Balancing Act

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PoiseHappy New Year!

2014 was my very first full year as a mother of two, and it taught me many things. Like how to cook dinner with one kid on your back and the other one clinging to your leg and that every time your newly potty trained child will have to poop is the exact second after you have sat down to nurse the baby.

All jokes aside, the number one thing I learned, and am still working on daily, is balance.

To start off the new year, I have taken the Hands Free Mama pledge, from the talented and inspiring blogger turned author, Rachel Macy Stafford. The stories she tells of life before her epiphany were all too familiar and I did not want to go any further down that path.

I have always been a bit of an over-scheduler, and to be honest I believe that everything I take on is a part of me and denying that would be stifling my true self. But I don’t want anything to come at the expense of my family. That’s where balance comes into play.

For the past week, I have been rising a full hour before the kids in order to get a few pressing matters out of the way, allowing me to be fully present during breakfast and our entire morning routine. Of course for this to be successful, I have to start going to bed an hour earlier, which I haven’t quite mastered yet.

Some days I could use a nap by lunch time, especially since going back to work a few weeks ago (I’ll blog about that exciting news later in the week), but it’s a small price to pay for the feeling of accomplishment that I get without having to compromise time with my loved ones.

I’ve found that I’ve had to become more organized and more conscious and protective of my spare time (i.e. no getting lost in news feeds or spending 45 minutes trying to find something to watch on Netflix). I realize I need to maximize my free time to include the things I truly value. Some days that might be writing, some days that might just be doing something nice for myself like taking a bath uninterrupted. That and lowering my expectations. This is the year I will let go of mommy guilt for good, slow down and allow myself to fully experience the things that bring me the most joy. It is only then that I can be the wife, mother and woman who I strive to be.

I want to be a hands free mama, but I also want to be fulfilled as a separate entity and I wholeheartedly believe that if you want something bad enough, you will find a way to make it work.

It’s all about balance.

Back to Zero

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Inspired by Nurshable‘s posts about not yelling, I am proud to say I made it to Day 9. NINE. For me that is quite a feat. I don’t know if I have mentioned it before, but I have what my husband calls a bit of a tone problem. Even when I am completely calm (albeit passionate about something) it can appear to others as if I am yelling. Like at them.

Over the past nine days, I have been yelled at, I have been stressed, I have been worn out, I have been completely frustrated. But I did not yell.

Until today.

I’m not even exactly sure what set me off, or what made today different, but I felt it coming and I was powerless to stop myself. Of course it only lasted for a short time, as feelings of anger often do, and then the usual rush of guilt set in and I wanted to curl up in a tiny little ball until I disappeared from sight.

But that wouldn’t do anyone any good.

If I have learned anything it’s that all I can do is try again. All I can do is admit I was wrong, apologize and move on.

So here I am. Back to zero. Ready to try again tomorrow.

Bare Minimum

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I’m doing it again.

I’m procrastinating.

What I really should be doing is writing a 750 word eulogy for my English course (influenced by Tuesdays with Morrie), but instead I’ve decided to write about why I can’t seem to find time to get a damn thing done these days. Yes, I see the irony in case you were wondering.

Since becoming a mom of two, I feel like I’m only ever putting forth the bare minimum. And I am not a bare minimum kind of girl. I am the mildly obsessive if you’re going to do it you might as well do it right type.

Have you ever gotten to the point where you gave up even starting things because you knew you wouldn’t be able to see them through to the end? That’s about where I’m at right now. Take this blog for example. Instead of typing out a quick blurb and hitting Publish a few days a week, I take two hours to write a few hundred words, agonizing over each and every one. Instead of enjoying the process of writing, I put it off all week and dread the thought of logging in.

So I find myself doing a whole lot of nothing. Or a whole lot of half somethings, which still leads to nothing being accomplished. I have about ten projects on the go right now, and I keep breaking my own rules by taking on more. Aside from taking care of two kids and a household, running two businesses, school work, blogging and working out six days a week, I have just started training for my first triathlon and joined a book club. I don’t get to sleep until past midnight every night and D has me up at 6 every morning. No wonder I’m exhausted!

