Monday, April 14, 2014

The Balancing Act

If you have met me or read this blog, you can probably tell that I often struggle with perfection. I want to do everything right, do everything well, and to just do, well, everything. I want to have family time every night. I want to cook healthy, homemade meals every night. I want to keep my house in order. I want to save the right amount of money for retirement. I want to wear the right clothes with the right shoes. I want to spend the right amount of hours sleeping. I want to read the right books. I want to rock my baby to sleep each night without thinking of all the other things I "need" to be doing. I want to be as efficient as possible with every single thing I do. It just goes on and on...

And while there's nothing inherently wrong with wanting to be able to do all of those things, the reality of my current phase of life makes some of those things nearly impossible. And even if they aren't impossible, I'm learning I can only have one #1 priority.
I read this post about balancing responsiblities while being a mother to young children and it really did a number on my heart. In it, there is a picture that says "The only things that really need to be accomplished in the home are: Daily Scripture Study, and prayer, and weekly Family Home Evening." (The Family Home Evening is a Mormon thing, but you understand what it means.)

I was reminded of what my priorities as a parent really are - and they have very little to actually do with my family. They have to do with being first and foremost a disciple of Christ. If I don't meet with God daily and commune with Him, I'm missing the boat altogether. I may be standing on the dock with my suitcases and passport in hand, but I'm not ready to set sail.

With that said, I'm learning daily not only how to prioritize but also what to prioritize. How important is it that my entertainment center is dust-free? Does it really matter that our Tuesday night dinner doesn't have a single green vegetable in it? Is there eternal significance in whether or not I totally loved my outfit for the day? 

The truth of the matter is that, no, these things don't really matter. I do believe that I'm responsible for my family and home, so those things will always be a priority to me and I will always strive for the best when it comes to those two things. But am I putting them above my relationship with Christ or even my relationship with my husband? Sometimes, yes.

So today is a new day and I'm working hard to realign my responsiblities to appropriately reflect the things that are most important to me.

1. Discipleship and servanthood to God, His Kingdom, and the Church
2. My relationship with my husband
3. My child
4. Taking care of myself (time alone, rest, hobbies, etc.)
5. My family and friends (building relationships)
6. Taking care of my home (cleanliness, order, meals, bills, etc.)
7. Documenting life (journals, photo books, this blog, etc.)
8. My career and continuing education

That's it. Those are my main priorities. They have to do a little shifting from time to time, but the big picture is that they fall in line with what matters most to me in this life. I think over the next eight weeks, I'll focus on each area and discuss how I'm balancing the list as a whole.

What are your priorities as a mom, wife, or woman? How do you maintain your relationships, career, home, hobbies? I want to hear from you!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Fourteen Months

I'm a little late on this one, but... here goes!

- To combat Maleah's constant crankiness, we started putting her in bed a little earlier than we had been to see if she would mysteriously sleep better. She had been sleeping 7:45-6:15 and now she sleeps from 7:30-6:45/7. So, she's getting almost an hour more than she was and her mood has greatly improved!
- We are also doing much better with meals! I made a few freezer foods (avocado, sweet potatoes, and squash/zucchini) that are easy go-to healthy options. And we discovered the squeezable pouches - Maleah LOVES them! They are expensive, but they're worth it! We usually give her table food and then offer a pouch at lunch and/or dinner if she didn't eat very well.
- Maleah's vocabulary amazes me. Here are the words she knows and says in context: uh-oh, please, more, done/all done, pa-pa (paci - though we don't use one anymore!), no, mama, dada, school, bye-bye, cookie, cracker, and milk (which sounds like "mick"... SO cute!), pig, gooh guh ("good girl"), and lots of other things! She can make lots of animals sounds and she can point to her nose, ears, eyes, belly, mouth, fingers, and toes! I just did not know they could learn so much at this age!!!
- Our house is paci free!!!!! While we were gone to California, Blake's mom didn't give Maleah a pacifier (upon our request). She hasn't had one in two weeks and so far, so good! She had some screaming fits before naps and bedtime but that only lasted a couple of days. 

- The day Maleah turned 14 months, we left for California! We did not see her for 9 days. Some people would say that's crazy - and it was, a little! But she was in great hands and we FaceTimed as much as we could! Blake was able to get a lot of work done and we were able to go on our first real vacation since getting married. Maleah was at the perfect age for being gone this long - Blake's mom said she only really fussed when she dropped her off at the church nursery on Sunday! And the moment she saw us when we went to pick her up, she was SO EXCITED! It was so fun to see her recognize us and get so excited about seeing us! She has been VERY clingy the past few week, but we have seen no major issues! Next time we do something like that, hopefully she'll be old enough to tag along! I can say with confidence it would NOT have been a happy time for anyone had she gone with us - the time change, weather, and just general nature of the trip (where Blake worked most of the time and I piddled around) would have been very difficult for her.
- When we picked her up Sunday, I noticed a molar  had popped through the skin on her bottom jaw on the right side. She's been really fussy since coming home, but we can't totally tell if it's from readjusting to being home or teething or a combination of the two. We have given her ibuprofen once and it seemed to help some, but we try not to give her medicine unless it's necessary.

Total Messes
- WOW my kid has an attitude! She can be quite sassy when she wants to be! I have never been a very assertive disciplinarian, so I'm having to learn how to balance authority with also just trying to teach her how to appropriately express her feelings. I'm learning that sometimes I need to put my foot down regardless of whether or not she pitches a fit (like the other morning, she tried to squirm and cry as I put her shoes on, but I stuck with it and put her shoes on anyway and she calmed down pretty quickly. One day late last week, she had a seriously major tantrum. I got off work a little early to spend some extra time with her and within 15 minutes of being home, she was ill. Then something happened and she LOST IT. She was rolling around on the floor, kicking her legs, SCREAMING... it was wonderful! :) Tantrums continue to be an issue, but we are learning how to handle them!