I wrote about the importance of having a date night back in August of 2016, but more than a year has passed and I live in a new town, and a new house. Date nights look A LOT different now, so I thought I’d revisit the concept.
I’ve been at a loss about what to write lately. There’s a lot going on with me, with friends, with family. It’s hard to process everything, and maybe that’s the problem—I can only process it bit by bit.
I was listening to the new Lana Del Rey album and working on a project when I suddenly realized the song I most wanted to hear was When You Say Nothing At All by Alison Krauss. The music couldn’t be more different, but it’s a good analogy to talk about knowing what you want and knowing how to get it. For me it was as simple as acknowledging my feeling and switching a song on iTunes, but for everyone it will likely be a different process.
I developed this really awesome editorial calendar for myself and I managed to stick to it for two whole weeks. Then yesterday I had a post about DIY foaming hand soap almost ready to go and life just sort of got in the way, as it so often does with me. I forgave myself as my head hit the pillow at 11:24 PM and swore I’d get up in the morning and finish it up and hit publish.
But my mornings this week have been unusual, and I can only partially blame my toddler The electrician, county inspector, and HVAC people have been so prompt (I’m talking 7:30 when they say 8), but it’s definitely made the mornings feel less than normal. We’re still pretty much in the thick of the moving in process. Stuff isn’t where it’s supposed to be. It’s hard to develop routines or get back to business as usual when nothing my house doesn’t feel like my home yet.
The chocolate stash hasn’t made its way to the pantry, and that led Rory to discover a See’s Easter chocolate bunny and bring it to bed to share with us at 7 AM. Up until a few days ago I couldn’t find measuring cups or spoons, which is why I’ve avoided cooking and we’ve eaten mostly sandwiches and breakfast. The curtains that did get hung up are two inches too long so I can’t run the Roomba without them getting chewed up, hence my very dusty floor.
Gone are the days where I could plop Rory in the pack n play for a bit with toys. He’s officially learned how to climb out of the damn thing. So I’ve been relying on Sesame Street and the iPad to entertain him and keep him safely distracted. I always feel like I’m on a slippery slope with media though, because when he gets too much of it he’s crabby, distracted, and can’t seem to stay engaged with anything. And when Sesame Street is on a loop I can’t help but hear the words to all those catchy songs and internalize them. I find myself inwardly singing What Makes U Useful or Are you cool dot cool? And that’s when I realize I AM LOSING MY COOL DOT COOL.
Stay at home parenting is a lonely pursuit. You don’t have coworkers you can bitch to about the (little) people you’re serving. The pay is shit. Literally. It’s not always easy to find or build community. Often, you don’t know if you’re talking to someone who can (or wants to) relate about being in the trenches until you’ve already spilled your guts and they look at you like you’re ungrateful for the privilege of being a stay at home parent or they step up with support and match your war story with one of their own.
I don’t regret the choice I made to move 350 miles, or my choice to leave my job, or my choice to have a family in my thirties. But I do regret that I haven’t found my niche yet, my squad (ugh),
my tribe (feels like appropriation, sorry), my friend circle that I can call or text whenever I need a moment to blow off steam. Sometimes I just need to vent. The DIY soap piece can wait.
Last week we took a family trip to Santa Barbara. Nick had to do some work at his office, and we wanted a getaway and a chance to catch up with family and friends. We ate well, laughed a lot, and spent quality time with loved ones. In short, it was awesome. I want to bottle up the feeling of vacation and bring it home with me, which is why I’ve been mulling over the idea of creating a bucket list of summer activities.
Part of me hates the idea of committing to yet another list. I’ve been listening to the Happier podcast with Gretchen Rubin and Elizabeth Craft for a bit, and Gretchen’s idea of designing your summer really spoke to me. You can listen to her talk about it here and here. Rather than create a list of things I have to do, I’m making a plan to do some things I can’t wait to do.
I’ve been struggling again and I worry that I rely too much on Sesame Street to entertain my kid while I make food or put on makeup. I shared previously some tips on how to manage stress when you feel like you don’t have any free time, so I thought I’d write a follow-up post about how recover after a stressful season and how to keep living life even when everything is in limbo.
I feel like so many things were put on pause while we got ready to put our home on the market. Though we have no real timeline for the move, we know it’s imminent. In the first few weeks our place was listed, we had multiple showings and open houses and I was just trying to survive, but now things have quieted down into a slower pace and I feel ready to be part of the world again.
One of the key things I advocated in my post was simplifying during times of stress or particularly busy seasons and figuring out what commitments you can forgo while you’re under pressure. But what happens when your schedule isn’t so tight anymore and you feel like you have room to breathe again? Do you just revert back to the way things were before? Or maybe you’re living a new normal and you have to figure out what you want your life to look like now.
I have been working my bum off to get our condo listed, and it finally will be next week! Phew. I couldn’t have done it without the amazing support and encouragement from my family and friends.
Stress, anxiety, and fear have a way of giving us tunnel vision, but even the smallest gestures of kindness can bring us back from the darkest places. I have received beautiful comments, a thoughtful card, and an amazing care package from various friends. They all touched me, lifted me up, and brought me to tears (that’s what happens when you’re running on caffeine and sheer force of will). My parents came through for me in a big way when I got to my breaking point. We couldn’t have gotten our place ready without them. I’ve even become better about asking for help from my in-laws.
I sent out a bat signal and so many people answered it. And why did so many people answer it with their time, help, support, meals, and cups of coffee? I’d like to think they’re just returning the love I put out there in the world. Thank you, you lovely humans.
Last week I shared that I’ve been really struggling with our impending move, and it felt really good to unload. Unfortunately, my body decided to completely shut down in response to the stress. I got a nasty cold/sinus thing, and it pretty much knocked me on my ass since last Thursday. I haven’t left the house other than for essential appointments, errands, and coffee runs. I felt like a zombie.
I always thought the phrase “date night” was really corny. Before I had a baby. Last week my husband and I had our first date night since April. I wore a dress. I bought new shoes, finally. We ate at one of our favorite Thai places (yes, we had a BOGO coupon, but whatever) and we actually got to eat our food without having to take care of a child. I didn’t have to make dinner, and no one had to clear the table and wipe up the floor. After dinner we went to see Star Trek. And last night we had another date night—this time it was Ghostbusters and food stands at Fiesta, an annual town festival. It’s incredibly decadent to get two date nights so close tother, but that’s just how things worked out with scheduling.
Creating a regular date night is my next goal, but for now I’m just grateful when we do manage to get out of the house and are able to line up child care!