For the last year my family has been living a splintered life. Fractured. I use these adjectives because splinters can be removed; a fracture can be repaired. A year ago my husband.. my best friend had to leave to complete a project in another state. To say that this altered our world is an understatement. He is my rock. He is the calm to my storm. He bring balance to our family. When I am stressed.. he is calm. When the kids are making me lose my mind he takes over. After all he is the one who’s words were the inspiration for this blog. He is there to remind me that… this is just where we are right now. Today is not permanent.. tomorrow will come and things will change. There were definitely moments this past year that I was not sure that tomorrow would come or that this short term journey would end.
The kids and I tackled many hurtles. We had a a tree break right after my husband left that took us almost 24 hours to cut up and haul away. Our water heater broke in the middle of the night. Had to have the stove replaced. The washer decided to take its last breathe during one of the busiest weeks. Our daughter became very ill with a strange stomach bug that required testing and caused her to lose weight. This was on top of two ridiculous sports schedules, work, and just regular life. I know that many single parents tackle these things all the time. We are capable to do these things. However, when you build a life with someone and then suddenly that person is not there to help shoulder life’s hurtles or make you laugh in the midst of the chaos and the storm.. or call you out when you are being ridiculous it can seem unbearable.
Many days have past. The sun has come up each new day and I have been able to look back on yesterday’s lessons to become a better person, mother and wife. Now we are back together getting ready to set off on a victory adventure. We are not longer fractured or splintered.. we are whole.. we are together. Yesterday is where we were.. but today however imperfect.. this is where we are… together.
There has been a lot talk lately about changes. A lot of my conversations with family, friends, and even myself about wanting something different from life. Slowing down, reclaiming time for family and for myself. I never thought of myself as a discontent person. I still don’t. However, I am taking a look around lately and noticing that I would like something different. Not an abrupt change.. but a change.
I see people that I think are living their best life. They are traveling, working remotely, being present in their lives. I find that I most days I am just keeping my head above water. I ask myself… what can I do differently that will change my life. Make an impact on my family. I think about changing jobs, about taking my kids out of their sports, starting a small business, finding a new hobby.. anything that you can think of that would change my outlook.
This past weekend I met another mom by chance at my daughter’s swim practice. Have you ever had one of those chance encounters that you walk away from and realize that this was not by chance that you met this person. Had a honest open conversation with a total stranger? Only later to realize that nothing happens by chance. We talked about the stress of making decisions for our children, ourselves, our family. We kibitzed about the stresses of being a mom. Wondering if the decisions that we make are the right ones. This women, fellow mom in trenches, kept repeating something that is tugging at mind and heart still… it all about choices.
We are in charge of our choices. We wake each day and we make the choices for our day. We decide to hit snooze and then rush to make up the time that we lost sleeping. We have a choice. We decide how to react to the stress of the day. (Sometimes I feel like my kids make these choices for me.. but I am the adult.) We decide the sign our kids up for activities. We decide to workout.. or not. We decide.
How do we change our lives? We make a change. We decide. What do we want our life to look like? We decide. This mom reminded me that my life is what I have chosen. My life is a direct result of the choices that I have made. This all may sound a little 1990s self help book.. but its true. We decide what our best life life is. I know that most days I feel pinned by this life I am living. Busy, tired, stressed and overwhelmed. We have to start with small changes that will lead to big changes. I don’t know yet what that is for me and I most certainly cannot tell you what changes you should make. Stay tuned because I am looking at small changes that I hope will snowball into my best life.
We are all guilty of the Pinterest pinning, Facebook highlight reel drooling, and the Instagram scrolling about how things should be or could be. “My house could look like that”. “Maybe my family should go there”. ” Wow it must be nice to be the Jones’.” Yep I do it. It can bring a person down. Rob us the happiness that is right in front us.
We are not the same. You and I lead different lives. Your schedule is not my schedule. My circumstances are not yours. So why compare? Why allow others joy or adventure to bring us misery and contempt? Each day we have a choice. How can we better today for us and our family? I am not supermom. However, I do find that if I don’t make a plan I am indeed planning to fail. I asked my kids last night if my list for the week of dinners and letting them know what is ahead as far as sports, school and my own work obligations helps them. I expected a shrugged shoulder response. “Sure mom.” But instead my son told me that he likes the schedule with meals.. (straight to a man’s heart through his stomach). My daughter said that knowing the details of the week help know what’s coming up and what she needs to do.
So often I see moms putting on this front to their kids like they aren’t stressed but then rattling off to friends and co-workers about all that is weighing on their minds. For me this act of bottling up leads to snapping at my family. I don’t think that we should burden our children with things they cannot control but teaching them about time management is important. My twins are eight and I certainly did not list off the family obligations to them at five but they NEED to learn to be responsible for what they can control with of course a little help from us their parents.
We keep a short easy list for the week. It may seem over simple but it does the trick for us. This little window that I believe I purchased at target hangs in our kitchen and each Sunday I write down everything and meal plan. Everyone knows what to expect and mom has her marching orders for the week.
What small little things do you do that help keep your family on track from week to week?
Our lives are in a constant state of change. Today is not the same as yesterday and will not be the same tomorrow. You’ve heard people say that the only thing you can count on in life is death and taxes. Well what about change? I like to think of myself as a planner, someone who is organized, and knows what’s coming next. I like to make lists, think of the “what ifs” and plan for those too. However, life throws me curve balls all the time. Change makes me uncomfortable and fearful. I am a person who does’t like to do something if I haven’t thought it through to the infinite outcomes. I don’t fly by the seat of pants and you won’t see me through caution to the wind. It’s an issue of control.. yep I admit it I have control issues.
This would all be well and good if it were just me, but its not. I am married to a man that will try anything just because he wants to know if he can. There is never a thought of what if I fail, what if this doesn’t work. Nope he sees his life as a puzzle that needs to be solved. We also have two kids.. twins that are eight. I don’t want them to learn to be fearful or have to contemplate every small decision and miss out on life’s adventures. Change can be scary but as the saying goes there is no reward without a risk. We have small people who ogle our every move but more importantly we have to get up each day and look ourselves in mirror. There is a great motivational speech that our son listens to on the way to baseball games (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LoXqOUSa0_k ). You have to watch it. In it CJ Beatty talks about how in life we are the only ones who hinder ourselves from our blessings.
Change is important because without change there can’t be improvement. Self improvement, spiritual improvement, financial improvement. Change is growth and we need to keep growing. My husband has a saying that until recently drove me crazy.. okay it still drives me crazy. “This is just where we’re at right now”. When I get frustrated with how things are going he says it. When the water heater blows up at 8:30 at night and he’s out of town he says it. Of course he’s right. In the moment we can’t change what is happening.. it already happening. Accept the change that is in front of you move forward don’t wallow in it. Change your persecutive and you change your attitude.