I’ve been thinking a lot about making some changes in my life. Don’t get me wrong, my life is great. But it’s also stressful, and I find myself overwhelmed at times. I need to take some time away for myself. I need time to do things for me and to take care of me. Writing will help.
Today is a good day to start. It’s Mother’s Day, and my amazing husband Will has taken the kids for the day. This is the first time in about eight months that I’ve been home all by myself. I can actually sit at the computer and type without anyone on my lap.
My kids are awesome. Out of respect for their privacy, I’m not using their real names here (though I should – I’m quite proud of their names). Instead I’m calling them by their personalities.
My three-and-a-half year old daughter is Wildling. She is. I have to call her that, because otherwise I would have to call her something like She-who-has-the-energy-of-a-thousand-suns, and there is no way I’m typing all that. She’s a high needs kid, always has been. She was born screaming, and every nurse in the hospital found some time to stop by my room and tell me what a diva she was, and they all wished me luck. Wildling is insanely brilliant, with the verbal ability of a six or seven year old and the arguing skills of a licensed attorney (and I should know, I am one). She is super energetic, and will literally run circles around me. Unfortunately, she has the emotional stability of a normal three year old, and the screaming skills of a normal banshee.
My eight-month-old baby is Mellow. She is the calmest person I have ever met. I admit, it’s entirely possible that she is just an average baby in terms of disposition, but since she and her sister are so far apart on the spectrum of possible personalities, I think of her as calm, mellow, placid. During her first week of life, she slept more than Wildling did in her first month (It’s true – calculate that, and pity me). Mellow only cries when something is really wrong, like her diaper needs to be changed, or her tooth is busting through her gums, or Wildling grabbed her and knocked her over.
I spend most of my time with them. I work part-time, about 10 hours a week, if I’m busy. Other than that 10 hours, Mellow is always attached to me. Wildling is in daycare six hours a day, three days a week. The rest of the time, she is with me. Will works a regular job, but commutes 45 minutes each way, so he’s gone about ten hours a day. He’s a great dad, but when the kids cry, it’s me they want (and Wildling cries a lot).
So what do I need to focus on to improve my life?
Finances. We’re in good shape, saving for retirement, paying extra on the house. We have no debt but the mortgage. But I want to do better. I need to earn more money with my part time work. And I want to be smarter about the money we have. I follow the teachings of Mr. Money Mustache, and really want to increase our savings rate with a goal of retiring in ten years (we’ll be in our mid/late 40s).
Fitness: I’m out of shape. Will is out of shape. Luckily for both of us, we’re naturally thin. But we’re also kind of weak and pathetic right now. I lost the baby weight from Mellow within five months (thanks, breastfeeding and chasing Wildling). But I need to improve my ab muscles, and my core in general. I find that my back hurts all of the time. I would like to start doing yoga and pilates more.
Food: We eat pretty well, in my opinion. We don’t eat processed foods very often. We eat a mostly vegan diet, with occasional (but limited!) cheese and eggs. This is new for us – we’ve been eating this way about two months now. We had one pizza splurge last week, and it wasn’t good for my digestive system. I do a lot of cooking, and right now I would like to focus on learning some new recipes and see if I can reduce our grocery bill.
Mental Health: Sometimes I feel like I’m going insane. I’m stressed out a lot. I like staying home with the kids, but at the same time it makes me crazy (figuratively, not literally). I know that my mental health and ability to deal with stress will improve once I work out more, and start sleeping more. I average four and a half hours a night, and that just isn’t enough. Sleep is one of the most important things we can do for our health, and I just can’t get enough. This is partly due to co-sleeping with Mellow. I have hopes this will change in about four months.
Social Life: I don’t have much of one right now. I would like to focus on seeing my friends more often. And not just in the context of playdates either. I’d like some grown-up time too.