Busy Work, or How to Stay Sane While Your Spouse is Away

I’ve been busy.  I guess everyone could probably say that, or, at least, I hope they can.  Not being busy with something productive is pretty tortuous and can lead to some unhealthy habits (eating out of boredom, too much tv watching, et cetera).  So I hope you have been productively busy lately.  As I said, I have.  And not just with caring for an infant and trying to keep my older three kids ‘productively busy’, now that they are on summer break.  Although, that does take up a significant portion of my time.

You see, my husband is away, and I have found the best way to keep my sanity is to create projects.  And the best ones are those that I can surprise him with–the kind that make him happier and more comfortable.  He’s been gone for approximately a week and a half and I have less than a week to go before I pick him up at the airport.  I realized late last week that I hadn’t really gotten started on the multi-room organizational project I wanted to get done.  So I jumped into it; I’ve been going full-throttle since.  It’s gone pretty well and been a fairly easy task, until now.  Have you ever hit that point where all that is left is the little tedious stuff that makes your skin crawl and your head spin?  That’s where I’m at now. 

I’ve decided I need to get better at throwing things away instead of saving them.  Doing that is really hard if I stop to think about it, but if I just toss it into the trash bag without hesitating, it’s really refreshing.  I don’t need that belt that has scratches and gouges, and I doubt anyone else will want it either.  My younger kids don’t need the shoes that have half the sole worn off…even though they wear hand-me-downs a lot, those are hand-me-downs I likely wouldn’t even put on them.  Another pair of ripped and torn jeans for my denim patch pile?  No thanks–into the trash they go!  All those hundreds of drawings my kids have made?  Sssshhhh!  Don’t say anything, but, I can’t keep just saving them.  Only the really great ones get to stay, and that’s only until I make a digital copy of it.  Perhaps an incredible few might get used in a wall-art project I’ve been conjuring up for the past few months.  Some day I’ll get to that…  But, right now, I just feel satisfied from getting rid of things I don’t need and making visible progress!  It’s making my kids feel good too.  They see the progress being made and have watched me a little bit (of course, they’ve not witnessed me looking through the stacks of drawings…).  They are making positive comments and I can see an improvement in their mood.

I know when my husband comes home, he’ll be happier and more relaxed because of what I’ve accomplished.  And that will make a happier and more relaxed me, and will make for a happier household overall.  That end-result is what’s keeping me pushing through the most difficult parts of this project.

Now, if only I can get through this quickly enough to do the other couple of projects I want to get done before he comes back…

When your spouse is away, whether for a deployment, drill, other military training, or a business trip (I get to hold down the fort during all of them), do you create projects to help pass the time?  What sorts of projects have you accomplished?  Or if you are planning one, what is it?  Sometimes mine are completely kid-focused, or don’t necessarily involve a set end point.  But there is always a certain threshold at which I’ve accomplished that goal.  And then I it’s time to set another one.  It may not be easy to push through in order to accomplish a goal, but doing so will bring you incredible self-satisfaction and a sense of self-dependency that will make it easier for you to start and finish other tasks down the road.

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