Wednesday, July 16, 2014

11 ways I help keep my life sane.


I'm sitting here, typing this to auto post in the morning, in mis-matched pj's that I changed into after work, while the dishwasher whirls behind me in the kitchen.

My floor needs mopped, the lawn needs mowed, and I should probably be starting dinner.

But instead, I'm sitting here, typing to you.

Can I be honest with you?

I cringe inside when someone asks me

 "How do I do it all?"

Because I don't.

I really, truly, honestly, not even close, do not do it all.

I know that we're busy, and that we have a lot going on, but I certainly don't think that I "do it all".  Rather, on the contrary I usually think - "You should see my house" or "Gosh, we don't even have kids?!?  What would our lives be like if we did?". 

Because while I may do what seems like a lot, the truth is that I don't do everything, and I think we can all admit that we're all just trying to cope the best way possible.



So with that said - there are some ways that I help myself maximize my time and energy.  Because let's face it - you and me both could wish for more of those. 

Here are 11 things that I do consistely, that help keep our life sane.

Maybe one or two will be helpful to you?

...........

1. We have a routine. 

We have a weekday routine, and a "Darcy isn't working today" routine.  (Because let's face it - when you live on a ranch, a weekend isn't much different than a weekday.)  On the weekdays that I work, we get up at 4:50 am.  From that point until I leave the door for my commute to work, I have certain things that I get done by a certain time and I watch the clock to make sure that I'm staying on track.  I know that between 5:35 and 5:50, I pack lunch, get Clint's breakfast ready, do laundry, sweep or check emails and when 5:50 rolls around, I need to be drying my hair and finishing getting dressed.  Watching the clock and knowing what my "checkpoints" are helps me get out the door to work on time, and reduces stress.  Not starting the day off stressed is key and sets the tone for the rest of the day.

On the days that I don't work at the office, our morning routine is a little more flexible because there is two of us to get things done at the ranch.  We're still usually up and out the door by 6:00, but instead of taking time to put on makeup/do my hair, I'll throw on a ball cap and get some chores around the house done before I head outside to help Clint.

2. Laundry.

I do a load of laundry almost every day.  In the morning, I'll load the washing machine after Clint & I have showered and before I leave for work.  Then, when I get home, I transfer it to the dryer.  I'll either fold & put away the load that night once it's dry, or usually I do it the next morning when I take that day's load down to the washer.  My friend Chrissy taught me this routine, and it really helps.  I rarely feel like I have a mountain of laundry to do, because I pick away at it each day.  And on the days that I don't have clothes to wash, I'll throw a set of sheets in, or a blanket or rugs, or I'll run a load of barn coats through. 

3. Cleaning my house.

I will be the first to tell you - my house is not spic & span.  I say that if you judge me by the way my house looks, then we probably don't need to be friends.  And I mean it.  I choose to put my time and efforts into other things.

That being said - I do make an effort every day to do things around the house that keep it clean.  (In my mind, there is a difference between having a dirty house, and having a cluttered house.)  So, I worry about the things that I think make my house clean.  Every day I wash the dishes and load the dishwasher.  I sweep every other day, and try to vaccuum once a week, if not twice a week.  I keep up on laundry, and wipe down our kitchen & bathroom counters every day.

The rest of it -  I don't worry about.  Yes, you will find dust on my shelves.  But we live in a sand blow, and really, I don't care.  Yes, my floors probably need mopped.  So I mop them when they really need it or if people are coming over, and the rest of the days I don't worry about it.  I'd love it if I had time to deep clean the house every month, but I don't.  So I don't let it bother me, and I just keep up on the things that I can. 

4. I don't sweat the small stuff.

We don't do drama at our house.  We don't freak out at our house.  We DO roll with the punches, and go down the road.  Life is too short to worry about a lot of the things that people worry about, so I try not to. 



5. I love my husband and our lifestyle.

I think if I didn't love both of those things, my life would be a lot harder.  I would resent helping Clint, I would resent the muddy floors, I would resent not getting enough sleep at night.  But because I love both of those things - my husband & our life - I'm willing to sacrifice some things I want to do in order to keep our lives running smoothly and with as little chaos is possible.  Because ranching in itself already creates enough chaos.

Another thing that helps - Clint is really great about expressing his appreciation and showing me love.  We don't walk out the door in the morning before saying goodbye to each other, and we greet each other with a hug or a kiss as soon as we see each other after work.  We don't have "date nights" or anything like that, but because we show appreciation and love towards each other all day, and on a consistent basis I know that I am loved, and he knows that I love him.  We are a team - and a pretty good one, I think - and we tell each other that.  It helps to know that you have someone on your side - all of the time - and that they love you and support you.  Just that emotional support alone helps me conquer a lot of things.

