Working Mother

Creating a new normal… again

Life is running pretty smoothly and, while not perfect, the routine seems to be a good fit. All of a sudden…

BOOM!!!

Everything gets tossed up in the air and you get to figure out a whole new normal.

This can happen for both good and bad reasons – new job or getting laid off, a new school schedule, changing after school activities, long-term illness, or a new fitness routine. Regardless of the reason, you get to figure out how to make it all work… again.

This recently happened in my life and, if you look back at my post schedule, you will see that I took quite a break from posting. A terrific opportunity was offered to me to manage a program for teens in my local community. Nothing was going to come off my list of responsibilities, so I knew I was going to have to give myself time to adjust.

Going into the program, I gave myself 2 months of survival mode where I knew that some things were not going to get done (like this blog) and I had to be OK with that. This gave me time to adjust to the new demands on my time an resources and fit everything into a new normal.

During this two months, I really had to rely on my “village” to help with all of the kid and home things. I called on a sister to take my son to tutoring once a week. My mom took the kids to all of their after school activities one day each week. My other sister delivered dinner one night each week (she makes an AWESOME chicken noodle soup.) My dad took care of getting my car in for service and leaving a spare vehicle to use for the day. A friend let the kids walk to her house after school one day a week so they could play.  And you can just imagine what my house looked like.

Two months passed, and our life has settled into a new “normal.” Some of the help from the village continues – my sister still takes my son to tutoring as she has two boys and they like to play with their big cousin before he goes to tutoring. Some have tapered off or stopped all together. And I can now see the floor of my house once again.

We have also added some new things to our routine. My children now each have at least one difficult cleaning task that they get paid to do. For example, my oldest gets paid to wash dishes, my middle keeps the basement clean, and my youngest scrubs the bathroom (don’t worry, mommy shamers, we only use vinegar.)

At least a couple times each week, we get time at the coffee shop. The kids play games or read while they enjoy hot chocolate, and mom gets a couple hours of work in. If we time it right, we also get to enjoy some awesome live music.

Does this mean my life is perfectly quiet and calm? Are you kidding?! But it has settled into a new routine and the chaos of survival mode has shifted to the chaos of what we consider to be our “normal” life.

My point? Survival mode is OK… but only if you can see the end of that tunnel.

Life throws us curve balls, or just puts it all in a blender and hits puree. We do what we need to do to make it through during those times. However, it’s when we stay in survival mode that it presents problems.

Give yourself the time you need in survival mode. Set up the supports you need to make it through. Count on your village. Then figure out how to create your new “normal” and what stays and goes in order for you to get out of survival mode.

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