better than my paper planner.
Grace. I’m a bit of a perfectionist at times, and often take on way too much. This always seems to rear its ugly head around my kid’s birthdays. I get sucked into the pressure of making everything Pinterest-perfection. On my son’s 4th birthday, he wanted an Angry Birds party. Our younger son was only 4 months old, and I had just returned to work from maternity leave only two weeks before the party. On the morning of the party, I’d been delayed by a fussy baby, and I was frantically cutting up fruit in the kitchen, frustrated to near-tears, and arranging the fruit in the shape of Red Bird. At the party, people scooped up strawberries and blueberries, and no one said a word about my bird-shaped fruit salad. I realized then that kids don’t care about that crap, so why was I doing it? I vowed then and there not to get stressed about birthday parties anymore. I still sometimes do the Pinterest-y thing, but I don’t give it a lot of importance, and anything that begins to stress me out I immediately drop for something easier. You have to give yourself grace to have a messy house sometimes, or skip bringing end of the year treats.
It’s still going to be a challenging month, but I am hoping that by following my own advice, I will get through it, and maybe even enjoy it!