Recently I've been doing this new thing, and I don't even know where it came from so let's just attribute it to Divine Inspiration or The Powers of the Universal Campaign for Good or something else similarly optimistic and positive that implies that the world conspires in our favor. Recently I've been saying this mantra in my head: I want to set myself up for success.
I know it might sound very new-agey of me but let's face it: I am pretty new agey so that's just fine.
What do I mean about setting myself up for success? For me it means making my environment easier on myself. It means asking myself what my goals are and then literally setting up my surroundings so it's easier for me to make the choices that align with those goals.
So for example: if someone wants to lose weight, a way they can set themselves up for success is to only stock their house with healthy foods. No secret stashes of trigger items or "cheat" foods. Another way is to change their driving route to work so they can avoid Starbucks or McDonalds or the Donut place or whatever triggers them into eating foods (or drinking drinks) that don't support weight loss. They can pack a gym bag and put it in their car every evening so they have it ready to use after work each day. They can make their own healthy lunch and bring that with them to work so they're less likely to go out to eat, etc.. You see where I'm going with this.
Set yourself up for success: make your physical reality support the goals in your mental reality.
For me personally this has manifested as getting my house organized.
I get triggered and cranky when there are Things I Need To Do and I can't get them done. So, when the kitchen is a mess, or there are dishes in the sink, or laundry not put away, or toys strewn across the whole house and I am in the middle of actually parenting/playing with my children, I find that my head isn't in being with my children and instead I'm focusing on all that Stuff I Have To Do and then I get annoyed because I just wanna go get it done already. I try to listen to that cutsey poem that's out there on pintrest telling you that it's okay if your house is a mess because babies are only babies for a little while but, well, I just can't handle it. So I set myself up for success so that I am able to be in the moment more with my kids. So i can be happier and more present and not stressed out and doing dishes.
Back when I only had one kid, I had way more time throughout the day to throw a load of dishes into the sink or fold a load of laundry and (ugh, worst part) put it all away where it goes. Now I don't have that chance because the second Henry is occupied, Cassandra needs me or vice versa. And since naps don't happen anymore either, I don't have that chunk of space to get stuff done.
And it's funny because when I had all that time before, I totally took it for granted. I was way more okay with dishes being in my sink and my floor needing to be vacuumed because I knew I could get to it. Now I have no clue when my next chance will be. Whoever said that you literally lose your last slices of free time when you have the second kid was exactly correct.
So I've been Setting Myself Up For Success. And what does that look like for me?
Well, every evening I clean. Every, single one. I clean and sweep and swiffer the kitchen. I wipe down everything.
I pick up. All of the toys. All of them.
I put away blankets, play mats, boppys, laundry baskets. I sweep the foyer.
I try to set out my teacup so my husband can just start the keurig for me in the morning. On really good days I mentally plan for what I'm going to wear the next day.
Maybe all of these things are normal to you guys reading this but they never were to me. I was raised with much more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants mentality that embraced "whatever may come". And while I'm really good at rolling with the punches as a result, I find that I really would prefer to have some semblance of order to my life at least on a base level because life with a baby and a toddler is way hectic enough on it's own that I really don't wanna be speed cleaning the dishes in order to just fill up the brita filter.
So every night I try to set myself up for success for the next day. And the same is true of Sunday.
Sundays I use as a springboard for the whole week. It's Set Myself Up For Success Sunday.
Sunday is when I grocery shop, it's when I clean the bathrooms, it's when I do all the laundry. Sunday is when I definitely make sure I vacuum (I vacuum every other day anyway though). Sunday I clean out the fridge, I clean the sink, I take rogue toys from the livingroom down into the playroom (during the week I just put them away in the livingroom toy boxes). I re-set the house so that on Monday, everything is fresh and new and ready.
All of this work really takes up a TON of my time and energy. I don't sit and watch TV much. I don't really get to read or catch up on blogs or twitter or whatever. But a result of this is that I feel much more centered in the land of chaos that is my life right now.
Having two kids in a house is like living in the center of a tornado. I've been trying to figure out how to ground myself during that tornado and making sure I am organized to the best of my capability is the way I have found to do that. So Setting Myself Up For Success is how I've come to do this.
Now don't get me wrong, we still have more belongings than space in our house so when/if you were to ever come over you would never think "wow her house is clean". I literally laugh at the thought of anyone seeing my house and thinking that LOL. Even when I Set Myself Up For Success there are still toys EVERYWHERE. Even right now there are currently piles of laundry everywhere too, there is just STUFF full to bursting here. But the upside is that I know what it all is. I know it has all recently been wiped down and sanitized. I know where things are in this chaos and I know how to function within it and that's really important. And while I really am working on getting us to a more minimalist lifestyle I know that that takes time and that babies come with a lot of big giant plastic furniture items and those things take up real estate in your house. It's all good, it's all fine.
I just wanted to share because this Setting Myself Up For Success thing has been really helpful to me. I've felt like I am somehow in control of this crazy, wild life I'm living nowadays. And that's saying something lol