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19 Shockingly Simple Ways to Live Your Crazy Catholic Life

19ways

I know it, you know it.

Our lives are filled with “busy.” My definition of busy varies from others. I know at times I look at what friends and family are doing and I think to myself

HOW DO YOU DO IT? 

Recently, I was asked that very question – how do you do it? – by three different people in three different ways in one week. I’m shocked and dumbfounded that I have fooled people into thinking I have my life in order humbled that people think I have it all together. How DO I do it? And what exactly is it that I’m doing? I’m pretty sure whatever I’m doing looks way better on paper than it does in action! Appearances can definitely be deceiving. Just ask my kids what they think I do all day and I’m sure you’d get an earful of the real deal at La Casita.

As a wife and mom to six kidlets who homeschools, blogs, runs and manages said blog, a small business owner, and a person who can be found putzing about church on any given day attending a meeting, or Mass, or photographing the grounds, my life is a perpetual boxing match between organization and chaos. I detest chaos, but I also get a good case of the “lazies” – I suppose one motivates and keeps the other in check. Once a huge slob, I was forced to take on more organization, not because I like it or am good at it, necessarily, but because it contributes to my ability to function. I spend a lot of time in prayer, but after that I attempt to employ some shockingly simple ways to live my crazy life while retaining some semblance of sanity and structure. This is not a perfect list that is perfectly tackled each day! But, with any goal, it is unchanging, even if I fail when I fail. I hope to be some inspiration for the organizationally challenged – it might help knowing I am not naturally inclined towards being organized. In fact, my natural default is to sit on the sofa and watch t.v., and eat bon bons, naturally, but at some point when you decide to ask God to place certain things on your heart and for a change in attitude, you have to be prepared when that message comes through!!

PRAY. When my life is off the rails, the first question I ask is “how is my prayer life?” It seems so simple and yet it is a common component of our lives that is all-too-easy to overlook when determining where our spiritual pitfalls are. I heard a FAB-U-LOUS homily recently by Father Brian McMaster. He zeroed in on prayer being the core of all we do. Without prayer, we tend to lose our spiritual alignment, and fast! I notice a HUGE correlation between my prayer life and what I get done on any given day. This isn’t to say my days are without problems, but prayer always helps center me in such a way that I can respond to whatever happens with more patience and charity. I find my focus is in the right direction and I am resting in His plan because I spent time talking to our Father. Each day, I spend time in prayer before I get out of bed each morning. I have six kiddos, so timing is important. I find that my energy toward prayer is very different than at the end of the day {at the end of the day, it just feels like something that has to be crossed off the to-do list}. Father Uche said once that if you love someone, you want to spend time with them, just like those of us who are married should feel toward our spouse. Make prayer…God your number one.

*BEAR* MINIMUM. I came up with this phrase recently. Bear minimum should be at most a handful of things that you absolutely must get done each day to feel some level of accomplishment, otherwise the result is a GROWLY momma, which leads to cranky kids and hubby, hence the title bear and not bare minimum.  This will vary from person to person, and even from day to day or month to month. My current top three are 1) prayer {preferably before I get out of bed}, 2) make up my bed. This is my one chore that even if I get absolutely nothing else done for the day, if I haven’t made up my bed – the day is a total and complete WASTE, and 3) getting my daily chores done. Years ago, I brought FlyLady into our home and eventually created my own daily schedule of daily chores. I highly recommend checking out her website for inspiration to determine your bear minimum.

A typical lazy homeschool morning.

A typical lazy homeschool morning.

CHORES. Is there anyone who actually likes doing chores?? I hate chores with a capital H ::shaking fist at dirty toilets and Mt. Washmore, piles of unsorted mail, floor that needs to be swept for the eleventy billionTH time!:: but, there has always been something so ridiculously satisfying about cleaning the house that leaves me feeling a sense of accomplishment. Through the years I have contemplated and almost begged for someone to come in and help clean our house, but pride and…well, lack of funds pretty well dictated that I would need to get over my cleaning hatred and get the family on board with helping. Our mornings are usually very lazy – we start school around 10:30 a.m. when the little man goes down for his nap. We spend his awake time doing our daily chores, cleaning and straightening, breakfast, and then crack the whip once he goes down for his Zzzz’s.

