Friday, November 12, 2010

Thriving in Survival Mode.

Life has been....busy? hectic? stressful? hmmm...I just can't choose one word to describe it.

Between growing a baby in my belly, dealing with a fussy toddler, working from home, keeping our home running, outside activities, and spending time with my sweet husband, life has felt like survival best.

And yet, in the midst of this pretty rough week, I have felt like we are actually thriving. After some thought as to how I could arrive at such a conclusion after the lack of sleep we've been through and the incredible frustration of this never-ending balancing act, I realized the reason I've felt like we're actually thriving is because of some of the elements we've worked so hard to put into place the last few months.

Let's face it, when you're exhausted and you've spent the entire day trying to work and wrestle an exhausted and sick child, the last thing you want to do is cook a nice dinner. Enter meals from our freezer! A while back we spent a weekend filling our freezer and we have thoroughly enjoyed the reward--in fact, we've emptied almost everything we cooked and are planning another cooking session.

The second is our household routine schedule. I'm still tweaking this to get it the way I feel most benefits our family---but at the end of a crazy week, our house is clean, laundry is done, and I haven't felt stressed about it one bit. By having a schedule like this, I was able to look at the chores and decide what needed the most attention and what could be ignored a while longer...and, since we've stayed on top of things, picking up messes or dusting furniture is a fairly quick process.

The third is a three-part plus. I've started making some of our own household cleaners and laundry soap. Earlier this week, when I ran out of kitchen counter cleaner I just mixed up another batch instead of having to make a trip to the store.

Similarly, I keep a well-stocked linen closet with personal care products (though it's looking a bit sparse lately--more on that later.) Instead of having to make a weekly wal-mart run or an impromptu trip whenever we run out of toothpaste, I just shop in my closet and save us a trip, time, and money. Oh, and it helps that most of those products were free or nearly free. Also, we've been buying diapers on amazon lately as part of the free Amazon mom program and Parenting magazine coupons. When my husband pulled the last diaper out of a box this week, there was already a reserve box waiting to be used.

Now, before you think that I must have it all together or that I'm showing off--you should know I haven't put on make-up all week, I've only left the house once, and I'm currently wearing my husband's sweats and a bleach-stained t-shirt. Oh, and I also wore the same yoga pants/shirt combo three times in a row this week. But, looking awesome wasn't high on my priority list this week.

I'm excited to feel like we're making some head way in home management techniques that actually work in our home---the trick has been tweaking every suggestion I've come across to match OUR home and OUR unique needs. I'm thankful that we're seeing progress in this area and feeling like we can actually thrive, even in survival mode....because in five months we're going to have a newborn in this house demanding attention....and it's going to be survival mode for quite some time :)


  1. Rachel, I feel so inspired by your chore chart. I'm a TERRIBLE house cleaner and have been thinking I need to do something similar. I've tried to do something like it in the past (without writing it down) and it lasted one day. yep. one day. Maybe I'll copy your list!!

  2. Oh goodness, I relate to the "terrible house cleaner" title. I noticed the biggest problems came when I started working part-time from home. This has seriously been such a help to us. I've had various schedules since we bought Lucy home from the hospital--typically I put too much on each day and just get frustrated when it doesn't all happen. This method has been great--I started with a list of everything that needed to get done each week (and how many times). I then plotted our activities for each day of the week and then plotted the chores as well--Our home has stayed at such a manageable level lately---and I don't feel like I have to clean the whole home...and if the kitchen doesn't get cleaned on Tuesday, I know it's back on the agenda for Thursday which helps me not stress out! It's not a perfect system, but it's manageable right now!

  3. Hmmm, reading your cleaning list makes me think your house stays much cleaner than mine usually does.

  4. Well, as I've said before--it's a goal. That doesn't mean everything gets done every week. For example, the guest room is stuffed full of papers to be filed, mail to go through, winter coats, and extra it's not getting "cleaned up" each week. But, I'm aiming to accomplish the others because it keeps everything at a much more manageable level and is lessening the time I have to spend cleaning.