Thursday, October 18, 2012

"Make it Work"

I'm having a bit of an identity crisis lately. Well crisis sounds harsher than what I feel. But that's just the word for it...


Ok, I just looked it up, and the definition is actually much more interesting than I thought.
 (I have an overly enthusiastic response to definitions of words. I feel like it enriches my life to know exactly what I'm saying.)
The bits that stand out to me:
"the turning point for better or worse... the decisive moment... an emotionally significant event or radical change of status in a person's life... a crucial time in which a decisive change is impending."

That sounds like what it is!
That's where I'm at.

I'm having some new mommy (again) bewilderment.
I think I'm just trying to process what this time of life is. And how to be in it.
Like, "How does Lydia be a mommy?"

Some of the feelings (that can sometimes sweep me off my feet), I'm sure are still happening because I had been so intently focused on pregnancy and birth, for so long that now that I've actually had #2 and everything went so well... I have a bit of the wind missing from of my sails with it all said and done.

Its time to redirect the the sails, to catch the new breezes.
But I don't feel like I even really know where this breezes are, or where they go.

There are basically two reasons for that right now.

The first being:

I'm really at ease with babyhood, I'm honestly very surprised at how easily I care for babies. I would have expected myself to be more impatient with their demands. But I can easily override that stuff.  However, when it comes to this next stage I am at with J, and her early childhood, I just feel kinda, well lost.
There have been small bouts of frustrating points for me working with her development so far inside her two years of life. But recently, perhaps with in this month, I feel more and more baffled by her. I think it comes from her being "fluent" in speech now, despite her not being a grown up. So her responses aren't on par with how I think, and I just want her to "make sense," or for her to be more receptive to emotions, or to be more rational, or...
It's really hard for me to remember she is two. I think before she could talk it was easy to remember that she is still learning. Now that she sounds learned, I forget she is still a work in progress.

I honestly want to pick up a child development book. I think reading something like that would cement  in my mind the fact she is still very young, and very much in development, and help me feel more patient.
(Anyone know of a good book?)

In addition to that stuff,

I'm feeling like I want to get my act together in my day to day life.

I totally think every momma deserves some new-mom time, where the pjs stay on, and the house isn't getting clean. (And I also totally think those days will always be in rotation here and there.) But I've been trying to break out of the rut. The jammies, lack of makeup, and general messiness was starting to make me feel "ew." So that's how I knew it was time.

I started day dreaming about going to work maybe a month or so after Baby A was born, which surprised me, because I've wanted to be a stay at home mom for a long time, I have really enjoyed it thus far, and I don't have any type of job in mind outside of here.
So after mentally processing, I came to the conclusion I was feeling that way because I was longing for a reason to get dressed and some consistency in my life.
So it dawned on me that I could make my mommying into those things. I can "work" here.

I didn't feel like I had the answer to how to do that.
So I've started trolling the internet for good ideas.

And I've come across some nice thoughts, and now I am just working on putting them in place in a way that works for me in the stage of life I am in.

I've got a lot of things cooking in my mind -- stewing while I try to slowly feel out what I want to do.
I could throw myself into the game faster, but I think for it to stick I need to add what makes sense, when it makes sense, to me.
Also, in regards to getting a routine going for the girls. I really want to feel that out slowly. J is very, very, very much a ritual person. So if you do something a certain way, one time, that's how she wants to do it every time. So before I throw something into her day, I want to really think about how well it will work in repetition over time.

So I don't know how to share exactly what I plan on doing yet. But I can just share with you the good tips and thoughts I've come across online.
Some of them are just a nice idea to me that kind of inspire me in a general direction, and some of them are so perfect for me that they will actually be implemented as is.

One blogger said this is "How to be a Stay At Home Mom Without Losing Your Mind":

1. Plan, organize and schedule
2. Nap-time: for all. Nap-times are sacred to me. When #1 had two naps a day I used to use one nap time to do household chores and the other to rest but once he dropped to one – and then to none (and now the same with #2) – and especially after I started my blog and working part-time, I found that 2-3 hr naptime was easily filled with work. So each day I try to make a consistent effort to do a restful activity when my youngest naps – either read, watch television, drink tea or have a nap myself. Try and do your household chores when your kids are awake and active. I get them involved with an activity eg. drawing or jigsaw puzzles or I get them to help me eg. give them a spare broom when I’m sweeping or give them a treat for helping me hang the laundry. Remember: nap-times are your time NOT chore time.
3. Go outside no matter what the weather is
4. Treat yourself each day
5. Prioritize me-time

Then I came across a post from Money Saving Mom. 

