Friday, November 13, 2015

7 Quick Takes- SAHM Life Hacks Part 2- Takin' Care of YoSelf

I went to Confession with my friend Erin this week. We exchanged kids so we could get soul-clean.  It was kind of a cluster to be honest- my kids are much easier to take out in public in a lot of ways, but they are hard to wrangle. Anyway- I received a penance of 3 Our Fathers, it wasn't till nine hours later that I was able to pray them, when I was laying in bed.  I got through the first half of the first Our Father, that's the last thing I remember...I fell asleep.

Prayer is tough since having all these babies. Real Tough.

But I am not dumb, and I know it's important.

A couple weeks ago, I read on Jenny's blog her method is engaging with the Word before doing anything electronically (checking social media, email, texts, etc...).  It sounds so logical, but I hadn't thought of it before.  It's been a bit of a game-changer.

If you are a 'she' and not familiar with Blessed Is She, you should get familiar.  It's an email sent every morning, with the readings for the day- along with a short reflection.  I gotta tell you guys, I think started my day with a little bit o' the Word is already making a pretty large difference in my life.  
Realistic Mary
Aaron first explained to me the concept of 'Realistic Mary' vs 'Idealistic Mary'.
I think I have spoken about it before on the blog.
Basically, Idealistic Mary wants to do all the things, go all the places, make all the plans.  Idealistic Mary wants to be able to live as though I am in my late-twenties with no children to care for and no time commitments that come from raising those children. Idealistic Mary is lovely, I really really like her.

The problem is, when I start living, making plans, dreaming as idealistic Mary, I become a bit of a monster to my family.

I am a wife to a wonderful man who is currently working a lot of hours in a high stress job that, as of today, he loves.
I am a mother of four children under the age of five.
And that means I just can't do certain things.  I can't commit to certain things. Lots of activities just won't work for our family during this season.

When I live in the truth of what our family is realistically capable of, I am a much happier, healthier person.

Disappointing People
This part is hard.
It's tied to realistic Mary.
It's the canceled plans.
The inevitable word 'no'
It's the good friendships I feel slipping away because I can't make them work.
It's understanding as much as we'd like to be able to do all the things, it's never going to happen.
Disappointing people is a difficult part of where we are at with our family of six.

Sometimes in this season, people might be disappointed by our limitations.
I am learning to be okay with that.
And almost always the disappointment comes with understanding.  I am forever grateful for that.

No Comparing EVER
When I feel myself comparing our family to other families, my mothering to other's mothering skills, my wife-ing to other's wife-ing, it can become a really intense slippery slope of crazy.

Admiring the qualities of others is a really, really good thing. Taking those qualities, in a healthy way, and incorporating them into our family structure (if it makes sense) is a great.
But comparing our family, or feeling less than, based on someone else's family is no bueno.

Each family is unique.

My kids closeness in ages; the dynamics of Aaron and I; our financial, spiritual, emotional, and intellectual reality; is different than others.

It has taken me several kids to do so, but I have really pretty much stopped comparing myself to others almost always.

When I feel tempted to, I remind myself about how each family is unique.
It's amazing how healthy one can view their family if they aren't viewing it through the lens of someone else's family.

Getting my Go-out on
The SAHM community has changed so drastically in the last couple decades. In order to see and talk to real people in real life, with as many little kids as I have, as young as they are... I need to be intentional.

Who knew my life would one day lead me to a day when talking to people in real life has to be a conscience effort???

I HATE going out without my husband.  I actually hate doing things without Aaron.  I really really like him as much as we squabble.
For me, it's not even really about guilt when I go out without him (though that's a part of it)...
It's more.
 I'd rather hang out with him than anyone else, any day.

But the thing is, we are in a season where that really isn't possible very often. We still do go out because of life-things once a month, but regularly going out together just doesn't happen.

I realized three weeks ago how much I miss talking to adults.
Talking to adults without having to correct kids.
Talking to adults in real life vs. communicating electronically (which has a place and has been life-changing to me as a SAHM).
I miss talking to people over the age of four face-to-face.

Aaron gets home, and understandably, he is tired.  Having good conversation is tricky during the week- because he's been talking to grown ups all day, and I've been talking to little kids all day.

And so, I have instituted Thursday night go-outs.

