Stop Waiting For the Stars to Align

Before we moved I had this interesting notion, a fantasy really, that after we moved life would slow down just a bit.

You know where this is going already don't you? (I hear you laughing in the back row).

To be sure, life has slowed down in one respect. No longer do we have that huge moving deadline hanging over our heads - thank goodness! House renovations, tenant preparations, sorting, decluttering, packing all our belongings to fit in a trailer. And then all the paperwork stuff required to move the past eleven years of our life from one country to another.

Meeting that deadline was very difficult. The most physically and emotionally taxing thing we've accomplished together so far in our whole married life.

And so in one respect life has been easier post-move. There was a huge push towards that end goal and all that is now behind us.

But the end goal was actually just the starting point, a turning of the page, into a new chapter of family life. And now that we're writing this new chapter in our family story we're working towards different goals, another push.

It feels better though. It feels like freedom (with delayed mail service). It feels like walking a new trail instead of remaining on the well worn path that no longer took us in the direction of our goals.

The path of regular paycheck employment, of being attached to a home address and our own backyard. A path that was secure and predictable on the one hand, restricting and stifling on the other.

In my post-move fantasy of "walking this new trail" I had envisioned the days opening up for me to rest and write.

What rest?

It was daydreaming about the theoretical rest at the end that got me through those hardest moving days and weeks.

So I guess fantasizing that I'd get a break served its purpose in helping me just survive the worst of it. But when we finally arrived at my parents, safe and tired, I discovered I didn't want to rest. I wanted routine. I wanted to put my energies into the things I had neglected during the move. 

I needed to get serious again about our family's health and invest my time once again in the kitchen - planning, preparing, feeding my family.

Our children's education needed attention after months of unschooling. This is not a knock against unschooling (I wholly embrace a lot of unschooling practices and remain committed to interest-led learning) but our kids were ready for routine and structure after so much disorder and upheaval.

And of course there was (and is) moving financial stuff (vehicle, insurance, bank accounts) to be attended to. As CFO of our household accounts these are my responsibility.

This is not the time to rest. This is the time to take care of my family. And I want to take care of my family.

What about writing?

For the past couple years I have been committed to writing for one hour each day (plus spending time on photos) to publish posts mostly for this blog and occasionally others.

With this move I want to do more than that. I need to do more than that if I plan to earn money from this craft. But it's been hard to figure out how to do this in my schedule of caring for family and home.

One of the reasons we moved was to pursue different opportunities in our lives. To grow creatively as a family and individuals, to pursue our passions and interests as a means to contribute financially to our family. Something we have not been allowed to do while living in the US.

I know what you might be thinking, "give yourself some time Renee to settle and adjust". This is exactly what my husband said but then he also said something else.

Make it a priority in your day.

(I love this man who supports my goals and dreams while earning the money to feed our family).

Said another way:

Stop waiting for the stars to align. For all the routines to be in place. For the perfect day to come along when everything lines up just-so and you can sit down to write for three hours.

That is simply not a reality in my life. And if I wait for the stars to align to pursue writing I will never be the writer I want to be.

If I want to write more, I have to make writing a priority in my day. 

That's enough speak for one day. I'm tired out from all this one sided talking. But I plan to delve into this topic and have an honest look at making time for our priorities as busy mothers and homemakers (and many of us homeschoolers as well). 

Specifically, I'd like to share:

  • Resources that have helped me and might help you.
  • How I'm organizing my day to make space for my priorities (the nitty gritty).
  • The reality of making sacrifices to focus on the things you really want.
  • The importance of seasons in mothering and homemaking.

Here's a couple questions to get you thinking before I publish those posts.

Are you waiting for the stars to align in your life? What's one thing (or a few things) that you really want to make time for in your day?

