Monday, February 25, 2013

20 (ok, really 7) Questions

There are some things that I really think are important. Yet, I seem to be struggling to keep on top of them. So, I'm asking for your advice. How do you make these happen?

1. Spiritual well-being. How do you make time for quality scripture reading & pondering, meaningful prayer, reading the Ensign and conference talks, getting something out of church when you're feeding a baby or wrestling a 2-year-old, going to the temple regularly, and just feeling the Spirit present in your life?

2. Physical well-being. How do you make time, energy, and motivation to exercise? How do you get enough sleep when your baby is still not sleeping through the night? How do you make time & motivation to prepare healthy meals for your family (especially when you don't really like to cook? and especially lunch? I seem to really have a hard time with lunchtime.)

3. Marriage. How do you spend quality time with your spouse? How do you continue your courtship when going out on a real date sometimes seems impossible due to expensive babysitters and nursing babies?

4. Getting out of the house. How do you make sure to get out of the house? Especially when your kids just whine half the time when you try to go somewhere? And when lots of places cost money? And when you have to go and be back before your baby needs to eat again.

5. Social. How do you make/keep friends? How do you infiltrate yourself into your new neighborhood? How do you get people to do things with you and get yourself invited to things? And then how do you do that with kids and naps and bedtimes, etc? How do you make yourself more exciting and a better conversationalist so that people will want to hang out with you?

6. Parenting. How do you prepare meaningful, engaging activities to do with your children rather than just let them play around you (and get bored in the meantime?) How do you not get frustrated when they don't cooperate or make huge messes?

7. Taking care of yourself. How do you make time for & motivate yourself to make yourself look nice when you know you're just going to get spit up on and not go anywhere (and half your nice clothes don't fit yet anyway)? And every time you step out of the shower, your baby starts crying or your toddler whines about needing this or that. How do you make time (and money) for your hobbies?

It seems as though I spend all my time & energy responding/reacting to my kids' needs/whining/crying/or whatever when I could probably be more proactive about taking care of these things. I just don't know how. I am really trying to be better about these important aspects of life and any tips you have would be greatly appreciated.


audrey said...

Oh Christy I just love you! I know this is a hard time of life for you right now, and can I just say that NO ONE has all of these things together. Everyone struggles with balancing all these things, and once you get to a point where you feel like life is under control, it changes again! I lack in ALL of these areas, but reading the different sections you wrote about, I did have just a couple of ideas. For spiritual--first off, I have come to my own personal conclusion that once a month temple attendance is not realistic for me right now. I live too far away, but even if it was close, it's just a hard time of life to make that happen. I know we're encouraged to go as often as we can, but that doesn't always have to mean once a month! My goal with Steve for this year is quarterly. And because that's a stretch for us, we feel okay with it. We don't have to feel guilty because we've set a goal that works for us. Another idea is that maybe you can go to the temple on your own some evening when Matt is home with the kids. That would give you some extra personal time away out of the house, an opportunity to dress up :), time to pray, read scriptures, meditate, etc. Also, about church. Lately I've been trying to really focus my thoughts on taking the sacrament and remembering the Savior. It's the most important reason we go to church, and if I get nothing else out of the entire block, at least I've renewed those covenants and I have the Lord's help for the coming week.

My other idea combines getting out of the house with physical well being and social. I know it's winter right now, which makes things hard, but just going for walks can do so much good! If there's another young mom in your neighborhood, or even an older woman who is home during the day, you can go on regular walks and have someone to chat with while your kids are contained in a stroller :). It's not vigorous exercise, but it gives you some good Vitamin D and fresh air. If it's cold you can always walk around a mall, too. Let Emily play at the play place or something. That gets you out of the house without costing any money.

Okay this is a forever long comment :). But my last thought goes along with the social aspect and that is to have confidence in yourself! You have SO much to offer, Christy! You are fun, ambitious and educated. You also like to party and celebrate the big and little holidays and events of the year :). You are such a fun person and yes you're a mommy, but you're still Christy. Just know you are AWESOME and you are inspiring me every week with your wellness revolution. You're not alone feeling this way. I'm going to be stalking this blog post to read all your comments because I need advice in all these areas too :). Hang in there Christy! You're doing great!

Will and Natalie Giddens said...

The short answer is - you CAN'T have/do all of those things right now. It's physically impossible! I'm sure you're annoyed with people telling you this, but you are at a stage of life that cannot sanely accomodate all of those things you listed. You have a toddler and an infant! Those two little people, however adorable and sweet they are, really prohibit you doing 99% of the things you probably really want to do. It's frustrating, annoying, unfair, etc., but (like you already know) it's also a divinely inspired job that you are well-suited for.

I am JUST NOW getting to the point where I am sleeping through most nights without any of my kids needing me for the bathroom, water, scary dreams or crying and my kids are 7, 5 and almost 3. Just sleeping through the night has made a world of difference in my ability to do most of those things you listed. I can now workout at 5:30 am (because I'm sleeping through the night! Christy, an early morning workout is not feasible for you right now in your situation), I have time to read my scriptures on a daily basis (b/c I have two kids in school!), I can attend the temple monthly (b/c we finally, FINALLY, after nine years of marriage, can afford a babysitter for ward temple night!).

