I have tended toward the spiritual lately. Which is all fine and good. These past 2 weeks though I am re-learning the lesson that sometimes the nitty-gritty work of love involves self-discipline, scheduling, order. If only it were so easy as waking up in the morning and saying, “Today I will be loving!” and the rest of the day would follow full of sunshine and roses.
I am seeing more and more that the more chaotic the house feels, and the less organized I feel, the harder it is for me to be loving. It’s easier to be impatient and angry when I sleep too late and so resent the boys for waking me, when we don’t stick to our budget and money concerns are eating at me, when I don’t have a menu planned and dinner time rolls around with nothing to eat and kids hungry, when I am tripping over dirty laundry, or can’t find the soccer uniforms, or am trying to fix lunch around the dishes piled high on the counter.
I am fully aware of the messiness of every day life. I in no way expect perfection from myself when it comes to housework. However, for me, a chaotic environment breeds chaotic emotions.
Starting last week I worked at getting back into a routine. Here is what that looks like for me. I set my alarm in order to wake and have time to exercise, read my Bible, and do some planning before the boys wake. It is hard for me to wake up early. I never really want to. I have to remind myself when the alarm goes off that if I start my day in quiet, with time to myself, the rest of the day seems to go better.
Exercise is important. I have noticed a huge change in my mood when I don’t get regular exercise. I am starting to see that exercise is a must, not simply and option.
I have made myself turn off the computer during the scheduled times when the boys need me; school time in the morning and play time in the afternoon. A screen is distracting and it makes me irritable to be interrupted, so it needs to be off.
I have started menu planning again. Regular grocery shopping and a clear menu plan makes those difficult afternoon hours much less stressful.
I am implementing a regular cleaning schedule again. There are projects that need to be done this fall. The house needs some organization. I am much more relaxed and patient when I am not worried about how I am going to fit in housework between our activities.
I am trying to go to bed at the same time every night. I need a regular 8 hours of sleep. I am coming to accept this about myself. As much as I would like to stay up late watching Netflix with my husband and surfing the internet, I know I will pay for it the next day. So a regular bedtime it is.
It’s not fancy. It doesn’t feel very glamorous. But for me, this is part of what it looks like to set a practical structure to encourage love in our family.