The holidays are a lot of fun but can often add a lot of stress to life, even without the spirited family members you only see once a year.
I may have put my foot in my mouth when, a few months ago, I claimed that "strolling the aisles of Target didn't constitute self-care." Or maybe I just haven't been doing it right this whole time. Because, recently I managed to completely turn my mood around with a quick trip to the bulls eye and an off-the-cuff mantra chanted in my car.
Have you had enough of all this self-care talk? Thinking to yourself, "Ok, all this talk is nice and all, but I don't really need any of this stuff. I'm good. I feel fine. I take time out for myself. I see my friends. My kids are sleeping through the night. We eat healthy, most... ok some of the time. I'm fine. I don't really need any of this self-care thing."
Are you here with me? Feeling stuck? Halfway to the end. Halfway from the beginning. Too far to go back. Still so far to go.
We're still about a month away from the middle of the year, but this year is starting to feel a little heavy for me. I'm not quite sure why. On paper, things are awesome. The weather has been amazing, I've discovered a new Cider Rose that has made my life, I'm taking a family vacation with my sister and her kids in July, I've even managed to plan a few date nights and some of them even include my husband. Things are good! Great, even. But, somehow, I'm in a funk.
I don't have any tattoos but if I were to get one on my forehead, ok, maybe my wrist, I think I would want it to say: "good enough."
Do you feel like that sounds like a cop-out? It kind of feels like one to me when I say it. Like, if I hired a painter to repaint my house, I don't know that I want him to look at his work and say, "good enough!" as he heads home. Or a doctor stitching up a cut on my kid's leg after a fall, "ok kiddo, good enough!" Seems like you've fallen a little short.
I don't know why I set my parenting expectations so high. In college I was in a sorority and our motto was, "Aim High" so maybe that's stuck with me. But somehow, every morning, it comes as a huge surprise that I did not get an uninterrupted night of sleep. I have three children under five, one of which is a baby, of course I'm not sleeping. But, as it turns out, the baby is the least of my issues.
So, have you done anything fun this summer? I use the word "fun" loosely here as you'll recall that these days, I'm setting expectations low for myself. We're having our "fun" in 45 minute increments: trips to parks in new subdivisions, adventures to Costco (for toilet paper AND water balloons), scavenging for weeds in the backyard, etc.. I mean, if anyone can put the "fun" in functional, it's a mom!
She has been a nice breath of fresh air, this sweet baby girl of ours. A lighthouse in a dark, vast ocean trying to swallow me during a treacherous storm; giving me focus, hope, and a light to steady and remind me that I can make it another day at seas. In ten years she will hate my guts but until then, I will hold on to the life preserver she's thrown.
Simplify. That seems to be my new mantra. Simplify. Routines, clutter, meals, schedules. Simplify.
It seems to be working. Or helping, anyway. Because, shockingly, the addition of a third child hasn't made as insane an impact on our lives as I thought it would be. My husband would probably beg to differ. And I'm NOT saying it's been easy. But, really, other than some logistical issues (where did we put that baby? which kid is crying? did we feed this one today?) it's sort of been business-as-usual. On significantly less sleep
As I've started to settle into life with three kids under five, my new favorite word has become "minimalism." The nesting stage of pregnancy turned into a full blown tirade to "throw away all the things." Basically, if I hadn't used it in the last 10 minutes or if it remotely annoyed me, into the trash/donation pile it went.