Of course, with kids around, I could have 5 loads of laundry folded and ready to be put away and with one running jump...destroyed. :)
I've learned to live with the ebbs and flows of order, as one should with two busy boys. Sometimes, I lean into the mess and just exist in it, other times, every crumb is swept up in two seconds. Most of the time, it's somewhere in between...some level of domestic moderation.
And, that's how we all tend to be. Our lives play out in seasons. We go through phases where various parts of our lives take precedence, like when we have a huge time-sensitive project at work and we don't think twice staying up past midnight and missing meals. Or, when we are focused on eating every meal at home and do everything we can to make that happen, like going out of our way to grocery shop several times a week so that we don't give in to take-out.
We select a priority, then, make adjustments to the rest of our lives to support it.
I know, for instance, that this week - with my husband traveling, a nanny who quit unexpectedly, work to get done, sessions to coach, kids to raise, carpooling to do, a house to run - that sacrifices must be made. I've allowed myself some time each day to do the domestic dance but a sink-ful of dishes have been left overnight several times and there have been several times where left the house so turned upside down that if a neighbor walked in, they'd think someone had died. But, despite the chaos, I haven't missed my workouts. I know that what doesn't get done will work itself out in due time and I'm willing to sacrifice cleanliness for a clear mind and strong body.
Our time, energy and resources are finite. So we recognize, quite naturally, that in order to focus on what's important, we need to make sacrifices on things that in the past, may have been non-negotiables.
I worked in sales for 10+ years and never, I mean, ever, worked out during the work day, at least not until my last year in the grind. One reason for that is because I was never in the office during the day, as I was often on the road meeting with clients. Even still, I never saw the point of getting showered in the morning for work, blow-drying and straightening my hair then, doing my make up, only to mess it all up at the gym only 5 hours later. Also, I sweat like a damn pig when I workout so Lord knows what it will take to make me presentable again! Right?! (And no, I was never the type to be able to shower the night before or not wash my hair every day...this girl wasn't blessed with those types of locks!)
Something hit me that last year. I had just received a big promotion and I was a mom of two (and one of those kids was up all night nursing). It wasn't realistic to expect myself to answer the alarm at 5am for a workout while my house was quiet. Nor was it realistic to workout once the kiddies had gone to sleep because some nights, bedtime took an hour, and eating dinner and taking with my husband were priorities too. I was out of shape, unhappy and needed a new action plan.
I remember the first time I went over to the gym during lunch. I walked out of the office feeling an immense sense of guilt. With the stress of a new role and a task list that just kept getting longer, I thought, "what business do I have leaving work to do something so selfish as exercise?".
Almost the entire workout was spent nervously fanning myself and wiping away sweat (I either did a quick 20 minute treadmill HIIT or a metabolic weight training session) to try to control the damage to my already styled hair. I was worried about not looking polished for a big client meeting that afternoon. But, at some point during the sweat session, I said "EFF IT!" and I just went for it. After all, if I was going to do this, I was going to do this all the way. Priorities.
I took a quick shower with my hair in a towel, then blowdried the sweat out, fixed up my make-up and jetted back to the office with my latte and salad, ready to conquer the afternoon...45 minutes door to door (you've got to love efficient workouts!). I felt a sense of empowerment for making my health a priority despite the never ending list of "should do's" that were running through my head. Something shifted that day. I vowed to consistently take action on this priority.
From then on, there were many days that I had to just put my hair up post-workout because even a little dry shampoo couldn't save me but, really, WHO CARES? I didn't, at least not anymore. Feeling a little dirty in the afternoon was far better than missing a chance to get the physical and mental benefits of a great, intense, workout.
I'm not suggesting we go walking around as unhygienic zombies or live in filth, I'm just suggesting YOU become the priority, that all other things get shifted around for.
Remember, action expresses priorities.