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When You're in Survival Mode

Parenting Self Care

I am currently in survival mode. I am sickly pregnant with my fourth child and we, as a family, aren’t even kind of thriving. There have been a lot of nights of asking my husband to pick up dinner on the way home and a lot of picking through laundry piles in search of underwear. It isn’t my best, to be sure, but it’s where we are.

As I lie on my couch, willing away the inevitable vomit and inwardly pleading for my children to play peacefully, I think about all the things I really need to do… and it’s not even anything fancy. A load of laundry. Unload the dishwasher. Throw dinner in the crockpot. But, most days, I find myself resolving to “Do it tomorrow.”

It’s true I am in a short season where survival mode is completely acceptable. However, after days of pushing off my to-do list to a “tomorrow” that never comes, we find ourselves on a Saturday with zero clean clothing, piles of rotting fruit and a desperate need to transfer money from savings to cover unplanned eating out expenses.

So, what can I do in this season to prevent the inevitable household explosion that occurs after days of shirking responsibility? My husband and I sat down and hammered out a plan and, so far, it’s working.

List what’s dire. Our list? Laundry. Dishes. Dinner. In that order. If I feel well enough to stand, I start a load. I don’t even really need to fold it and put it away. Once that’s done, dishes are the next priority. Then, if the planets align, I start a very simple dinner. 

Drop what isn’t on the list. This might seem obvious to a lot of you, but I was still trying to live life as if I wasn’t pregnant and sick. If I got a random burst of energy, I naively assumed I would feel well all day and I would decide that was the perfect moment to straighten my boys’ bookshelves before getting to laundry. Uh, nope. The shelves can wait.

For the love, ask for/accept offers of help. I get it, you’re Wonder Woman. Me, too. Only… I’m totally not. I have had several friends kindly offer to drop off dinner… and I have swallowed my pride and accepted.

Whatever you’re experiencing, be it morning sickness, life with a newborn, or a family tragedy, it is a season. Find what is most important for your family and pare down to the basics. Do what must be done and nothing else. It will eventually end. You will eventually exercise again (or whatever it is you love to do)! For now, take care of yourself and your family.

Kara Garis is a cloth diapering, baby wearing, semi-crunchy mama to two active boys and a baby girl. She lives with her husband in Oklahoma and loves running, cooking, traveling, reading and teaching herself how to braid. She blogs at karagaris.com.



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