When It All Gets Messy

When I asked what else you would like to see on Planning With Kids one of the most common requests was to hear more about my “bad days”:

“It’s nice to hear that sometimes you have a bad day or week. It’s great to hear that we are all the same and that no one is perfect.”

“More stories of your “bad days” and how you cope, I just read a story how u dealt with a off day you were having and it definitely helped me feel that you are just like all us mums out there and gave inspiration that we all have bad days but being organized helps to reduce stress and things going wrong.”

My intention on the blog is not to present that my life is perfect, because it is not; my life does get messy. It is not to say I have all the answers, because I don’t, sometimes I feel quite lost and confused in this parenting gig.

Towards the end of last year life did get very messy and I was without answers. With a new product launched, freelance writing commitments, Christmas preparations and general end of the year busyness, it had me feeling stretched to my limits. I have spoken before about tilting to fit in the various components of my life and how I like operating like this. But I had tilted too far on the work side for too long and the consequences were:

  • The clothes folding had piled up and we had a number of mornings that were disrupted by “mum I can’t find….”. I was never so happy to see the end of the school year as I was last year.
  • I had so many unreturned personal calls that I stopped  checking my home message bank. I am sure I still owe friends return phone calls sorry!
  • My inbox was exploding with both business and personal emails.
  • I had taken on too many work commitments. I was working many nights in a row after midnight, in an attempt to keep both my business commitments and commitments to my family.

Then Christmas came and I took a holiday from the blog. It was very much needed and it gave me a chance to catch my breath, to gain some perspective and to hit the reset button and start again.

When I returned after holidays, I didn’t just start back again as I left it. I made a number of changes to how I worked both on the blog and at home:

  • I made a commitment to myself that I would not let the folding pile up; it takes priority over going online.
  • I took message bank off my home phone. I simply found it an unnecessary stressor. Nor do I always answer the phone now when it rings, it does quite often ring out, especially when it is my “work days” and after school when I am with the kids.
  • I have introduced a number of strategies to better handle my inbox – which is a blog post in itself!
  • I am giving myself more flexibility with my posting schedule. This post for example, in my messy state last year would have been written on the weekend, quite probably at midnight.  But I am writing it tonight at  Sydney airport on the way  home from attending a blogging conference. Prior to leaving for Sydney, I chose to make sure everything was organised at home first – I cooked, baked and folded. This wasn’t an expectation of my husband, but it was something I wanted to do and it made me feel better about leaving for three days.  Yes the blog post is later and not to my plan, but I am learning to live with that.
  • I made some key decisions on what work I will and will not do. I am no longer taking on coaching clients, I have significantly reduced my presence on social media and I have become much better at saying no. I have some key responses I use now for small businesses, not for profits, bloggers etc who send me pitches. It lets them know that while I wish them well with their endeavours, time working on their pitch means time taken from my family and that is something I am not willing to give up at the moment.

So my life does get messy and disorganised at times.  Once I work through it, I often reflect that maybe sometimes it all needs to come to a head, so I can make some better strategic decisions about how I am spending my time.  The changes I implemented at the start of this year are still working well for me.  However I am realistic and know that there will be more times when life will get messy and I will need to again stop, catch my breath and reorganise what I am doing.

Does your life get messy sometimes too?