Or maybe it's just us?
Last night, that little dude seen above pilfering through the fridge kept me up pretty much all night. And so, though I had big plans to be productive today, I'm choosing to accept another day of survival mode.
But that's okay, because if there's one thing I've learned in the past year, it's that life goes on - even in survival mode! I've gotten so good at survival mode, in fact, that I've kind of pieced together a little system to make sure that we stay afloat. Since all of us take turns sinking in these murky waters from time to time, I thought I would share my system with you.
I call it 3 D's + The Big Three. The inspiration for this system comes from two places:
1) My sweet friend Erin, The Humbled Homemaker, is just awesome. She's a sister ENFP and also leads an incredibly active Facebook community. Her mentor shared the 3 D's part of this system, and Erin graciously passed it on to our circle of friends as a way to navigate the hardest of days.
2) I know I've linked to The courage to rest at Conversion Diary before, but Jen's realization that creating a peaceful home meant significantly reducing her to-do list had a major impact on me. That post inspired The Big Three part of this system.
1. Dishes. Tackle the dishes in the morning. For me, this means unloading the dishwasher right after I drop the girls off at school. In survival mode, it's so easy to let dishes pile up, but an empty dishwasher means I am much less likely to let dishes pile up on the counter or in the sink all day.
2. Do laundry. I know not everyone agrees, but I have found the best way for me to stay ahead of the laundry is to do one load, once a day, start to finish. I know some people like to have a Laundry Day of the week, and if that works for you, great! But when I'm in survival mode, the mountains of laundry overwhelm so easily.
I've come up with a system for daily laundry that is working so well, I almost can't believe it.
Every night after I've tucked all the kids into bed, I take the hamper filled with the day's dirty clothes down to the basement and throw it all in the washer together on cold. The only thing I pull out of the pile to wash separately are Kyle's dress shirts which I wash in one cycle once a week. I leave them in the washer overnight, then first thing in the morning, I put them in the dryer. They tumble dry while I get everyone up and dressed and the girls out the door. Sometime before the babies go down for a morning nap, I fold it and put it away when I take them upstairs for naps.
One load a day, done and done!
(And I can hear the question already: doesn't it mildew overnight? I'll say this much - we don't use scented detergent or laundry softener of any kind, so I am obsessive about sniffing the laundry for cleanness. So far, so good on leaving it overnight in our dampish basement! Your mileage may vary.)
3. Dinner. If you are responsible for feeding yourself (and perhaps other little humans as well) breakfast and lunch and you can do so without much thought, why is dinner such a hurdle? I don't know, but I do know if I leave dinner plans until 4:00 in the afternoon, it's just north of a nightmare. I am a HUGE fan of slow cooker dinners when possible, and getting those started in the morning when my energy is at its peak works wonderfully for me. But even if I just set meat out to thaw or look up a recipe and make sure we have ingredients on hand in the morning, it is a HUGE gift to Late Afternoon Megan.
Okay, so if you are deep in the trenches of survival mode (2 hours of sleep anyone?) (did I mention I'm operating on 2 hours of sleep?), I find the 3 D's are about all I can manage.
Extended seasons of survival mode require a little more of us, don't they? For example, bills must be paid, groceries must be bought, and hairs must be cut. (LOL JUST KIDDING. It's been nearly a year since my last hair cut!) So this is where the Big Three comes into play.
The Big Three
Pick three things to accomplish that day. Just three. Be reasonable, too. Don't plan "declutter toy room," "weed garden," and "deep clean kitchen" all on the same day, savvy? If you can do all of that in one day, pssssst - you're not in survival mode.
And .... that's it. That's my survival guide to survival mode.
Here's what it looks like in real life for me. I whipped up a page with space for the 3 Ds and The Big Three and printed it out. I slipped it in this magnetic frame which is wipe-able and splurged (ha) on some pretty fine tip dry erase markers. This goes on the fridge and keeps me on track each day. At the end of the day, I take great pleasure in wiping it off and knowing that even in my zombie-like state, I still got a FEW things done to keep this show running!
I know without a doubt that some day, some beautiful day, I'll look up and this season of surviving will be so far in the rear view mirror, I can hardly remember it. But until that day comes, I'll be plugging along, dry erase marker in hand, with days that look like this:
Also, not that anyone would really need this, but here's my simple printout: