Well, May has come and gone. I’m not sure how you feel, but I am glad to move past it. I am also thankful that I felt like it moved at a steady pace. There was some sort of rhythm in my world: homeschooling, managing household routines and connecting with family and friends in ways that were socially distant and emotionally satisfying. Amidst all the uncertainty, I was thankful for this rhythm.
Even before the pandemic began, I started working to create a habit of being a better listener and making the habit ongoing. As I listen I try to note what I am hearing. Over a one month time period, I then review what I have noted and see what dots show up. I then see what dots need to be connected so that I can see more clearly what I may otherwise miss. Afterwards, I like to share those thoughts because they always encourage me and I hope they encourage you too.
This month I asked myself three questions. Those questions were; what was the funniest thing that happened in May? What do you miss? What will peace look like in June? It was refreshing to listen out for the answers to these questions as I walked at my own pace in May. The funniest thing that happened in May was the overall laughter I experienced as I spent time with my kids. First, I will admit that I have a heavy tendency to approach life from a very serious stand point. Laughter doesn’t happen often for me. As I type that last sentence I feel sad. No matter though; it is what it is. It is said, “Live, love, laugh”, right? I’m working on all of those.
For those fellow readers out there who are parents or caregivers to humans that are school age, I am sure you can relate to the fact that the majority of your waking, and possibly sleeping hours, this past month were shared with kids. This month the majority of my time was spent homeschooling my kids and it was a challenge. Even as a former special education teacher I found that teaching my own kids was not something that A) came easily and B) I found a natural desire to do. I was blessed to be able to talk about those challenges with a friend and fellow mom who’s also a seasoned homeschool parent. After sharing my struggles we laughed a lot as she could relate to what I was going through. It was good for my soul.
After school work was done, I found myself spending time with my kids playing a new-to-us card game called “Taco, Cat, Goat, Cheese, Pizza”. It is an energetic game that requires listening and quick reactions. If you have not heard of it, I highly recommend you check it out!
Some other times I found myself laughing were: after reprimanding one of my kids for spraying the other with Febreze (#thingsyouneverthoughtyoudsaytoyourkids), watching my son try to hit a balloon in the air over and over in prep for a game he would play during our at-home field day, and, finally, hosting the at-home field day with a couple of my kids’ friends and watching them play various games.
Dot #1 – Laughter can come from playing games. Need a laugh? Play a game.
Next I asked what I miss being able to do pre-pandemic. I found that I missed hanging out with friends the most. I am thankful that opportunities are on the rise to do more things socially. I am trying to listen out for them, take advantage of what I can, and not complain about the time it takes.
Some other things I missed were: going out to eat at restaurants, going to spring yard sales, working out with friends, and my coffee table being in the middle of my living room. To explain that last one briefly; I am trying to be a nice mom and let my kids keep up a fort that has taken over our living room. I have not been able to come up with a reason why it should come down, and honestly, I don’t want to spend however long it might take to wash all the blankets and sheets they’ve used. I’m curious if I will start to miss the fort once it is taken down and my coffee table is back in my living room.
Dot #2 – Hanging out with people is worth all the time it takes as it’s also good for the soul.
The last question I asked was what peace might look like in June. As I write this post June is here and where I live we are in the middle of phase two for things to open up. My kids are done with all their school assignments even though their technical last day isn’t until June 13th.
We are entering, yet again, a new season and I am still working out what it might look like. In order to do this and to walk through June with peace, I feel like I have to continue a habit I started in May. That habit is called looping.
After listening to a podcast by my favorite author, Emily P. Freeman, share how she has been getting things done, specifically working from home, during the stay-at-home order. In her explanation she mentioned the term “looping”.
The way looping works is pretty simple. You take the list of items you want to do and work on one at a time. You do it until it’s done, or what needs to be done with that item is complete for that day and then you move on to the next item on the list.
In a time where there is less structure and predictability to life yet doing essential tasks such as caring for yourself and your people is, looping has given me a peaceful way to approach the never ending job that is the to do list. Specifically I have applied this to my cleaning routine, office routine (emails, calendar, meal planning, etc.), and project list. The pace of productivity has slowed down but so has my heart rate. I struggle a little less often with the shame of not getting as much done. I accept the day more for what it is and walk in it. Knowing that the item on my loop list is not going anywhere, that the item waiting in queue isn’t either, that I am doing the best I can with what I have, my time, I can work with a little less stress, and leave the rest until it comes back around in the loop.
Dot #3 – Looking for some peace in your summer? Trying looping your to do list. You may find it is good for your soul too.
As I continue to move into June the questions I ask will be a little different. Also inspired by my favorite author I plan to consider the following; what was a moment of celebration in June and to name something you’re reconsidering as a result of the last 30 days. Lastly, what is one thing you’d like to start doing in July?
June has gotten off to a tough start. For now, I will leave it at that. I look forward to sharing what I hear during June next month.