 

DRINK COFFEE. Need I say more?

Screen Shot 2013-11-07 at 5.38.52 PM

SPEND MORE TIME WITH JESUS. Though I spend most of the day in some sort of prayer – usually in some kind of casual where are you {in these chores} God, it’s me, Martina? type conversation – I invite you to find out how and when God is speaking to you and embrace that and make it part of your daily conversation with Him. It could be conversational prayer, attending daily Mass, going to Adoration, etc.

The day I forgot to take him to his class, I was on a momma high from this event: PROUD momma moment! Jonathan moved up to gold cross today, something typically reserved for 10th graders. He tells me he is the youngest to receive it - he

The day I forgot to take him to his class, I was on a momma high from this event: PROUD momma moment! Jonathan moved up to gold cross today, something typically reserved for 10th graders. He tells me he is the youngest to receive it – he’s in 7th grade. At our parish, servers advance as they gain experience, starting with a wooden cross, then moving up to silver cross in middle school and gold cross in high school. The college-aged men wear a blue and red St. Benedict cross.

CALENDAR*. Whether it’s paper or electronic, storing your important events and activities, yours, hubby’s and the kidlets can be a HUGE time saver. Case in point: One day early in the year, I forgot to put a timer on my phone calendar to remind me to, oh…I dunno…take my middle schooler to his faith formation classes. A couple of hours after it ended, I had my ‘AHA!!!’ moment. I’ll never forget the smug look on the tweenager’s face. Never again, friends. That bad boy is locked in my calendar now – the appointment being the bad boy, not my son. 😉

*Can I interest you in purchasing my downloadable and printable Catholic planner?

PLAN YOUR TIME EFFICIENTLY. For the Kreitzer home, this meant moving to an almost strict diet of no morning appointments after a year of doing just that. Year two of homeschooling I was gone in excess of three times each week in the morning for my own doctor appointments, and I liked to meet with friends for lunch and plan my pastoral council prep meetings with the priests, and anyone else on staff I needed to talk with in the morning. It just got to be too much and the result was that those interruptions of schedule were severely disrupting the flow of not only the homeschool day, but also basic tasks and mundane chores suffered to the point of low to no productivity. And that led to grouchy momma and grouchy kiddos and grouchy hubby. ::see bear minimum::

Screen Shot 2013-11-07 at 5.22.36 PMLISTS. In the same vein as my bear minimum, writing a list helps me focus on what needs to get done for the day or week. I don’t know about anyone else, but when I have a ton of stuff floating around in my head, things tend to feel chaotic. Writing it down sort of puts an anchor on it and helps me gain perspective on what is on my “immediate” list and what can wait. Consider writing a list as a way to de-stressify {is that even a word?} your life.

MAKE YOUR YES MEAN YES. And your no mean no. When I commit to a project, activity, etc., whether for my kiddos, myself, my family, or me and my husband, I make sure I am in it for the long haul. During my three years serving on our parish pastoral council, and two of that serving as the chairperson, it came with a time price tag. I became very good at saying no to things I couldn’t do because, just after my obligation to my primary vocation, I opted to make my role as chairperson the top priority {that included being present for all meetings during my entire term, planning the agendas and retreats, assisting and making my help available for our priests as needed}. Everything else had to come second. That’s not to say I didn’t participate in other activities, but rather I gave priority to being on the council and all else fell in line, after.  I quickly learned firsthand how to apply that approach to everyday situations. Pray and discern before you give your answer so that you can be confident that you are either committed or are confident that now is not the right time. Avoid the temptation to do too much.

