People often say to me “I just don’t know how you do it all”. Well, the answer is simple, I don’t do it all.
For me, controlling the stressors in my life all comes down to prioritizing and sticking to those priorities.
As a mother of three young children ages 8, 6, and 4, all of who are active in sports, a woman who cares deeply about being active in her Catholic community, and a full-time director of engineering who travels frequently, I strive very hard to maintain balance in my life. For me there are three things I must do to maintain a positive mental state.
Time with God
First and foremost, I have to spend time with God. As St. Francis de Sales said, “Everyone of us needs half an hour of prayer each day, except when we are busy – then we need an hour.” How true this is.
I cannot claim to spend an hour a day in solid prayer, but I do try to deliberately spend little moments of time throughout the day with Him. Things like a quick prayer as I get out of bed in the morning, a conversation about what is weighing on my mind while I’m in the shower, listening to the daily Mass readings and a quick podcast (usual suspects are Bishop Barron and Fr. Mike Schmitz) on my morning commute, prayers at meals, night prayers with my children, and finally prayers at the end of the day with my husband allow me to connect and live a Christ-centric life.
While the daily prayers are good and necessary, the truly irreplaceable, deep, intimate time I need with God comes during my weekly adoration hour. This hour, with the precious Body of Christ heals my wounds, recharges my batteries, and helps me to bring God with me as I interact in secular world.
Time with Family and Friends
The second factor in the balancing equation is time with my family and friends. I consider my close friends my family, so I group them together.
Having dinner and a bedtime story with my husband and children is precious time to me, especially during the week when I feel I don’t see them much. This is the time they can tell me about their day and I get the chance to show them the tender love I picture our Blessed Mother giving her Son.
I also “date” my children (but more on that another time!). Most of my quality time with my husband comes on the weekends. We purposely make an effort to maximize our time together, even if it means doing the chores like grocery shopping and yard work together, it is better because we are doing it together.
Lastly, I make it a priority to spend time with my friends. I am blessed to know these people. They bring me closer to God and walking the journey with them could not be more amazing.
Time to stay Healthy
Finally, to maintain sanity, I need exercise.
We all know exercise releases endorphins and endorphins make you feel good, but exercise for me serves two purposes. As I put my earbuds in and set out for a run I am able to let my mind unwind. I spend the time lost in thought and can work through difficult problems by having the uninterrupted alone time to think (I use an iPod, so I won’t be tempted to check my phone). The physical exercise allows me to decompress both mentally and physically and I always return home feeling much better than when I left.
I titled this post intentionally with the words “joyful chaos”. It is crazy and hectic, but so full of love and joy I would have it no other way.