Experimenting with Stress

I ran an experiment for two weeks. icecream

I have this tendency to get my priorities backwards.  Not so much in the big things, but the little every day decisions.  Although little every day decisions tend to grow into big things!  Anyways, the past two weeks were some of the most insane I’ve had in a while.  And with my regular schedule, that’s saying something!  Three speaking engagements, an harmony exam, and everything else I usually do.  Plus we’re trying to finish up school.  The good thing is, I’ve learned a few things about myself and life in general by this point.  As in, I can’t do it all, all the time.  So I knew some things were going to get left by the wayside.  This is where my experiment came in.

Generally during busy times, I shorten my time with my husband, time with my children, time to relax, I even just get short with everyone all the time!  I freak out because my house isn’t clean, my laundry isn’t done, dishes aren’t washed, my gardens are mess even though its May.  I think about the projects piling up, the fact that I haven’t blogged in forever and I become overwhelmed and miserable.  I’ve spent so much of my life basing my worth and how good my life is by the outside appearance.  It seemed obvious to me that I couldn’t be a good mom if the kids clothes weren’t folded nicely in the drawers.  I couldn’t be a good wife if there were dishes in the sink when I went to bed.  Obviously, I’m just a terrible person in general when the bathrooms have gone two weeks without being cleaned.

Thankfully, I’ve grown up just a little and I’m starting to realize that I have some priorities mixed up.  So for two weeks, I just let it go.  My kids had clean clothes, but they had to fish them out of the big pile in the hallway some days.  I made simple meals that the girls could be in the kitchen cooking with me, instead of me saying I just had to hurry up and do it myself.  I left dishes in the sink if I had to be up early the next day.  I dropped all my studying to watch a movie curled up on the couch with my husband.  The gardens are still not done and I have no idea when that’s going to happen.  I didn’t iron or exercise for two weeks.  Okay, okay, exercising should probably have stayed on the list, but I was experimenting and who doesn’t love a good excuse to not exercise for two weeks:)

But even more than the fact that I basically let my life fall apart for two weeks, was a conscious decision to not hurry my kids through everything.  I can generally be a loving mom, except when I’m in a hurry.  I become some sort of tyrant.  I can see it happening and I can’t stop it.  Everything and every minute become a big deal.  Its kind of a miserable way to live.

The very first day of these crazy two weeks, I read a blog by Ann Voskamp.  She had a printable that said this on it.  “Busy is a choice.  Stress is a choice.  Joy is a choice.  Choose wisely.”  Wow.  I immediately printed that off and hung it right at eye level on my fridge!  So for two weeks I chose to not be too busy or stressed.  I put things down and talked to my kids while looking them in the eye.  I didn’t make every minute about getting a thousand things done and stressing my whole family in the process.  Here are a few things my experiment taught me.

Kids don’t care if the house is clean, they want to laugh.

Husbands don’t care if the meals aren’t awesome for a couple of weeks, they want to steal a kiss in the kitchen.

Everyone is fine with laundry in the hallway, then they don’t have to put it away.

And as a side note, we had frost last night, so it was totally ok I didn’t do anything in the gardens yet!

When those two weeks were done, I didn’t feel like I had been a tyrant or that I had damage to repair.  My kids were still laughing around me and giving me kisses like it was just any other week.  Maybe this sounds strange to you, but it was a whole new way of looking at life for me.  I just simply chose not to be stressed.  And my family benefited.  I hope I remember this next a few weeks like this come along:)  Sometimes life is messy.  Sometimes not everything fits in.  But people always come first and taking care of their spirit is a much higher priority than taking care of their environment.