« Making a Trip Out West
The Boy Has a Blog ~ Introducing Pictograph »
  • heather

    heather on July 7, 2011, 11:46 a.m.

    i hear you, i hear you, i hear you! but you know that from my 'cry for woking homeschool mom help' post a while back on my blog. this will be a great series, i love reading about your process and than ultimately your plans/routines.


  • Becca

    Becca on July 7, 2011, 3:38 p.m.

    This resonates with me. I want to write, have wanted to write for years. I know I need to actually spend time writing, but I think I've been waiting for stars to align without realizing. Time to get to the nitty gritty, as you say, of making it a priority in my day. I make it a priority to do others things. If writing is really something I want to do, I need to make it a priority as well.


  • misti

    misti on July 7, 2011, 4:41 p.m.

    I too am in a different mode right now, trying to resettle into life. We basically took the last year and a half off to hike and do some field work and now we're searching for permanency again. With that I also am having a blog/writing goal focus. Love your blog and am glad to have found it!


  • Jennifer @ kidoing!

    Jennifer @ kidoing! on July 7, 2011, 5:03 p.m.

    Another nod here that, yes, I've been there and I am there - in a state of flux working towards the me I want to be. For some reason, I have always found a reason (excuse) to put something off. Seems like I'm always wanting to be "fitter, happier, more productive" - like that Radiohead song - and perhaps my issue is that I think about things more than I put them into action?

    My husband is also the one to encourage and support me to find a way to do things that make me happy and fulfilled.

    I have found that it's near impossible to do everything I want to do all the time. I have to pick and choose and prioritize. Most things eventually get my attention...the ones that don't weren't that important I guess.

    Will look forward to reading more...I certainly haven't figured all of this out so maybe you will shed some light. :-)


  • Nola

    Nola on July 7, 2011, 6:25 p.m.

    I feel this way sometimes. Mainly that I will do all those fun things with my family that I really want to do but don't because of other reasons like this: I am too tired due to having a young family and health concerns. I don't have time. etc. etc. But then the kids grow older and older...

    This is not to say that we don't do any fun things, since we do. But not as many or the way that I want to do them. I need more fun and spontaneity (I think that is spelt wrong, oh well) in everyday type things too...having fun cleaning, or cooking, or doing laundry. I have to be intentional.

    I was talking to a friend who has similar health concerns as me and I was saying how I have just begun to realize that for me, this is probably it. This is "as good as it gets". Yes, maybe things will get even better, and I am certainly thankful for the many improvements I have made with the help of diet and some supplements and helpful other medical advice. But this could be "as good as it gets" for me. I can't put my life on hold until I feel better and feel like doing some things. I have to do them. And this might mean compromising (actually it does mean compromising) since I can't do it all and I can't do it the way I want to. I have limitations that others may not have. But I simply HAVE to figure out ways to do the things I want to do at least in part and not wait for the perfect time when I feel better, or am getting more sleep, or etc. etc. since it doesn't happen, the years are going by. So in my head I am listing the things I want to do and figuring out the ways that I can shape them so that they fit in with how I must do things, at least for now. Not doing them actually makes me feel even worse health wise since then it feels like my health is limiting me. And it is, for sure...but that doesn't mean I have to give it all up totally.

    A great post reminding me of how this looks in my life!


  • Erin

    Erin on July 7, 2011, 10:12 p.m.

    Renee, thank you for these words! You helped me define why I've been stuck in the last few months- I've been waiting for some undefined thing to come along and make things "ready to move forward" and that's not going to come. We really just have to step forward.


  • Naomi

    Naomi on July 7, 2011, 10:47 p.m.

    I can't wait to read them of course, I've been spending some time thinking about this as well. I do have longterm goals for myself, as you know, but I am also excited about entering this new stage in our life of teaching our young children. I know it's going to be a lot of fun, but making sure there is time for everything is certainly challenging! Block-scheduling has helped. I can't plan things out by the hour with my kids the age they are, but I can set certain days aside for certain priorities, and fit in those "to-do's" on those days. But I am interested to hear how you are figuring that out. Learning from other people is a gift!


