Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Just Getting By

Life, in one slightly embarrassing picture.

I'm overwhelmed.

For a few months, we went through an "easy" phase in development. Hadley was (finally) walking. Leila was practically running, and both girls were learning all kinds of new words. Discipline was well-received. Tony was able to mention the thought of another baby without me collapsing on the floor in tears. (That didn't really happen, and no, we're not pregnant.)

Alas, most of these phases, good or bad, only last about three months. Now, we're in this phase: "How did you get up there?" "Don't eat that!" "Do you know where your sister went?" "Where did you find that?" "Don't draw on the wall/floor/yourself!"

Add to this recipe the annual six-month contract I have with The National Day of Prayer Task Force. On top of that, I have two speaking engagements on couponing scheduled, and I'm co-planning a baby shower. I'm trying to wear many different hats, and since I work at home, the line is constantly blurred about which hat I'm currently wearing.

Worst of all, the whole family was feeling the effects of my stress. Leila is teething, and suddenly became physically velcroed to me. Because of that, I feared Hadley would be forgotten as she was being so good. I was spending every moment in my day either parenting, working, or cleaning, without taking any time for myself, and the television was babysitting my kids WAY more than I was comfortable with. Tony became "honey, will you unload the dishwasher?" instead of a spouse.

So, this weekend, I had a chance to talk with two fantastic moms about being overwhelmed. Then, Tony and I went out on a date (thanks, Martha!), and had a chance to really talk. We discussed things that are really important to us, and things that are just taking time away from other things. When we came home, I actually made a schedule of the coming week. I included the things we had discussed, and made "a place for everything, and everything in its place". I wrote down silly things, like "get dressed". It forced me to make a time slot for things I normally procrastinate doing. And, most importantly, I didn't schedule something into every minute so that I can rearrange as needed. Already, two days into having our days written down, I'm breathing a sigh of relief.

Here are our new priorities:
  • We will eat every meal as a family. (In the past, we sometimes fed the girls first so that Tony and I could have real dinner conversation. Or, I would quickly do some work during their lunch.)
  • I will interact (read: be on the floor) with the twins for a significant period of time, several times a day. No walking away to quickly check email!
  • I will not feel guilty for letting Hadley and Leila watch Sesame Street while I shower, or Dora while I prepare supper.
  • One of us will play with the kids in the evening, while the other cleans the kitchen and living room. Then, when the kids are in bed, we have time for each other! (Thanks, Amy!)
  • Instead of setting an item down when we're done with it, we will immediately put it where it belongs.
Yes, those things are ridiculously simple. And you can laugh at me for writing down the details for our tiny little lives in our tiny little corner of the world. But I've regained "control", and tonight I plan on doing absolutely nothing!


Jenia said...

Sometimes you have to lose control to regain it... well that is what happens to me anyway:) Just remember, everything is a phase... it will change and move with each passing year and pretty soon all the phases have passed too quickly!

D said...

So glad you guys got a chance to slip away and talk through some of those things! That sounded like it was really valuable!

How would you like a every-once-in-a-while helper? :) Yep - me!

I've been meaning to de-lurk on your blog for a while now, but when a friend mentioned today where you guys lived, I was ecstatic!

We're moving your way in two weeks! Hope we can get together with you guys sometime!