When everyone got sick, I got really grumpy. The house was a nightmare, which always stresses me out. The boys were fighting like crazy from having too much time inside and too much time together. Lila got feeling better first and wanted me to be feeling better enough to play with her, which I wasn't. Ryan was getting into mini-busy season, working longer hours, and coming home so drained and feeling so awful that we'd just collapse into bed once the kids were asleep and zone out for a while, watching TV until we fell asleep. I don't think we had a real conversation for almost a week. (Which sounds awful, but both of us just felt so sick we didn't have the energy to have a conversation.)
Once we all got better, I thought everything else would get better, too. But I was wrong. I'd set us on a course of impatience, fighting, messes, and lack of the spirit. I was yelling a lot, which I don't love to admit. Something had to change. When I feel like things are crazy, I generally realize (once I've actually taken time to ponder the root of the problem) that my priorities have become a little messy--which was the case, once again. So I sat down with my pen and paper and made a schedule of how I wanted our day to go, including in our plan all the things I knew were most important. I made goals for myself. And for the first time ever, I mulled over what my "anger triggers" are and how I can avoid them or deal with them (a little inspiration from this series led me to that).
I realized a few things:
1. I was not doing very well with daily scripture reading and morning prayer--I was kind of doing it sometimes. I needed to find a consistent time to read my scriptures when I'd have quiet. Nights don't work for me because reading my scriptures usually just doesn't happen.
2. I'm happier when I start my day with exercise. I'm not a huge fan of exercising when the kids are awake and crawling through my "tunnel" when I do yoga poses.
3. Having a super messy house stresses me out and makes me irritable. I realize that with three young children, there are likely to be messes--which is fine. But the house being a disaster is not good for any of us.
4. I got more annoyed more easily when I'm distracted by things, like my phone.
5. I wasn't enjoying the time I spent playing with the kids. Our interactions weren't fulfilling for any of us.
6. I wasn't being the mom I wanted to be.
Reed was going to be starting school soon and I knew that a new school year would be a great time to get a good schedule in place. I also made myself a kind of crazy goal to have all my major "to do" items done before we left the house at 8:35 a.m. to drop him off. I am not a morning person--not at all a morning person--so this was going to be interesting.
I'm happy to report, though, that Reed has been in school for two weeks and I have kept my goal for two weeks. I've found that with the changes I'm trying to implement, I'm more patient, enjoy my kids more, and get way more done than than I was before. I've been waking up before my kids so I can ready my scriptures, pray, and do about half of my workout before they wake up. I finish my workout, then get them breakfast while I do whatever cleaning I have planned for the day (which is also on a schedule). Once I'm done cleaning, I take a quick shower while the boys put their dishes in the sink and unload the dishwasher if the dishes inside are clean. Then I get ready and have a quick breakfast while they watch a show. Finally, we get them ready and are out the door by 8:35.
Once we're back from dropping Reed off, Asher, Lila, and I actually have time to play with no to-do list hanging over our heads. When I'm not thinking about all the things I need to be doing, I have a lot more fun relaxing and playing. We usually read books and play lots of games until we need to pick up Reed. Once he's home, we all have lunch, then I put Lila down for a nap. The boys and I do our "reading lesson" (Phonics Pathways), then I put Asher down for a nap. Reed and I read for 10 minutes for his homework, then he does his homework worksheets at the table next to me while I work on a small project or on the computer and supervise him. Then he does quiet time and I have some downtime, too. I used to use this time to do work around the house but have found the time does me so much more good mentally if I do something fun, like read or crochet. One hour later, Reed and I do "Mommy and Buddy time" until Lila wakes up. Then the three of us play together until Asher wakes up.
Depending on when Asher wakes up, all of us have a little craft/activity time. At 4:00, the boys watch a show while I start dinner. We eat at 5 or 5:30, depending on when dinner is done. Next up is a bath, then jammies and tooth brushing followed up by "story time" until we put Dolly to bed a 6:45. Lately, this is just about when Ryan is getting home from work (busy season), so we finish off our night with either our family puzzle or reading Superfudge aloud, then scriptures and prayer. We tuck the boys in, then Ryan and I talk about our respective days while he eats dinner. We usually end the day by playing Bonza or Slap on the iPad together, watching a show, and saying our prayers together.
My days lately are so full--and so much happier.