Last week, we had some chaos going on in our house. Not life-altering, heart-wrenching chaos. But mess-up-my-routine, nothing-is-where-it-should be, chaos. We are in the midst of remodeling our home, and last week involved new counter tops, new tile backsplash, and new carpet in the main living areas and all four bedrooms.
(Don’t feel sorry for me—I’m getting new stuff!)
For those of you who have never done extensive house renovations (this is my first time), it’s a bit like moving, only from room to room and then back again. I won’t bore you with the entire process, but at one point the only place in my entire house I could sit was on my stairway.
Carpet guys were in every corner of my house. It was a bit unnerving.
My kitchen was filled to the ceiling with family room and office furniture, while tile guy worked on the tile.
In order to move our bedroom furniture, the carpet guys dumped all my husband’s clothes in a pile.
I realize some of you love chaos. It’s exciting to you. You’d choose this on a normal day. My husband is like that—it doesn’t rattle him a bit to have to physically carry everything from the children’s bedrooms down two flights of stairs and then back up again.
(Of course, he gets to go to work while sit alone on the steps with contractors in every room of my house.)
I, on the other hand, find this kind of bedlam highly inconvenient and extremely intrusive. Even if it means I get new carpet and shiny granite counter tops when it’s all said and done. I thrive on routine. I like peaceful, predictable and well-planned days.
I think it’s because my job (Mom of Three) brings with it a certain level of unpredictability and chaos. If the power rests in me to tame the schedule and bring tranquility to the day, then I will do my best to accomplish that. If something adds MORE chaos to my already chaotic days, then it has the potential to throw me off balance.
Maybe for you, it’s not house renovations, but instead a week of sick kids home from school . Or perhaps your husband is traveling and you’re on kid-duty 24/7 this week. Or maybe your car is in the shop and you’ve got to hitch a ride to work or share one car with your spouse.
This stuff happens from time-to-time, and it can be extremely stressful. Especially if you don’t have a strategy for managing it.
Effective Strategies for Managing Temporary Chaos
1. Keep a list. When life is chaotic, things fall through the cracks. Some things will do just fine in the cracks until your life gets back to normal and you can dig them back out. But for more urgent tasks, keep a running list and jot items down as they pop into your head. And for the love of all that is right and good, remember where you put the list.
2. Let things go. You can’t let everything go, but maybe this is the week you warm up those frozen meals you made a few months ago or you become better aquainted with the pizza delivery man or you find a sub for your weekly volunteer commitment. Also, this may not be the best week to do a detailed eating plan designed to identify inflammation-causing foods.
3. Ask for help. You can’t be two places at once. So, if you find yourself stuck on a stairway and your children need a ride home from school, ask someone to pick them up! Most of your friends are happy to help, if they know what you need. (Thank you, Becky!)
4. Continue to eat well, exercise and get proper rest. This is Fitness Friday Girl talking: if there is ever a time you need to provide fuel and sleep for your body, it’s during times of stress. Do your best to stay on track with these things and you will feel so much better.
5. Extend grace. To your spouse. To your kids. To yourself. To the carpet guy who broke the picture frame when he knocked it off your wall and to the other carpet guy who gouged your hardwood floors when he dragged the entertainment center across it. Stressful times bring out the worst in all of us. Try to remember that when everyone is getting on your last nerve. Prayer helps. Also, a glass of wine.
So, that was last week.
This week, I’ve got two sets of grandparents coming into town for a weekend visit. As I type this, I’ve got carpet guys on their way to haul off several rolls of disgusting old carpet and padding from my garage. And I’ve got more carpet guys coming tomorrow because someone measured my office wrong and they needed to reorder the piece of carpet that goes here. And it’s 5:28 pm and I haven’t decided what to make for dinner. My kids are eating chips. Heaven help us.
So, in the spirit of managing my own chaos, I’m keeping this post short.
Q4U: What strategies have helped you during chaotic times? What kinds of chaos throws you off balance? Are you one of those people who thrives on chaos? If so, what’s your secret?