Wednesday, April 6, 2016

I hate 6:20 am. I love 6:20 am: Prioritizing a crazy life



I’m trying desperately to make sense out of life with four kids (2 of them are 1 year old twins…kill me now). The question I am asked more than, “are those twins?” (No lady, the hospital was having a buy one, get one free sale!) is, “How do you do it?” I've thought about the best way to answer that question and I've decided it's all about one word: priorities. Sounds simplistic, and it is, but it's also true. When my kid-count doubled overnight a year ago, I’ve found that prioritizing the can’t-give-ups and the can-give-ups has made all the difference.

Can't-give-ups:

I have to take care of my kids.
Duh. I have to be a good mom. If I fail here, I fail everywhere. So that doesn't budge. It is my top priority. The diapers, the screaming, the fighting, the whining, the oatmeal-flung-farther-than-an-olympic-shotput and every if-I-step-on-one-more-cherrio-I'm-gonna-lose-my-chiz moment... for every reason, it is the most important thing I do. I lump religion in here too. You gotta put the Big Man first.

I will not give up taking care of my appearance on the daily.
This straight-up comes from surviving cancer. There was a point during chemo when I had no hair, no eyelashes, and even my fingernails were falling off. Forget changing out of yoga pants. It hurt too much move. Not only that, but the double mastectomy left me feeling ugly, androgynous and alien-like. If Voldermort and a non-anatomically correct mannequin had a baby, it would look like I did. As soon as I started to get my health back, doing my hair and makeup and getting dressed were a luxury that I didn’t take for granted. I still don’t. Hair, makeup, real clothes (not nice or super pretty clothes- Old Navy or Target sponsor 80% of my wardrobe)- it's a priority. 

I should add that I cheat here. I have a pixie cut so it literally takes me 10 minutes to make my hair look like I cared. 

I will not give up exercise.
I have an AMAZING yoga instructor that says very adamantly that taking care of yourself is not a selfish practice. He usually yells it as I’ve already been sitting in a 100-degree hot-yoga room for an hour on the verge of heat stroke, but I appreciate that he says it, because it is true. Everyone needs to exercise. It needs to be a priority. Your body and brain don’t run right without it. And of course, having your body betray you so wholly and making cancer in the first place reminds you that your body made cancer once, it can do it again. I have to exercise. I do yoga, ballet and Zumba four nights a week after the kids are in bed.

I will not give up writing.
I’m not the most amazing author ever born. I’m never going to be a billionaire because of my books. I don’t care. Writing feeds me. It feeds my need for accomplishment. It makes me feel good about myself and it even sometimes feeds others’ love of literature. It is a relationship that has given me hope and excitement through some very dark times. Even though it is time consuming and I usually have no time to give, I have to write.

I have to work.
I just do. I live in a really nice city in Orange County. We are trying to buy a house in this really nice city in Orange County. Working from home and making a steady, legitimate income and saving for retirement is just something that comes with the territory. I deal with it.
   
Those are my can't-give-ups. The things I have to work around. But there are some things that I can give up to make all the pieces fit.

I can give up the pursuit of a perfect home
It is organized and things get done that need to get done, but most rooms have kid-caused messes. It bothers me less and less as life gets busier and busier. I’ve come to peace with not having a perfect house in this season of life. I’m not sure I’d get along with a mom who can keep a perfect house. They just aren’t my people.

I can give up some sleep.
I hate 6:20 am for obvious reasons. It’s 6-freaking-20 am. But that’s when I get up. I go to sleep around midnight. The babies wake me up once or twice through the night. 6:20 am comes and I just want to punch night me for staying up for those extra ten minutes looking at my Instagram feed.
I could get away with sleeping in until 7:30 am and still get everyone out the door to school and work, and I did that for months after the babies were born, but then I sacrificed taking care of myself.  My husband would leave for work and come home eight hours later and I looked exactly the same as I did when he left. Maybe I had put a bra on, maybe. It wasn’t a good look. So I put myself as a priority, getting up an hour early to put myself together because made me feel better. I do it for me.

I can give up some TV.
Not all TV. I’m not insane. I need TV. I binge watch a billion things on Netflix while I’m cleaning, organizing, running or grading papers that I don’t really have to think about too hard. But I did give up sitting in front of the TV and watching most shows. In fact, I couldn't tell you what the actors in my favorite shows look like because I'm just listening to the dialogue and not watching the screen when I am "watching" tv. I still miss me some Amazing Race. And I never know who the Bachelor chose as he waits to be on Dancing with the Stars, and I honestly don't know if America's Next Top Model is even on anymore, but tv got notched down on the ol’ priorities list so I could make way for more important things.

I can give up some chill time.
My time to relax will come as the kids get better at not dying or killing each other if left alone for two minutes. Literally, the babies watch for me to turn my back so they can perform death-defying feats. And I should just give up and build an MMA ring in my backyard for my two older boys.  But to get work done and to make sure everyone is alive at bedtime, there is no nap time or putting my feet up for a little bit. It'll come later. 

I hate 6:20 am. Really, what a terrible time of the day. But it represents how my life had to change so everything fits better. Changing my priorities lets me conquer this little world of mine every single day.

How do YOU make everything fit as you conquer your world every day?