FAMILY FIRST. This seems like a no-brainer, but when considering your yes and no on a project, ask yourself will this activity or project help or hurt the family dynamic? At my parish, there is ALWAYS something going on – the sign of a very healthy and vibrant parish! But too much, even of a good thing, can have disastrous consequences on the home front. I work really hard {or try, at least} at not being too involved in activities at church because it’s important for our family to be together, first. What keeps me focused is knowing that my husband and children each have their own activities. We start by nurturing the domestic church and then ripple out into parish activities. Pray, spend time together as a family and God will bless how you spend the rest of your time. 🙂

EAT TOGETHER. In the spirit of family firstno matter how busy you are or think you are, make time to eat together. We have been guilty of not employing this simple tip for many years and moving to a much smaller home sort of forced the issue. We eat almost all of our meals together now and the bonding time is unrivaled. Are you too busy to eat together? Pick one meal each week in which everyone must be present for dinner, no exceptions – dads included. Once this small change to the family dynamic occurs, you’ll start to see how much more you’ll want to eat together.

GO ON DATE NIGHTS. In or out of the home, make it a point to connect with your spouse…often. My husband and I have a standing date night. We usually eat in, but occasionally go out. We treat ourselves to a nice dinner, and I pick up some wine for my hubby or occasionally get a mini-Keg because that’s what he likes. He usually washes the dishes – because that’s what I like. 😉 It’s not always about getting dressed up and going out, but spending time together and connect, unwind…and usually fall asleep because the kids have been banished errm, lovingly redirected to their bedrooms. Click here for some date night ideas.

Cute kidlet strikes again!

Cute kidlet strikes again!

ENJOY BEING AT HOME. As a homebody and introvert, this now comes easy for me. Even if you are an on-the-go extrovert who LOVES being away from home, it’s nice to be able to relax when you are home. I used to love leaving the house to do almost anything away from it because I found the amount of work involved with being home to be too…suffocating. I always felt very anxious at home because the state of my physical and internal prayer life was not in right order. Once I prayed for guidance on how to handle my anxiety about it all, I discovered that my own attitude was largely at fault for my lack of enjoyment at home. My home is not picture perfect – and it never will be with a constant stream of babies and toddlers {cute ones, mind you!} drawing all over my walls, but I am learning to just be at home and know that if I bless my children and home with my time, time I spend elsewhere will be blessed as well.

That

That’s one way to bond with your kiddo!

BLESS YOUR CHILDREN WITH…YOU. Be with your kids. Sometimes the best gift you can give them is just being in their presence. Consider how contemplative prayer works and apply that with the time you spend with your children. Kids don’t always want or need to talk to be with you. Sometimes just being with them, holding them, hugging and kissing them is all you need to strengthen that bond. You know what brings me back to this? Hearing my kids talk about how busy I am with this project or that meeting. Even though my activities are always faith related, their sweet little voices remind me to strive for balance, to be at home more than I am other places, whether physical or mental.

REST. Get a good night’s rest. As I write this, I am coming off multiple nights of not following this simple advice. You’d be surprised at how much of my daily problems could be solved by a nice, homemade meal and a good night’s rest!

 

If you have a face, and sister has a marker, you *will* be drawn on.

If you have a face, and sister has a marker, you *will* be drawn on.

LAUGHSeriously, don’t take the Faith so seriously that you lose your ability to relate to others. Laugh with others and be kind. I find that a great deal of my time talking about the Faith does require me to take such a serious tone that I literally have to laugh in order to balance things out. So, laugh. Smile at others. Disarm them with your charm. Throw in a hug, too, if the three-foot bubble doesn’t apply.

BE KIND TO YOURSELF. You didn’t get things done on your to-do list today. Today’s accomplishments consisted of getting out of bed and maybe brushing your teeth before you went to bed. You might have slapped deodorant on…one armpit. That’s ok, mijos! When you can’t get to your usual list of things to do, adapt to meet the demands of the day and forget the rest. Which leads me to my next point…

MATTHEW 6:34Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.

RINSE AND REPEAT.

NOW IT’S YOUR TURN TO SOUND OFF:

What are some things YOU do to tame your crazy life? Share in the comments, please!

