Thursday, October 21, 2010

Selfish Mom

I read this post a while ago (cannot remember where or I would link to it) about how mom's can easily find themselves saying "no" too often and how selfish that is.  This resonated with me so much that I have changed how I do things in my life.  I found myself saying "no" a ton - mommy, can I help you with the laundry? "no", mommy, can I help you make dinner? "no".  Sure it can be frustrating to try and make dinner with someone underfoot, especially after a long day of work and stuff.  Doing the laundry with a toddler in tow means she will find a toy downstairs, maybe bring downstairs things upstairs, or something else equally as insignificant.  Does it really add that much time and frustration to allow her to get involved?  The answer is "no".

So, over the last 6 months, I have made an effort to say "yes" more often.  To ask the princess if she wants to run the store with me if I have to make a quick trip.  If we both get up early on Saturday, we will go to the store and get sugar cereal or pancakes, while my husband and the munchkin sleep.  She enjoys helping me cook.  She loves to help me sort the laundry!  She will bring down her underwear basket and her sock basket and help me sort out those things, which is actually a big help.  It is great for both of us to let her get involved, and she is learning about housework!  It is a win-win!  Sure, there are times it is more annoying than helpful trying to cook multiple things at the stove with a chair in the middle, and there are times I do say "no" because we are short on time.  But, I remember that post I read and I try to say "yes" more often than not. 

I have learned a lot about the princess by saying yes more often.  I think this is especially true now that we have two kids (not a kid and a baby); these outings with just the two of us are a good way to connect without me getting stressed about the whole two kids, one parent with stuff to do situation.  I recommend all mommies take stock of how often they say "no".  You might learn something about your kids! 

Thanks for listening!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The race is done

We have been busy lately.  Overwhelmingly busy.  Really, not just "lately", but for the last two months.  I can barely remember when it started, and honestly, the past two months are like a blur for me.  It all started when I took on my first proposal.  I am a government contractor and have always worked the "40-hour a week" government contracting jobs.  In August, my company asked for my help on a proposal. 

And so a new addiction was born.  That is a bit of an exaggeration, but it is really cool that I am part of this team and understand this new language and have these opportunities.  Proposals are awesome because they stretch the brain, make you think bigger and outside the box, and require an amazing amount of time and effort.  I spent days working my "regular" job, then would come home, cook, eat dinner with the fam, and jump right into the proposal - often working four or more hours at night, only to jump in bed for 5 or less hours of sleep before restarting the cycle.  It was both tiring and not tiring - the adrenaline rush of doing this and being part of this team kept me going.  When the proposal was over, I definitely crashed.  Unfortunately, I did not have much time to recover before the next proposal kicked off and I was back to the crazy hours! 

In addition to my regular job and the back-to-back proposals, we also had a week long vacation and two out of town weddings.  Writing it out here just does not make it seem as tough as it has been.  But it was tough - I was literally doing work until midnight Saturday night before we left for vacation.  We drove home late that Friday, unpacked the car, went to bed, and were up early Saturday morning to get the kids to the in-laws and head up to the wedding.  We got back Sunday night and I found out I had to work Columbus day.  And we worked - 20+ hours...I arrived at the office around 6:30am and did not leave until 3:30am the NEXT day!  The week that followed was one of the busiest I have had here at my "regular" job, complete with a surprise briefing to the big boss. 

This past weekend we had our other out of town wedding.  We had a fantastic time, and a great weekend.  I enjoyed this weekend more than most we have had, and it was not because this wedding was better than the previous.  They were both fantastic weddings.  But, this Sunday I took a different approach to life.  We decided to totally forget about the clock (except to check mass times and try to find one that fit OUR schedules).  We slept late and let the kids watch cartoons (for the second time in their life) in the hotel room.  We had a big, fairly expensive, breakfast in a local diner.  We took a sentimental drive up to see my grandparents' old home and all the sites of my childhood. We stopped at a Farmer's Market on the side of the road and picked pumpkins.  We got home when we got home and found time for church.  We ate a bucket of KFC on a tablecloth in the family room to ignore the mess in the kitchen.  It was RELAXING.

I went to work Monday morning with a whole new attitude.  Knowing my brief was over and my inbox was relatively cleaned out, I had all week to get stuff done.  I have no weekend plans from now until mid-November and plan to keep it that way, which leaves plenty of time to get to the housework and laundry and other various projects.  As a result of all this empty time stretching ahead of me, I feel lighter!  happier! more refreshed!  I cannot believe I let our schedules get this out of whack, but I am glad I did.  I have learned that I can live on less sleep, that I have a fantastic work ethic, that my kids understand when mommy has to work late, and that it is okay to use these opportunities to teach them about working hard.  But most of all I have learned that piling too much on - even if it is all "fun" - weighs me down.  It literally depresses me.  Once we "crossed the finish line", I immediately felt happier and my energy level soared.

Yesterday I picked the kids up and drove out to my parents house for dinner - something I orchestrated from the parking lot of daycare just because I could.  Tonight maybe we will go to the park or the library.  Or maybe I will go home and clean the kitchen and try a new recipe.  Doesn't matter what we do, we have so much time ahead of us to get it all done! 

*Sorry if this was the most boring post I have written.  I needed to write this to remind myself to slow down, stop committing to everything, and just relax.

Thanks for listening!