You could say I am in a busy stage of life. I have two kids, ages two and under. A full-time job. A side gig on this here blog. But to be honest, I’ve always been busy. I pride myself on being able to get more done in a few hours then most people can all day. But I am having a hard time sustaining that pace as I get older and the tiny humans I’m raising command center stage of my days (and nights). I decided, when I had my youngest a few months ago, that I would start saying no a bit more, and accept help more often. Here are three ways that I have been letting go of control, and why I’m loving it.
Party Planning. I was so, so excited when one of my best friends got engaged last year and instantly volunteered to throw her shower. However, as the months inched past and I had my daughter, I had to bring in some support. I learned that a great bunch of ladies and a strong group text chain can plan and execute pretty much anything. I set up the food and venue and “outsourced” the cake, decorations, games, and favors. The bridal shower turned out beautifully, and I kept myself from agonizing over every last detail (as I tend to do). I also think it allowed all of us a little creativity – since we were each in charge of one thing that we could truly focus on.
Potty Training. My youngest was born in April, about a month after my oldest turned two. Since we were going to be home all summer together, I had a plan to try potty training in the back of my mind. But the baby came, and I was completely consumed. It was the furthest thought from my mind as I was just trying to get through the day with my attention completely split. We had training potties in each bathroom, and had worked on the concept with her a few times – so when she told me she wanted to go one afternoon, I ran her over to the bathroom… and success! From then on, I just followed her lead. The whole summer she got to pick whether she wanted diapers or underwear on, and whether she wanted to use the “little” training potty or the “big” grown-up potty. I sometimes asked her if she needed to go (when I remembered), but mostly she brought it up. We had a few accidents, and there were a few times when all three of us would just be hanging out in the bathroom for 20 minutes or so, but we went with the flow. After about a month she didn’t want to wear diapers at all, and I was able to trust her to go out in public without an accident (most days). I was convinced we would need a “3-day potty training bootcamp” or some intense charts, but really just a few stickers here and there, some candy, and a strong-willed toddler made it work without a lot of stress. Next, we will tackle night time. On her terms of course.
Dinner. Meal planning is my nemesis. I have a tendency to want to go big or just not do it at all (a month’s worth of meals in one day! All the groceries bought in 20 minutes! Three new recipes a week!). So obviously I fail at this a lot. I finally looked at my husband one day and asked him if he would mind cooking dinner most nights, and he was completely on board (not a surprise)! I always assumed since I get home a bit earlier that I should be the one responsible for feeding us all… but you know what? There are plenty of other things I can do in that time. I can play with my kids. I can get daycare bags ready for the next day. I can pack lunches. Sometimes our toddler has to eat a smaller, earlier meal so she can make it to bed on time. And sometimes I jump in and prep or start the meal, but for the most part it’s a huge weight off my shoulders and my husband truly enjoys finding new recipes and cooking.
I do not have to do it all, all the time. I have to keep reminding myself this. If I’m going to collapse from complete exhaustion, I want it to be because I was playing with my kids. Not because I was trying to be insanely productive. Those just aren’t my priorities anymore. And now that I’ve seen how letting control of a few things here or there can help my sanity, I think I might just try it more often.