It’s February, and I think I’m finally ready to share about my New Year’s resolutions. Not because I’m just now doing them . . . oh no. But because I have this awful personality flaw that makes it very difficult for me to announce the things I’m striving for, in case I don’t meet my goals. I’m a “get-it-done” girl. I don’t like to talk about things unless I have an action plan and an end in sight. This can be problematic, especially since I am married to a guy whose favorite thing to do is brainstorm and dream. In his family of origin, it’s perfectly acceptable to sit and chat about the restaurant you are going to open in Mexico . . . which prompts me into anxiety and running budget sheets and researching schools in Mexico, only to come back to find the conversation has turned to opening a café in a storefront in Kansas, and then my head explodes. And it’s not them, it’s me. I have always been plagued with a not-so-fun combination of literalism, anxiety, and pessimism. You do not want me on your group project.
Anyways, that was a rather convoluted attempt at explaining why I struggle with announcing my goals until I am 100% sure of achieving them. There was a big part of me that wanted to keep my half-marathon training quiet until I crossed the finish line, out of fear that I wouldn’t be able to pull it off. Because then I would have announced a goal that I didn’t meet, and then the obvious conclusion to that would be THE WORLD WOULD END.
I have issues.
Anyways, I have been quietly working on some lifestyle changes this year. Last year, and the year before, felt like I was just in survival mode. The addition of a new baby with two kids in preschool, followed by the adoption of a preschooler – I have struggled with giving myself grace for dropping the ball in many other areas of my life (particularly the ones related to the resolutions below). But two years is a long time to have been in this paired-down crisis mode, and while I’m letting go of guilt over that, I also feel like it’s time to really overhaul my lifestyle before the strategies I relied on during this season become habits for life.
So, here are some of the things I am working on right now:
Separating work time from family time – I mentioned this in another post, but finding the balance of working at home has not come easy for me. We have finally set up a situation where I have two days of in-home childcare. Our home has a mother-in-law suite in the backyard so we now have a babysitter who lives there in exchange for childcare. Previously we have rented this studio out, and it has been hard to lose that income because it paid for half our mortgage. But I’m thinking sanity is the priority right now, and this is really helping. So now I have a couple days a week devoted to working, and I’m trying to make sure I am NOT working on the other days, but also not getting sidetracked on my work days. This has not been an easy transition, because I have developed the terrible habit of working constantly, and as miserable as multi-tasking is, there is also some anxiety for me in stepping away from the computer for a few days at a time. But, it’s necessary.
Focusing on quality over quantity – this is related to above, but with the addition of some childcare I am trying to make sure that the time I am with the kids is focused on them, and the time I am away is focused on work. I think this is a win for all of us.
Getting out of the house – I could write a whole post on this one, but in a nutshell, taking for kids ANYWHERE is a challenge, and I am working on developing a thicker skin so that the potential side-glances of strangers who don’t like children in public spaces does not relegate me to a lifestyle of hiding out at home with my children.
Keeping our house stocked with healthy foods – This is related to above. I have anxiety taking the kids shopping, but I also have way too much work to do to use my limited childcare days on solo grocery runs. When I get alone time, the last thing I want to do is spend it listening to horrible muzak at the grocery store. The result is that I go way too long between grocery store runs, which means we run out of fresh foods and start eating packaged stuff out of the pantry. I want to make a commitment to getting out and keeping the house stocked with fruits and vegetables. I also want to get us on some kind of menu schedule – a task that has alluded me my entire adult life. It is time.
Going to bed on time – Again, explaining this would probably warrant a whole post but I find it very, very hard to go to bed at a reasonable time. I am tired and grouchy every day, and promise myself that TONIGHT I will get enough sleep. But then the kids go down and I have the blissful moments of solitude in a quiet home, and I get grabby about it. I become Gollum with his ring about my alone time. When I get it I gaze at it and call it “my precious”, and the consequence is that I am tired all day long from staying up until 2am.
Turning off the internet – This is related to above, because I am quite sure that if I lost my internet connection at 10pm, that I would not be up until 2am. I can spend hours reading up on current events, reading blogs, shopping online, cleaning out my inbox, etc. There is always more to do, and I get a burst of energy late at night to get things done. I am contemplating putting an application on my computer that turns off my internet at a certain time, and only giving the password to Mark.
Dealing with my emails – I’ll write about this debacle another time, but this is a little preview:
That number refers to unread emails. Is there a show about people who keep too many emails? Kind of like a Hoarders: Technology Edition? Because I need Jeff VonVonderen to come give me an intervention.
Maintaining my friendships – This has been a hard one to balance, and I am hoping to re-instate some playdates that allow me some adult interaction, and also be more intentional about calling friends and making plans and (see above) getting out of my house.
Getting outdoors and active – a year ago, I had just run a half-marathon. Then Kembe came home, and I completely stopped taking care of myself physically. I want to get back to that – not necessarily to the point of running a half-marathon, but I at least want to get outdoors, get to the beach, and break a sweat a few days a week.
So those are some of the things that I’m working on right now. I would love any insight for managing these things, because as much as I want to overhaul my life, I know that these will require discipline and some pretty hefty changes. But I’m ready.