Suck It Up, August

Ok. I know I just posted for June/July, but I’m finally back on schedule for my posting and I don’t want to get behind again just because I recently wrote about it already.

SO TOO BAD.

Anyhow, criminy, August is over.

And despite being home for almost a month now, I STILL FEEL AS IF I HAVE ACCOMPLISHED NOTHING.

Blargh. But here we go again. How did I do?

1) Take family and personal health seriously.

What does that look like? I want to:

a) Cook at least 5 meals a week.

Now that Hapa Papa started yet another new job this month, he has been bringing me home dinner every week night. It is AWESOME.

However. It does play havoc with my motivation to make dinner for the rest of the family – but I still managed. We did eat out more than I liked, but I made a few super yummy Instant Pot dishes and I am satisfied enough. I would like to get back into the habit of making the kids eat fruit every day though. I definitely want to improve on that.

b) Be active once a week.

Welp. Back to my inert self. Maybe I should just remove this section for the sake of my diminishing self-esteem.

c) Wash face and brush teeth twice daily.

You guys. I HAVE STARTED WASHING MY FACE TWICE DAILY. The teeth thing is better, but not amazing. BUT I HAVE STARTED WASHING MY FACE TWICE DAILY.

I HAVE ALSO STARTED USING THE SUNSCREEN.

THIS IS AMAZING.

Okokokok. I will stop with the ALLCAPS. BUT COME ON!!!

d) Take vitamins and supplements.

I have been at about 40%. Maybe 35%. It really makes a difference in my daily energy levels so I REALLY need to get my act together.

e) Go to sleep when the kids sleep 4x a week.

I am still doing a reasonably good job on this. Although since I have started to write more and carve out more time for this, I have gone to sleep a little later. But usually by midnight.

I am still always tired.

f) No texting while driving.

Ummm… I am better… but not good. Still way too mediocre and casual with my precious cargo. BOOOOO.

2) Take my responsibilities as a grown up seriously.

Yes! I have been much better at it this month. I have been making a concerted effort to do at least 10-15 minutes of shitty adult work (such as sorting clothes, finally re-arranging the nursery into an office, the old office into the kids’ room, and the old kids’ room into the guest room).

Look! PICS. (Don’t judge. I did not prettify these rooms. It would just make me sad later.)

3) Write.

YES, AGAIN!! I killed it in the last half of the month. I carved out time in my week to write and it made a BIG difference to my mental well-being. Unfortunately, it was to the immense sadness of Sasquatch because he was stuck with Not!Mama! aka Hapa Papa but OH WELL, BABY. GET USED TO IT.

And since it was my birthday month, my gift to myself was a fake writing retreat where my buddies, Lizz Porter of More Than Thursdays and Michelle of Life In Training, hung out and wrote all day and then ended on a yummy note of a dinner and foot massage (not at the same time).

Alrighty. I know these posts are boring for everyone else but me, but I think they are a huge reason I have been able to make headway on the things I want to do this year.

Accountability really is key.

How have you been doing? Are you still on track to accomplish your goals for the year?

 

Sometimes Self Care is Really Just Adulting

I used to think that my environment did not affect me. I thought I was easy-going; a roll with punches type of person. You know, “low-maintenance.”

By now, any person who knows me in real life is dying of laughter because it is so obvious to anyone who spends more than five minutes with me that I am not remotely any of these things.

Talk about a disconnect from reality.

In true fact, I am a very particular sort of person. Particular being a euphemism for anal retentive in the extreme. Also, I have very low noise and mess tolerances.

Of course, having four children and a husband (and being in relationship with people in general) makes it super impossible to have my life run exactly the way I would like it, when I would like it.

As a result, I want to bomb my entire house, scream at my children for not being obedient automatons, and war with my twin desires of FOMO Hoarder and Strict Minimalist Where Everything has Its Place.

Guess which side “wins”?

