Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Endings, Beginnings, and Struggles

This year has brought about a lot of changes for me.

In February, after almost 7 years of babysitting out of my home, I handed in my resignation to all of the families I worked for, effective the end of the school year. It was a really difficult decision, full of emotions and stress. But my health was failing, I had so many demands that only I could meet, and with three kids in school the upcoming year, I was going to be needed more.

When I'm asked if I miss the babysitting, it's hard to find the right answer. I don't miss a lot of it, but I miss the kids so much. I miss the snuggles, the laughter, them growing. My house is so quiet now as it's just me and our pets during the day. But I'm able to focus more on my business during the day and be more available for the kids when they get home from school.

But it really is a struggle for me to get used to the new schedule.

A lot of people have been asking me how things are going, and I love the support I'm getting.

But there are some people who do a double take, who expect me to go out and get "a real job" now that I'm done babysitting and all three kids are in school. I then get the dreaded question:

"So, what do you do all day then?"

I never know how to answer. I'm sure they picture me sitting on my couch, watching tv and eating chocolate all day.

I usually stumble through a quick line about some project I'm working on, but what I really want to say is this:

I've been a mom for 10 1/2 years now, and a wife for almost 9. In all that time, I have not been a priority. Kids always need to be fed, diapers changed, protected, entertained. Husbands need to be fed, his clothes ready for work.

Please don't get me wrong, I love being a wife and mother.

But somewhere in all that time I lost myself.

If I didn't get a shower every day, or sometimes even every other day, that became the norm.

If I needed new clothes, I probably wouldn't get them because kids needed diapers or school supplies. And that became okay.

My life became sweatpants, frumpy hair, doing chores and errands for everyone else. Because their needs felt greater than my own.

I don't know how to take care of me without feeling guilty about it.

I have so many obligations for my business right now. Christmas is coming, so I need to get stock built up and in my Etsy store, promote my Christmas products, and work on commissions that will be gifts. I'm promoting the first book in the children's book series that I illustrated as well as starting work on book 2.

I'm volunteering for an hour every other week in Ryan's classroom by helping out with math. I just went with the kindergartners on my very first field trip this past week. My oldest two kids are in 4th and 5th grades, and I hadn't been on a field trip yet.

Mommy and Ry at the pumpkin patch!

I'm busy, so busy...doing important, wonderful things.

And when the house work doesn't get done, I'm the only one who seems bothered by it. I feel like I'm not serving my family the way they need, which is crazy. And yes, my husband and kids help out so much around here, so please don't think otherwise.

Last night, I gave myself a pep talk. I told myself that I was doing fine, I just had to get into my rhythm and adapt to the new schedule. I went to sleep, doubting that I'd be able to stay pumped up for today, figuring it would be another depressing day of not getting much done and feeling like I needed to scramble just to survive the day.

But this morning I woke up, ready to face the day.

My kids got on the bus at 7:30, and for an hour and a half I cleaned.

I didn't get everything done, but that was okay. The house looked so much better that it had been, and I could focus on work. I then sent out emails, I photographed products and listed them on Etsy. I wrote a blog post for my business blog, I took a long hot shower, and got caught up on laundry (6 loads were washed, folded, AND put away today! It's a miracle!).

Today wasn't perfect. My work stuff is still all over the coffee table, there are still crumbs on the counters, and the toilets weren't scrubbed.

But it was a better day. And tomorrow might not be a good day, but it's going to take time to build this habit of finding balance and finding me in this new stage of life.

Answering the "what do you do all day" question still isn't going to be easy, and that's okay. But it's not going to be a quick, shy answer anymore. I don't know what I'll say yet, but every day that passes, that answer will be more confident than the day before.

How are you guys doing? How do you balance everything in your life?


  1. Yeah...I got lost a long time ago, too...and am still struggling to find myself. Everyone else's needs have always been more "important" than mine. You are definitely my kid...