Having a Plan
Sara: Ever since we found out Justin needed a lot of dental work, I’ve felt out of sorts. Both Justin and I were nervous and stressed with making the right treatment decisions. On top of the stress of dental decisions, the very same week we went on a multi-state trip which included a work conference for Justin and our niece’s birthday. I just felt “off” but I didn’t know what to do about it.
Then, a party I had been looking forward to for weeks got postponed because the host’s kids were sick. Although I understood (and didn’t want Gus to go and get sick) I was very disappointed as I had been looking forward to seeing our friends for weeks. Finally, I just decided to ask a few people if they wanted to get together for a play date. Although Gus was a handful and enjoyed running out of the mall playground, I really had a great time talking with my friends. When I got back home, I found myself in a much better mood and I proceeded to take care of the ignored housework and other duties.
Since then, I’ve started working really hard to be one step “ahead.” As silly as it sounds, when I get lazy with menu planning, kitchen cleanup, grocery shopping and laundry, I feel more stressed and I don’t want to tackle the jobs at hand. I’ve noticed I can more patiently deal with each day’s mishaps if I know that there will be food at dinnertime and that Justin’s lunch is taken care of for the next day.
Justin: Routine and discipline have become an essential part of our family life. They give us strength.
Sara: It’s odd. As a single person, I thrived on “living in the moment” and being able to do what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it. As a married person with a fifteen-month old-son, I’ve learned that getting out of routine is detrimental to a peaceful family life.
Justin: It takes a lot of discipline to maintain a routine, but I am convinced that our routine is the key to thriving as persons and maintaining the balance we need in our family. Unfortunately, much of society tells us to avoid discipline, that simply doing what I want in the moment is the key to happiness.
Sara: A huge part of why we decided to sacrifice a second income so I could stay at home full-time was because of the peace it brought to our household. However, I have to approach my duties at home with the same sense of purpose I used to bring to my job. My routine helps me do that.
My routine also helps me set boundaries on my work. As a stay-at-home mom, this can be a special challenge. After all, I’m constantly in my “work” place. Therefore, I often need to work harder to have interactions with others.
Just as Justin works hard to leave his work at the office, I’m working hard to complete my housework during Gus’ naps and schedule time with others.
I’ve found a similar dynamic with my spiritual life. On the days I say I will pray when I “feel like it” I end up with very little prayer time. The days I have a plan to make my prayer time happen are typically the days I have the most fruitful benefits.