Then, because I am constantly behind on doing stuff (like purging, putting things away, finally USING things I’ve put away, or all the projects I have in my queue), I procrastinate because FFS there is no way I will ever get to anything or make a dent so I might as well read a romance novel or watch Project Runway or let’s be real, FRITTER AWAY MY LIMITED FREE TIME ON FACEBOOK.

This all builds up and annoys me and soon, I am swearing at my kids for being a smidge too loud or for doing whatever squirrelly thing they’re doing. And then I go on a brief and short-lived Angry Cleaning Purge and I am placated for about half a day before we rinse and repeat.

The thing is, sometimes, I think the only way I can get a bead on all this shit in my mental queue is to send my entire family away for at least a year so I can finally get something done.

Even then, I’m sure I’ll procrastinate and save it all for the last week before they’re due back.

I realize that this is the curse of human existence and being temporal beings. But this seems far more like a bug than a feature in my unasked for opinion.

Now, I know I have mentioned before that I am so mediocre that it took paying my therapist $150 (now $160) a week for her to tell me to just do 15 minutes of stuff a day and see how that helps.

It did.

I have improved drastically at paying medical bills on time (because those are the only bastards that are not on auto-pay). My kitchen table takes an extra week to look like an utter disaster area. And I am making more of an effort to do the shitty stuff first.

And STILL, it does not move. Or at best, it gets shifted from room to room.

For the longest time, my therapist, Dr. T, would ask me about self-care and I would be annoyed because I have lots of free time and Hapa Papa has no problem with me having weekly MNOs or going out for massages and pedicures and the like.

But those things always left me MORE stressed out because after doing these activities, I would come home to an even MESSIER house and even LESS time to do the things I needed to do.

Like seriously, when I see my entire house’s contents dumped onto the floor, the sink stacked with dishes, along with the normal REGULAR piles of shit all over my house, I go apoplectic. (And this is not to say that these are Hapa Papa’s fault. I just notice it more when I leave my house for a longer period of time and then return. Kinda like you don’t notice how your house smells until you leave for a few days.)

Anyhow, after years of debate with my therapist, we finally struck on something that has resonated with me. For me, self-care looks like adulting.

For me, self-care is removing the things that stress me out – and unfortunately, that requires me being a grown up and doing the grown up things that I should have been doing all along.

Now, this is not to deny that for many people, self-care is legitimately getting pampered, resting, or taking breaks from Facebook or the internet or whatever. That’s likely because these lovely people are actual productive members of society (unlike myself). And because they are actual productive members of society, they NEED these things because they adult all day and every day and what they need is a break.

Me, however. I have an easy life.

I’m serious.

This is not to discount the real difficulties of being a parent of four small children (as well as homeschooling them) or invalidating my role as a mother. Those are absolutely true and real.

But in general, I have a very privileged life.

We are financially secure, financially stable, healthy, highly educated, and short of us being not-white (and me being a woman), we have no other areas in which we are oppressed or othered.

Again, this is not to deny that my difficulties and struggles are worthless or whatever. After all, this is still the life I have and my difficulties are still mine to deal with. I just acknowledge and understand that other people may see self-care differently.

So, now that I have improved at the low-hanging fruits of self-care (eg: getting enough sleep, eating regular meals, paying bills, etc.), it’s time to step it up a bit.

Not sure how yet since I am now realizing that self-care requires a lot of mindfulness, too.

Can I just insert how much I hate that stupid word? But it’s all true. My life would be markedly improved if I were only more mindful of my mental and physical state.

SO. Because I’m an extrovert and assume everyone wants to know the nitty gritty of my life and thoughts, NO MATTER HOW BANAL, I will now list a bunch of things that would be self-care for me. (I mean, I think it might help some of you to have real life examples of someone like you.)

1) Take care of my physical health by:

a) Going to sleep with the kids.

b) Taking vitamins/supplements.

c) Eating nutritious and healthy food.

2) Write consistently.

3) Pay bills/sort mail/daily adulting tasks.

4) WEEKLY PURGING.

