I had one of the best Monday mornings I’ve had in a long, long time yesterday.
There was no rushing. There were no freak outs. There were no meltdowns. Nothing was forgotten. Nobody did that last minute sprint out to the bus.
It was pretty awesome.
And the fluidity with which the morning ran comes down to one thing, really.
Making the conscious decision to not put anything off until the morning.
I know. That’s so boring.
But that’s all it took.
I am the Queen of Procrastination.
Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow? has almost always been my motto. Especially with the stuff I hate to do.
Like putting away my clothes. I continue to struggle with that.
I don’t know how many times I’ve told my kids, “If you would just put your stuff away each day when you are done with it, then you wouldn’t end up with a big mess like this that takes forever to clean up!”
I definitely don’t take my own advice, though. And last week Number 5 made that crystal clear to me.
Every night I get home from swim practice around 8:30.
Sometimes the younger kids are already in bed, but Number 5 is always awake and waiting for me. Always. Like I open the door to the mudroom and she’s right there standing in the doorway, greeting me with a big, HI MOMMY!!!
She is always waiting for me to put her into bed.
The first thing I always want to do is change into my pjs. My sneakers are always wet, it’s especially uncomfortable in the winter, and I just want to take off my shoes and get into dry socks and comfy clothes.
Number 5 almost always follows me right into my room while I change. And since it’s always after 8:30, I’m always rushing so I can get her upstairs and into bed.
So the other day, like I usually do, I took off my clothes, threw them on top of the pile of unfolded clean clothes in the laundry basket in the corner of my room, and put on my pajamas.
And Number 5 said to me, “Mommy, why don’t you fold your clothes right away like you tell us to do?”
Every night I throw my clothes in that pile. They are usually still pretty clean because I only wear them for a couple hours, so they don’t need to be washed. And every night the pile grows bigger and bigger, until it’s out of control and an eyesore, and a now it’s become a thirty minute project that I’m just dreading doing.
So now it’s also creating stress. Plus the clothes I want to wear become buried in that pile, so when I want to get dressed I have to go digging through it, and then I’m getting pissed because I can’t find my stuff right away.
It’s not just my clothes.
I do the same thing with leftovers or when I make double batches of meals.
Rather than portioning stuff out or putting it into packages/bags/containers that I can freeze, I’ll just shove it into the fridge at night and say I’ll do it tomorrow.
Of course, tomorrow comes, and the time I was going to devote to portioning out that stuff I made a double batch of the day before gets used up by the time I had to spend digging through my exponentially growing laundry pile.
Now I’ve got a disorganized fridge, and I still have that pile of crap in my room.
Then, inevitably, left overs and double batches get lost and buried behind other things in the fridge, and eventually I totally forget about most or all of them.
Now I’m not only wasting time, but I’m also wasting money, because I end up throwing food away when I have to do a major fridge clean out.
So this annoying and unnecessary cycle repeats itself, month after month.
And then last week I read a blog post about decluttering entitled 15 Clutter Busting Routines For Any Family.
None of the suggestions in the post were surprising or even new to me.
One of them was fold clean clothes immediately.
I know this! Yet I still don’t do it.
But I felt like being reminded of this (again) by both a blog post about decluttering and my seven-year-old daughter in the same week was a signal from the Universe.
Get your shit together, Woman.
So on Sunday night, I got my shit together.
I got my shit together because I’m tired of being (unnecessarily) stressed, rushed, and ultimately pissed off just because I choose to put things off.
But I also got my shit together because how can I expect my kids to do these things if I don’t do them, too?
If I want them to teach how to stay on top of things and not waste time, it really has to be a do as I do, and not just a do as I say kind of thing.
There was one other thing I saw last week that prompted me to finally make a change. I saw a video talking about a Navy Seal whose motto was if it doesn’t suck, we don’t do it.
Okay. I know comparing putting laundry away or organizing the food in the fridge to what a Navy Seal has to go through is a joke.
Clearly there is no comparison.
But I was reminded of how often I put off the stuff that sucks. I do it multiple times a day.
And the stuff that sucks doesn’t go away.
It’s still there. It just turns into even bigger and more suckier stuff. Having that hanging over your head makes you stressed and angry.
I make myself more stressed and I make myself angry simply because I choose not to do the stuff that sucks when it’s in its least sucky state.
I DON’T WANT TO DO THAT ANYMORE!
So I made a change on Sunday and did all the sucky stuff right away. I didn’t want to do it. At all.
In fact, I was a little snappy as I was doing it.
Okay. I was really snappy.
So snappy that Number 5 said to me, “Whoah, Mom! Why can’t you be happy?”
It had already been a long day and I was tired and all I wanted to do was be done for the night. I didn’t want to do anything that sucked. I just wanted to deal with everything the next morning.
But I knew if I did that, the sucky stuff would be even suckier the next day, I’d be even snappier the next day, and I’d be kicking myself for not getting it done the night before.
So I got it all done.
Once it was done, boy did it feel good! I was on top of things! There was nothing waiting for me or looming over my head. I was less stressed.
And you know what happened because of that?
I slept better.
So I was less stressed because the sucky stuff was done, and I was more rested.
There was a domino effect. In a good way.
So on Monday night I did the same thing. I did all the sucky stuff.
Today did not run a smoothly as yesterday.
I wasn’t stressed, I didn’t forget anything, and I wasn’t rushing. But Number 6 was having a particularly rough morning.
You know what happened, though?
Since I had gotten all the sucky stuff out of the way, since the kitchen was clean and the lunches were all organized and the outfits had already been picked out, I was calm.
And rather than losing my shit on Number 6 when he had meltdown after meltdown, I was able to stay calm.
It was hard, but I did it. I wouldn’t have been able to maintain my composure if I also had to do all the sucky stuff while Number 6 was repeatedly imploding.
So by not putting off the sucky stuff, I was less stressed, I slept much better, there was no rushing in the morning, and when Number 6 had a couple of massive meltdowns, I was able to handle it without totally having any meltdowns myself.
That felt really good.
Am I a changed woman? Will I never procrastinate again?
I think that’s a little bit unrealistic. Or a lot unrealistic.
My house will probably never be completely organized and spotless. That’s not really my goal.
But my goal is to remember that Navy Seal’s motto. Especially when the voice inside my head tells me to just wait until tomorrow.
Because when I do that, I’m setting a better example, I’m a better mom, and when all is said and done, I’m much happier.
And who doesn’t want that?