There is a lot going on around here lately. I’m not sure if this is just a busy few weeks, or if this is our new normal — after three years of nothing but routine doctor’s appointments and family parties on our schedules, Graham has started preschool three days a week and joined a soccer team with twice a week practices/games, so it feels like we are super busy. We are also buckling down on a lot of house projects before winter comes — we cut down a row of bushes and then had the roots ground up, we had big trees trimmed, and we had the rotting overhang above our front door fixed — in addition to the continuing projects and updates we are doing ourselves in our “free time.” Whew!
Anyway, I’ll stop being one of those people who tell you how VERY busy they are, and get to the point.
Look at those little munchkins. As cute as they are, I often find myself pretty stressed out trying to be the mom they deserve while also achieving my personal goals and my goals for our family. I’m sure every mother feels this all.the.time. But what I’ve been noticing lately is the importance of perspective, in two ways. One, in regards to these little guys.
When Graham started preschool and soccer, I think my hopes were a little too high. I didn’t want or expect him to be the best at everything. I just wanted him to have fun and be happy. The first soccer practice, I took a million photos of him in his soccer clothes before we left, and when we got there, it started off great. But he soon lost interest and started fooling around, running to the other side of the field, kicking the ball all over the place, and eventually he just clung onto us and wanted to leave. Steve and I felt so disappointed (all the other kids were being angelic that day and listening so well). Then, at school, which he started the same week, he had a breakdown because he didn’t win the daily “best behaved student” prize when I picked him up one day, and he told me that he made his teacher color his coloring worksheet because he doesn’t like to color. It made me feel so worried about him, that he wasn’t interested in the class work. I even tried to get him to color at home to no avail. For a good week, all I could think about was why he wouldn’t participate in soccer and school in the ways I thought he should be. I was wondering why he wasn’t behaving like the other kids around him. And of course, like all ridiculous things that we worry about, a few weeks later, it has all worked itself out. Not only is Graham now very interested in school (he is so proud to show me the worksheets he colors every day!), but I’ve noticed that every kid in his class had their own challenges and strengths. Maybe an obvious conclusion, but it was hard for me to see that when I was worrying so much about Graham. He still isn’t perfect at using the potty all by himself or at waiting in the classroom for me to pick him up (he usually runs out as soon as the door opens), but that’s okay. He is enthusiastic and creative and great at learning songs and friendly and kind to other students. At soccer, he is still not really interested, but I’ve noticed that’s true of a lot of kids. But he IS interested in making friends and playing games with the others kids (usually on the field, in the middle of the game), and he stays on the field and runs around and gets exercise, and he loves to high five the other team and say “good job” at the end. And isn’t that the most important thing? That he’s friendly and social and kind and interested (in something)? I think underneath all the worrying, I just wanted everyone else to see how wonderful he is in so many ways that I see every day.
I’ve learned a similar lesson with our renovation. I love renovating! But living in a renovation zone can be really tedious — you’re always looking at the half-finished projects that you don’t have time to finish, the things that you REALLY want to change but you have to wait until other projects are finished, and the things that inconvenience you because they are not yet functional for your family. Yesterday though, I noticed how many small (and large) steps we took in the right direction. Steve was working on the big project of replacing our old, broken toilet in the upstairs bathroom (cue: multiple trips back and forth to Home Depot). But we also added a new shower head (goodbye terrible water pressure!!), gave Leia a bath (such a huge production and we haven’t done it in MONTHS — so gross, we need to bite the bullet and do it more often), fixed Leia’s outside leash to make it longer, washed all her leashes and collars, washed and ironed the slipcover to our couch and took photos of it (we are selling the couch after 6 months because dog hair on a white couch is giving me constant anxiety), and bought paint for a small project I’m going to do. I mean, that sounds crazy when you list it all out like that! Some of these things were general maintenance things, other things are contributing directly to our goals for our home and the lifestyle we want to live.
I’m going to try to write out all the small accomplishments (even laundry and dishes and cleaning) each night, or at least go over them in my mind, instead of dwelling on what’s NOT done, to realize how many steps I’ve taken in the direction of my goals when it seems like things are going slow (or not moving at all).
That was all super long, but it felt like an important realization to share!
If you’re looking for something lighter:
A great online fabric store
I have been helping my mother-in-law with some projects around her house, and I discovered Lewis & Sheron Textiles (via this post from Emily Henderson) while looking for upholstery fabric. So many great, classic prints with beautiful colors, and the prices are really reasonable (plenty of choices in the teens, which is great for upholstery and drapery fabric). This, this, this, and this are favorites.
Genius Advice for New Parents
I love the Chris Loves Julia Podcast so much. I listen to it every week. As most people know, they just had their third little girl, and this week’s podcast was all about how they have trained all of their daughters to sleep through the night (12 hours!) by the time they are 8 weeks old. Be forewarned — it requires a LOT of discipline and sacrifice on the part of the parents to achieve this goal. Steve and I would definitely not have the discipline to keep up with this routine, partly because we do love to entertain in the evenings and spend long dinners with family without rushing home for a bedtime routine. But if you are a person who really values sleep above most things — this routine Chris and Julia outline is a GOLDMINE. I want someone I know to try it and report back, because it sounds pretty foolproof!