Welcome to 2016. I had intended on foregoing the almost obligatory New Year post. I’m not big on resolutions or new starts just because of a change of date. But honestly my life is at a turning point and all of my planning and thinking and worrying and hoping is happening at this cliche time of year.
My husband will soon be leaving for a year for work.
We’ve been here before. He left for a year when X was 4 months old and that almost killed me. Now I have 2 littles and I’m staying in our home instead of traveling to live with family. That was the first big decision. Much of that year was spent in homes that weren’t mine and weren’t baby proofed. The stress of living in someone else’s house (even if you love them) was not something that needed to be added to my overflowing stress bucket. Combined with packing and storing a house, driving across country (with a dog, a cat and an infant) and my husband being away- it was a lot to handle. So first decision was to stay in our house. We’re comfortable here. The kids are comfortable here. I feel like it will be less of a transition for X who is old enough now to realize what’s going on.
But honestly, I’m a little terrified. Can I survive with two kids on my own? Will I ever leave the house? Will I have a conversation with someone over the age of 3 within that year? How will I shower?
I’m a planner and take solace in a well laid out and executed plan. But, as I learned last time, nothing is more disappointing then thinking everything will be ok and then it’s not. But, I’m a new woman. I’m a stronger woman. That year changed me in amazing ways. I was rocked to my core and I walked away from it.
Two of the most important things I learned were I NEED to make time for myself and I need to forgive myself. Being completely self sacrificing is exhausting and it doesn’t let me be the best me, the best mom, the best person I can be.
Everyone needs space to exist. Part of taking time for myself is being creative. I thrive on creativity. Even if it’s just drawing for a few minutes during a nap or creating something bigger. I need it. My soul shakes with creativity and I’m a better person when I give it an outlet. I also think it’s important for my children to see me take a few moments for myself. I want them to grow up with realistic expectations of themselves and of others. I don’t want them to be completely self sacrificing and I don’t want them to expect that from their partners or friends either. If that’s what they’re seeing from me, that is their normal. And it shouldn’t be. Plus if I take time for myself I come back with a passion and excitement for time with them. I’m not just a zombie mom sitting next to them handing them blocks or completely absorbed by my phone. I’m present. I’m active. I’m engaging. Slightly less time of engaged Mama is much more valuable then endless hours of zombie Mama.
I am my own worst critic. I always feel like I could be working harder, getting more done, being better…. But all that mindset creates is stress and anger and frustration. I need to let go of my unrealistic expectations and forgive myself when I fail. Because honestly, my failings are a lot less frequent then my triumphs and by focusing on my triumphs I can make the failings even less frequent. I’m not perfect. I can’t be super mom every. single. day. Some days I might yell, some days we might not have an awesome craft project or sensory experience, some days my kids might watch tv… But MOST days I rock it.
So now that I’ve set some ground work, let’s talk about some steps and plans I’m making to be successful.
– X (and possibly Q) is going to go to daycare for a few hours a week. I still plan to continue with homeschool preschool and he’ll spend most of his time home with me, but for 6 or so hours a week he will go play with other kids and I will clean the house or prep meals (or take a nap). I was always adamantly against day care, but I’m viewing it as a solo play date. I’m pretty sure he’ll love it as spending more time with other kids is high on both of our priority lists.
– We’ll join a gym (like the Y or the Kroc Center) as a family. I want to enroll X in swimming lessons. It will be a great opportunity for he and I to spend some scheduled one on one time, he’ll be getting some exercise and the kid loves the water! It will also give me the ability to take a class, enroll in yoga or work out while the kids are near by but being cared for.
– I’m really looking forward to establishing a family rhythm. All 3 of us thrive on rhythm. Life has been so crazy with time off and weird work schedules that I think we’re all feeling pretty lost in an unpredictable sea. This will give us an opportunity to establish a very strong rhythm to our days, our weeks and our months. I’ve been reading on Waldorf rhythms and look forward to sharing more of that soon.
Over the next few weeks I will continue to share my plans for survival.
February is going to be a big month for us. X will turn 3. Daddy will be departing. We’ll be getting a little more serious about preschool (I’m teaming up with Mother Goose Time and am excited to start receiving Ivy Kids), I’ve got a Jack in the Beanstalk theme I’m looking forward to sharing… It will be a busy, hectic, good, heartbreaking, everything kind of month. I look forward to sharing it with you all!