  • Kathie

    Kathie on July 8, 2011, 1:26 a.m.

    Go you! A local, novelist friend of mine and inspiration to me all around always says "Everyone wants to say they wrote a book. It's a cool thing to say after all 'I wrote a book.' The thing is few people want to actually do the work that goes into writing a book." I think of those words everytime I approach a project.

    I wish you nothing but hard work and the happiness that comes with making your dreams a priority!


  • Hillary

    Hillary on July 8, 2011, 2:29 a.m.

    Oh Renee. I sit here, so tired, head swimming and exhausted from treading water all day. Oh, I mean living my ideal life ;-)

    Because when I step back I'm doing exactly what I want to be doing, except it's still just--life. Life with all it's ups and downs and limited hours and......and....

    I'm right there with you sister. Though it sounds that you might be a little bit more well rested, because at least your blogging.

    tired and overwhelmed,



  • Donna

    Donna on July 8, 2011, 2:57 a.m.

    Waiting for the stars to align is exactly what I am doing. My husband got a new job on the other side of town and now we wait as our house sits on the market. I am waiting to not be waiting. I know an apartment is in our future unless we get an amazing offer on our house which is unlikely. As soon as we have an offer though I will be on the other side of town scouting the apartments that look good enough for me to live in temporarily, but not too scary to go out at night. Until then what choice do I have it's completely out of my hands. I am continuing on with our school plans, but it's hard to know what will happen tomorrow when tomorrow is more waiting!


  • Julie

    Julie on July 8, 2011, 2:07 p.m.

    I have been reading your blog for several months and am so inspired by it, especially your philosophy and practice of homeschooling. My children are young, 7, 4 and 1 and we have home schooled from the beginning. As I have been developing my own philosophy for educating my children my ideas were moving more toward many of the ideas about education that you express on this blog. It has been so reassuring to find someone further down the homeschooling road that expresses similar ideas so well. You have helped me to be confident in the way I school my children. Lately, I have been thinking a lot about structure and routine in our day. Up until my 3rd child was born I was pretty unstructured but I now feel the necessity of some sort of routine if I'm going to get stuff done and stay sane! So (I do have a point to all of this), in this post you mentioned that you are seeing that your children need more of a routine. How can you tell that they are feeling the need for a routine? How do they express this need? I'm am running into some issues with my 7 year old and am wondering if it is him needing more structure. I know all kids are different but I am curious if there are way kids act out if they are needing more routine. I've heard many moms say they notice the need in their child but I'm honestly not sure what that looks like! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!


    • renee

      renee on July 8, 2011, 10:55 p.m.

      Julie, Thank you. I do hope to share someday the changes we are making to our school routine and how those came about but I can answer very quick your question. Firstly, when my kids were younger there wasn't a lot of structure but some. Or rather, I've always structured time - mornings for this, afternoons for that kind of thing but not structured the content too much. That concept is structuring time not content. This is a concept I first saw verbalized in Leadership Education. Highly recommend that book. I've written about how I've structured our time in Learning with Littles. I've also written about what curriculum I've used (small bits of structuring content) in my Relaxed Elementary curriculum post at Simple Homeschool. One other link to check out is my video. These will just give you an idea of what structured learning has looked like in our home. I didn't start much "schoolish" stuff with the kids till they were seven or so.  But as my post implies there is a shift underfoot and you asked how I can tell they need a routine. Firstly, my oldest is 12 and is going through a huge intellectual growth phase and said outright "I need more than cuddles and books on the couch mom" (I paraphrase but that's the gist of it.) Ok, point well taken. Having built good commuication with our kids, letting them express themselves even if we might not like what they say (because it's hard to hear the truth sometimes), I guess they feel comfortable saying "this isn't meeting my needs". But you are right younger children "act out" when they have unmet needs so this takes some listening with your heart and trial and error. In addition to our daughter's needs, our son (10 years old) is having real struggles with reading and without going into lots of details he needs a better routine (and I need a better routine) that allows for more one on one instruction than we have done in the past.  Those are the 2 main reasons. So for our 8 year old she is along for the ride but her own learning is the least structured of them all. But because I'm doing stuff with the other two she also takes part.  I'm not sure how to read your child's needs. I think only you can do that. But trying a routine where there hadn't been one before might help. Some kids really like structure and other's not so much and then of course there is the mama to consider and how she best operates. It can be complicated sometimes but working together as a family to solve these things is always rewarding in the end.  I recommend the books Nurture by Nature and The Way They Learn to better figure out how your child ticks (you'll learn a lot about yourself also!)  


