I have never been very good at the everyday. For me, the whole of life needs to be a challenge: I don’t tidy up, I ‘revolutionise my living space.’ I don’t want to go for a relaxing stroll in the park, I want to climb a mountain. I don’t just wash the dishes, I…well, I hate washing the dishes. I like the challenge of loading the dishwasher to optimum capacity. It’s true to say that most of my life I’ve been driven. The trouble is that half of the time I’ve been driven to distraction. Life can’t always be full of dramatic challenges. Every day is mostly full of, well – the everyday. This is a lesson you can’t help but learn during an enforced lockdown.
The challenge of everyday
As a new mother, I struggled to adjust to the amount of extra housework that comes with having children. Before I had kids, housework was something I ‘got done’ over the weekend and maintained during the week. This was no great challenge even when juggling a full-time job. Once you have children, housework is never done. There is always something more you could be doing, and if you leave it for even a day, it just piles up. At first I drove myself mad trying to ‘get on top’ of things. But after a while I realised it’s all about managing the flow. Don’t let the dishes, laundry and other chores pile up for too long, or you end up snowed under. Get certain tasks done every day, and fit in the rest when you can. I never had a perfect house or ever wanted one. But I don’t like things to get too chaotic either. Managing the flow is the secret of balance in this case, at least as far as I’m concerned. I also need to recognise when I should ask for help, and ensure other family members do their bit as well.
With the lockdown, comes another daily flow I need to manage: schoolwork. In the first week or two, I drove myself crazy trying to recreate the school timetable, until I realised the teacher had posted a ‘core’ timetable of tasks that had to be done, with the remainder to fit in around that. This made matters much easier. We focus on the ‘core’ through the week, and do the other activities at weekends, as these tend to be crafts and music which the little one can join in with. It’s unfair to him to be schooling the eldest for 5 hours every day.
Achieve a lot by doing a little
It really is true that you can achieve a lot by doing a little. But guess what? You have to do a little everyday. Daily blog posts add up to 300 in 10 months. Daily yoga practice increases strength and flexibility until finally after 38 years I’m able to touch my toes 😅. Daily meditation increases my serenity, reduces anger and anxiety, and helps me live a more enjoyable life, everyday.
So there is a challenge to the everyday: it’s enjoying the moment and managing the flow of life which might just take you to new heights you never even realised existed. It’s all possible, one day at a time. No need to introduce extra difficulties out of some misplaced sense of martyrdom. No need to complain that you always have to do ‘everything.’ You don’t ever have to do everything. But you always have to do ‘something.’ Just do what you have to do, and do it well. That’s the challenge of everyday. And I’m learning to love it!