About a month ago, Randy gave a lesson in church about doing the little things each day to keep one's faith strong and vibrant. The few days before he gave the lesson, we talked a lot about this subject, in both a secular and a religious context, and that lesson has really stuck with me.
As a new mom, I struggle with the additional things in my life to balance. With a new baby comes an infinite amount of joy, but also increased laundry (especially if you cloth diaper), increased specialized food to prepare (or squish rather), less sleep, and definitely more messes. There is story time and bath time and tummy time (thank goodness there is also nap time!!!) and amidst it all I am still learning how to run a household that is still calm and clean and a happy place to be.
What I have been focusing on these last few weeks that has helped me let go of the guilt that I am not in complete control of the mountain of things that I want to do every day, is simply remembering that I don't need to do it all--just a little bit. As long as I am working towards my goals, I don't have to beat myself up that EVERYTHING in the long list is not currently checked off. I try and prioritize my lists into the things that are most important to me to work on, down to the small time-wasters that are pure relaxing fluff. My big ones: daily prayer, daily scripture study, meals for my family, exercise (even if it is only twenty minutes of yoga--it makes a big difference in how I feel about myself and the world), time with my husband. Then next in my list comes housework--I try and work on one room a day, and make sure I have the dinner dishes in the wash before I go to bed. That is the ideal. The reality? Very often I do leave dishes in the sink for the next day . . . but I'm working on it. So on those days I take a breath, and let it go. Can you tell I have a problem being hard on myself? Then the list goes on to include all the things I enjoy doing-like sewing, reading, creative writing, knitting. After that comes watching a good film (recently on a day I was rather under the weather I watched the BBC version of Elizabeth Gaskill's North and South--so good!!!!!) or playing a game on the DS (yeah, Randy got me hooked. Plus I have a sassy little red one).
Some days are harder than others, and my motivation is harder to come by. Things lower on the list look more tempting, or a nap pushes its way in and trumps them all. But as I focus on doing little bits at a time, and working towards a big picture, rather than a hard-fast list that measures my worth as a housewife and mother, I am a happier person. And on those days when Wesley has been teething and fussing and only wanting to be held, and no room got cleaned and no dishes got done, and I am still in workout clothes but no workout happened and dinner consists of Randy foraging for cereal while I nurse for the 5 millionth time--on those days, if I still read my scriptures and say my prayers before I go to bed, I still count it a good day.