Sunday, 24 August 2014

A new reality (the start of Week 3)

I'm loving life with my teeny tiny 'to do' list. Before I felt I was always under-achieving because I couldn't get through half of my daily tasks let alone all of them. And now? Well, everything I do above and beyond keeping the kids happy is a bonus, a gold star, a big fat cherry on the top, and I feel like I'm finally on top of things.

As well as my realisation about the redundant list, I've also realised my concept of time is different. Specifically, the rhythm of my day and my week has completely changed. This has been an extremely important lightbulb moment. Let me explain why...

I started this journey because I was struggling with feelings of anxiety, but truth be told, I was also feeling overwhelmed at times and joyless just trying to keep everybody's lives ticking along. I could never quite put my finger on why I would sometimes feel like this, because I really do love being a mum. I love my little family to absolute bits and pieces.

This week, I found a possible answer.

Before I had children, I could and expected to recharge my batteries every day at lunchtime and in the evenings - at the very least. On the days I had to work through my lunchtime (and there were many, many, many times I did this) I felt drained, undervalued and utterly fed up with the daily grind. On the days I had to work into the evenings (and there were many, many, many times I did this) I felt exhausted and overwhelmed because it was never ending.

Now, this is my norm. I eat lunch at whatever time I can grab it, and am hardly ever sitting down let alone relaxing in the middle of the day. My evenings are the busiest time of day, without question. The only time I get a break is when I'm kneeling next to the bath and washing the kids. No wonder I'm sometimes feeling fed up with the daily grind by lunch and utterly exhausted by evening.

What I was failing to do however, was recognise when I did have time in the day to recharge, and taking that time to do just that. Early-afternoon is one such time - it's rare we have any activities planned, and the kids are usually in good spirits and content to play on their own for a little bit. I've realised this is the ideal time to prepare for the evening onslaught. This week I've been using this time to pre-prepare for dinner so I'm not having to chop veges while comforting an over-tired baby. Or I've been reading the paper, or sitting down with a coffee and watching a mini-concert performed by my little rockstar, or flicking through an interiors magazine. Monday mornings (my old arch-enemy) is another such time, as my little boy is at crèche so I can get everything ready for the week ahead in peace or get some study done or simply have some special bonding time with my little one.

There's no doubt that the routine of my days and weeks has completely changed, but without even realising it I was completely overlooking the (albeit small) time in the day that I can actually refuel. So now I've let go of any expectations I once had about lunchtimes and evenings, and am instead looking to the times and the days where I know I'll be able to breathe a little easier, and appreciating these times more.

Importantly, there's very little about my routine that's to do with me anymore. Now, my rhythm is drumming to their tune, and I wouldn't have it any other way. But, and there's always a but... it's great to realise there's still time for sanity!

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