Surviving ‘survival mode’

Did you ever go through one of those seasons where you felt like you were just treading water? You made no progress. You literally fought with everything you had to keep up with life. I am sure most people would answer yes to this question. I often hear moms talk about their being in “survival mode,” trying to get through each day with everyone still alive by bedtime.

Of course, big events can throw a family into survival mode, like a major illness or a new baby. During events like these, people often drop off meals or help in various ways. But how do we survive survival mode when no one brings those meals or no one notices you need some help? When everyone has the stomach bug and you haven’t left your house in 2 weeks? Or when you are beyond exhausted, with no break in sight?

I think the key to making it through is to simplify. Think about what your family really NEEDS to get done during the day. In most cases, it comes down to food and clean clothing.

Clean clothing

Do one load of laundry a day. I throw a load in every morning and usually get around to putting it in the drier when I let the dog out from the laundry room. I fold it in the evening when I watch TV, and then it sits in the bedroom until the following night when the kids are getting ready for bed. While they get ready for bed, I put away our laundry or have them put theirs away. It is so routine at this point that I rarely think about laundry.

I know someone else who throws in a load of laundry every night before bed and then puts in the dryer in the morning.


Figure out dinner ahead of time. I know what I’m going to make for dinner by 10 a.m. This gives me time to defrost whatever I need, or throw food in the slow cooker (check out these slow-cooker recipes). If I don’t do this, the whole thing tends to get away from me. This seems like such a small thing but it greatly impacts how my day plays out.

Other ideas

Hire help if you can afford it, even if it’s once a month. When I found out I was pregnant with my youngest son, I hired someone to come and clean once a month for my first trimester. I was beyond exhausted and nauseous and it was worth every penny to have clean floors and a clean bathtub!

Use paper plates. Washing dishes depresses me; paper plates bring me joy! It is amazing how much time this can save on cleanup after a meal.

Get your groceries delivered. It is one less thing you have to get done, and some nice person will carry it all in and set it on your counter for you.

Embrace convenience foods temporarily if it is not something you usually use. KIND bars, peanut butter crackers, and yogurt cups can make an easy lunch I don’t have to make. I rarely buy these foods so the kids think it is very exciting when I do.

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