Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Real Life, Real Talk

I was recently asked, "How do you do it?? You always seem to have it together.  I am almost 41 and I still can't figure it out?!?!"

I honestly stopped in my tracks.

I never thought I was one of those "perfectionist bloggers/instagrammers" where all looks perfect rainbows and butterflies.  I really consider myself a real person, with problems and imperfections.  I don't have a Louis Vuitton bag, or red bottom heels.  I don't whip up Giada-perfect dinner every night. I certainly don't look like I'm walking the runway around these parts.

My reply to her was, "I am flattered that you think that, but I am far from perfect!"

It got me to thinking…

There is a lot that I don't do, but what I do, do, I try my hardest to do it well.

I tend to not photograph or document my less than perfect areas, because they're not pretty.  And honestly? I like pretty!! Sometimes the dust bunnies that collect are just downright tragic, thanks to an overly shedding "lab" mix, I swear there is part husky in her.  I don't ever post ugly photos of my messy closet/future nursery, office, or basement because they're utterly embarrassing.

Not gonna lie, this pregnancy threw me for a loop and it has been SUPER tough just keeping up with the housework, groceries, cooking, and taking care of Brooke, the dogs and Joe.

Brooke's room is somewhat tidy, but it is no where near pinterest/blogger nursery status.  There are empty diaper boxes, missing shoes, broken toys, and probably a dirty diaper stuck some place. No, I kid. I'd smell that thing.

My floors are so dirty sometimes, I don't feel comfortable that my dogs eat off them, let alone if Brooke drops something and tries to eat it.

My laundry piles up and dishes sit in the sink.

I had a mini meltdown as I'm only 10 weeks pregnant and suddenly not fitting into my normal clothes.  I put my maternity clothes on and well, they're obviously a little too big.  I feel frumpy and dumpy, but I know I am very blessed to carry this baby, so it is what it is. Be happy.

My poor husband's washcloth hadn't been changed in who knows how long; let's just say he never asks for a new one, so it must have been awhile.

The last "meal" I made with all the fixings was…

::crickets::

That's a good question.

I did just take the dogs on a walk Sunday night, and it was most likely before our May vacation, or somewhere around then, that happened.

Throughout the 6 1/2 years I have known my husband, the only and I mean ONLY request he ever asks 100% of the time, is that I keep a good attitude.  I am not perfect on this one either, ladies, you know how crazy hormones can make us…or simply a series of bad day events.  I have been known to have some real cranky pants in my day, but the older I'm getting and the more Brooke is watching, my attitude is something I really work hard on trying to control.

I do believe that social media has its perks and I just LOVE the fact that I can google,

"How to remove crayon from microsude" in seconds.

But the comparing ourselves to others, has just got to stop and I kinda did. I admit, I roll my eyes and feel bad from time to time, but I just keep trying to sink in further to the purpose of life; the whole reason we are here. I haven't quite figured it out, but I know that it's not in a Pinterest inspired craft, or a photo-shopped picture of a perfectly groomed family on a beach.

I think it's more along the lines of, sticky pieces of granola in my daughter's chubby little fingers.

It's in the way the dogs chase one another and the rug slides back and forth.

It's in the warmth of an embrace, after we've both had a long hard day, and my husband and I can finally see each other again.

I will tell you a few of my 'secrets'.  What are some ways I help make my life a little easier?

1.)  Pay someone else

Dinner or Lunch?
Grass cutting?
Landscapers?
Dog Walker?

Whatever is stressing you…it may just be worth carving a little bit out of your budget for this.

I hire a cleaning service.

This. Took. A lot. Of. Guts.

I was so afraid of what other people would think, "you stay home all day, what more could you need??"

Well, if you do stay home all day, have two dogs, and a toddler, you know that your house does and will get a heck of a lot dirtier than if the dogs were crated, the baby is at day care and you're at work.

Life is messy.

I started having someone come over once a month right around the 7th or 8th month of my pregnancy.  I figured no one could really say boo to me, when I could hardly bend over and the shower was rather disgusting.

Then of course, I had newborn, and I didn't know my ass from a hole in the ground for awhile; so that was very very helpful!

Now I have a 17 month old and each month I still write a check for $136.08 and that is the BEST amount of money I spend all month.

To be honest, my husband is kind of messy. So is my daughter. So are my dogs. And well, I'm no angel either.  I hate cleaning the tubs and there is something about someone else helping out with the floors that just puts my mind at ease.  They're all natural green products, so that makes me feel good as well.

Joe loves a super clean house, and I still keep up with the floors every week and try my best to keep it tidy.  But man, when cleaning day rolls around, it is worth every cent.

So I am over caring what someone thinks of me.  Now I can play with Brooke, catch up on the mountains of laundry, work on my Advo Biz (which more than help pays for that cleaning), and heck, pound out a few blog posts all because someone else did my dirty work.

2.) Meal Plan

I used to meal plan; that needs to happen again. I am much better if I have it all written out and ready to go.  I just haven't been feeling well enough to think about food, let alone shopping for and preparing it.

3.) Schedule yourself "me" time.

I know girls, it's tough to sneak out of the house with an empty carseat, BUT YOU HAVE TO.  Whether it's a nail appointment for an hour, a hair appointment, a movie date with your girlfriend, you have to just put you on the calendar and go. No feeling guilty.  No canceling.  Joe really respects this and I work around his crazy schedule, but I still make sure I get out once in awhile.  Even to Target or the mall, or a park, GO.  If hubby is busy, just start asking friends, offer to trade nights with them to watch their kids or go after your family.  People actually like helping others out!  It's OK to ask for help.  Let me say that again, it's okay to ask for help.

