Friday, October 10, 2008

Survival Mode

When push comes to shove, cut corners!  Here's a glimpse into my world of making life a little easier lately...

1) I have not been separating the laundry.  It's amazing how much more smoothly and quickly laundry shenanigans go when one is not so particular!  And guess what?  The clothes are still just as clean!

2) I have not created beautiful, from scratch birth announcements for Baby J.  Let's be honest, very few people have time for such embellishment!  (I did this for my first and my second never got announcements at all, poor thing.  Oh well, add it to the mommy guilt. :)  We went online and in a matter of seconds, voila, birth announcements!

3) I wrote no personal messages on #2's announcements.  If you were feeling sad about not getting a personal greeting, you were not alone.  If you didn't receive an announcement at all, well, I'm very sorry.  (P.S. Many were just mailed!)

4) I have not been doing dishes.  Period.  All pots, pans, cutting boards, plates, etc. go directly from table to dishwasher.  No messing around.   

5)  I have not been changing our bed linens very frequently.  Hey, a little grime makes them softer, right?!  At least its our own personal grime! ;)  I'm patting myself on the back that we have linens at all.  Be grateful kids!

6)  And somewhat tragically, but in other ways very good, I have not been concerning myself with my appearance.  If my hair gets washed, great.  If make-up finds its way onto my face (via the front seat of the van), even better.  But I have not been concerned with the dark circles under my eyes or my tousled locks.  There just isn't time.

So if you've been feeling swamped and unable to tend to details, maybe my little list will make you feel a little more normal.  I think the more REAL and honest we are about our survival status, the closer we'll be toward stepping back into more of a normal existence.  Now, though, the real question is: how long does (can!) survival mode last? 
God bless you on this Friday!  TGIF!


Kate E. said...

Ahhh B-Mama, great post. I have no such good excuse as a brand new baby, but my 2 year old has been going through a super rough 3 weeks with no napping and nightime waking and it has been taking it's toll.

I am a huge believer in:
1: Everything in the dishwasher
2: No laundry sorting

These things pretty much are a mainstay in our house. During regular times (non-survival) I hand wash my knives.

I also try to hang up my bras and lay out my sweaters (which I sort into a delicate wash).

But that is the most I ever do.

However, I have just decided to sleep or no sleep I have to not look like a schlub at work (I work at a very small very casual library so it is easy to slip).

My library director always looks amazing and I just decided that throwing on a nice sweater and cords is just as easy as jeans and a ratty shirt (I never did sweatshirts, thank goodness).

So way to go, rock on with your survival mode...your dishes are clean, your laundry is done, awesome!

T. Armstrong said...

LOL! This made me smile!

Kat said...

B-Mama, we've all been there! Your post has made me realize that what you may consider "survival mode," others might consider "regular mode". For example, I don't sort wash even in the best of times :) When I am in survival mode, something that I think is so awful might not seem bad at all to someone else, who doesn't see that particular thing as a priority. Does that make any sense :)

Not that this makes survival mode any easier, because in the end, much of this has to do with a mama's sanity! It's hard to feel like things aren't getting done that we'd like to have get done, and can really eat away at our sense of order and peace. It's also hard when we feel like our kiddos needs are too much for us to deal with - I'm sure that all of us have had those days or weeks where we notice that our patience is threadbare and our tolerance for things is much lower than usual. Not to say that that's where you are right now, B-Mama - I'm sure that you're as cheerful as ever! - but I certainly had one of those days yesterday, for no apparent reason. The challenge is to not become discouraged, and to pray for forgiveness and for the grace to do better today!

catherine said...

I don't sort laundry anymore either and dishes go straight into the dishwasher. I mean isn't that what it's there for? To wash dishes so I don't have to? :)

Gail said...

I don't have a dishwasher, so I have to handwash everything. Lately when I'm in "survival mode" it means that you get your breakfast bagel on a paper towel or right on the table, and I only do dishes once a day. And everyone has to use the same cup all day long. :)
I always love "real mommy life" posts like this!

Kat said...

Yes, we totally use paper plates/towels/plastic cups after babies are born in our house! Drives my mom nuts, isn't terribly eco-conscious, but it helps everyone out!

