Sunday, January 2, 2011

Pulling Myself Together in 2011

Welcome to 2011. 

If you are one of my avid readers, thank you for sticking out my somewhat long sabbatical from writing.  I could lie to you and say that my hiatus was simply an effect of the holiday season being busy and  yadda-yadda.  But that would not be entirely true.  And since this blog is supposed to be "uncensored," I'll give it to you straight.

These past few months have been hard.  Hard on my family.  Hard on my relationship with my husband.  Hard on my emotional well-being.  That's the honest, uncut truth.

Why?  I think it's largely because I have been trying to simply load all the home schooling responsibilities right smack on top of everything else that used to fight for my time and energy:  Laundry, cooking, cleaning, yard work, party planning, volunteering, helping friends, baking, play dates, et cetera ad infinitum.  I don't think I've dropped one single thing... oh, except lunches out with girlfriends, afternoon novel-reading, and daily hour-long walks (I've gained ten pounds since August).

The point is that I am trying to be some kind of super-mom-wife that can handle all the burdens of home and save the emotional-educational-social well-being of my children while skillfully balancing a silver-screen romance with my loving spouse all in a single, graceful bound.  Hah!  Guess what?  That isn't working out so well. 

I quickly became defensive, sarcastic, and withdrawn from the one other person in this world that could be my biggest source of comfort and support on this crazy journey- my husband.  Jay has been clear from the beginning that he would be there to help in any way.  All he asked was that I write down what I needed him to do.  (He has ADhD and it helps him to have a daily list.)  I didn't do that.

I think that deep in the recesses of my mind, I thought that this was my responsibility.  I thought I would feel guilty if I added more work to his plate after he already worked a long day at a hard job.  Perhaps I didn't want home schooling to start feeling like a burden on him, thus causing him to regret making this choice for our family.  I wanted so badly to prove myself.  I thought I could handle it all.  I was wrong.  Dead wrong.

I was taking myself too seriously.

So, in the hopes of keeping my family strong (and making it 'til that 20th Anniversary trip to Europe) I promise to start 2011 off right.  Here is a bulleted list of goals I'd like to focus on to help the second half of the year run more smoothly (for all of us) than the first.
  • Work on Time Management.  I think I'll start by writing down everything I do tomorrow, including how much time I spend on each thing.  Perhaps you can look forward to catching the results in an upcoming post. :)  And yes, I may have to (eh hem) quit doing some things.
  • Make a list for my husband.  Item #1: laundry.  Then he can take over daily math lessons with Asher, beginning next Monday.
  • Exercise.  I want to get a good, heart-poudin' sweat-drenched workout at least three days a week.  I also want a moderate workout, perhaps including yoga and/or dance at least two more days a week.
  • Eat healthier.  My whole family gained weight over the past month.  Asher can no longer snap his jeans.  And we won't even TALK about my jeans.  (I no longer wear them.  They are now jealous of my stretchy-pants.) I am going to start every weekday morning with a green smoothie, and watch the fat and sugar throughout the day.  Two cups of coffee, max.
  • Focus on keeping my voice level... and my head.  I realize the more steady (and quiet) my voice, the calmer the day, and the better we all feel.
  • Chores.  The kids need to start getting more involved.  They are starting to clear and wash dishes by habit now... which is great!  I want to see more of that along with a few other chores that should just become routine.
  • Daily journaling.  I am talking pen and paper, for me and the kids at least.  We got out of the habit, but I think it's important, so we're going to start it up again.
I feel like I'm climbing up out of that deep crevasse.   You know, the one I fell in while I was trying to carry the burro's load on an upward trail.  I know what I need to do to make this journey a safer and happier one.  Now I just need to follow my own map... one step at a time.

All right, that's enough for now.  I don't want you to start falling asleep in your coffee cup (or wine glass- depending on when you're reading this).  But if you're out there feeling like your life is falling apart since you brought your kids home from school... even though you're fairly sure you're doing the right thing in the midst of the chaos... I wanted you to know you're not alone.

If you think I'm nuts, and you have it all pulled together during those first few transition months, please write down exactly what you're doing in a well-documented instructional manual.  I will buy a copy.  But I won't have time to read it.  So please also do a YouTube video and share it with me on Facebook.


  1. Good for you for recognizing that you were trying too hard! That's a great first step. It's taken me almost 2 years from that point to this: which is DO LESS! I swear it is possible and it is okay. We moms want to give our kids everything, and end up burning ourselves out in the process. It's okay if they don't get to participate in every activity they want to. It's okay if they miss a playdate or event because we need a free hour or two in our day. They'll survive and actually be less stressed themselves. Do Less, and you can Do More. That's my motto for 2011, and it's working! Good luck hun, I wish you the best.

    PS- I'm doing a couch to 5k and thinking of signing up for a run in March as motivation. Let me know if you wanna join in!

  2. I am sorry you are going through this, my friend. Just know that you have an amazing husband, awesome children, and a strong network of friends and family that support you in everything you do. I have no doubt that you will succeed in whatever you set out for yourself and your family.

  3. It is tough. I find that I set the girls up with something, then throw in a load of laundry, set them up with something, put the clothes in the dryer, set them up, empty the dishwasher....

  4. here's what has to happen. the first priority should be the workouts. next, after "laundry," have husband write his own list. ditto the kids. i talking to you or myself? okay. both of us.
    good luck. i'll keep you in mind as i try to accomplish the same over here. also, thanks for the association between calm voice and calm day. that's a keeper!
    happy new year --and once again, thanks for the inspiration!
    from your unschooling galpal in nyc.

  5. Wow, i love that "write their own lists" advice! Thanks galpal! Happy New Year! :)