I have a newfound admiration for all the women out there doing it all. Juggling work and family life is no easy task (as I'm learning firsthand), but I had no idea just how opposite of easy it would be. With coffee in my hand and a dog snuggled up at my feet, it "feels" easy right now - but as soon as my little two-legged critters wake up, that feeling will be a distant memory!
Every day I think of writing this post - I mean, I can't be the ONLY one going through this?! Reaching out to women that currently have to-do lists a mile long and stealing your ideas as to how to cross each item off sounds pretty great to me. And while chip&chisel is a business and this post is obviously personal, the two for me go hand in hand. If you've read our story, you know that chip&chisel started because of our struggles with infertility and has all come full circle with the birth of our girls. That, for me, ties a very personal element into chip&chisel - this isn't just a business to me, it's my passion and a huge reason why my girls are even here so I will always treat it as a priority. There is a huge personal component to everything I do with c&c - sharing my girls, my life, personal & professional milestones, the good, the bad, and maybe the not quite so pretty (care for me to snap a just-rolled-out-of-bed-and-haven't-had-my-coffee-yet selfie?) - and there always will be.
Most of us know that there's a real life struggle in trying to wear multiple hats and giving our all to every aspect of our lives. I face this day in and day out and let me tell you - I now know the realness behind the term "mom guilt". Every day I try to balance work life, mom life, wife life, clean-up-the-house life, run-the-errands life, and everything else life ... trying to do it all and feel good at the end of the day. Except I don't usually feel "good" when it's all said and done. I feel like on most days, I just run around like a chicken with my head cut off, doing the naptime hustle and making sure that I'm not forgetting 90% of what I needed to do for the day! If I'm focused on work, I'm not giving my girls enough time ... if I'm focusing on my girls, there are chip&chisel emails and orders calling my name. Date night what?! I cannot for the life of me find a solid daily or weekly routine that allows me to feel accomplished, rested, caught up, on track, and with a full heart at the end of it.
I (like most people, I'm sure) despise when life feels like a rat race. Of course there will always be seasons in life that aren't ideal or feel stagnant - it would be weird if there weren't. But I don't like jumping on a hamster wheel (rodents on the brain?), just trying to make it from wakeup to bedtime every day. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with being content (in fact, having the ability to be content and happy with life in general is a positive in my book), I also want to thoroughly ENJOY this ride and make the balancing act something that's manageable and sustainable, not something that leaves me feeling like I'm about to crash and burn. I thought that after the extremely difficult path to getting pregnant, everything else would be a cakewalk (ahhh, wishful thinking) ... if I ever discounted what it took to raise kids, I am totally backtracking right now. Even though not always easy, my husband and I do both really know that we are beyond blessed to have our girls after such a struggle to conceive and we don't want to squander away a single second of it. I mean, look at these faces - how could we?!
So, we're making edits to our life.
We moved chip&chisel to a much larger space, cleaned, organized, and set everything up in a way that's much more functional. I'm working to get a on a more "regular schedule" (is that even possible when you run your own business?) rather than squeezing in hours wherever I can. While that is necessary on some days, I am a creature of habit and I crave routine, so I need more structure. I also need that time where I'm not "on" so that I can give my focus to my family and put everything else out of my mind. It leaves me feeling much more refreshed when I can step away for a day here and there - nothing like trying to gain creative inspiration when you're running on empty.
We hired a nanny - and it lasted one day. I'm not ashamed to say that we needed (need) help. My husband took a lateral position at a new fire department and is currently on a temporary schedule that has me doing the single parent thing (now that, my friends, is HARD). While this is short lived, it is a far cry from the schedule that we're used to and left me practically unable to get anything done - totally not realistic. My mother-in-law (Ian's stepmom) comes to our home a couple days a week so that I can get some uninterrupted work time in. Ian and I quickly established that we didn't want to spend anymore time away from our girls than that every week, so a nanny just didn't suit us.
I did a ton of cooking on Sunday (if you know me, your eyes are probably bugging out of your head) - I prepped a bunch of food for the girls for the week (cut up all their fruit, made frozen yogurt and veggie drops, cooked up breakfast and lunch options) all in hopes that it would give me that much more time with them throughout the week. So far (and yes, it's only Tuesday), I love it and it's been a huge time saver, especially in those moments where my girls aren't interested in waiting for water to boil.
We dialed in the playroom - it's cozy and comfy, perfect for downtime and an iPhone free zone. No work goes on while playing, cuddling, and snuggling!
I've started a list of all sorts of things to do with the girls. A list may seem silly to veteran mamas, but some days, my brain is fried and I can't come up with anything at all creative for infants under the age of one - having a go-to list helps me plan our day (although a "plan" on most days is laughable, it still makes me feel better).
We're planning some time away from the girls. A few hours here and there for happy hour, an evening out with friends, a relaxed Sunday morning brunch that doesn't involve sticky hands and faces - it will be good for us to take some "couple" time every now and then to recharge and talk without interruption. We were spoiled with a lot of together time before the girls came along and we definitely wouldn't mind getting a little taste of that occasionally.
I'm committed (again) to working out. It's the biggest thing I can do for myself that has a positive impact on my family. When mama's happy, everybody's happy. ;) While I definitely don't have the time to marathon train or hit up Barre3 as much as I'd like, a couple short runs and studio sessions are totally doable each week and must be made a priority. You can't take care of others if you don't take care of yourself!
I'm already feeling ten times better knowing that change is in the works - it was desperately needed. Once Ian is back to his normal shift schedule in a few weeks, life will calm down (this makes me chuckle, too) a bit more and we can continue to mix things up and see what works best for us.
Off to tackle the day with my little mice!!