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How Did I Get Here?

March 1, 2014

Our baby turned one a few days ago!  With all the celebrating and bittersweet reflecting on how much she’s grown came a chance to look back on all the changes in the past year.  We moved to a new house, in a new town; the kids started at a new school, I started a new job, and baby started going to daycare.  We have had such a huge change to our social group, our support network, and our daily routines – mostly for the better, I should add, but it has been a whirlwind.  Most of this change was to set us up to raise our big family.  We needed a bigger home, closer to our parents, where the kids could walk to and from school, and our commute to work was shorter.  So we left our idyllic Oceanside sanctuary and moved to the city, and signed up for a hectic pace of life. 

The change was inevitable; even if we hadn’t moved, life with four kids would have necessitated two incomes and a whole lot of logistical organization.  But I caught myself humming that Talking Heads song as I pulled out of my suburban driveway in my minivan the other day, “Well, how did I get here?”  Is this midlife?  Is this why people have a breakdown and walk away from it all, or do something drastic and stupid to feel powerful in the face of all this responsibility?

I’m reading a book with the most ridiculous title that was given to me by a very wise friend (which is why I’m reading the book) that talks about the pressure in a marriage and how to avoid criticising the other person when life isn’t going your way by trying to make things just a little better.  This kindof goes along with wisdom another wise person (my mom) says, which is – don’t go global.    The idea is to do something small, right now, to make yourself feel better.  Take a walk, listen to music, look at photos, prepare a favourite dish…something small to turn your mood around.   This isn’t a head-in-the-sand technique, but rather a way to get your mind onto a plane where you can actually contemplate the future and make rational decisions.  It can also be a way to switch from “poor me” to gratitude.

When I need to feel better I look at photos, listen to CBC Radio 2, do art with my kids, read a book to zone out, or write my thoughts down.  Or I go online to get inspired by others’ art, craft, cooking, or photography.    As long as I surf the web just looking for beauty, with no expectation of replicating anything I see, it can remind me of who I am.  Meagan Francis’ blog has a whole page of posts on the topic of Struggling, Mom? that helps me put life in perspective and find ways to get things done while being realistic in my expectations.

Today, I’m cooking up a storm to clear away the winter blues.  Preparing spaghetti sauce for dinner next week, quinoa salad for lunch at the ski hill tomorrow, and cole slaw to go with roasted fish tonight.  Cooking is one way I flow that leaves me so grateful to be just where I am.

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