I decided my theme for 2012 is going to be New Year, New Me. Original, I know. Doesn’t everyone try to reinvent themselves at the first of the year and peter out about two weeks later? Not me. Not this time. Toward the end of last year I was feeling burned out. The day to day detritus of chores and child-wrangling was wearing me down. I was feeling bad about myself, my parenting, my health and my weight. I didn’t want to take my boys anywhere because they were testing their boundaries and making outings really difficult. Our house was a mess, and I didn’t have the energy or desire to remedy it. I know I indulged in way too many cookies and sweets around the holidays, and my too-tight jeans told that tale loud.
Last summer, I quit my job to stay home with my twin boys full time. They turned two in November and are curious, energetic, enthusiastic, smart little boys. Which is to say they can be exhausting. (In the most wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime experience with 2-year-old twins kind of way.) So I made an Epic To Do List, which included the regular things I wanted to accomplish with the kids, around the house, etc. But also included lots of “Take care of Mommy” items as well.
Now we are a month into the new year, and my plans for New Year, New Me are still going strong. I am making a conscious effort to do more things for myself, even if that means the dishes sit in the sink or the laundry remains unfolded. The thing is, though, I am doing my own things and find that I am still getting the chores done too. I have renewed energy and enthusiasm for my family and our home when I take a break from them. I am eating better and exercising regularly. Since the end of December, I have lost 11 lbs, and completely quit eating sugar, bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, fried food, fast food. I joined the MYFA contest Liz at Goddess in Progress set up. (I am sure I am a long shot since I just started exercising in the past three weeks, but I am motivated to get up and do it so I can report my weekly stats and be proud. This week I logged 195 minutes of exercise, impressive only in that I have not exercised regularly in years.)
For Christmas, my husband bought me a new sewing machine and starting in January, I signed up for a sewing class at a local fabric store, six weeks, start-to-finish quilting. I am happy to say that I just finished the binding on one of the two toddler-bed quilts I am making simultaneously for my boys in the class. I really enjoying sewing, can’t wait to start my next project, and I use nap time to unwind and clear my mind in front of the sewing machine. Plus, super cute quilts!
My boys are newly potty trained (as in we are in week three and I still wear shoes around the house just in case). But I did take them out to a playdate recently. When they were not listening to my directions and insisted on playing in the public restroom, we packed up and left. But at least we went. We don’t go far or for long, and if we go out to eat as a family we can expect at least 5 or 6 trips to the potty.
This is all to say I am giving myself some time outs now, taking much-needed breaks that help me refresh and be the best me. Is it perfect? Far from it. I have found that staying at home has just as many challenges in balance as working, they are just different. I was struggling to find time for me and not taking breaks. I was always on duty, and wasn’t taking care of myself. I still struggle to fit my needs into our day. I had been getting up before the kids to work out and shower. They started waking up earlier. So I got up earlier, and so did they. And now we’re at an insane still-dark wakeup time that is two full hours before the time they have woken up for more than a year. I have tried to do a workout video while they eat their breakfast, but they protest and beg to watch something else. I know I don’t spend enough quality time with my wonderful, amazing, supportive husband. I would love to do things one-on-one with each kid. At least I have a to-do list for the life I want us to have, and I am checking off things gradually.
Jen Wood is a stay-at-home-Mom to adorable, wonderful, amazing, newly potty trained 2-year-old twin boys who exhaust her indescribably. While she is attempting to achieve the perfect balance of home and family and her own sanity, she enjoys spending time together as a family, photography and new-found love of quilt-making You can follow along with their adventures at http://goteamwood.com.