When we see someone online or in print with a pretty smile and clothes just so we assume they have it all together, right? It immediately puts pressure on us. Why don't I feel that way, why don't I have it all together? The truth is its just a snap shot and no one has it figured out. We are in work in progress, I promise.
Recently I had a brand I was working with compliment me and say something that sort of surprised me. I had it all together. Although I was and still am very flattered, it isn't reality. Nothing you see in print is, it is simply a snapshot into someones life. A snapshot that has been altered with perfect lighting and editing. It isn't the true photo of ones self.
Although I have tried my best to focus on feeling more comfortable with my schedule and my life my everyday are a work in progress. And that is the way it is meant to be. God specializes in work in progress. If I had somehow figured it all out I wouldn't need him and that just wouldn't work for either of us. Some days it works better than others and some days it is just flat out a busted can of biscuits.
As you know we have four kids. Three of our own and one who came to live with us about a year ago. One just started college, one is searching for his meaning in life, one is autistic and going thru the ups and downs of middle school and the last is just trying to sort her way through growing up. I have truly been stretched more than ever balancing life with four and a husband who travels weekly. It is nothing short of hard, but it is also the best job in the world. I chose to get up each morning and get dressed in something cute to put myself in the right state of mind. I play music and drink tons of coffee to start my day. I drive carpool in my jams with the proper undergarments (just in case) so as not to add more stress to an already stressful time of the day. My goal at that hour is to get everyone else off in a positive way. It is a focus for me. I do not like my husband on the road and I never will. I like him home with me every evening the way it "should" be.
Please don't misunderstand me. I am blessed. I have a loyal and hard working husband. I have three sweet and kind children who make my life so meaningful. I have three incredible best friends I could only pray for and feel lucky to have in my life. I have a circle of people I can trust and who pray for me and support me daily. I have a loyal and supportive slew of readers who inspire me to be creative on a daily basis. But, I am not perfect and my life and nothing around me is, and I wouldn't chose it any other way.
As I sit and type this morning there is a sick puppy at my feet. One who has already thrown up twice today as he adjusts to his new seizure medicine. He will probably do it four more times before dinner. #gross. I am currently taking double round of steroids for a rib issue and half feel like I could run a marathon and half sleep for a month. I just fussed at my boys for once again not checking the status of the dish washer and leaving me a pile of dishes in the sink. I am pretty sure they rolled their eyes which they no better than to do where I can see them. (Do they ever get it?) All the while the music is playing, my favorite candle is lit and I am on coffee cup number three. I am wearing the same lounge pants three days in a row. It is what it is.
I will share a few tips that are working for me in trying to find space in my life to decompress and regroup. I have learned all of these the hard way and hope maybe to help you on your path with my stumbles. Life is hard and tools help!
Add space to your schedule for just you. I chose to stay home most Mondays and Fridays to regroup. I use this time to linger longer in my pajamas, regroup and get organized. I do laundry, plan my following week, tidy my house and get ready for the days ahead. I also sneak candy from my stash and treat myself to something gummy related. I have learned the hard way that I need this time to feel more pulled together. When the Hubs is gone for five days straight I can't burn the candle on both ends and then have anything left for myself or him on the weekends. Busted can of biscuits doesn't describe the hot mess he will find when he gets home. I need that time to get myself straight.
Say no to things that don't add to you or your brand. The best thing I have learned lately is to write a family and brand statement. These are two separate things, one for your family and one for your brand. When deciding what to take on and what to say no to go back to your statement. Does it fit? Does it add to your brand? Is it something you would like to do? If you have a no to any of these, it isn't a good fit and you need to let it pass you by. Every single offer, no matter how flattering, doesn't have to be a yes. You get to pick and chose your projects!
Don't let to do lists rule your life. Wow. This was a hard lesson for me. I love a good to do list and take pride in being able to knock out some serious line items. But I need to be realistic. There is nothing on my to do list that is life threatening and sometimes I just need to not make one. Sigh. Still working on this one. I tend to cram my list full of things I don't need to be doing, don't have time for or can't afford. Anyone?? I have learned the hard way to shorten my lists and be more realistic about my to dos. I refuse to stress myself out to finish a list I created for myself.
Family time is non negotiable. I do my best to make sure everything I need to do for the day gets done between 8:30 am and 2:30 pm. After that I am all mom. I pick my kids up from school, help with homework, take them to activities and stay connected. This is my first priority. When they are sick, they come first. It works for me and I feel so much more relaxed in the afternoons with just focusing on them. There are plenty of times I am not there because of things I either chose to do or need to do and I don't feel guilty. They get a ton of me and we both need breaks!
Quiet time is a must have for me. I start my day each day with a cup of coffee in my bed and my Jesus Calling app. I need to start my day focused or it just seems to be confusing all day. I rely heavily on my relationship with Jesus and it carries me each and every day. I am not self sufficient and any day I pretend to me finds me falling flat on my face. It also helps me sort out the black hole that is my head. My type A sensitive self can get me into many a sticky spot.
Ironically, or not at all, today's Jesus Calling is titled Trust Me Enough and the verse attached is Psalm 32:8. I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you. I hear you Lord.
Know what makes you laugh. When I am drained or down there is nothing better for me than a good long snorting laugh time with those I love. Sometimes it is my family and most times it is my best friends. A text convo or some quality time can lift anything going on with me. Laughter truly is the best medicine!!
My husband reminded me the other day of a quote from a movie that fit perfectly into what he and I were talking about. It is a grandmother in a movie I can't recall, but she says this ...
"Life is a roller coaster. There is no constant, all you can do is define a middle ground and enjoy the ups and ride out the downs."
And remember ... no one has it all together!