Saturday, December 28, 2013

Survival Mode

Here it is.  Visual proof that I have been living in survival mode:

That's our sukkah, still up at Hanukkah.  That is, I believe, the biblical holiday equivalent of still having your Christmas tree up at Easter.

So, I've been a little busy lately.

A lot busy.  In fact, it's funny to actually look back at the life I used to characterize as "busy."  I clearly had no idea what I was talking about.

I've done survival mode before, especially after babies were born, but never for this length of time.  When I'm in survival mode, I deal strictly with the urgent.  ("Mom, Austin has pulled off his diaper again!"  "Mom, I can't find my..."  "We're out of peanut butter!")  In the back of my head, I have a firm belief that there's something, some process or method or something that I can figure out to make my life more efficient and I will suddenly find myself with time to blink, or at least breathe.  (Does anyone know where the Jetson's got that robot and those meal pills?)  As the months went by this time, though, I started to be afraid that no amount of time management implementation was going to put us on the road to serenity anytime soon.

I have found over the course of the last twelve years that any life change has the potential to force me into survival mode.  I've come, in fact, to expect it.  When a family has a new baby, moves, or faces medical or other issues, the routine is disrupted and things that worked before just don't work anymore.  And often, when the dust settles, life itself has changed.  I've learned that most of those changes require a new normal.  Rarely has a "survival mode" incident been followed by a return to things the way they were before.  New times require new strategies.

Fortunately for my family, I like strategizing!  I find the challenge of logistics invigorating.  I recently came across a "flow chart" of sorts that I had put together about seven years ago.  Justin was a tiny baby, Nathan had just started formal homeschooling, and we were living in a construction zone in an old home we were renovating.  There were problems to be solved, challenges to be overcome.  (My flow chart indicated that the key to calm out of chaos was "get up earlier.")

I am happy to report that, in our present survival mode experience, we are slowly but surely pulling ourselves out of it (the sukkah is down!)  Things are starting to take on a routine, and I'm starting to feel more on top of things.  We aren't drowning in laundry, we've finally hit on a school schedule to bring sanity to our at-home school days, and the house is starting to take on a more orderly appearance.  That makes mom happy, and when mom is happy, everyone's happy.

And a happy mom can laugh and take pictures when the boys pull something like this:

(That's mud.  Note to self:  Move getting backyard sodded to top of list.)

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