By Michelle Rawlings
What does it mean to be mentally healthy when life is becomes hectic? I recently when on a much needed vacation with my husband but now that I’m home it seems that my life has become more hectic than before I left. The house needs to be cleaned, there is more laundry to do, the kids need extra time, homework needs to be caught up, dinner needs to be made, and it’s back to the daily grind. My motivation seems to be escaping me and I need to get it in gear. Taking a deep breath I divide and concur, but where to begin? I found making a list and prioritizing helps but staying focused is what I have a hard time with (who would blame me with a 3 and 1 year old running around the house?). When I start to clean one area of the house another is silently being destroyed.
Time to come up with a new plan to save my sanity!
Step 1. Remembers what is important to you. I realize that I want to have the model home and yes there are some super spouses out there that have the picturesque home but that is not the case, at least in this house, right now. That does not mean that it will never be the way I want it. It just means that I need to realize step 2.
Step 2. Realize that you are not perfect and sometimes doing what makes you happy out shines clean floors. A good example of this is when I was trying to clean the kitchen but my girls wanted to get in to the Tupperware cupboard. At first I was getting upset, I mean don’t they see I’m trying to clean here? Then I realized in my frustration that they were having the time of their lives. Why should I ruin their fun? So I stopped, watched, and took a moment to enjoy their laughter. (Besides, they are not going to stay little enough to fit in there forever!).
Yes the bowls and containers added to the list of things to clean up but I changed my attitude. Instead of demanding it be cleaned, I continued the fun and made it in to a game of “how fast can we pick it up.” As my daughter raced around, hair flying, and picking up I realized that it may take longer to get the kitchen cleaned this way but it was so much more enjoyable!
Step 3. Cut yourself some slack. Military spouses and their families are prone to packing, unpacking, moving to unfamiliar places, and there are TDY’s and deployments. Life for a military spouse is not set in stone and it can be unpredictable. Just when you think you’ve got the hang of it there is an unexpected shift change or a last minute something or another to throw you off.
Step 4. Work at the pace of you life. Yes our days can quickly fill with work to get done, things to do, people to see, and mouths to feed but by being flexible there is less stress. By keeping a closed mind about what needs to happen and what we can actually complete, we become rigid and loose perspective.
Step 5. Management. You have 20 things to get done but only have time for 5, and that’s on a good day. Make a compromise with yourself, “I know I NEED to get A and B done, I WANT to get C done, and the rest of the alphabet will have wait till tomorrow because today, this is what I can handle.” By managing you needs, wants, and having realistic goal you can allow for time for error. This can allows for peace of mind.
So yes, the laundry is sitting there, the floor needs to be vacuumed (even though I just did it yesterday), I have a paper due, the spouse’s schedule just changed but for me taking some of the pressure off to get “everything” done, changing my perspective, and giving priority to things that “need” to get done is a bigger relief and a better way for me to enjoy my husband, kids, and embrace the military life.