It’s in my nature to be productive and to pursue many different interests. I truly enjoy so many different things, am highly goal-driven, and am constantly trying to achieve more, learn more, and be involved in more. For the most part I have felt like I have things balanced and under control.
However, I’m honestly struggling as a mother lately. I don’t blame the kids at all, but my reaction to the tantrums hasn’t been good, and I have less and less patience as we go. It got to the point where I felt like I couldn’t handle it at all, and I was considering going to counseling just so that I could move past the rough spots and enjoy motherhood again.
So far, though, I haven’t had to enter therapy because I am following some advice from my mother-in-law instead: to let some things go. As much as I believe in theory that we go through seasons in life, and this is the season where I’m a working mom with young children who are my priority, my thoughts and actions don’t always align with my values. I have about twenty different hobbies (okay, at least ten) and most of them aren’t kid-friendly. So I try to work on all of them in the extremely limited time that I have alone, and when I’m not working on them they are occupying far too much brain space. Even though I don’t realize I’m doing it, I’m putting pressure on myself to accomplish all these extra things.
For example, my monthly goals. I love making them and planning for them and doing them. But most of them aren’t really necessary. I have low-level stress about achieving them and I worry about trying to fit them in. So then if the kids are giving me trouble that stress is amplified and I lose my patience and get super frustrated because my goals are being thwarted. So I’m dropping them.
I’ve made an attitude change, but also some practical changes regarding my hobbies and lifestyle that have made this possible, and I wanted to go over those here.
I’m definitely not giving up on the blog, but I’m changing my approach a bit. There are a few features that I’m keeping: book reports, Meredith lately, and Project Life spreads. On top of that, if I finish some sort of project I will probably post about it, and then I want to do weekly-ish personal updates with photos, like the around here or currently series. And that’s it, unless I have the extra time and inspiration.
Memory-keeping projects are important to me but are definitely something I can simplify. Starting now, I’m going to be using the Project Life app for my spreads and then printing the 12×12 layout. I think this will save a ton of time and I can do it on-the-go instead of needing dedicated time alone at home. As for any extra albums, I’m going to finish 2014’s December album (since I’m in the middle of it) and then I’m thinking of just doing photobooks for this year.
I’m in a book club that meets monthly, so I’m going to start listening to the audiobook for that (and I’m cutting back on the number of podcasts I listen to). That way any reading I do is just for pleasure.
David is taking on some extra chores that I normally do. I’m going to simplify my meal planning and cooking; I’m still using frugal real food meal plans, but instead of trying so many new recipes I’m going to rotate our favorites and do one new one every couple weeks or so. For now, I’m not going to worry about extra decluttering or decorating unless it just happens organically.
I’m reducing the number of days I’m willing to drive to the medical center to work. Other crafts (such as needlepoint, knitting, and sewing) are just going to happen when I have spare time and really feel in the mood. In general, I’m just going to say no more.
I haven’t been exercising lately, but I feel like that’s one thing that will actually improve my mood if I do more of it. So I’m going to make an effort to start running again 2-3 times per week, right after work. I also want to go on more dates with David.
So that’s my plan, and so far I’d say it’s working. I feel a lot less internal stress and pressure, which in turn increases my patience with the kids.
What are your strategies for when you feel like you can’t handle one area of your life? I’d love to know! Tell me I’m not the only one!