Thursday, April 4, 2013

Re-emerging...and my new rules.

Hello. I am still alive.

It turns out that it is still hard for me to blog during times of intense stress. It's also hard for me to run during these times, even though I know running and writing would probably help me cope. Instead, I have been drinking too much Diet Coke, eating Easter candy (only since Saturday, don't judge) and organizing the pantry. (Yes, seriously.)

I'm also recovering from a pretty brutal stomach virus, which has so far swept through 3/5 of us, so I'm cutting myself some slack.

I know I'm way behind in updating did the half-marathon go? What about the rest of Lent and the bean jar? Did we decide to do the Stations of the Cross with SuperSam or not? How was Holy Week? What about the Great Feast of Easter?

I promise a Cliff's Notes version with a roundup of all this very important information this weekend.

For now, though, I want to share my new rules with you.

Things are understandably tough right now. Unemployment is hard on a family, both financially and emotionally. My usual way of running things is mostly efficient and mostly manageable under normal circumstances, but it is a little out of reach for me just now. While some stretching is good, totally unreachable standards that always make me feel like I'm failing are not good.

Realizing this, I have created some new guiding principles for myself while we are surviving this period. Here are my Rules for Rough Patches (otherwise known as "tips for managing when your best isn't really that good but has to be good enough"):

1. A clean-enough house has floors that are clear enough to walk across without falling, dishes that are clean enough to eat from safely, and beds that are clear enough to sleep in. Make the beds, because you know it helps you feel better. The rest is extra. (You should still clean the toilet, but not necessarily the tub.)

2. Be gentle with everyone, especially yourself. Everyone is doing the best he or she can at the moment. That includes you.

3. If it doesn't stink or have food stains on it, it's clean enough to wear again.

4. If you don't sleep at night, try to make it up someplace else. It's okay if your child watches more than one episode of Dinosaur Train in a row on days when you just really need to take a nap.

5. Pizza is adequate food. It covers multiple food groups, in fact. Bonus points if you put some baby spinach leaves on the side of the plate and call it a salad.

6. Letting the kids jump on the couch cushions stacked on the floor is a perfectly acceptable form of active play. (Putting the cushions back on the sofa feels like cleaning and counts as "sprucing up" the living room.)

7. It's okay to just renew the library books online instead of facing the perky mommies at library story time if you want to. Your kids would be just as happy to read with you at home or play in the yard.

8. Always assume your spouse means the best possible version of what he just said, no matter how irritated you feel about it.

9. Drink water. Then drink some more water. It helps, even if you can't tell right away. At the very least, you can go to the bathroom a lot (and if you close the door, it's almost like being on vacation for a minute).

10. Remember that this, too, shall pass. Everything does.

Mediocrity is not actually a sin, can you believe it? It's okay to do things less than perfectly. Surviving is doing what you can with what you have. It isn't always fun, but it sure beats the alternative...and sometimes, we just have to do what we have to do to get through.

All the tunnels I've ever been in have an opening at both ends. We are bound to get there eventually.

Here's to moving forward.