Simplifying the Calendar

It is an ordinary Tuesday.  I roll out of bed around 6, workout, shower, then sit for a few minutes to read my devotion and pray.  I hear Jude stirring, making lovable singsong sounds from his crib as he wakes.  I pick him up, savor his sweet smile and feed him as my other two babes still dream in bed.  Kevin is at Bible study, so I stagger getting the littles up.  After Jude is happily playing on the floor with a full belly, I sneak in Luke's room and lay beside him for a minute while he rubs sleep from his eyes.  After a snuggle and a kiss, he is up, wondering who else is awake in the house.  A minute later, I have Lily in my arms and she is wants breakfast (right. now.)  'Chocolate muffins?' she asks.

After placing Lily in her chair with a 'smiley face' of non-chocolate muffins on her plate, I get Luke to the table and multi-task eating, cleaning the kitchen, and reminding Luke and Lily 'knees or bottoms' as they stand on their chairs to reach the extra muffins in the middle of the counter.

Ten minutes go by and I look at the clock.  We need to leave in fifteen minutes.  In fifteen minutes all three kids need to have clothes on their bodies, teeth brushed, hair combed (ugh), and I need to pack a healthy lunch for three of us.  Hmm.  As I come to realize all this, I start to prod and encourage Luke and Lily to finish their muffins.  At first, I am mostly calm. Then I move into a higher-pitched voice sounding like the first-grade-teacher-me trying to rally twenty children to the gym for a tornado drill.  Except, there is no tornado drill in the Forristall house.  I planned a playdate with a friend this morning (the second one this week and remember it's Tuesday) and if we don't leave in fifteen minutes we will absolutely be late.

The next fifteen minutes include lots of encouraging and threatening and 'put your pants on' and 'time to go!!!' and me counting to ten in my head and breathing deeply and sighing.  We finally make it downstairs and I squeeze Luke and Lily's toes into shoes and carry them to the car and buckle them into their seats in-between cries and screams and 'she took my book!!!'  An ordinary Tuesday, indeed.

This ordinary weekday morning was a simple one.  It was embedded in routine and, yet, things still fell off the rails.  That's the thing about children, all can be well-planned and intentioned, but things can still fall apart without any warning at all.  What I didn't tell you is that we traveled the week before and, for the days following our travels, I filled our calendar to the brim to make up for missed playdates.  A rookie mistake.

I should have learned my lesson by now.  I should know that too many I-have-to-be-here-at-this-time days leaves our crew, and especially me, weary and crabby and at odds against each other.  Making the decision to have two playdates two days in a row (following days of traveling) was a miss on my part.  It forced a rushed morning which led to words I regret which lead to me feeling guilty.  


Living an intentional, simple life has been on my list of goals for a few years now.  Even with my longing for a simpler way of life, I fall short sometimes. I am absolutely a work in progress.  I learned on that particular Tuesday I need to slow things down after a trip.  I learned consecutive days out of the house is probably not the best decision.  I learned I still have room to further simplify our days.  I learned (again) saying 'yes' to something absolutely means saying 'no' to something else.  #likemysanity

All of us mommas have our sweet spot: the place between the crazy and the calm. A place where we feel happy and light-hearted.  A space where we smile more and yell less, where we play on the floor with our kids or have a nice (albeit interrupted) chat with a girlfriend over coffee in the backyard.  

I have found that being away from our home more than three days during the work week takes me from mostly calm to mostly crazy.  Maybe your sweet spot is being out five days during the week and staying home at night or being gone a few mornings a week and a few nights a week or going out during the week and staying home on the weekends. 

Whatever your sweet spot is, find it.  Be aware of how your calendar looks and how you feel and decide if those things are correlated.  (Hint: they probably are.)  Sit down before each week and make sure you aren't over booked.  If you are overbooked, see if you can move something to a slower week.  Or, maybe you have some space and know you need to get out of the house.  Shoot a text to a girlfriend and invite her and her kids over or be a tourist in your town and check out someplace new.  Whatever you do, be intentional about what you put on your calendar.  It will affect how you feel and how you interact with the people under your roof.  

We all have the freedom to say 'yes' or 'no' to things that get penciled in on our calendar.  Use that freedom to your advantage to be the momma or wife or friend or daughter you want to be.  I am going to practice saying 'yes' to only the finite things I can handle while still being a loving, calm, and has-most-of-her-stuff-together mom and wife.  I am working on simplifying our calendar and, therefore, helping to regulate my attitude, my mood, and my ability to love my people well.


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