::Instagram pictures pulled from my personal account – find me and join the fun with me @MartinaCatholicSistas::

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About Martina Kreitzer

Martina is a cradle Catholic, wife to Neil, and mother to seven kiddos here {and three in heaven}– 4/96-1/17. She decided to homeschool the kiddos in 2010 after many years in public schools and is currently transitioning out of homeschooling. She is the creator of Catholic Sistas which focuses on a feminine perspective of the Catholic Faith. The website was the result of an existing camaraderie by the contributors in a Catholic women’s group she created. She is also a Seal of Approval evaluator for the Catholic Writers Guild. Lest you think she spends all her time online, Martina has enjoyed getting out into the community by serving on the Pastoral Council from 2010-2013. She is constantly on the lookout to make her parish as welcoming as the small town she grew up in East Texas. This task is not easy given that St. William is the largest parish in the Austin diocese, serving well over twenty thousand parishioners. She loves Jesus, coffee, bacon, chocolate, photography, more bacon, evangelizing, and the company of those unafraid to use their sense of humor.

  • Mary B. - Thank you for this wonderful post. I am a stay-at-home Mama to a sweet toddler and have baby #2 on the way. Ever since this new pregnancy has begun, I have felt completely overwhelmed and scared of a future with two small children. The advice offered in this article was so reassuring and such a good reminder that by truly seeking Christ first, all things are possible!November 8, 2013 – 7:29 amReplyCancel

  • Martina - Thanks, Mary! I think sometimes us gals can be our own worst critic! Imagine a shift where we, as women, support and elevate each other in our unique vocations – what a gift we would be to each other. 🙂November 8, 2013 – 8:44 amReplyCancel

  • Amy V. - Great practical advice Martina! I need to do more of that quiet prayer with God first thing in the morning! Thanks for that reminder! In our house, we are all out the door by 8:30 on most mornings, so along with the calendar and giving kids lots of hugs, one of my survival skills is letting go. I had to set priorities, and let the other stuff go until I can get to it. I love tidy and I despise messy, but you would never know that if walked into my house at 8:35 after we all have left. My biggest priority of the morning is sending the kids off peacefully with a good breakfast, made by dad, and a mom packed lunch. We say our morning prayers in the car on the way to school. I try desperately to keep our mornings cheerful and happy as they go face the world. I don’t do this perfectly by any means, but letting go of a “lived in” house phobia has helped me immeasurably.November 8, 2013 – 10:05 amReplyCancel

    • Martina - Amy, yes! I find it is *so* much harder to let go of my idea of what the house should be like and instead just focus on what *can* get done. Letting go of control…what a novel idea! 😉November 8, 2013 – 11:37 amReplyCancel

  • Jeni - Seeeeeriously needed this! Crazy chaos here. Thanks!November 8, 2013 – 11:13 amReplyCancel

  • Katie - Oh Martina, this is such a helpful post! I could relate to much of it myself as a busy homeschooling mom of 7. God bless you, dear!November 9, 2013 – 11:37 pmReplyCancel

  • Catherine Boucher - Thank you for all of these beautiful tips! I found your blog via the Catholic Pulpit, and I am going to become a regular subscriber. I love how honest and straightforward you are in your writing. Please keep sharing!November 14, 2013 – 8:45 amReplyCancel

  • 19 Shockingly Simple Ways to Live Your Catholic Life - BigPulpit.com - […] 19 Shockingly Simple Ways to Live Your Crazy Catholic Life – Cthlc Ssts […]November 14, 2013 – 12:49 pmReplyCancel

  • 19 Ways to Live a Crazy Catholic-Mom Life | Catholic Parish Support - […] If you feel like you’re drowning in life or that there just aren’t enough hours in the day, check out Martina’s blog. […]May 16, 2015 – 6:56 amReplyCancel

  • The Simple Life Catholic Mommy Blogs | Catholic Mommy Blogs - […] Sistas has a post called “19 Shockingly Simple Ways to Live Your Crazy Catholic Life.” Need I say more? It a great, comprehensive list that includes drinking more […]December 5, 2015 – 1:56 pmReplyCancel

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