bringing some calm to the chaos

In my last post I mentioned that our family has a bit of a crazy schedule. It hasn't always been this way. For years I homeschooled the kids and Joe worked as a police officer. (His schedule there varied, but we weren't going in a zillion directions so it didn't feel too hectic.) Then we moved to Minnesota and he was tattooing while I was home with the kids.
Our schedule there was pretty dreamy. We woke up as our bodies decided to... no alarm clocks or places to rush off to. My internal clock naturally wakes me up in the wee hours (usually sometime during the 5:00 hour). I loved my quiet time in Minnesota. I'd get up while it was still dark, have my coffee and quiet time (pause in thankfulness that my kids didn't have to be on the school bus as it passed our house at 6:50 each morning) and watch the sunrise over the snow covered corn field behind our house. Then the kids and Joe would start waking up one by one and we enjoyed doing things as a family (hikes, bike rides, crafts, painting, going for lunch). The kids and I had our (more focused) learning time after Joe went to work, and while the little ones napped. Joe worked from noon until 8 and then came home for a little time with the kids before bed. Then he and I would stay up to watch a movie, work on art or other projects, etc.
Since moving back to CA, and surely thanks to the current economy, money has been tight and I went back to work last summer for the first time since having kids. It's been kind of a stressful year as finances and schedules go. Last summer we heard about a wonderful Waldorf methods school and Brooklyn begged to go. It was a really tough decision because we've loved homeschooling, but she was so excited and we agreed with the philosophies and appreciated all the opportunities she'd be experiencing there, so we enrolled her. It's a small school, with only one class per grade, and they didn't have room for Zeke at the time so I continued to homeschool him this year while we took Brooklyn to school 25 minutes away from home. There is at least one other family in our area who attends the school, so there is opportunity to form a carpool, but unfortunately our van was repo'd last summer (technically we surrendered it before they had to take it but... you get the idea).... and now we don't have a vehicle big enough for any extras. I've been working 5 mornings a week while Joe is with the kids, and then I come home in time for him to leave. He gets home between 8:15- 8:30 to put the kids to bed so I can go to sleep and get up at 3am to start all over again. On my two days off, he is working in Monterey (2 hours away) so we don't have any family or couple time these days.
It's definitely waring on us. Lately we've squeezed in a few much needed dates, trying to reconnect. It's hard to have a relationship with someone you never see! Really not the marriage either of us had in mind... but we realize this is a season and we need to push through, making time for little dates when we can. It's these tough times that can ultimately bring you closer, as long as you don't let them pull you apart while you're going through it.
Also, we've decided it's time for me to cut back at work, so that at least we can have some time in the mornings like we used to. From next week on, I'll be working at Starbucks just two days a week. That seems a bit off balance, with Joe working 7 days, but it's how he prefers it, and hopefully his work will pick up and he can take a day or two off soon. This also gives me more time to develop Jenuine Ruby as a business and hopefully I'll start contributing more to the family income through my sales.
I didn't even mention kids' activities. Brooklyn is involved in a youth theater program through a local jr. college and has rehearsals three nights a week (thankfully they just had their performances last weekend and have a break until Fall), plus church activities on Sundays and Wednesdays.
Anyway, we're refiguring things lately and are looking forward to a slower pace once I cut back my hours at work and school is out for summer. We're still undecided about school for next year. We could have three at the Waldorf school, or we may have them all home again.
I like to wake up on Monday mornings refreshed and ready for a new week. I don't think it's necessary to dread the family's schedule. If it's rushed and stressful, life isn't enjoyable. I'm a glass-half-full kind of girl and I totally believe it's possible to have that again. We've had a rough year, but I'm ready to reclaim the peaceful pace that we once had.
How about you? Do you have a schedule that feels out of control? Can you take a step back to see what changes can be made to bring some calm to the chaos? I'm reminded again of that line from Brene's video... "Exhaustion should not be a status symbol."