Week seven of the school year hit me like a brick wall.
Everything was humming along fine, tightly scheduled and well oiled. All the plates stayed in the air, you might say. And then Mary Jane got an ear infection and I got Combo #7 (sore throat/stuffed sinuses/fatigue) and all the plates fell down.
Oh, it wasn't too bad. We still finished school each day, and I still made it to pick up the dairy order on time, and we still had dinner on the table, MJ got to the pediatrician's to have her ear treated before it got dangerously bad, and we still made it to our friends' houses (although I forgot to bring tea snack one of the days). Here is what didn't happen: I didn't blog, I didn't write up my school plan, I didn't keep up any school records that week, and I didn't do any housework. The schoolroom became a pile of loose crumpled papers, the children ran out of clean clothes, MJ had to wear disposable diapers, and every night I fell asleep early and Mark got stuck cleaning up the dishes, counters, and floors. I forgot my daily prayer, too, which perhaps had something to do with why I felt so rotten.
Losing one week of school records isn't all that important. Skipping the half hour filling out my planning sheet was downright idiotic, because it would have helped me navigate the week's potholes much more smoothly.
I don't feel guilty about abandoning my share of the housework (maybe a little bit about sticking Mark with it though). Of all my priorities it is the lowest. Still, there's a certain minimum that I wish I had made time for, only because there are certain tasks that, if they are not done, bother me. I hate to have the breakfast dishes all over the counter until it's time to make dinner, for example. Our house has an open plan so I have to look at them all day if they are still there. Maybe I would have felt less crazy if I'd at least kept the dishwasher moving and the counters more or less clear.
And then there's the prayer thing. You know the bubbly Catholic mama blogger script. She explains how even if the dishwasher's broken and the children are filthy and she's six weeks behind on school and the bills aren't, she always makes time for the Lord and knows deep down that it doesn't really take time away from all her other duties because it Gives Her Strength To Go On and anyway she owes it to Him, etc. etc. etc. This is a lesson and an attitude I have never been able to assimilate. I admire it, but it's kind of like admiring the Great Pyramids or some other superhuman work that I've read of but never actually seen or experienced in real life.
Because when I have a bad week, the first thing to go kaput is my daily devotions.
And it's not like I picked difficult daily devotions. After some years of trying different things, I settled on the Liturgy of the Hours, which given my personality is probably the easiest one to stick with. I try to pray at least one office every day. But I fail, a lot.
Perhaps I should switch to trying every day to pray at least one office.
Anyway, maybe I've got the cause and effect switched. Maybe when my daily devotions go kaput the first thing that happens is I have a bad week. Not that procrastinating away my appointment with the breviary (a bad euphemism for procrastinating away my appointment with a Person) causes sore throats and ruptured eardrums, but that I really have failed to ask for something that if asked would be given and that if given would ease the bumps of the week. I know from my own experience that I have better days afterwards. It's kind of like a 6 AM bike ride in that way. The hardest part is getting out the door; a few minutes into it, it feels great.
And that's not even counting the fact that prayer's a duty as well as a pleasure.
Nothing to do but resolve to do better, eh?