I did it.
I took the leap. And oh my goodness, it feels good. I'm happier than I've been in a long while. I'm sitting on the couch, hands cupped around my coffee with a smile stretching across my face. I'm staring past the magazine on the coffee table and completely through the turned-off television. I'm not anxious, I'm happy. Swoon. I'm in love and I don't care who knows it.
I'm head over heels in love...with a four letter word.
It might not really be quite that romantic, but the love and adoration part is certainly true. And the four letter word? Can't.
That's right. Can't. And for you linguists and English Majors out there, I know that can't isn't exactly a four letter word because it's a conjunction and all of that, but stick with me.
I've been reading a lot lately about something called the mental load, and you guys, my mental load is heavy. Really heavy. I don't know why I finally came to this realization, but here's a preview into my month of June and maybe we can figure out together why.
- Multi-night work trips for Meagan: 2
- Single-night work trips for Hubs: 3?
- Losing someone close to us: 2
- Health scare for Hubs: 1
- Hosting a party at our house: 1
- Days without showering or putting on makeup or caring at all about myself: A lot
- Blah blah blah things I can't remember: Infinity
Between the fullness of our calendars, we have to live our lives too. And that means nightly bath time for the little one, making dinners each night, working on personal projects, trying to fuel some creativity and have a little fun, working on our husband-wife relationship, doing dishes, trying to be good and present parents, yard work (although there's got to be a better name for yard work when you have nearly three acres), spending time with family, seeing close friends, staying active and cleaning our home.
Here's the thing.
I know I'm not the only person on the planet with a full calendar, a busy work life, and I'm not the only person on the planet who tries her best to juggle all of everything. Whether you've got kids or not, there's a lot to going on. I also know I'm not the only person on the planet who drops a ball once in awhile.
And in June, I dropped all of the balls. I felt bad, really bad. I failed. I failed because I tried to do everything. I was standing on a dirty kitchen floor surrounded by dropped balls. Hair in an unwashed messy bun, toddler asking for a second popsicle, which I gave her because, well, easy button.
I can't do everything. I just can't. I'm not a magician and I can't pretend that I am. I can't. I can't.
See how much fun that little teeny four letter word is? Can't. (I love you). I can't. Something's gotta give. So, I asked some friends and I looked for recommendations on Facebook and found myself a fabulous house cleaner. She spent the good part of a day cleaning all of the things I've been neglecting and when I finished work, walked through my front door, my house was clean.
Check that off the list. Mental load, lightened.
Because before, I'd get home and immediately start the process of cleaning. And then it's dinner and then it's bathtime and then it's family time and then it's cleaning some more and then it's grown-up relationship time and you guys, I'm tired. And even on the days and weeks and months when everything gets done, it's not all done right or done well and nobody feels good about that either.
Here's my challenge for you.
Fall in love with your four letter word.
Give something up. Stop doing something. I know we can't all afford the luxury of a wonderful fairy to come clean our toilets, but the challenge is to feel okay about saying no. Feel okay about not doing something today, tomorrow, yesterday. I challenge you, moms. I challenge you, single ladies. I challenge you, dads and workaholics, and work from home parents. I challenge you to stop doing just one thing that you feel like you have to do. Find a way around it. Get creative. Ask for help. Figure out the difference between a "have to" and a "need to" and a "want to" activity, and focus on the things that are the most important for you to do.
And in the time you get back in your day - do something with it. Sit outside on a blanket, under the shade of your favorite tree. Stare into the sky and laugh with your kiddos about the shapes the clouds make as they pass by. Crank the music and have a dance party in your living room. Read a book. Spend a few minutes holding your partner's hand. Or, just be thankful and breathe deeply. To me, that's doing something big.