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I’m finding a new rhythm to my house life, mom life, wife life.

I’m finally doing things consciously in the right order.

It was 8:32pm. The three youngest are all asleep and as I crept past their rooms, checking on their night lights and blanket situations, I felt it. That siren call of my sewing machine. DO NOT GO DOWNSTAIRS. COME UP!

My husband slipped out the back door with our oldest for some night baseball hits at the local park. They waved and I doused them in bug spray on their way out. I had not answered my sewing machine’s call. I had trekked down the stairs, pausing to pick up ten thousand items of dirty clothing, two CDs whose scratches had deepened, and shutting off light switches here and everywhere.

I was determined to take the ten minutes of wiping counters and arranging dishes in the dishwasher before heading back up up to the machine and my luscious fabrics. It took twelve minutes, but the peace of mind I experienced with each soggy granola bowl rinsed and stacked was worth it.

You see, I’ve spent years indulging my blogging, sewing, writing, texting, scrolling, calling, and venting. All before doing what needs to be done.

I supposed the Sisyphean task of having small kids #forever meant for me if I stopped to do a dish, I would have to scrub the kitchen floor and I would NEVER GET A MOMENT FOR ME.

Instead I carved habit after habit, year after year, of saving up all the dishes and the work until the kids were awake and underfoot and rued it ruefully. Of course it’s harder to type, think, or stitch when they’re underfoot. But when their canvas of the kitchen or family room is tidy, they’re less likely to be underfoot now if I do need or want to peace out for a second or 140. The older kids migrate toward their audio stories. The younger ones play with their sewing machine and stacks of well-worn fabrics alongside me.

Right order. Saying yes so we can say no. Saying no so we can say yes. I’m writing this blog post guilt-free because that kitchen is ordered. I also already showered and figured out what’s for dinner tomorrow night. WHO AM I?

Maybe it’s because I’m not pregnant right now or maybe it’s because my baby is a year and a half or maybe it’s because a long look at my habits told me this wasn’t sustainable. Always rushed, always anxious, never sated. I’m learning I don’t have to do everything to do a few things right.

I wrote more on this for my devotion for Blessed is She today–ironically all these thoughts have been coming together for a while and now they’re really in the forefront of my mind!

How can you rightly order your life? What are your needs; what are your wants? Get those needs done first, then enjoy and savor the wants!

These knit dresses are so much fun to make! Subscribe to my Whole Parenting Goods newsletter to hear first the sizes & fabrics available for my sale a week from Monday. And get a discount, too!

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1) It’s mostly messy

I walk down the stairs and note that I should vacuum with the little hand vacuum to get the lint off the innards of the step, note that the music parlor carpet is littered in glitter (shocking given my no-glitter stance), and the wince at the state of the kitchen counters. Yeah, our home could be more meticulously cleaned, but marriage is messy.

Beyond the house, the kids’ endless laundry, the to-do lists, we as people are conflicted, sleep-deprived, and one of us is hormonal. Everyday is a choice to forbear and be kind anyway.

2) We aren’t how we were and that’s okay

I’m still who I was because I think that rarely changes on the profound level of our personhood. But I’m not how I was. I’m lumpier and wrinklier, more patient and more accepting of the daily grind. He’s better practiced at handling my lines of prosecutorial inquiry about any subject we disagree on. Hopefully we’re better, more mellowed, more melded into each other.

3) Learning what makes him happy has served me better than trying to guess

I know what he cares about for gifts. I know what he cares about around the house. I know which conversations bore him and which ones he loves to opine on. I know how to arrange our lives and schedule for the optimal outcome. After years of guessing or just simply doing what liked, I know actually pay attention to him and his happiness. It’s another daily practice.

4) Children are the biggest blessing and challenge

We’ve been blessed with 4 kids in 6 years, our first conceived just a few months into our marriage. What babies we were ourselves! No idea how to parent together or how to sort through life! I mean, we thought we knew but it takes time and encountering the realities of barfy pregnancies and slow recoveries, job stress and long hours, to really get to that place of knowing.

And our kids have shaped us profoundly.

5) Bad habits are easily formed and good ones are more difficult

Walking past dirty dishes and mounds of dirty laundry to get to my book–easily done. Being too tired after nursing the baby down to tidy up the remains of the day. Not making my bed or a list of my to-do’s for work before I jump in means I’m scattered and crabby and dinner may be from the freezer. Not texting him complaints all day long–difficult!

6) Food is key

We both love to eat delicious food but have learned that the practice of preparing and cooking and cleaning up said food is hard to do. But if I’m well-fed and not running on adrenaline and fudge from the freezer, I’m not an insane bat. If he has a huge dinner after a long day of working working and marathon training, he probably will make it after bedtime long enough to chat or tidy up the house instead of crashing on the preschooler’s bed.

7) It’s okay to have different interests and passions

I went through a summer a few summers back where I freaked out that we didn’t share any interests!! I was panicked it meant our relationship was dead-ended and we would languish on for decades without any fun ever again.

It is okay to love different things (him: long runs, me: sewing) so long as we listen to and participate as a cheerleader or emotional supporter of the different interests!

8) Laughter is key

But what we’ve found that makes up for not loving doing the same things in our few moments of free time is LAUGHTER! For us that means watching some SNL online or a re-run of Parks and Rec. Just laughing together is truly medicine for our friendship.

9) Praying together is less awkward than it used to be

I’ve struggled for years with praying together, feeling like I have little to offer in terms of a spiritual partnership to my very spiritually grounded husband. Slowly slowly we’ve worked on praying together, sharing spiritual thoughts and books, and I no longer feel so weird about it, or just like I’m way behind in it.

Lessons in 8 years

7 years

Lessons in 6

3 years

 

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