      • Julie

        Julie on July 9, 2011, 4:37 a.m.

        Thanks so much, Renee, for your quick and thorough reply to my off topic question! I will check out your recommendations. Julie


  • Nicola @ Which Nicola?

    Nicola @ Which Nicola? on July 9, 2011, 4:15 a.m.

    I laughed because that is so true...we work work work towards something, but this was big for your family and as you said, yes, it is just the beginning. I am glad you are making time to write now. I am not waiting. I am taking a step at a time. I am slow, though, but it isn't just the end goal for me, but the process along the way, too. Warmly, Nicola


    • renee

      renee on July 9, 2011, 1:22 p.m.

      Nicola, You are so wise. I am not a process person. It takes me a lot of discipline (and letting go) to be content with the journey. I'm not wired that way personality wise. But no matter how many things I get done there are always more to do. You are so right the goal isn't just the end but the journey also. I am learning that lesson over and over. 


  • Jacinda

    Jacinda on July 11, 2011, 11:26 a.m.

    Your post reminds me of a quote i often think of: "If we let ourselves, we shall always be waiting for some distraction or other to end before we can really get down to our work. The only people who achieve much are those people who want (knowledge) so badly that they seek it while the conditions are still unfavorable. Favorable conditions never come." -C.S.Lewis


  • Shelley R.

    Shelley R. on July 11, 2011, 9:26 p.m.

    As always, your writing and perspective somehow brings both encouragement and a gentle challenge.

    I'm not sure if I'll ever have true rest (here on earth) as a woman with many joy-filled responsibilities. However, I do believe that peace amidst the chaos is possible--I'm just not very disciplined with my time--and when I'm not disciplined, the chaos and defeat within is greater. So, I'm most curious about how the "seasons" in our lives effect the day-to-day.

    My current season: somewhen in those few weeks between late winter and early spring when the slight snow melt leads to a faint, damp smell of soil to linger in the air. Not the prettiest season, nor the most sought after. But here, in Minnesota, it's the time of year when the crocuses tenaciously push through the snow to bloom.

    I'm thinking that setting some priorities (and following them) will give me a little bit of that sort of tenacity.


  • Lynda

    Lynda on July 12, 2011, 4:36 p.m.

    Wow, am I there and have been there for some time. Spending the last 5-6 years trying to write, finding my writing style, and finally doing the writing has made me more determined than ever to not wait. The stars will never align if we wait for them. We must create our own alignment. I look forward to reading more about this.


  • Melissa Corliss DeLorenzo

    Melissa Corliss DeLorenzo on July 13, 2011, 4:52 p.m.

    Renne - thanks for this. I have been thinking the same things about my writing and the idea making time rather than finding time, since with 3 little ones, that is not going to happen. I am looking forward to some of your solutions!


  • Anonymous

    Anonymous on July 15, 2011, 1:30 a.m.

    Such an insightful post and one I can identify with very much! Waiting for the stars to align..ah, yes. I am thoroughly enjoying your blog and look forward to reading more about your unfolding new life!

    p.s. What is the delicious looking dish in the photo?


You can subscribe to comments on this article using this form.

If you have already commented on this article, you do not need to do this, as you were automatically subscribed.