AR and J Mama said...

Love this post! As I am sitting at my computer still in my pajamas, haven't showered since Wednesday, and didn't eat lunch yet (It's 3:45 pm!) I only have TWO children! :) and the youngest is 7 months old! Both did get shots yesterday, so I am using their crankiness and not feeling well as my excuse! :) Have a wonderful day everyone! :)

texas mommy said...

Paper plates are a guilty pleasure here, too. And when I bring a meal to a newly postpartum mom, I started bringing EVERYTHING...disposable plates, napkins, plastic utensils, etc. A night off from cooking AND doing the dishes!

Right Said Red said...

with the 3rd baby it lasts around 6 months...

Kerry said...

LOL..speaking my language B-Mama.I haven't put on makeup in so long and I usually shower at night once the girls are in poor DH..he is probably not enjoying my "survival mode" appearance BUT he is getting dinner every night even if it is in the crock pot.

Mary Alice said...

I think that some aspects of survival mode last as long as you are nursing, but there are stages -- the first six weeks is one (I don't expect to get dressed every day), the first six months is the next level.

I have to go into survival mode in the first trimester, the last month of pregnancy and definately the first six weeks post partum. That means about 14 weeks per baby, or for us it will be 70 weeks out of the last 7 years.

70 weeks is a year and a half! And that is before you factor in things like the 6 straight weeks of stomach flu we had in 2006.

So, I have had to do a few things to make survival mode a higher level operation.

1) PT now brings down all the household laundry to the laundry room and sorts it. HT empties all the trash cans. The twins set the table. We use real plates, glasses, napkins and utensils for every single meal. Cloth napkins are a big deal to me, and throwing them in the wash is no big deal.

2) I try really hard to stick with shining the sink every night no matter what. For me, getting the dishwasher loaded and not waking up to dirty dishes is crucial for the next day's success.

3) I have learned that we can have very productive days in our pajamas! Seriously, dressing myself and 5 kids in the morning can sometimes take up to an hour, so when we are already a little bit behind I can just declare that we are having school in our pajamas, and voila, I just gained an hour and we are back on schedule! Lest I sound like a total slob, let me say that we have only done this once so far, but now that I am 31 weeks pregnant it may be happening more frequently.

4) Owning less stuff helps a ton! Part of my nesting usually includes decluttering because the less there is the less there is to put away.

5) PBS Kids is my friend. Not for hours, and not every day, but if an episode of Cyber Chase means that I can cook and get dinner on the table without being driven insane, and we can have a much nicer more patient, loving bedtime routine after dinner, it is a good choice.

6)I am learning to give myself a few days off from cloth diapering when I know in advance that things are going to be really crazy.

7) I now have a second set of sheets for all of the kids beds. This means that if we have a wet bed or a sick kid we can change sheets without having to do laundry that exact second.

8) Another benefit of older kids, they can read bedtime stories! I have no problem letting P or H read a couple of board books to Leo while I bathe the twins, and then just saying a prayer and popping him into bed.

9) Speaking of bedtime stories, we have seriously limited choice in this area. I have made a seperate basket that is just bedtime stories, and it doesn't include any books that make noise, I hate to read, are really long or wierd or sad.

Now if you know me, you know that my house is pretty clean, my meals are pretty much home cooked, I am a good housewife about 80% of the time, but I have to say that sometimes when people say "I don't know how you do it", I can only reply: low standards. You just cannot sweat the small stuff.

B-Mama said...

I was thinking more about this after reading all the great feedback and came to another conclusion--sometimes survival mode teaches us our limits and what we can permanently do away with... MA, your comment above shows me that you have found your limits, realized what and who you need to utilize to make daily existence possible, and gotten rid of the extraneous fluff. And the outcome is still amazing and quality for your family.

As Kat put it, my normal mode might start looking a lot like our survival times for good reason. The less fluff, the better.

catherine said...

Oh yes! I too am loving pulling out the paper plates every now and then when we need a break from doing dishes. I found some really pretty paper plates at a home-decor discount store and actually they are prettier then our real plates!

Also, I loved the idea of sending along disposable everything with dinner for new moms. I'm going to remember that one!