(I read her site a lot when I couponed, which I've given up on.) This was one post where is is talking about improving her morning routine, and asked readers what helps them get showered and dressed.
I just copied and pasted the ideas that appealed to me. But there were tons of responses!

  • Lay clothes out at night
  • Give yourself a deadline to be showered and dressed by (example: 10am --  so you could do it earlier than that, but not later.)
  • Shower at night
  • I have started incorporating my quiet time with my shower/getting dressed time, which has really helped. I played praise music in the bathroom and worship in the shower and while doing my makeup. I started praying while getting dressed and making breakfast in the morning. I was worried at first about the task at hand taking over my thoughts, but I have found the opposite to be true!
  • Here are a few ideas for all of us who struggle with making it a priority to Look Nice, but want to change: 
1)Decide that jammies or workout clothes all day will Not Be an Option. I mean, going naked all day is, for most of us, automatically Not an Option, even if it would be the Ultimate in Simplicity. 
2)Decide what Looking Nice will mean for you, and if it will Work for you. For me, jewelry and heels don’t work for everyday. I have three toddlers. I can manage a simple hairstyle and clean hair, a shirt and skirt that go together and fit comfortably and are suitable for child care and heavy cleaning, and a little perfume. I’m not a fashion plate, but neither do I have to be embarrassed to answer the door unexpectedly. 
3) Life is too short to wear ratty clothing every day. And you are worth more than that. I buy several simple outfits (cute, comfortable t-shirt and cute, comfortable skirt) at the thrift store. If they get ripped or stained, I Throw Them Out without guilt and get another thrift store outfit. 
4)Have a few of these designated “At Home” outfits that Look Nice and Don’t Cost Much. Hang the top and bottom on the same hanger, and put the outfits in a certain section of the closet. Then you don’t have to think in the morning; you just pick one of the three.
  • The things that have worked best for me are to lay my clothes out the day before and when I get in the shower I take my 5 year old daughter with me (some people may not be comfortable with this, but it is the fastest and easiest way get her and myself moving in the morning). So I feel like I would be spending this time in the bathroom helping her wash her hair anyway, so I may as well be getting clean at the same time. When I do this and then take a couple of minutes to get dressed and put in contacts I feel like I am better prepared to deal with the day ahead and that puts me in much better spirits. BTW I try to do this everyday, but some days I just don’t. I do notice that I seem to have more patience and confidence in dealing with the morning rush on the days that I do get my early shower.
  • Merely setting out my clothes and my daughter’s clothes for the day the night before has made a huge difference. Getting dressed sooner makes me much more productive and feel better about myself. As for wearing clothes that make you feel better about yourself, I recently purged my wardrobe of ill-fitting clothes and shirts with “mommy stains”. To preserve my clothes, I pulled out unused aprons and decorated one of them with a pretty flower brooch. Wearing the apron with the bright flower on it not only makes me feel like I am ready to get down to business, but makes me feel good too.
  • PRAY. Pray about it. Once you’ve decided that this IS a priority to you/your family, then simply pray and ask God to help you stick to it, as silly as it might sound. I know that whenever I try to do ANYTHING in my own power, I fail almost right away. Sometimes I forget that God WANTS us to go to Him about even the little things, such as this, and sometimes He will allow to us to keep failing, in an effort to bring us back to Him…I’m simply speaking about myself here, not you. Just thought I would share what helps me.
  • One thing that really helps me get myself in the shower is having soap, shampoo/ conditioner that smells good. I love getting in the shower when I know I’m going to like the smell and feel of the soap I’m using. I used to use anything I could get the cheapest but now I try to spend a little more on something I like. It’s a little thing but something that has really helped me out.
  • I only one pair of jogging pants and two oversize t-shirts. I’ve found that if I don’t have access to ‘frump’ clothes, I want be tempted to wear them.
  • I choose one day a week to wear a skirt or dress as a special treat to myself. 
  • As a mom to 5 girls and 2 sons, I want to represent ALL aspects of positive motherhood. I want them to value ‘self-care’ as much as they value serving and caring for their families. 
  • Dinner at 5, followed by exercise. My hubby and I enjoy working out together, so we often go for a run and take our 2 yr. old with us in the jogging stroller, or we drop her off at the kid’s club at our gym. When we get home its bedtime for the kiddo. My husband puts her to bed while I shower and blow dry, and then he showers too. I also layout clothes/jewelry for the next day. Then the next morning, it only takes about 10 minutes with a straightener or curling iron and another 10 minutes for make-up and dressing.


