It’s the first Saturday of the new year, the first Saturday of the month and I’m engaging in a new activity. A planning morning, a time of planning for the month ahead, drawing up food plans and thinking through what’s coming up in our weeks. I like planning, in fact, given half a chance I think I could be good at planning. I’m just hoping that this flurry of spreadsheets won’t be like the revision timetables I planned so eagerly many years ago. I have always struggled with the vast gap between good plans and the reality of how those aren’t always lived out.
I think I’m less in danger of that this month, mainly because these plans are put in place to help this ship run smoother through the waters, to enable me to not hit Sunday afternoon in a mega grump because we have to plan and shop for the week ahead (online shopping is wonderful but only when you know what you are cooking and being creative in the last dying moments of the weekend just isn’t possible). Having a monthly food plan means I will hopefully panic less and can think about what we are going to eat before my brain runs out of energy. We need to plan because we just don’t have the finances not to, if we don’t plan we very quickly spend far more money than we have. If we plan we know what our limits are and we stay vaguely within budget.
I also want to review my weeks with the boy and check our weeks work best for his naps, our sanity and energy levels all round. We have something to do each day in the morning at the moment which is brilliant, afternoons are then a bit more flexible for seeing people every now and again, park visits, any extra shopping, spontaneous joy and cooking. I have no idea how cooking works with the small one pottering around the kitchen but am hoping to maybe use his afternoon nap time for prep.
Our weeks are full, husbandface tutors twice a week between 5 and 6, we have our small group from church one evening a week and on Friday late afternoons we are planning on meeting up with some of the older kids from church for fun, bible stuff and more fun. We love having people over Friday or Saturday nights and for Sunday lunch. We long to be a hospitable safe base for people to come to and find harbour and rest (not sure we can be sailing in a ship and a safe harbour but stay with me…) All this means planning is essential if life is to work well and we are to function well as a family. I’ve loved the holidays because it’s been really easy to eat together at the same time but for about 4 evenings a week this just isn’t possible.
I’m aware that this all sounds a bit mental or boring. At least that’s what the voice in the back of my head is telling me. It tells me that I sound more and more like one of those housewives/homemaker people that spend all their time on pinterest and have perfect lives. I never signed up to be that kind of housewife but I have found myself in the position to be able to help our family sail through these waters well. Husbandface has an uber demanding job but, whilst he helps around the home and gets stuck into life with us and we know we are his first priority, the reality is I have more time in my head to get on with doing practical stuff, planning and making sure we don’t crash into the rocks.
(Can you tell I’ve found a new analogy for life? Love this whole sailing the boat thing together I’ve had going around my head in the last few days)
The thing is, life works better when there is intentionality to our living. Things go well when we aren’t just floating with the prevailing wind all the time but are sailing specifically in a certain direction. There are times for just going with the breeze and there are times when we up anchor and sail on. We are priviledged to have rhythms to our lives as we ride the waves of manic term time and relatively calm holiday times (ok even I think I might have overdone the analogy now).
God is a God who makes order out of chaos, one of our jobs on earth involves walking in his footsteps. Part of the good work he has called me to walk in is to help carry on making order from the chaos around. I long that as a family we would walk well in such ways, that we would live to the best of our ability. I think that involves, every now and again, getting stuck into planning that makes spontaneous joy possible. We plan so we can be free not so we can be restricted. Wrap your head around that for a bit.
I’ve been helped to kickstart this by my excellent sister in law and her plans for January, I love sharing this life with others who are trying out this kind of intentional living thing.
Also I share the caveat that this is all a work in progress, I’m not trying to show off with my amazing plans for life, I will not be pinteresting my pretty cooking results, I will not be perfect. We will get it wrong, I will collapse in a heap many Sunday evenings and just feed us all pizza for dinner one week. Sack all comparisons. This is just me finding a way to cope with a busy life, to order things so we can be hospitable and functional as a family and and not to go insane in it all, these are not my ways to achieve perfection as a mother and wife. Alright?