Re-evaluating my Priorities

Peanut napping on the way home after a too-long day.

Last week, I wrote about our schedules as part of the Simplifying for Fall challenge. I wrote about how I purposely keep our schedules as empty as possible so we don’t get stressed out. While that is true in the fact that I don’t plan for things to do every day, do I end up doing things every day. I leave my house almost every day, and generally for a good portion of the day.

I realized this yesterday as I was having a conversation with a friend. She was saying that she’s a homebody who likes to be at home most of the time and that she starts gettings stressed if they leave the house too much. I was agreeing that I also get stressed if we leave the house too much, then it suddenly clicked. I need to be at home more. 

I have been a bundle of stress lately. I keep telling my husband that I need to do more homework during the week and housework during the weekend so that I’m not doing a ton of homework on the weekends and a ton of housework on the weekdays. Then I go run around all day. I find errands to do, I go out to lunch, I go to the grandparents’ houses to do homework. Yes, some of this is good and some can’t be avoided, but a lot of it is just leaving the house to leave the house. I feel stressed out that the house needs to be cleaned and there’s a billion things I want to do and the girls want all of my attention all the time. If we have a purpose, like walking around Target, these things don’t seem so stressful. The problem is that by running away from the problem, it just makes things worse.

Whenever I’m at home, I don’t let myself just stop and relax. I feel like I need to be multitasking at all times. I need to be doing the laundry and canning tomatoes and listening to my audiobook and playing with the girls and probably a few more things. In the end, I’m distracted from playing and I’m frustrated that all the things I cleaned are uncleaned. By the evening, I’m short with the girls and stressed out beyond belief. Then I get the girls in bed and work on my homework, which is making me even more stressed because I’ve put it off. I end up going to bed too late and too stressed and I’ve forgotten the laundry in the washer. 

I’m always teetering a fine line between getting out of the house enough that I’m happy, but staying home enough that I’m happy. I probably enjoy leaving the house more often than average, but it’s easy for me to get overcommitted and out of the house too much. I’ve been working on the overcommitting part, but I still end up leaving the house too much. It seems like almost every day I’m rushing to get out of the house first thing and I’m often home at the same time or after my husband. It’s too much.

So I’m going to make an effort to stay at home more. Rather than budgeting for more gas like I was planning, I’m going to work on using less. I shouldn’t have to fill up my tank every week, especially when I get almost 350 miles per tank. I shouldn’t be stressed out and feel like I never have time to do the things that I want to because I’m going out. I shouldn’t be unable to eat my leftovers because I’m going out to lunch all the time. I shouldn’t be stressed out over being at home because I’ve avoided being at home.

I’m taking it one step further though. Yes, I’m good at multitasking. Yes, some multitasking is necessary when you’re a parent of small children. This doesn’t mean I need to handle 5 things at all times. I’ve been sacrificing my attention to my children, which isn’t fair to them. I need to slow down. I need to ignore the fact that I’m playing on a dirty floor and just play. I need to give myself more time to be at home so that I don’t have to force all the things I need to do into such a small amount of time. In a word, I need to simplify. Oh, I guess this is what the whole post last week was supposed to be about. It only took me a week to get it.

What do you to do simplify your schedule? Are you a homebody or do you like to leave the house? Do you find yourself doing too much of either of those? If so, how do you find your happy medium? 

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