I can tell I must be moving in some direction, hitting another sort of stage... in transition again. But heck - that's what life is all about, right? Just a bunch of transitions.
I've had a good forward momentum going, but usually it's not without its "three steps forward, two steps back" pattern. Usually when I'm making good headway on one thing, other things tend to suffer from lack of attention. If I get caught up on the inside of the house (laundry, dishes, cleaning/organizing), then the outside of the house gets neglected (grass needs cut, plants need trimmed, weeds need pulled, van needs washed, etc.), and vice-versa. If I go to bed early, I can't write. If I get the writing done (or anything else done that is easier to do with the kids in bed which is virtually everything), then I'm sleep deprived and short tempered. Even though most nights I have the intention to go to bed soon after the kids go to bed, I usually end up staying awake too late. Then I get mad at myself when I'm up late but don't accomplish a thing in the process. A friend of mine recently pointed out that I probably do that because it's the only time I get time to myself. Good point.
I recently started making more of an effort to do things for myself since it's been pointed out by more than one person that I'm not doing that enough. Some things as simple as finishing my meal before jumping to one of their demands. They have food, drinks, and what more could they need at mealtime? They'll be fine, but I need to eat, too. Two times I hired a babysitter to watch the kids while I ran a bunch of errands. One time I hired someone to clean my house, and oh my god what a treat that was... It was a husband and wife team - the husband washed the windows (inside and out), and washed the floors which had gotten disgusting, and the wife cleaned the rest of the house and did my laundry - like about four loads worth. It was like freaking Christmas for me. I could have kissed them both square on the lips. While they were here, I took the kids grocery shopping, and we went for a walk to the nursery nearby (which they LOVE) and we picked out some plants for our front yard.
I've also been hell-bent on getting my home in order, my papers in order, my business started (which I'm still stalled on), and doing rewarding work with Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation. All these things give me great satisfaction, even though they're necessities. I've been on a mission to get certain things accomplished with the idea in mind that it's going to free up a whole lot of my time and sanity once I'm caught up (which it already has), and then I can focus on having more quality time with the kids, and making quality time for myself.
However, in working to fulfill this mission for the primary end result to spend more time with my kids, I'm neglecting them in the process. I've been a dull, impatient, stressed out mess of a mom. I've been inconsistent in my parenting, short-tempered, and pretty unpleasant to be around. There was a time when I could pretty successfully juggle all the above (and then some) with Matt as my teammate, but doing all this alone and with my head still not completely in the game, it's been quite the challenge. I'm forgiving myself certain things (quite a bit, actually), but have to ask myself - am I'm using grief as an excuse now, just deferring to that when I screw up? Is it still legit at this point? I would have to say yes, it is for the most part, but my more rational self is wondering just exactly what percentage of it is "mostly."
One of the biggest challenges for us is getting out the door to do something fun. The next biggest challenge is leaving whatever fun place we're at to go home. Sometimes I just say screw it and don't go because I'm simply too tired to deal with the whole fiasco of getting there and getting back, even though I know the time in between would have probably been worth it.
Either way, my kids are suffering, and so am I as a result. Jacob and Sydney have both been acting out unusually frequently, and although I know kids will be kids and go through stages - developmentally and emotionally, I feel responsible for a lot of their shift in attitude. I need to take more time with them, and be truly present. When I'm spending time with them, I need to be completely there with them, immersed in the moment instead of being so fragmented in my thoughts and attention. I made more of an effort to do that yesterday, and I could already see a difference! I won't tell you what today brought while I was distracted trying to get the three of us established with doctors under our new health insurance plan....
Little by little, I'm learning... learning to make myself a schedule and make better use of my time. Learning to practice what I preach about approaching all my challenges with love... parenting and otherwise... It really goes so much further than the alternative, and it probably expends less energy. I know it feels a lot better in the long run, and it's worth the effort. Somehow this concept has slowly crept away from me, but I'm getting it back, just as slowly...