Can you hear it? The cars roaring to get to their next destination. The frustrated tick-tick of the person on their computer next to you. The kitchen full of dishes because no one has had the time to unpack the dishwasher. Let’s not even go to the pile of laundry…! Deadlines. School-concerts. Holiday planning. Christmas shopping. End-year functions. More shopping. DISTRACTIONS.
My head is so full. In fact, as I’m writing this, my head is pounding from the flu-virus that just won’t leave my body. But I have a million things to do. It’s my father-in-law’s birthday today. And my kids’ school closes tomorrow so there’s the teachers’ gifts. Today is bin-day, and we have no more blackbags. As part of our plan to pay off all our debt (read the exciting challenge!), we’ve cancelled our SweepSouth services, and my house is just not getting the attention it needs.
My two middle children were (supposedly) brushing their teeth this morning, when I hear a commotion. I came in to find them sitting next to the toilet-bowl talking in cute and funny voices.
“What are you guys doing?”
“Mom, we found a Mommy spider and her baby! We’re welcoming them to our home.”
Yes. This is my life. We’re happily welcoming spiders and their exciting spiderwebs to our home this December. Because Mommy is so busy. So distracted.
Can we slow down?
Usually, by this time of the year, we are down-winding. We are slowing down everything – work, school, and all the craziness that comes with it. We’re clearing distractions and focusing on family.
But this year… I can’t even hear anything above the distractions. I can’t even remember to pack everyone lunch. I don’t go to gym. I can’t fold and pack away all the laundry before the next week’s laundry goes into the machine. I’m sick. I’m tired. I’m overwhelmed. I’m distracted.
Steven Furtick wrote a book, Crashing the Chatterbox, that I started reading earlier this year (but got distracted) and recently discovered again. We constantly allow our heads and minds to be filled with lies and false beliefs that distract us from hearing and/or believing the truth. We get sucked into the belief that everything is urgent and can’t wait and the lists of must-do’s to be a good spouse, parent, employee, employer, or else we fail. Fail as human beings.
But the truth is – all these things can distract us from things we should be focusing on. Is your marriage also feeling the strain of this year? It’s not in a bad place, but you’re both so tired that you know you’re not giving your spouse your best. Your children also super-moany? (It’s like the regular moan, but wearing a cape.) Are your bodies feeling it too? My body is screaming it needs a break.
So here’s what we’re going to do.
We’re going to disable the distractions.
How? You don’t know my life, and the things I still need to do!
You’re right. I don’t. But I know mine. And it’s hard enough. So as different as we might be, just knowing you’re not alone can help clear the fog long enough to change one thing, and disable the distractions. Are here’s how:
1. Lists are your friend
Make a list of the things you need to do. I used to hate lists, and constantly make fun of my amazing hubby that made lists for everything. But now I am a believer 🙂
Lists will help you remember and bring all the loose ideas in your mind, to solid ground. (Like a whole lots of kites flying all over the sky, and someone grabbing hold of all the ropes and bringing them safely down)
Now that you have your list, divide them between urgent and important. Not all things are urgent, even though they might be a priority.
Renewing my motor vehicle licence is important and it is urgent. That goes on top. Getting my children’s teachers gift is important, and even though it feels urgent, it’s not. I can write them a heartfelt card and point out the specific things I’ve seen this year regarding my child.
3. Drop the guilt
It’s actually the hardest one, I know. But we place all these unnecessary pressure on ourselves to be perfect, and do everything as we did last year. Or better.
Drop the guilt if you can’t get to the gym. You’ll start again in January. Drop the guilt if you don’t have time for a healthy lunch. Or dinner. KFC is fine 3 nights in a row. Drop the guilt over the perfect Christmas shopping. Use Takealot. Drop the guilt if your children are making friends with the friendly Daddy-longlegs with his beautiful cobweb behind the toilet. At least they have friends 🙂
Finally, listen. Listen to the birds outside. Listen to the carols playing in the stores. Listen with your heart. Really hear what you spouse is saying when he complains about work. Make him feel appreciated. Listen to your children when they moan. Take two minutes and draw a picture with them. Close this blog and grab a puzzle with them instead. Call your dad. Tell him how much you respect the man.
And listen to your heart. Listen to what your body needs. Disable your distractions, wipe away the lies and false beliefs, and listen to the truth about your worth. You are needed. You are good enough. You are worthy. You have purpose. You don’t need to be or do it all.
I know this year has been long. And crazy. And perhaps really good, or perhaps really bad. But either way, before this year comes crashing down on me, I need to feel at peace with it. With myself. And in order to do that, I need to disable these distractions and focus on the PEOPLE around me, instead of the things.
You’re not alone. I’m with you. And we’ve got this. Let’s make the last few weeks of 2018 count.