March was a very stressful month and April, so far, has continue to build on that stress. As I shared this weekend, we have a lot going on in our personal lives and I won’t deny that my life has unraveled in some ways over the past few weeks. Neal and I are working hard to regain balance, but it has been a really trying time for me personally and for our family.
I truly appreciated the words of advice some of you shared on the Balancing Today Facebook pages (I’m running two pages at the moment until I find someone to respond to my messages at Facebook headquarters…). Arielle’s comment really hit home when she said, “All I can say is simplify as much as possible (schedule, meals, chores, work) and be forgiving with yourself.” She’s right and as we move further into April, I have to do just that.
What’s challenging is figuring our how to simplify life during a stressful time. It’s easy for me to feel like everything is a necessity, but I know it’s not. This weekend I took some time to write down the things that are core for me and my family.
-My relationship with God (going to church, praying, reading scriptures)
-Taking care of Magnolia
-Taking care of Theodore (our Westie)
-Our marriage (communication, random acts of love, going on dates if we can)
-My own self care (working out, getting good sleep, going to pregnancy appointments, eating well)
-Keeping up with household basics (laundry, dishes, tidying, cleaning bathrooms, etc)
-Family meals (grocery shopping, meal prep, cooking)
-My professional career
Neal and I are both working really hard to balance out our chores and responsibilities. As I’ve said many, many times, I couldn’t do this without him. What I realized through creating this list is that there really is very little I can completely let go of, but I can lesson my high standards. Many people have recommended that we hire out during this time, and honestly, we just can’t afford it. I’d love to have someone come in to clean our house, have meals delivered, etc, but with another baby on the way, we just can’t afford to pay someone else. What we can do is to simplify everything.
The truth is, I have very little energy, or care, to invest in our meal plan and meal prep right now. Last night I bought a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store and called it a day. I took some time this weekend to write out a few easy, healthy(ish), meals that either Neal or I can make this week. Tacos are our easy go to, and I’m ok with that! We also love the crockpot and all the leftovers. I’ve also bought quite a few freezer foods, like Trader Joe’s turkey meatballs, spinach cakes, and various frozen fruits and veggies because all we have to do is microwave. We’re trying hard not to eat out too much, mainly because of our budget, but I’m also resolved to eating out on a crazy day.
Usually the first thing to go during stressful times is my own self care, so I am trying really hard to maintain my investment in myself. I have missed OrangeTheory the past two sessions I was signed up for, but it is what it is. I do want to make my workouts, but I also know I have to take care of myself. I have focused more on getting good sleep and truly resting. I am a thinker, so getting quality sleep is hard when things are uncertain and I’m thinking away sleep. Some of your advice to meditate was appreciate, and although I haven’t been in the practice of meditating, I am willing to try!
The biggest change I’ve had to make during this time is to ask for help and to be honest with my close friends and family. We’ve had to be honest about the help we need and I’ve had to be honest about how hard this time as been. As I enter my third trimester this next week, I know I’m going to have to ask for more help and I’m going to have to be honest about what I can handle and what I can’t handle.
I am so unbelievably excited to leave for Texas soon and to have some time to rest and relax there. Getting away from DC is what we need right now. Oh, and a big bowl of queso.
If there’s one thing about life, it’s that there’s always something. I know that I have to be kind to myself and I have to trust that God is in control and he has a beautiful plan for our family. I know I’ll look back at some point and see how he guided us through this time and always had a plan in place. In the mean time, I am trying hard to have faith, to focus on what I must accomplish, and to simplify where I can.