4.) Surround Yourself with Positive Energy

This is tough. I feel like I have isolated myself a bit…sometimes I am cranky, and I need to work on myself, so I listen to my audiobooks.  Sometimes people in my life seem to frustrate me and it's ok to take time outs.  Listen to happy songs.  Take your kids to the beach or park.  Read or watch only happy functioning people, and limit drama and dirt.  It really helps…

5.)  Lower expectations.

If you set that bar too high, you will disappoint yourself.  Just continue to be the best you can be; that is all.  Who cares if…exactly. Fill in the blank. There is always someone doing something better than you.  We cannot do it all, ALL OF THE TIME.  So just do what you can, smile and move on.  Sitting there stewing on how terrible you are at something, only makes you more mad, upset, and no fun to be around.  So just set one goal for the day, and follow through.

6.)  Don't like something? Change it.

Sounds easy, because it is.  I was so annoyed and mad at my hair, and was hanging onto it for what?  Joe actually really loves my new do, he even says I look younger; score!  I was afraid that changing it would make it worse, but really, I haven't been upset at all.  Same goes for your weight, your energy level, your lack of this or that…just do something different! Sitting in a rocking chair just bitching about it, aint gonna fix it. Sorry!

7.) Find what makes you happy.

What is that puts a smile on your face?  When I kept saying out loud to myself this past April, "Something's gotta give, what can I do to just be happy??"  I figured it out and started doing it.  It was spending more time, more quality and appreciative time with Brooke.  That's just one thing, there's lots to make me happy. I love reading a good book.  I keep a list of all the books I want to read and check them out at the library.  Now I just need to stay awake long enough to read!!  I also love to write; I love this little blog and that's it's a journal/scrapbook of memories, but it's also a place where I can let out some real thoughts and I want to take that a bit deeper; I feel like there's a lot to say that is still inside of me and I need to continue to let that out.

8.)  Turn off that phone.

Whatever way you do it, delete the apps, put it on airplane mode, leave it at home when you're out and about or just turn it off.  I find myself getting so sidetracked and distracted it ends up taking me FOREVER to finish a simple task.

9.)  Get outside.

The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be.

Trust me, I know how hard it is when it's below 30 degrees and you have a little one. I would be lying if I said I wasn't nervous about having a newborn in January again.  Winter can be long and lonesome, but now that Brooke will be older, I know she will LOVE the snow, sledding, building a snowman and having snowball fights.  We will enjoy hot cocoa and have so much fun!  For now? We will soak up the sun and I will be taking her to the beach this week. It's so good for both of our souls to get outdoors.  Everyone's mood seems to change in nature…

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” 
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

[I really hate to rush; If I find myself rushing a lot, I hit the pause button.  I don't even like when I'm in a conversation with someone and trying to tell a story and she keeps interrupting, "Uh huh. OK. Yeah." Just let me finish!!]

Ok there are actually a ton of fabulous quotes…just go check them out! HERE and Here

10.)  Breathe

When all else fails and I want to scream, I just learn to breathe.  Inhale, exhale…"this too shall pass."   

Or?  One of my favorites, "Fake it til you make it."  

Everyone has parts of their life they are unhappy about or too embarrassed to instagram. I PROMISE YOU.  So just be happy for others and their pretty photos, and be proud of yourself, in this very moment of your life, find something to be happy and grateful for.  It will change you.  Remember, negativity breeds negativity and optimism breeds optimism! 

I'm just sharing what came to mind when I thought about, what makes me "seem to have it all together."  These are just things that I try to focus on and maybe they could help you too, in some ways.  But trust me, I still have days where Brooke has Annie's Easy Mac and Cheese, my plants are dying, I run the washer two times because I forgot about a load, and the dog water dish has probably been empty all.day.long.  Oops.

Everyone is alive and well!  I'm here to tell ya that.

What tips do you focus on when trying to keep yourself together?

Oh, and if you're wondering, Mr. Clean magic erasers quickly remove crayon from microsuede. #yourewelcome


8 comments:

  1. Love love love this! So many of these things are so important! And heck yes on the cleaning service! Totally on my list of things I want!

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  2. You know, I have been wanting to get a cleaning service to come in and just deep clean for me so I can get back on track, but I make myself feel so bad about it. Think I need to re-visit this idea because you have a good point. Sometimes you just have to do it.

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  3. I'm really bad about comparing myself to others. Especially now that I'm trying to lose the baby weight!

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  4. Thank you for sharing this!!! Being a wife, mom and maid is hard. We all can learn from this!

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  5. Great! So great! Proud of you friend.

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  6. AMEN sista!

    Annnnnnd I am so with you on spending money for having someone clean for you! I do it and it is the best money I spend!

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  7. Great advice, Jenn!!

    I think we, as bloggers and social media peeps, get sucked into looking at others' lives and *thinking* they are perfect because we are just comparing our own messy lives to the highlight reels of others (that's a paraphrase of a quote I love). Because NOBODY is perfect, but we don't WANT to document the nasty stuff, or necessarily talk about it, because it's not something we dwell on. It's not that we are trying to give an improper example of our lives, but why would I blog about being irritated with my co-workers or feeling bloated for an entire week once a month because of lady issues?! I mean....come on....that's not blog/IG worthy stuff, lol :)

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