Or setting more realistic expectations.
Despite the glorious sunshine, I found myself in an all too familiar fog today. I had that grim, creeping feeling that I had once again failed to do enough. Having signed up for #makeachangeinmarch - a challenge posed by lovely Gina on @andbreathe_challenges I felt like I'd failed to change anything for the better this month, until I looked a little closer.
Having children and giving up work to become a stay at home mum has made me realise just how goal orientated I am. I hadn't really noticed before as thriving on targeted objectives makes you pretty comfortable in the work place, especially when you're the boss. You can set the agenda and blissfully slog away until you meet all the targets and celebrate. You don't really need to stop and assess what it is that makes you tick. You're ticking boxes all the time, so you feel great and what's more, the goals you set validate you. They feel meaningful with a wide angle lens. They affect and influence a lot of people. Your reach is broad and achieving each goal sets up a feeling of self worth. A job well done. When you stay at home a strange dichotomy arises. Your responsibilities become vast, but your world shrinks to four walls and your reach extends only as far as the sticky little hand searching for yours. The goals you set yourself (get to the bottom of the laundry basket, make a dinner with at least three hidden vegetables in it, clean at least one toilet today) seem meaningless and mundane. You feel that you are getting lost in the minutiae of thankless tasks. There's no regular validation or appraisal and so you often feel that you are failing at a test you didn't realise you were taking. It is hard to feel like your making any progress or making any difference. However, just as I was beginning to feel like this, I realised something. I was sat on the sofa. I had a cup of tea in my hand. The smallest was snoozing in my arms and I had time to take a deep breath and recharge. I had realised that I needed to rest. To give myself a break and not set any goals requiring me to charge around like a loon for the two hour toddler nap. I just needed to breathe. I have previously really struggled to give myself permission for this. And it worked. Slowly the fog started to fade from the edges of my view and I started to scroll through my phone photos for the last few
weeks. They showed me a much different picture to the weeks before. A much improved flick-book of our little life over the past month. Play trays, imperfect, playful bakes, lots of discovery time, quality time and play. More mess, yes. More kid-based time. Less time for jobs, sure. More letting go of my ideals for the perfectly ordered, perfectly tidy home, the cleanest bathroom, the most impressive home cooked meals, the daily empty laundry basket, the fully stocked fridge - all of which I realised I thought I HAD to have achieved each day to justify my staying at home - but oh so much more happiness and actually a more efficient use of time. I'm finding a rhythm.
Not every day works. There are still the dark days of overwhelm, but more and more the light is creeping in and somehow that two minutes of time I took out for at the start of the month to decide to make a change have subconsciously sunk in and I have made a change in March after all, proving that amazing things can happen if you take two minutes and just breathe.