Oh my gosh, what a month. I’m still reeling – how am I writing my July goals today?
This year, I’m trying to move my family closer to simple living and every month I’m sharing my goals to keep track of our progress and keep pushing ourselves further towards our goals. This month, I’m taking an honest, hard look at the state of things.
As I write this post, I am sitting in my living room surrounded by impulse birthday purchases for Ella’s upcoming birthday party, Ella is having her final grandparent sleepover for the near future, and I’m scrambling to put the details together for a mid-summer vacation.
I decided about two weeks ago to take my first break ever from school. In 9 years, including all 4 years of Ella’s life, I have never taken a summer vacation, and I didn’t take time off to give birth or go through the newborn stage with less obligations. To be honest, I had no idea what I was in for, but even then, taking time off would have felt like giving up.
Now, I think I’m in a different head space. I’ve lived out of balance for so long, trying to juggle it all and only succeeding at the cost of myself, that I’ve accepted if I don’t take this break (and more in the future) that our family will begin to suffer. I’m lucky to have so many things in my life that fulfill me and make me happy, but I also know that I’ve essentially shut down various parts of myself in order to work, study, and parent nonstop.
Ella’s sleep issues have also come back with a vengeance this past year — her sensory issues make it so that she wakes up every REM cycle, essentially, every 45 minutes. Rarely does she wake up gracefully, normally a small noise will scare her awake and we deal with crying and fear sometimes 4 times between her bedtime and mine. It got to the point where I couldn’t get any homework done at night because by the time I’d get into something, I’d be back upstairs dealing with her sleep issues. Whenever the grandparents offered a sleepover (and with two sets, that seems to be almost every weekend), I’d take them up on the offer because it gave me an uninterrupted chance to get caught up.
But, I see now that once I entered this cycle of constantly catching up (and having to rely on others to do it), and not having school work with my parenting struggles, I should have taken a break — that’s when things went out of balance for me. I stopped having fun weekends with my daughter, and I was so behind that even the thought of a 15-minute work out just made me think of the work that could potentially get done in that amount of time.
I was pretending I was a machine, capable of taking nothing for myself except for the joys of parenthood and a job well done, but that’s not healthy and it slowly started draining me of the ability to do my best at either.
I don’t really know who I am outside of working all of the time. I’m intimidated to have free time at my discretion and have no more excuses why I’m not “putting myself out there” now that my daughter is old enough for that to be an option. Even though I’ve had more time to myself these past two weeks, I’ve been unproductive and I can’t get out of the mindset that I’ve somehow wasted that time because I don’t have much to show for it.
I think my goals for July will all have an undertone of getting back to myself, and learning what balance really looks like – not just in a week or a weekend, but as a lifestyle.
We finally are off the waitlist for an OT (been on the list since November), so I’m excited to see what opportunities that creates for Ella’s sleep and possibly also improving our homeschool efforts.
- Take a vacation or plan one for August-September
- Sort out my basement once and for all (pictures on the walls rather than piled in a room, etc)
- Get Ella’s sleep issues sorted with help of an OT
- Paperwork sorted
- Throw an awesome birthday party for Ella