Deployment Lesson for COVID #5: You Can’t Do it All

March 28, 2020

As I’ve said before, during Jonathan’s last deployment I was in seminary full time, working 3/4 time, and raising three school-age kids. People often said, “I don’t know how you do it all!”

And I would always laugh, because I most certainly did NOT do it all. 

One confession: I didn’t fold clothes for the entirety of that deployment. Like, not one shirt. Not one pair of 5T leggings. Nothing. I washed them, I dried them… then we lived out of laundry baskets.

I’m sure that is appalling to some of you, but that’s how I managed. I just went ahead and removed that item from my never-ending to-do list, which helped release some of the guilt for never-getting-to-it. There simply were not enough hours in the day. 

Because you know what takes up lots of energy but is never ever added to our to-do lists? Existential fear and anxiety. And those are taking up WAY more emotional and mental energy than it might seem. We rarely account for them, even though they’re playing a huge part in most of our lives right now. 

The thing with temporary-new-normal seasons is, they’re temporary. As soon as Jonathan redeployed, clothes started being folded again (okay okay, mostly because in our division-of-household-labor that often fell to him so it still wasn’t me). I’m happy to say that during this current season everyone in the house folds their OWN clothes so that’s not our present situation, but there are things we’ve let go. 

Since you can’t do it all, why not be intentional about what’s going to be temporarily-indefinitely removed from your list?

(AND, if your household partner – whether it’s a spouse or roommate or parent – is working in the medical world, this is ESPECIALLY important. There is too much stress in your house right now to even pretend to attempt to keep things “normal.” More on that later…) 

But here’s the extra-important part: When you remove those things from your to-do list, what goes in its place is extra grace. Extra eye contact. Extra assuming-the-best-in-each-other. Extra deep breaths. 

On this rainy Saturday morning, our chore list is put to the side in favor of a family movie. And that’s okay. 

We’ve got this. 

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