Everyone has seasons in their lives and for me, this is a season of change.
Our children are getting closer to attending school - Henry is outgrowing the baby stage - I am weaning, not weaning, and then weaning again - the future of my career and our next domestic location is punctuated with uncertainty.
Something is about to happen, but I still don't know what.
For as long as I've had this blog, it has been a stream of my conscious thoughts. I really haven't put too many filters on what I've written because there is something so 'freeing' about writing a post and hitting publish - and knowing that those thoughts have been set free to the universe. At least for me, it is essential to my emotional well being to write down what is in my heart and on my mind. It really helps me to sort things out by seeing it on paper, or more appropriately - on a computer monitor. But sometimes, the words that I write aren't waxed as poetically as perhaps they should or could be.
Instead of being upbeat and encouraging, they seem ungrateful and whiny.
I'm sorry about that.
There's enough ungratefulness and whining in the world without seeing it here.
But it seems that lately, especially since I've returned to work full time and Charlie has been trying to start his own company and the children are growing larger and the house is proportionally growing smaller, I've been hit head-on with how challenging things can be. Why, it feels kind of like I've been running around with my hair on fire and there is no water to be seen anywhere.
For the most part, I really pride myself on my ability to roll with things. When I look around and take an inventory of the world, I feel like Charlie and I have our act together. We are desperately in love as a couple. We unconditionally love our children and in my personal opinion, we are doing a pretty good job raising them. My life truly couldn't be better than it is at this very moment in time and I am so thankful for all of my blessings.
My health. My spouse. My children. My family. My friends. My home. My career. For the most part, my days abound with happiness and laughter almost nonstop. Sure, I have some complaints, but what full-time working mother whose homeschooling husband that is attempting to also start up a business and/or land a new job in a depressed economy doesn't?
A few weeks ago, I was having a particularly difficult time. I was sick, I was trying to get my work computer situation sorted out, I was trying to get ready for my 3-Day walk, I was trying to finish a baby blanket that was promised to someone several months ago, I was trying to pull together toys that I was donating to our pediatrician's office, I was trying to clean and de-clutter, I was trying to organize all of the address labels and order quantities for over 100 recipients that I still owed "Be Amazing!" bracelets. And while I was sorting through bracelets, all I could think was that if there was one thing I definitely wasn't ... it was AMAZING.
Our house was a disaster. Our cupboards were nearly bare because we'd been too busy to shop. Bills needed to be paid. Thank you notes needed to be written. More things than I could count on both hands and feet needed to be done. My patience was shot. My nerves were frayed. My priorities were way the heck out of alignment.
I was feeling overworked, underpaid, overstressed and under ... well, you get the idea.
As I was decompressing to Charlie and bemoaning my circumstances, my husband very calmly said, "Jen, you brought a lot of this unnecessary stress upon yourself. You signed up for the 3-Day walk. You promised our pediatrician toys for his office. You developed this ingenious fundraising mechanism that requires you to send out hundreds of bracelets. You promised someone a blanket. You take on special projects at home and work. You and you alone, Grasshopper, are making things much too difficult for yourself. You need to simplify your life and stop doing so much."
Simplify my ... what?
You mean, that's an option?
So I've taken my husband's advice and I'm learning to reduce the stress in my life.
Today, I decided that I didn't want to participate in the Muddy Buddy race which I had signed up for several weeks ago. I didn't want to drive two hours north and get dirty on a cold day and then drive two hours home again. I didn't want to - so I didn't. (And my buddy couldn't go so that certainly aided in my decision. Or rather, made my decision. But I was happy about it and didn't get a replacement buddy. Which I totally could have.)
Instead, I stayed home and baked. Or rather, my children baked because I delegated that task to them. Cooking helps them learn to read and allows me an opportunity to revel in their cuteness.
Today, I decided that instead of purchasing boxes of greeting cards and ordering photos and then manually inserting the photos in to the cards and printing out 200 letters on our personal printer, it would be easier to order pre-printed cards with our photo on the front and greeting on the inside. Shutterfly is having a huge sale through tomorrow with discounted card sales and free shipping. We saved $90.00, ten hours of time and at least two print cartridges. Win-win-win!
Today, I donated a lot of toys to Goodwill, including every single Polly Pocket that my children own. Toys should not cause parents undue stress and vacuums to malfunction. When they do, it's time to get rid of them. (So says I.)
Today, I extracted myself from several projects that I was involved on. One project called "Change the children's linens once a week" has been reduced to "Change the children's linens twice a month" (or whenever they wet them) and another called "Dust the ceiling fan blades once a month" has been reduced to "Dust the ceiling fan blades once a quarter" (or whenever chunks go flying off whenever you turn it on.) I also declined three Christmas parties that were all on the same day and opted instead, to attend one - that I believe will be the most child-friendly.
Today, I started a new blog. It's called, "The Vintage Whine" and it's totally private. It's where I'm going to unload my thoughts as I try to sort through this new dynamic phase in our life. From this point on, THIS blog is going to be reserved for happy thoughts and pictures of the children. Anyone that stumbles upon this blog is going to think that I never have an off day, things are always awesome and my children seldom drive me crazy.
Oh, I'm so temperamental - who knows how long The Vintage Whine will last? But at least for now, if you want to read my private blog, you'll need to make a hefty donation to my cancer fundraising efforts. There will be no whining here and hence, no need for me to wax poetic and make things seem chipper when it really feels like I'm caught IN a chipper.
Hopefully, in the process of sanitizing this blog of whiny thoughts, I will not only save myself an exorbitant amount of energy and get to bed at an earlier time each night, I will swiftly reach my fundraising goals for my next cancer crusade event.
See how easy that was?
I just simplified my life again!
Now it's your turn. I need more ideas.