For who-ever in our little group can.
Early evening so we all can get to bed before 9:00 pm.
On Thursdays the last three weeks, I feed the kids dinner, lay out pajamas for the boys and when Aaron gets home I go meet friends for a couple drinks and good conversation.
It's proving to be a really healthy thing for me, even though I still wish Aaron could come every week.
I love so much that I am married to a man who is okay with me doing this once a week.

Early Bedtimes for Adults
I have spoken about this lots before.
After John Paul, I realized even though I DETEST going to bed early, it's absolutely essential for mental health.
Most nights I am in bed by 9:30 pm.
I hate going to bed at 9:30 pm.
But I am up all through the night, and our kids get up wickedly early.
Sleeping 4-5 hours a night with constant interruptions and get-ups does not work for me.
Sleeping 7-9 hours a night with constant interruptions and get-ups is do-able.
And so, like it or not I get myself in bed early.

Know Thyself 
I get real upset about where we are at as a society.
Real upset.
Sometimes I like to comment on these things.  Yesterday on facebook, I posted a status about a current event that I actually can't handle. I started engaging with people, my kids woke up from nap, I was shaking mad because of this particular issue.  I had plans to make soup with my kids.  I made a decision to delete the post and stop discussing it.  I didn't need affirmation that I was right, and I didn't need to convince people why they were wrong.
I didn't need to be worked up over a current event while my four kids were up.
We laughed and made soup with our pretend chef-hats on.
I'm still upset about that current event, but I am glad I didn't let it dominate a whole afternoon.


Last week, several of my friends posted an article about 'responses to say when people find out your baby doesn't sleep through the night'.  It was cute, and funny and I could see how over-tired mamas would like it.
Malia sleeps through the night.
She pretty much has for the last three weeks.
The article, implied that those who's babies sleep through the night, somehow love their babies less.
I stopped reading the article after three or four responses.

The kids are getting older, and cuter.  They say cute things, and want to play. They live for projects and this non-crafting mom is challenging herself to do more projects with them despite my inner repulsion of them. I'm shutting off the computer a lot more lately.

It's hard to leave the house with all these tiny people.
I sometimes feel trapped inside my little house.
I love getting out, even with the effort, and taking adventures.
We've been taking adventures most days (to a park, or the mall, or the pet store).


Game. Changer.

What are your taking care of you life hacks?  How are they workin' for you?

That's it for me.  Check out more Quick Takes at http://thisaintthelyceum.org/



  1. Wow, Mary, these are awesome! I was totally going, "Yes, yes, yes, yes..." throughout this whole post. It's funny you mention the early bedtimes-I LOVE staying up late to hang out with my husband or other people, but lately, I've found that my body breaks down if I stay up late on a regular basis. So, I've been forcing myself to get early bedtimes (9:30 or 10), and as much as I hate going to bed early, it's really helping me to get more rested and refreshed. Like you said, "getting my go-out on" is super important, too! I'm not a SAHM with a gaggle of kids, but I do work from home, and we only have one car, so I usually don't get out very much. Still (and this goes along with the "Know Thyself"), I'm a very outgoing person, and I need face-to-face interaction. So whether it's a trip to the grocery store, volunteering at a pregnancy center, or meeting up with a friend for coffee, I try to physically go someplace and do something at least a few times a week; otherwise, I get restless! :)

  2. You make great lists! I love staying home with Phil, like you with Aaron, but every once in a while when I go out with friends, I come home so in love with life thinking why don't I do that more often? I think what's hard is that if I go out with friends, then Phil wants to go out with friends, and it becomes something we keep points at. So basically we'd just rather be together :)

  3. Agree with so much of this! I'm sure the "hunker down, see no one, and do nothing" thing really does work for some people in this season of little people, but I wither. I become a sad little slip of myself because I need to do something besides give everything I got, and then some, to tiny people.

    We started a standing Friday morning playdate. Between 10-noon I'm home with hot coffee and tea. Whoever can/wants to come over has a standing invitation! It's fun! Sometimes we get to have some awesome grown up hang out time while the kids wander around between the patio and the bedrooms. Sometimes it's just me drinking way too much coffee, but I get some crafting and reading done because the kids are used to this being "don't bother mom" time.