When Things Don't Go As Planned

As they so often don't...

If your life is anything like mine (as I am pretty sure it is), there are times when the tide just seems to be pushing against you--maybe even throwing you against some nice sharp rocks. From petty annoyances to dammitall difficulties, day-to-day of life during these seasons of stress is busy, overwhelming and unpredictable. 

These are the times when it is so nice to have a live-in housekeeper and nanny. 

But again, if your life is anything like mine (as I am pretty sure it is) you don't.  

Not only is Alice from the Brady Bunch not in the kitchen with dinner ready when you get home, but there is a heaping pile of unopened mail on the counter, the cat box needs to be scooped (puh-lease!), the trash cans are overflowing, and you can't remember the last time you changed your sheets. 

The thing that we often do at these times to make matters worse (whether or not we admit it to ourselves), is create drama and criticism in an already difficult situation.  For example, we might imagine someone from whom we long to receive approval ( I dunno, Oprah? The Pope?), showing up unannounced (gasp!) at our front door wanting a full house tour. 

Because, you know that kind of thing happens all the time. 


But nonetheless, we go there mentally, fully experiencing how unimpressive our life would be to these oh-so-impressive people.  "I really need to get my s%*t together," you say to yourself. "C'mon! What's wrong with me?!?"

I would like to offer an alternative to this personal flogging--one that will actually make things better--something that beating ourselves up never does. 

1. Fashion Small Victories: think about something that would make you feel better and more at peace in your home. We are not talking renovations or new paint colors--we are talking small--like a sink that is completely free of dirty dishes, a bed that is beautifully made, a load of wash that is put in the washer smellin' all good as it sloshes around. Pick one. Do it. Celebrate.

2. Remember- Progress Not Perfection: As in step number 1 above, paying attention to the things we can do right now with our limited time and resources, is so much more helpful that being critical of ourselves for not getting everything done all at once. The last thing we need right now is judgment and negativity--so make sure you aren't creating any of it yourself with your own thoughts. Repeat this mantra after me: "Peaceful progress, peaceful progress, peaceful progress…"

3. Schedule A "Do Nothing" Day:  Sometime later this month, after the stomach bug has finally left the building, the deadline has been met at work, and the dog has safely passed the miniature action figure she ate last week, put a day on your calendar that is simply for you. Let no one schedule anything on this day--really. Plan on lazying around in your jammies and doing what seems best to you moment to moment.  If you do want to re-create some order around the house on this day, do so slowly and in a way that is fun and enjoyable--no deep cleaning or breaking a sweat.  (If you are already arguing with me that this is not possible, there are too many things TO DO and PLACES TO BE, we need to talk. You absolutely can take a whole day just for you. You are worthy of that, and the world will not stop turning if you check out for 24 hours. Trust me.)

While these seasons of stress are absolutely no fun, we can be mindful that life is not like this all the time (thank GOD!). During the stressful times, we must remember to be kind and understanding with ourselves and create peaceful progress that will carry us forward.