We have had several students welcome their second children this year. It brings back memories. Both Bruss and I remember going from 1 to 2 children as the hardest transition to make as we were adding children to our family…and maybe that’s because we have stopped trying for more children after we welcomed our fourth in 2011…anyway…
While it was hard to readjust to using the diaper bag again, the amount of time it took us to go from wanting to leave the house to actually leaving the house, the sibling rivalry…it was not until we welcomed our third in 2009 that I had an epiphany moment about my expectations and “normal”.
I remember sitting on the couch – overwhelmed with how much I needed to do, not being on top of my to-do list, feeling like I was neglecting my usually ordered life somewhere because I still felt like there was so much chaos. And the realization hit me – our third child was already nine months old! This WAS my normal…as I came to call it, my “New Normal”.
Once I accepted that things were never going to be like they were before, and that I was going to be okay with that, I made a new game plan. I started by identifying my priorities. Once I made those, I took a hard look at our day, and realized that although we liked our nanny, she was not the right one for our family. Another adult in the house who made more work for me rather than make our day smoother was not an option anymore.
And yes, we have a nanny – that is one of the ways I am able to do all the things I want to do on a daily basis. And I buy $5 pants from goodwill, or buy no pants at all and keep mending my torn pair because I would rather have a nanny than new clothes. When we do buy new, we buy on sale, or we shop gently used at consignment sales. We have also cut back in other areas so that I can keep that help, and still homeschool, teach childbirth classes, and devote time to writing almost every day.
My other “secret weapon” is an incredibly supportive partner. He totally believes in co-parenting, and I know I can count on him to take care of the Sweet Peas when I need to go out and network, or go to meetings in the evenings. He works hard to support our family, and allows us to afford the nanny so that I can be a mom, teacher and burgeoning free-lance writer.
I cringe to say I have found balance – I see balance as a stationary thing with no movement…I definitely don’t strive to be motionless. I do aim to be kind, be peaceful, grow our children, grow & support our students, and grow as a writer, all while maintaining some sanity and a relationship with my partner and best friend. I do look at our life every few months and try to figure out if we are at another “New Normal”, or if things are still going well as we go along.
As I reflect on the lessons of 2013, here are my big a-ha’s for this year:
- Accepting that I need to sleep has been transformational. Sleeping more than 6 hours a night has pretty much put Crazy Mama to bed and allowed Peaceful Mama to show up and stick around almost every day. I love Peaceful Mama, and since she is who I want to be when I grow up, I am going to keep sleeping. As a wonderful side benefit, I have barely had a sniffle all year long.
- I embrace that I can only do so much. I identified my two biggest priorities, and all other decisions stem from my ability to do those two things. Wow – I can’t even begin to tell you how immensely freeing that has been. It’s so easy to say no without regrets, and again, Peaceful Mama reigns the day because I am not overdoing things.
- I have compartmentalized my time. There is school time, social media time, and writing time. Once that time is used up, then it’s face time with the kiddos. If things are not done within their time frames…move along. By the end of the day, it all gets done, and if it wasn’t perfect…I am okay with it. I feel like our children see me, and my face, instead of a shining computer screen, clicking keys, and my backside.
I am reflecting on 2013 and considering what I want 2014 to be like…I have some good ideas to build on the lessons I learned this year.
What is on your wish list for 2014??
P.S. Blue Russ from Blue Russ Health Coaching was instrumental in helping me identify and realize my “a-ha” lessons over the course of our coaching sessions. I encourage anyone who is ready to grow to give her a call!