Thursday, June 5, 2008

Finding Balance?

I am going to be out of character for once and not try to catch up before doing a new update. I wanted to quickly announce to all the world that it is morning and my kitchen is moderately clean (appropriate time to insert applause). I even cleared the dishes from the table last night BEFORE going to bed (insert more applause). It is only 10:30 a.m. and I am showered, dressed, Jared is at school, Jackson has been fed three times and Camryn is... OK, fine, she's watching TV-- but she is dressed.

I'm really ready for school to be out. I have long since given up on getting Jared on the bus at 7:25. I wait every morning for Jared to come and wake me up and say, "Mom, can you drive me to school?" and then I get up and drive him to school. I can't decide if the fact that he will wake up, get dressed and feed himself breakfast on his own means that I have an unusually independent first-grader or just that I am the ultimate slacker of a mother. Sleep is still a fairly scarce commodity for me, although Jackson is gradually getting better.

These past few weeks have been inordinately stressful, yet I have not gotten depressed or down (also appropriate time for applause). However, I am still wondering and trying to figure out what to do and how to appropriately deal with my current challenges. Dave officially started his new position a few weeks ago. Up until then his schedule was pretty difficult and I was wondering how long he would have this temporary burst in stress and work hours. Well, since then it has gotten considerably worse. Dave has gotten home by 8:30 p.m. two nights this week and both nights my reaction was, "Wow! What are you doing home so early?" Nights spent sitting up or falling asleep in front of his laptop are par for the course for him. He even had a conference call at midnight the other night. We joked that he and his colleagues just missed each other and needed to catch up.... or maybe they thought, "Hmmm, we need to put in a few more hours. I know!! Let's have a midnight conference call!!" While I'm really proud of Dave for working so hard, I am seriously starting to worry about burn out. I'm sure Dave would like to work less, but he's not really at the point where he can rest on past laurels and feel assured of his career future. It is an uncertain economy, his company has been having tough times and there have been layoffs. How much can you cut back without going from "great performance" to endangering your job? So what do you do? Unfortunately I don't have any great answers besides "make the best of it".

And then we are still in limbo with our house: our old house is still on the market... it's been almost two months now. The average time to sell in this market is three months, but I'm still getting antsy. I want my furniture that we're using to stage the house back, I want to be done with moving, to not have to go back and water the plants at the other house. I want to feel settled and to have that door closed and move on. It's really easy to second-guess yourself. We felt like moving to this house was the right decision: we prayed about it, considered the decision carefully and we both felt like it was the right thing to do. But it's easy to wonder, "What were we thinking? Did we really want to sell a house in this down market? Why exactly would we want this additional stress at this already stressful period in our lives?"

So there you have it... uncertain times in our household. But despite the stress and worry, I have felt peaceful (well, most of the time) =] and tried to not worry too much. I feel like with this third baby I have gotten much better at enjoying the time while they are little and not being too hard on myself for all of the things that inevitably fall by the wayside. Jackson is a beautiful and precious baby-- it is so fun to watch him learn and grow and to see how much the other kids love him. He is 6 months old already and is cutting his first tooth (on bottom) and can take teeny steps if you hold his hands.

Jared and Camryn just amaze me with how much they are growing. This year, Jared went from sounding out individual words to reading "Pippi Longstocking" by himself (he is on the second-to-last chapter now). One of my friends today told me that she just realized her oldest, who is thirteen, will only be around for 5 more years before she leaves for college. People say these years fly by and you will wish yourself back (to which I sometimes internally retort, "Yeah, maybe if you're a masochist and you really miss cleaning up poop and having screaming children with you in the checkout line!") but this year truly has flown by fast.

So I guess my only solution is to stick to my mantra of low expectations: I don't expect my house to be clean, I don't expect my husband to be home, I don't expect to make it out of my pajamas too early on any given day. I just need to make sure my children get fed and loved and everything else is frosting on the cake.

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