Impractical is probably my middle name; and I wish it were not such a true statement. Thankfully, my people love me for who I am, impractical crazy and all. You see, I’m a perfectionist. I like things done quickly, done well and done right. I like them done; I like them perfect. I know perfection is not real and that it’s not attainable, but it turns out I’m also an overachiever and I like to make myself totally, completely and absolutely insane as often as possible. Why? I have no idea; I hate the feeling with a passion.
You see, I’m a mom and that makes life kind of impossible some days. With four kids (8, 5, 2 and 2) I have very little free time and a lot of expectations. I like my house spotless at all times and I like to look perfect. I like perfection. What can I say? However, I have learned that if I’m not going to be that woman on the news at the end of the day for going totally insane, I have to make some serious practical decisions throughout the day. I don’t love practical, because it doesn’t seem so productive or perfect. I’m a work in progress, and I’m learning.
This summer has been, perhaps, the most stressful and most challenging in my life. Our twins are two and it’s just really, really, really (really really really) difficult to take my four kids out by myself. Think of it this way; when one has to use the bathroom, I have to stop the car and unload four kids, load two squirming 2-year-olds into their stroller, maneuver it into the bathroom and try and help said big kid use the restroom before maneuvering everyone back into the car. That’s just a small, less than stressful piece of the puzzle.
I tried taking them to the park a few times. One goes this way, one that way, two are doing their own thing and I have two arms, one set of eyes and the ability to follow only one child at once. I get anxious, I feel nervous, and I’m scared. I’m scared that someone will see me with one and grab the other. I’m scared someone will see me getting four kids into the car all alone in a parking lot and mug me or take a child since I’m distracted. The world really sucks these days, and it’s scary. So, basically, this summer hasn’t been the most fun during the day (but boy do we make up for it at night and on the weekends when daddy is home). It’s been challenging. I’ve had to take a long, hard look at me and find a way to go with the flow and relax a bit. It’s not been easy, but I’ve found that being reasonable has been helpful; here’s what I’ve been doing and would highly recommend for all moms.
Wake Up First
I always get up at 5 am because I work from home and I need a few hours before the kids are up to get anything done. However, there have been a few days this summer I’ve been a bit lazy and slept in with the kids (okay, so I thought if I got up with the kids maybe the day wouldn’t seem so long until my husband gets home). It’s stressful. I need that time before they are awake to do my own thing, enjoy some peace and quiet and set a positive tone with which to start my day.
It’s summer and most people I know don’t bother getting ready each day. Why? I do – every day. Hair, makeup, real clothes. Why? Because I feel good about myself when I do that. When I feel good about myself, I’m in a much better mood. When I’m in a good mood, I’m nicer, calmer and much more relaxed.
Get the Kids to Help
My 2-year-old twins know to clean up their toys in the playroom when asked, and that’s helpful. I’ve also learned this summer that my 8-year-old and 5-year-old are perfectly capable of helping out, too. They can pick up their own rooms, their playroom and they can put their own laundry away. It’s been so helpful to have that little bit of help during the day when my husband is not around.
Take A Break
This one is difficult for me as there is always something to do and I don’t like to leave things undone. However, sometimes I just need a break to let go. I can take a walk with the kids. I can sit on the back deck with a book while the twins are napping and the girls are in their rooms playing. I can go to the YMCA and drop the kids off for an hour or an hour and-a-half in the Kid Zone while I work out (I do that 6 days a week, and my husband joins me on Saturdays). When I get a break, a little time for myself, I feel much better.
Let it Go
Expectations when your entire schedule changes and there is no real routine is always a bad idea. I’ve learned to let them go and be more hour by hour or minute by minute with my approach to the day. No longer do I have the same expectations since everyone’s schedule is disrupted. It’s helped me to relax and calm down a bit, and I appreciate that.
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