Y’all, life gets so crazy sometimes. And I’ve been more distracted the past 6 ½ months than I’ve ever been! Not so much distracted as my mind isn’t able to focus on as much. It’s like part of my brain has been removed and there’s only so much space left in there to process and keep track of everything. I thought I had life decently well figured out and that I’d learned a few lessons about getting through and being productive, but the joke was on me. Being pregnant and trying to do a lot has certainly upped the ante on my quality of life.
It’s been all I can do the past few weeks to stay focused at my full-time job, move houses, keep the new house somewhat organized, spend quality time with my husband, take care of Way Pup (who tore his 2nd ACL and is getting surgery in a couple of weeks), and trying to rent out the old house. Additionally, I created a baby registry for a (very generous) baby shower (= a lot of time spent researching All.The.Baby.Things). Oh, and I caught a pregnancy cold for 2 weeks (=the worst cold of my life). Yep…woe is me! I have too much going on! No, not really. This is all very good stuff and all stuff that I signed up for, so I’m not trying to point out how busy I am. The list just looks like it. Instead, I’m pointing out that this getting-through-life-thing is a skill, just like any and a skill that must be worked at. It’s a skill that I kind of had under my belt, but then I decided to level up to Mom, and have to re-earn that skill.
So, how do I manage? Most days, barely. That said, I have to stick to my priorities and that’s the key thing.
What are they? First off, I need to make sure my marriage is going well. Whether that’s spending quality time with my husband or making sure the house gets picked up (he really, really, really appreciates a clean house), I need to make sure that I’m taking care of him as best I can. These days, I’m not able to be as much help as in the past (see: pregnancy), so I’ve tried to step it up in other ways. He’s taken on more of the physical work around the houses that I used to do, which has been hard on him because he has even less available time than I do. Plus, he’s been super sweet to me while pregnant and I want him to know he’s appreciated.
Second, I need to make sure my work is getting done and to prepare for my upcoming maternity leave. When I’m at work, I try to focus on work. Yeah, I try…sometimes it’s hard though with all the baby and new house stuff to research, but I really do try.
Third, I need to make sure that Way Pup is doing okay. I mentioned above that he tore his ACL and is limping around. We can’t go on walks, but we sure can snuggle! So, with all the craziness going on around us and the new house, he definitely needs quality attention right now (especially before the baby shows up).
Fourth, we need food and clean clothes to wear. I try to make sure we have enough food in the pantry/fridge that my husband and I can both get a decent lunch and dinner, and I’m working on making sure we both have enough clean clothes to wear. Sometimes that’s easier said than done and we’ve both run out of food and clean underwear in the past few weeks, but that’s how life goes. I do a quick load of laundry, try cooking something frozen in the Instant Pot, and keep on going.
Fifth, I focus on getting the old house ready for new tenants. We want to quickly find someone to rent the old house, so that means it has to be emptied and ready to go. By ready to go, I mean the carpets cleaned, the fireplace cleaned, the whole house cleaned, the extra furniture sold, and the yard mowed. Most of this has happened, but not all of it and it’s been a bit of work calling and meeting service providers to get some of the stuff done.
After those top 5 priorities, there’s other stuff I value getting done,everything gets taken care of however it happens or maybe it doesn’t. Spending time with family? Sure, if it works out. Spending time with friends? Sure, if it works out. Unpacking boxes? Sure, if I have enough energy after work. Exercising? Not so much. Cleaning the new house? Not so much.
This list above might look like I know exactly what I’m doing, but this post is the first time I’ve clarified my priorities to this extent. I’ve just been living by them for the past couple of months. If your life is crazy, you probably have priorities too, but it does help to clarify them.
You’ve just spent a lot of time reading about me…how does this translate to you? How can my craziness help you? The main thing is to figure out your priorities and then stick to them. When you feel so busy you can barely breathe and you start to have a small (or large) panic attack thinking about everything you have to do, go back to square one and make sure the big picture stuff is covered first. That could be your mental health, or you prioritize family time (either with a family you created or parents/siblings/extended family), or you prioritize your career, or you prioritize saving money, or you prioritize something else entirely. It also depends on what you value most right now. For me, I most value having a strong relationship with my husband right now. In the past, I have most valued writing my thesis over having a strong relationship. Before I met my husband, I most valued traveling during my time in Europe. Basically, what do you want or need to do or focus on most? Then go from there.
As soon as you realize how crazy life is getting and that you might be in over your head, take three deep breaths and a step back. Figure out your priorities (however many you have, but don’t have too many) and let them guide how you spend your time, get things accomplished, and try not to stress out too much moving forward. You’ll get through this too!