One of the women I admire most in this world is the mother of six phenomenal children. Talk about a Molly Mormon family. Think homemade everything, all the kids play two instruments and sing, quilting, exercise at 5 am at the YMCA, ran the Boston Marathon, etc. One of those families. Anyway, the best advice she ever gave me was that motherhood (and life) comes in seasons. She said when she was a young mother with four kids at home, she heard a talk about doing family history work and she thought, "Wow, I really need to do more family history." And then she realized that the season of life she was in was not one where she could easily do family history. You are not in a season of life where you can do all of the things you listed. That is not to say that since you can't do them all, you shouldn't do any of them. Perhaps adjust your expectations a bit and pick only one thing from each category to work on?

But since you asked specifically, here are my specific answers:
1) Prayer. Pray for the Spirit and try to read at least 5 verses a day and glean as much as you can from that.

2) An at-home exercise video 2-3 times a week when the baby is napping. Plan a monthly menu - plan all three meals, not just dinner.

3) At home dates. Not nearly as exciting as going out, but if money is tight and babies can't be left, watch a movie, play a game, make a fun dessert, light some candles - something to spice it up so it's different from every other night (Will and I have probably had more at-home dates that out and about dates.)

4. The library, temple grounds, window-shop at Target or the Mall or IKEA. Honestly, with all the nap and sleeping schedules you need to honor, I find this is one of the first things I let drop when I have an infant.

5. I have no clue. It's been waaaaay harder for me to make friends as an adult with kids than it ever was when I was single.

6. ??? You're kids are so young, if it were me, I'd let this one slide as well. Or maybe have ONE activity a day that you try (could take all of 5-10 mins). Actually, I have a book you can have. Email me your address.

7. If I'm clean and not in pjs, it's a success! Keep yourself kept, but again, if you don't have the funds and if you can't quite fit into everything yet, just try to be clean and groomed and buy things when you can (I have sooooo been in this boat as well - it'll get better!)

Hope this helps. You have great friends who make awesome comments, so I'm sure you'll get great advice. GOOD LUCK!

Beth said...

I think Natalie's friend said it is full of seasons, and this phase of life right now is very much one of sacrifice. I'm in no means perfect at this either, and some days are better then others, but I've found that adjusting my expectations has really helped. When ever I get frustrated or stuck, I have to remind myself that its not going to last forever, and just do the best I can with the phase of life I'm in.
Try you best Christy, and be realistic with your goals and expectations, and hopefully you will have more peace with this season of life.

Christy said...

OK, these are some good ideas...I'll have to try some of them. Keep 'em coming!

I do realize I can't do everything I used to do or want to do, and I feel like I have dropped a lot of things, but I feel like these areas of my life need to be present at least somewhat.

How come it seems like lots of other people can do all these things but I can't?

Anyone have any good ideas for at-home dates?

singingrae said...

Hey there! I know this time of life is so hard. It really is. Nearly every day I find myself exhausted by 4pm because someone needs something EVERY minute. But, I try to remind myself often not to wish away this time. Even though days seem long (and winter in N. Utah can seem eternal) before you know it, these days will be gone. McKay starts kindergarten next year and I just can't believe how the time has flown by. We can't get these years back and they are precious, if grueling and exhausting too. :)
A few thoughts that have helped me...Look for spiritual moments and interactive moments with your children (Emmy until Zach is a little older) where you can teach them the gospel. This has helped me SO much to feel like a more purposeful parent and daughter of God. Elder Eyrings talk to the priesthood (?) last General Conference talked about praying to know your children's abilities and spiritual gifts. I do this often and look for specific moments each day when I can take something we're doing/talking about/seeing and use it to teach the gospel to my kids in simple ways. It has proven to bring the spirit into my life more profoundly.
My one new years resolution this year was to be on time to church. Sometimes I don't hear a single thing that goes on in the meeting because I'm in the hall or mother's rm the whole time but I feel like my efforts to at least get there on time (even though that's not always successful) show the Lord how much I care. Maybe choose one idea like that, something that is a challenge for you that you can try to focus on and show the Lord you are trying. I know he'll bless you for even the smallest effort. He has for me. :)
One more thought...while we lived in KY we started a RS Conference Study Group. IT SAVED MY LIFE! Any RS sister could participate. We met for 1 hr. on Tue. at the church and everyone could bring their kids if they wanted. We would choose a talk for each week. Every sister would study the talk to throughout the week and then one sister would be assigned each time to lead the discussion. And we would discuss the talk together. I LOVED it! It gave me somewhere to go on Tue. and I got to know the sisters in my ward that way. And it was an incredible spiritual boost to have studied a talk in prep to discuss it. Perhaps you could begin something like this in your ward? Love you! Hang in there! You are doing WAY better than you give yourself credit for.:)