6. Grocery Shopping & Menu Planning.

These two things go hand in hand.  I grocery shop once a week, after work.  Sometimes I'll shop on a weekend, but that's usually only in the summer when ranch work is slow.  I will figure out how many nights a week we will eat dinner at home, and then figure out what meals I will make. Once I have that done, I write a list of ingredients I need. Clint eats the same thing for breakfast every morning, and I pack the same snacks/lunch for work every day, so those things are kept on a list I have saved on my phone in my "List Master" app.  I just add the grocery items I need for dinners to that list, and because of this I will rarely forget an item when I am shopping.

I also shop at Costco about once a month.  I buy a lot of things in bulk (drinks, snacks, dogfood) that we use everyday.  When we get closer to the AI season, I really stock up on drinks and frozen ingredients to make quick meals (pre-made alfredo sauce, potstickers, meatballs, etc.).  We usually have multiple people staying with us during that time helping us breed that I feed, and my life is just a lot easier if I have things on hand already. 

I also use my crockpot all.of.the.time.  Dinner is so much easier if I already have meat cooked when I get home.  A lot of the time I'll throw something in the crockpot in the morning, Clint will eat it for lunch, and I'll make a green salad and we'll finish whatever was in the crockpot for dinner.  Clint is a trooper, and doesn't mind eating the same thing twice and using my crockpot saves me at least a half hour every day just by spending 5 minutes in the morning doing some simple prep.

And don't think I'm a saint that cooks every day - we eat out a fair share.  If I've been helping at the ranch, and don't have something ready to eat Clint never expects me to make something.  We'll eat leftovers, or pick something up and that takes a lot of stress off of me.

7.  We know each others schedules.

Every morning while we are getting ready, I try to let Clint know if there is something going on that day that is out of the ordinary. (Bunco, grocery shopping after work, etc.)  Because I brought the subject up, he'll usually tell me if he has anything going on too.  However, the nature of our lives is that something unexpected will pop up and our plans will change.  This is when #4 comes in handy.  Both of us can roll with the punches pretty well and adapt as we need to. 

8. Blogging.

I blog because I really enjoy it, and I like knowing that I'll have something to look back on in the years ahead.  While it takes time, it's a priority for me and I try to fit it into the schedule.  I talked more about why I write here....



9. Helping on the ranch.

Here's the deal - I don't get paid to help at the ranch, but I do it because I love my husband and I want to help him.  He is a super hard worker, and can't leave something unfinished or not do a job well.  That usually translates into him working more hours than he is expected to, but it's his choice to do that.  Instead of being in the house, (eating bon bons on the couch, as I joke) I try to help him outside.  Clint is really good about telling me that I don't have to help, and it's not my job to help....but sometimes it's easier when I do, and I do it because I want to.  The other thing is, Clint works for really great people and they are appreciative of my help.  If they weren't that way, I don't know that I'd be as involved as I am.

10. I want to retire early.

I'm not shy in telling people that I want to be able to retire early, and that's part of the reason we work so hard right now.  There's a nine year age difference between Clint and I, and so when we're at retirement age, I want to be able to enjoy it.  That means we need to work as hard as possible now, so that when we get to that age, we can do whatever we want.  Who knows - that might mean we still want to ranch and I imagine we'll still be involved with the cattle industry.  But whatever it is that we want to do, it will be easier to do those things if we plan ahead, work hard and save accordingly.

11. We are thankful & grateful for what we have.

There are a lot of people who have less than we do or are battling health issues that we don't have to worry about.  We try to be actively thankful for what we have, and grateful to those around us and that helps you get through a day.

...........


WHEW!

That was a lot.  Thanks for hanging in there.  :)

So while I don't do it all - not even close - the above gives you a little insight as to how I try to make our days go by smoothly and why we do what we do.

If you have a tip for making life easier - please share!  I'd love to hear your thoughts.

1 comment:

  1. Well I popped over from Robyn's post and am so happy I did. This post hit home for me and I have been ranching/farming with my husband for 35 years. He works full time off the farm and I work full time on the farm. Oh yes as you know it can be hard physical work but we have after all these years figured out how to make it work. I love every one of your rules to keep sane and I use them here. I like that my husband brings in a paycheck as you know with all the ups and downs of cattle prices we need that stability and yes it has been very very tough even with that some of those 35 years. We do not freak out we deal with what is thrown at us together and can usually get through it with a sense of humour belief and faith in what we do and love and respect of each other. That is key. I am so happy I popped over here. Take care B

    ReplyDelete

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