I woke up to a kind email from my husband this morning. We don’t email very often these days-it used to be the main way we kept in touch during the day-but in Paul’s new job he runs at record speed and I gave up after more than a few unanswered emails. It was a nice email with a snippet from a blogpost I wrote way back in October 2014 on failing repeatedly. At the time I was waxing on about the mess of motherhood and finding my peace amidst the sticky plates and toys littering my floor.
I can’t pretend I don’t know why he shared it with me again.
I’ve had a tough go of things since Clara arrived. It’s not unusual I know. Just yesterday my Bombay friend Erica reminded me that anyone who doesn’t struggle post baby is really just a magical unicorn and therefore doesn’t exist.
Nevertheless, I want to do better. I need to do better.
As much as I’ve gone on and on and on about not expecting to be the mom of four kids, here I am. And Clara’s awesome and amazing and my big kids are so much better for having her. Our whole family is so much better for having her, but it has been adjustment.
For me the biggest adjustment has been the return of working mom guilt. Goodness it’s awful. It creeps in and seeps into every crack until it threatens to bring every bit of you down. For me it becomes an inward deterioration that manifests into me barking orders at those around me. So in the end I not only feel bad about the time I’m not with Clara, but also about the difficulty I’m having managing everything else in my life. You can imagine how awesome that feels.
But enough is enough. No one, especially the kids and Paul, and including myself, deserve to be facing that every single day. It’s too much.
What can I do to change my perspective? For me I think it’s going back to my basics. The things that really help me stay balanced in the face of chaos.
For me those things are:
- Running-yes, I know I just wrote about how maybe a break from running is in order, but after a month of not running I can tell you for certainty I need it back. STAT.
- Yoga-it’s not my favorite, but my brain needs to be forced into being present and I need to work through the poses just as I need to work through other situations. Sunday class. Wednesday class. Done.
- Writing-I have trouble making myself sit down and write. I question why I even think someone would want to read what I write, but the truth is I enjoy reading what I write. I enjoy seeing the little vignettes about the kids and what we’re doing. It’s worth it to put it down, even just for us.
- Sleep-sleep is not so great at this point in our lives, but it’s getting better. I need to take advantage of that get in bed early when I can.
- Healthy Food-I feel so much better when I take the time to pack my lunch and snacks for school. It’s hard to get the motivation to do this in the evening but the payoff is so good. It makes everything better when I have a nutritious lunch to look forward to.
- Water-I need a lot of it since I’m still nursing Clara. I need it more than I need any other beverage.
- Down Time-I have trouble sitting down until everything is “done”. The trouble is everything is actually not ever totally done. I’ve thought of enforcing an actual time when I call it quits so I can watch a show, read a book, and just catch my breath.
- Adventures-I enjoy a weekend family adventure from time but often our weekend sports schedule keeps us from doing too many things. Here’s to hoping we squeeze in a few things before the weather heats up too much.
- Dates-We hired a new nanny a few weeks ago and we have asked her to work a half day on Saturdays (before you think we’re unreasonable just know the standard is for maids to work a full day on Saturdays). This allows Paul and I to have a quick lunch and grocery shopping date. We’ve done it a few times and it really is the best. We get a chore out of the way and can catch up.
- Goals-I’ve felt a bit aimless lately and that isn’t good for my INFJ personality. I think setting a few goals every month will help me stay focused on what I need. Taking the time to reflect and consider which goals is also helpful.
So while my initial reaction to seeing my words held against me wasn’t positive, I can see what Paul’s purpose was. He knows me and he knows that I really only know what I think when I can write it down. I need to get it down more.
There’s an amazing life right in front of me. I just need to open up my eyes to it.