5) Do at least 15 minutes daily on my PROJECT QUEUE (eg: sorting clothes, rearranging rooms, finish photobooks, etc.).

I’m sure there is more – but the more I add, the more stressed I become. I mean really, self-care is just taking care of the shit on my SUPER LONG To-Do List.

Gah. Is self-care supposed to stress me out? I think that means I’m doing it wrong.

And really, a lot of the self-care items are from my Suck It Up 2017 resolutions for this year. (I have a feeling next year will also be the same theme. I need lots of help.)

So I am already doing most of this. I just want to add the purging and the project queuing. Sigh. I like how I have to give myself a pep talk before I have even started.

ADULTING IS HARD.

But I am really sick and tired of yelling at my kids and feeling like an abject failure every day. Who’s with me?

Suck It Up, June and July

How did June and July pass by without me noticing?

OVER HALF OF 2017 IS OVER.

This is terrifying in the sense that I swear it just started and yet, it’s almost over and I haven’t done nearly as much as I thought I would. Or is it that I did more than I thought I would?

Whatever it is, it’s that time again. (You thought I forgot since I skipped June, right? Well, I WAS IN THE TAIWAN. And um, I forgot.)

So, lucky you, here is my 2 for 1 monthly check in to see how I’m doing with my yearly goals, aka: My Year of Sucking it Up.

1) Take family and personal health seriously.

What does that look like? I want to:

a) Cook at least 5 meals a week.
I did pretty well in this category in June even though I was getting super sick of what I was making. I realized it’s because I didn’t prep well enough with the different types of veggies (I stopped peeling and cutting carrots and other minor prep work so we were down to like two types of vegetables.)

And of course, we were in Taiwan for all of July so ZERO cooking because WHY?????

b) Be active once a week.

June was more of the same inactivity.

But July! July was awesome because sweating gallons of liquid totally counts as activity! And since I was in Taiwan, I walked everywhere and took the bus and MRT and yes, I did manage to lose weight after a month of nonstop eating in Taiwan simply because I carried a fat baby of 23 pounds while walking everywhere.

Did I mention that this is in addition to carrying a diaper bag/purse, my purchases, and often, my kids’ belongings because it was super heavy for small humans?

I rocked July. But don’t worry. I will be back to my inanimate self now that it is August.

d) Take vitamins and supplements.

I remembered to take these MOST days. I’m making it a goal to focus on this more in August.

e) Go to sleep when the kids sleep 4x a week.

I did a pretty good job of this – even in Taiwan. Last year when I was in Taiwan, I was up most of every night. But this year, carrying fat baby around all day was too exhausting so I would usually go to sleep by 10pm. So, technically later than the kids, but still earlier than I would have left to my own devices.

I honestly don’t remember what happened in June. But I presume it was much the same as May.

f) No texting while driving.

June was bad because I think I got a ticket while texting in the car. Or was that May? Either way, it was bad. July was easy simply because hey! I WAS NOT DRIVING.

I was AWESOME about this in July.

2) Take my responsibilities as a grown up seriously.

Pretty sure I did adulting in June. Not sure. But I must have. After all, I packed and got ready for Taiwan in July, right?

As for July, yes. I did a lot of adulting – especially single parenting in Taiwan with four kids for several weeks. I did a LOT of adulting. But only stuff related to Taiwan. I didn’t do much else that was not related to Taiwan.

3) Write.

I did very little writing in June though I did go to a writing workshop. And I did no writing at all in July when I was in Taiwan. So, mostly fail at this. LOTS OF FAIL.

HOWEVER. I did do a lot of Facebook Lives – and while that is NOT writing, it is content production of a different sort.

But again. Not writing. So not the same.

Ok. This was kind of a depressing post. But you know, it was still good to check in and see how I did. And a good reminder to get my ass in gear for August.

After all, every day is a potential new year, so really, it’s ok to fall off the wagon as long as we get back on.

Here’s to getting back on.

How did you do? Are you even still keeping track of your New Year Resolutions? Let me know in the comments.