It was a Monday night. The whole family was headed down the canyon to my son’s basketball game. My husband was driving and I finally had time to breathe. I recapped my day to Chad and this is when the meltdown began.
My day had started at 5:45 am with a load of laundry, and I had been going full steam ahead all day including, but not limited to, nine trips in the car, three meals, one snack, four sets of dishes, homeschooling, meal planning, grocery shopping (which of course includes unloading groceries), and at least ten loads of laundry.
It was 6:15 pm and I was exhausted. I wasn’t crying or raging or anything like that, but I just had the strong, depressing realization that “I can’t maintain this pace.” I went into a little bit of a panic that this is my life and it isn’t going to get any easier any time soon. My kids are only getting bigger and busier, and I’m only getting older.
Now often in the middle of exhaustion, I lose perspective and I don’t see things clearly. But this time I checked myself and questioned my own thinking. I remembered that I often felt this way on Monday nights, but would not likely feel the same way later in the week. I’ve tracked and mapped my emotional rollercoasters enough to know that Monday nights and Tuesdays are the hardest for me.
I knew this was a “Monday” problem, not a life problem.
After I had my mini-meltdown, the answer to my problem came to me quickly and clearly. I knew I needed to ease up on my Monday schedule. I was requiring too much of myself.
My schedule had gotten increasingly packed as I made some small refinements to my Sabbath Day and moved some things off Sunday to Monday. In addition, my kids had picked up an art class Monday mornings, and I now ran my errands during a one-hour dance class to make the best use of that time.
Also, I do laundry on Mondays. I realized that, although I had done laundry on Monday for 12-plus years, it wasn’t working for me anymore. I was getting busier and wasn’t as home as much to keep the loads moving. We were producing more laundry with bigger kids and more activities. Laundry day was officially a marathon- starting as early as I could and going into Tuesday morning.
The solution to my Monday meltdowns was right before me. I decided to challenge my 12 year long tradition. I asked myself, “Could I really move laundry day off Monday?”
I reasoned with myself in my head. Here is the conversation between me and myself:
Me: “Yes, I could move laundry off Mondays. There is nothing forcing me to keep this schedule, but I like to start the week off with laundry. It gives my Monday purpose. I’m so used to it. And what other day could I do it?”
Myself: “O.K. I hear you. Laundry on Monday is a big part of your weekly routine. Let’s figure out a way to keep laundry on Monday, but lighten your load. What about breaking up laundry into two different days? “
I’ll stop with my inner dialogue, but long story short, I came up with an answer to my own problem.
I decided to divide my laundry day into two days. I would continue to do towels and the adults’ laundry on Monday, but I would do the kids’ laundry on Thursday. That would break the giant task into two much more manageable days.
This new schedule required me to revamp the kids’ daily responsibilities since they are involved in laundry day as well. I rearranged our days and came up with a new schedule for the kids’ responsibilities.
We’ve ran our new schedule a few weeks now. The first week a couple of the kids balked at having to change things up. One child even cried about it, but I explained to them my concerns and issues and they understood. I counted that I did about seven loads on Monday and five loads on Thursday. No wonder Mondays had become too stressful!
But since the change, my Mondays have been meltdown free, and I feel much more peaceful about the week.
I hope I didn’t bore you to death with the details of my life, but my goal was to help us all realize that we have more control of our lives than we think. Sure we can’t control everything. Times are dictated to us by coaches, schools, teachers, leaders, etc. BUT it is important to give ourselves back the power. We are ultimately the master planners of our schedule, and we are the problem solvers as well. When faced with difficulty or exhaustion or unhappiness, do we accept it as is or do we fight against it, until we find a better way?
My other goal was to help us realize that solutions are often simple and right before our eyes. Just like my easy laundry fix. That wasn’t rocket science or even biology for that matter. But sometimes we just don’t allow ourselves time and thought and permission to solve our own problems. We don’t allow ourselves to think outside of our habits, traditions, and norms. We don’t challenge what is or what always has been. We may think
“This is what I have always done.”
“This is what my mom did.”
“This is what my neighbor does.”
“This has always worked for me.”
But we have to challenge our own thinking and continually be evolving, adapting, and adjusting to meet our current needs and our current situation.
I’d love for you to think of one thing in your home right now that is not working for you. Maybe it’s your bedtime routine, homework time, carpool pick-ups, breakfast menu, me time, your exercise regime, study habits, etc. Evaluate the problem and identify what the problem really is. Then give thought to a solution.
I’m confident there is a solution and I’m confident the solution is within you. We have all the answers we need already inside us.