For the past four months now, I feel like I am constantly putting out fires and it’s time for that to stop. I am a mom and my kids are only going to be this small for a short time. They need me and they have always and will always come first. That is the promise I made the day I became a mother. Yes, I have obligations and need to make time for myself and for the things I am passionate about, but I also need to slow down and take a deep breath and know that it is physically impossible for me to “do it all”.

The way I see it I have two choices. I can give up on everything extracurricular that I love (and go crazy and be of no use to anyone) or simply lower my expectations. It’s okay that I’m late to everything and that I skip a couple workouts here and there. It’s okay that I only post once a week, or sometimes even less. I need to allow myself to not be perfect at everything I set out to do. I need to prioritize what it is I hope to accomplish. Most importantly I need to realize that no one (other than myself) expects me to accomplish much of anything right now, and be thankful for the days I find time to shower and get dressed.

Parenting is all about lowered expectations and I’m starting to be okay with that.

Short Fuse

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Today has not been my shiniest moment as a parent. I have not been as patient as I should have been. I have not been as kind or as understanding. I did not take every chance I could to tell my child how much I love him and I let too many teachable moments slip by.

I was too busy, too tired or had too many other things going on. All of these things may be true, but they are also excuses. And I don’t want to make excuses. So I won’t.

I am far from perfect and I don’t expect my children to be either. We both make mistakes and we are both capable of learning from them and moving on. Today might not have started on a positive note, but I have the ability to make sure it ends on one so that tomorrow, and each day, we can have a fresh start. And that’s exactly what I did.

Besides, there is no point arguing with a tiny version of yourself. You will never win.

Feels Like the First Time (Or, not)

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I would just like to say that it is incredibly difficult and frustrating when you experience issues with your second baby after having a first baby that had none. I know I should consider myself lucky that I had an easy baby the first time and that the “issues” I am referring to aren’t life threatening, but I totally thought it would be the same if not easier the second time around. Between that and lack of sleep, I’m starting to feel like I suck at this parenting thing.

D was proficient at breastfeeding from first latch, barely cried and didn’t even get his first cold or fever until well after a year old. That hasn’t been the case with Miss DD. Her feeding issues have really picked up in the last little while and her “colic” is starting to look more like reflux.

While I was pregnant, I went through an extremely rough patch with D. I thought to myself, “I can’t wait until the baby comes because she will be easy. Babies are so easy!” Kicking myself in the ass for that one now. It’s actually been quite the opposite, and although DD is the sweetest little thing, she is definitely not the easy one. (I’m sure that statement might vary depending on when you ask me though.)

Trying to balance a household, two kids and my sanity is seeming to be an impossible task lately. I thought only “new moms” weren’t able to find time to shower and my sink looks like a game of Jenga. Like quoting a hipster’s cliché tattoo collection, “this too shall pass” has become my new mantra.

Love me some Scary Mommy on days when I feel like I'm sucking the most

Love me some Scary Mommy on days when I feel like I’m sucking the most
http://www.pinterest.com/pin/212372938649466898/

 

 

Things I Have Learned the Hard Way

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  1. Family comes first, everyone and everything else is second. That includes money, material possessions and everything it takes to achieve them: work, school and sacrificing what should be first. This includes friends, unless they are like family. 

 

  1. People don’t give a shit about you or your problems, even if they pretend to. This does not include family.

 

  1. Don’t take on more than you can handle. Even if you manage to balance it all, something always slips. It does not allow you to put forth your best effort or live in the moment.

 

  1.  Don’t over complicate things. Life is hard enough as it is. 

 

  1. Don’t force things. If the square peg does not fit in the round hole, there is probably a reason for it.

 

  1. You are probably on the right path already. You just don’t know it yet. Don’t give up. Unless you are trying to force things. See Lesson 5.

 

  1.  Consider the advice of others, but make your own decisions.

 

  1. In order to become who you want to be, you must give up being who you were. 

 

  1. Despite what cynics may tell you, love really does conquer all.

 

  1. Slow down. Plan for the future, but live in the moment. Allow your plans to be flexible as you grow and change as a human being.