And these last ones are responses taken off a friend's Facebook inquiry about how other mom's keep a house clean with little ones around:

  •  As the only male to contribute: I don't expect the whole house to be clean when I get home from work, but when my wife has "my" spaces (living room, dining room, kitchen, and master bedroom) clean when I get home from work, it really makes me feel appreciated and like I matter in the family. Being a stay at home mom is a lot of work, but it cannot be completely kid-centric without neglecting the spouse. My wife works a few days a week. I always try to provide the same things to my wife that I expect of her when she works during the day. I try to clean up and make her return home as refreshing as possible.

  • Around the time my son was 1 yr old... bathroom got cleaned while my son bathed. Kitchen was cleaned after he went to bed for the night. Dusting was done while he napped and vaccuming after meals, while he still sat in a high chair finishing. Granted, I only have an apartment... general toy pick up is done before naps, and before bed. Now at 19 months, HE intiates clean up of his toys. Laundry is laid out by the machine the night before, so I can toss it in asap in the morning.

So those are some of the things brewing in my head.

Along with streamlining stuff around the house.
A big thing I want to streamline is both my, and the girl's wardrobes, so its easier for us to get dressed. (Maybe a closet look book will be in the works for me at some point.)
I'm working on figuring out my wardrobe in general.
After having J, I didn't bother with having much in the way of what I felt stylish in, because I was on a massive mission to lose weight and knew anything I bought would only fit for a very short time, because I was losing weight to get ready for a second pregnancy! (lol. I get so exhausted just writing that! What a lot of work!....So worth it though!)
So when I opened up my non-maternity clothes bins this time, I realized much of it doesn't feel like who I am now. I'm an almost 30 year old (WHAT!?! Crazy!) mother of two. I want to look grown up and pretty. And a lot of my clothes don't feel grown up to me now. So I have been reworking what I do have, and picking some things up to fill in the gaps. (This is kinda weird to attempt while losing pregnancy weight. But I'm ambitious! lol.)
One of the best things I have ever done clothing/styling-wise was follow this blog's method of finding your personal style. (Try it Here.) I could have saved myself so much time and money if I had done this years ago. I always just pick up stuff that appeals to me, without really thinking it through. If I already had in mind the look I feel best in, I could have just aimed myself towards it and not spent money on stuff that's just gonna lay around unworn.

And I'm also just trying to figure out how to be a more tuned in mom, and get a little more routine for us.

In regards to food. I'm feeling more and more on top of menu planning again. (Wasn't in the game right after Baby A was born.) Losing weight, makes me plan the food much closer. But I'm hoping to do a couple tweaks here and there in regards to cooking and grocery budgeting and such. And I'm also learning more about dairy free cooking for J and trying to make more meals she can be included in.

And as I've talked about before, I'm still working out some creases in my relationship with God. 
I will say, as more time passes, the sensation of understanding, is just kind of warming up more and more inside of me. So I'm less and less at a loss. 
But I've of course got to seek out some things. As I know will always be the case in life. Ever changing. Ever needing Him more.

So in regards to my "crisis" (a crucial time in which a decisive change is impending):
I think I'll blog the stuff that I try and like, as it comes my way.
Stay tuned. 
And feel free to jump on the bandwagon, or throw your thoughts and ideas my way. (Both now, and as we go along!)


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