Monday, November 14, 2016

Embracing the Chaos

Some days I feel one errand or one more obligation away from losing my mind. I sometimes don't know how we (the collective busy "we") do it all. Being a wife and mother plus having a career is a lot, but then there are those events on which I don't that take up time in a schedule already bursting at the seams. I got the oil changed in both of our cars last week, and in one of them they forgot to put the skid plate (whatever that is) back on properly. I unexpectedly had to go back to the garage to get it fixed early this morning before going to the gym and then working the rest of the day. We've had two sick dogs the last few weeks, and it's meant multiple vet visits, tears and lots of money. I woke up yesterday to our Izzy having peed all over our couch, and she was lying in it. She's on steroids which make her go to the bathroom more, and she was wearing the cone of shame, so she wouldn't move. Sunday morning started by waking up my husband for toddler duty while I bathed the dog and tried to figure out how to clean an insane amount of dog urine from my couch cushions (update: they cannot be salvaged.)

Oh we have cats too. They are largely ignored, but here they are at their annual checkup last week.
A regular day, with no unforeseen errands (if such a thing exists) means dropping my son off at 7:30, working out, tidying up the house (because I'm too anal to leave beds unmade and toys on the floor) working all day (including travel several days a week), picking up my son, dinner, playing, bath, books, bedtime, packing lunch for the next day. Somewhere in there I do laundry, walk the dogs, empty the dishwasher and any type of leisure activity. It makes life chaotic and crazy.

I will add to it the fact that my husband and I rarely spend weekends at home by design. We like to travel, and when we are home for a weekend we're not entirely sure what to do with ourselves (because catching up on all these mundane things seems bo-ring). We are heading to Las Vegas this weekend, heading to West Virginia for Thanksgiving (where I'm co-hosting my sister-in-law's baby shower), we are home for one weekend and then go on a cruise. We return on the day before our son's second birthday and our eighth wedding anniversary. We will likely have his birthday celebration on a Tuesday evening because we are hosting our annual holiday party the next weekend. Then it's Christmas. We don't know how to do down time.

I am not complaining because this is the only pace I know, and I love it. It's hard though when I have health issues and keep pushing. I am often admonished by family and friends for not slowing down, but I don't understand slow. Three weeks post surgery I'm feeling like myself with a few challenges from my surgery site. I'm both champing at the bit to be back at 100 percent and allowing myself the luxury of being a little slower. 

Yesterday, on a rare Sunday at home, my husband spent about five hours outside doing yard work and cleaning up the garage. My son and I played, watched Elf for the first time of what will be dozens this holiday season, and I did work inside during nap time. When my husband was done I headed to the grocery store for a rare toddlerless shopping session. While part of me wanted this alone time to last for hours, I was rushing through the store because that's what you do when you're a busy mom.

Watching Elf with my little man.
In one aisle I saw an older woman slowly putting things in her cart. I know nothing about this woman but made some assumptions. She seemed to be buying single serving things leading me to believe she lived alone. I watched her and had a light bulb moment where I realized my busy wouldn't last forever. It'll be a few years, but at some point I won't have my son's laundry to wash. At some point he will drive himself and not need us to shuttle him from Point A to Point B. There will come a time where it's just me and my husband again, and our lives will be quieter. God forbid there will be a time where it's just me, and the silence will be deafening.

I made a decision at that moment that while realistically I'm not going to slow down, I will embrace and enjoy the chaos. After getting everything I needed I leisurely walked back through the store looking at Christmas decorations and possible Christmas gifts. Life is loud and bustling and hurried, and that is how I want it. But I need to stop rushing through the chores and the errands and the moments. I need to be mindful. When my son wants to put on his Halloween costume and "help" with yard work, I will lend him my gardening gloves and head outside.  If the clean laundry sits in the basket for a day, the world will not end. If my Golden Retriever, who won't have much longer with us, wants me to play on the floor I'll do it. 

Our yard work helper
While I like my life to be busy, it doesn't mean I have to rush through it looking forward to the next thing. I am making a point of being more mindful and more joyful even in the midst of the chaos we've created.  

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