I struggle because I want to do it all. And I like pressure. And I like lists a lot. But I was beginning to tiptoe my breaking point and I don't want to go there. I was there just over a year ago, the weight of post partum hormones (not depression, just the fluctuation of hormones), little sleep, trying to figure out Johnny's feeding issues, and too many doctor appointments for too many months crashing all around me at once. And as I saw the same feelings inching into my mind and the weight working it's way back onto my shoulders, I looked for relief.
I said "No" and "We can't this time" to things I would have easily said "yes" to before.
I focused more intently on engaging my kids in small moments throughout the day, capitalizing on dozens of small play and learning sessions in the midst of a crazy schedule.
I opened an email that was like an answer to prayer, offering a fantastic deal on adding an extra day of school for the girls and took them up on it.
I refrained from calling or texting friends to catch lunch or breakfast in my 1-2 he windows I had open and used that for time with my kids, to get stuff done, or like the 15 minutes I had today, to eat lunch quietly in my car.
I looked at "my" finances, the money I pull in from the 3 (yes 3) odd jobs I do to wiggle funds for someone to come help clean the house. I don't know if this will be regularly or occasionally, but I'm happy that we have some extra money for an absolute luxury that I need right now.
And I'm going away. For me AND for a friend. My dear friend Crystal is having a baby very soon and I aim to be there around the time he or she is born. I am very excited for the privilege I have to see her and to go on a trip by myself!
Maybe these aren't the right steps for someone else, but these are absolutely the right steps for us. I could feel guilty about the extra day at school for the girls, but I don't. They love school and they learn a lot there. And like I told a friend today, right now, someone else can meet the girl's needs, I am the only one who can meet Johnny's needs. And he needs more time. Maybe spending the money on someone to help with the house isn't super fiscally responsible, but we have thought about it for a long while and this is what we want to do right now. I work hard for my money and I would rather hang out with some kiddos at church a few hours each week than clean my house. It's a trade off for me and I feel I'm getting the way better end of the deal!
As I work to find this balance (that I think all people struggle to find in their own way), I am committed to not becoming a monk. Matt and I say over and over how important relationships and connections with other people are to our lives. I just may have to plan out play dates, lunches, and dinners over the next two months instead of cramming it all into one or two weeks! Good thing I like my calendar as much as I love lists.
Besides, it's the relationships that strengthen us. Our reliance on God (who forgives us for all of the times we fall short, so we should forgive ourselves too). A hubby who makes you fondue for valentines and takes care of the kids all day when you are sick (not because of the fondue). A friend who has you over for margaritas and makes you laugh until you almost pee. A surprise party for a friend who reached 40! Giggles from a sweet boy who smiles when he sees you. Sharing favorite movies with a lanky girl who still curls up in your lap. Marveling over an almost 3 year old who you can't convince to choose something besides spaghetti and meatballs for her birthday breakfast. A ministry that is growing with dear friends. The possible chance to meet a new life in Salt Lake. And many, many more, texts, emails, phone calls, visits, passing hellos, quick hugs, promises to get together. When we lack the ability to think past the next day or hour, we take big gulps of the good times and the experiences we share with one another to nourish ourselves when we need it. It feels like I have heaps of reserves of good things to fuel me and with a little tweaking, we will be good to go!