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Well, after almost five full days of uninterrupted thinking and planning and some serious soul-searching, I am feeling strong and energetic and ready to handle anything that comes next!  I am still a little bit anxious to know what day-to-day life will look like with me working on a limited part-time basis and a little bit worried about how the kids will adjust to being away from me for those small pockets of time.  But mostly I am excited and ready to embark on this next part of my lifelong journey.  Here is what I have decided to do differently:

1. Hire a cleaning service.  Wow.  That still feels weird to say out loud but, at the same time, it is SO incredibly liberating to admit that I can’t do it all and that I need HELP!  I don’t think I’ve ever fully admitted it to myself before but….I DO NOT LIKE TO CLEAN!  There.  I said it.  I started to say “I H^TE TO CLEAN” but we are trying to erase that vocab word from our household so I held back.  But I hope that you get how strongly I despise cleaning.  All of it.  The vacuuming, the dusting, washing the dishes, the laundry, the cleaning up pee from the bathroom floor and toilet and walls…yes, especially the cleaning up pee part.  I can’t wait until my little men can hit their mark in the bathroom.  (The oldest one, who is 5, actually forgot to open the lid during his early morning bathroom visit the other day and ended up peeing all over the outside of the toilet and the floor!  Boy, was I ever glad that my husband walked in on that one instead of me!)  To sum it up, I can’t WAIT to come home to a clean house that I had no part in cleaning.  I have no doubt that it will be well worth the money and I will fall hopelessly in love with the person who scrubs my floors and dusts my light fixtures (something I can’t say I’ve ever done).  I do realize that I will probably still be cleaning up pee but maybe that won’t be so bad if I wasn’t the one who just spent a half hour getting the bathroom looking spic and span before my little guy came in and hosed it down with his – ahem – hose.

2. Find “me” time.  I plan to make more time for sleep, exercise, reading, sipping hot cups of tea, and maybe even some mindfulness and meditation.

3. Yes, definitely bring mindfulness back into my life.  It doesn’t really take up any extra time and it is SO worth it.

4. Write myself a note of joy, appreciation, or gratitude every morning.  My mothering coach suggested this to me a few months ago and I’ve been doing it sporadically with great results.  I love the idea of talking to myself as if I was a good friend of mine (because I am!) and reminding myself of all the things that I love and appreciate about myself and why I am thankful for those qualities.  Here is an example from this morning: “Maria, I appreciate that you apologize and ask for a “do over” when you mess up, that you stay true to your beliefs even when they are not popular with others, and that you did not raise your voice yesterday.”  Or sometimes it’s as simple as saying “Maria, I am grateful for your hands and all of the diapers that they have changed over the last 5 and a half years.”  These journal entries give me the strength and motivation to feel good about myself and tackle whatever comes my way that day.

5. Read something inspirational every day.  I am the sort of person who benefits from gentle reminders every day to help me remember why I am fighting the good fight, per se.  For example, I recently read these two posts that left me feeling so energized and motivated to keep up with the mindful parenting of my little ones.  (And also a little bit sentimental because it’s so hard for me to imagine my little babies as teenagers or grown men…sniff sniff.)  Thank you to these women because it is so helpful to hear success stories from the other side!

A Message From the Future to Moms of Littles

A Love Letter to Mindful Parents of Little Ones

So, that’s it.  My first attempt at a blog post and it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be!  Whew!  It feels good to try new things 🙂

As somebody wise once said, “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning but anybody can start today and make a new ending.”  That’s what I plan to do.

P.S…I cannot post this without adding a huge, giant-sized THANK YOU to my husband who gave me the gift of finding myself again in the form of five days off from kids and household duties and everything that had been threatening to pull me under and erase my mind.  I know…maybe a bit dramatic…but, seriously, I cannot thank him enough.  He is truly my best friend and I love being on the same team with him in this game of life.  And it’s a good thing because we are too competitive to be on opposite teams!  😉  Elephant Shoes

This Post Has 19 Comments

  1. Way to go! This is an *amazing* first blog post. I laughed out loud about peeing all over the toilet seat. I love the intention and honesty you put into this post. That’s not easy (it’s like you channeled your inner Brene Brown!) I have no doubt this is just the first of many funny, open, educational and inspiring blog posts. Looking forward to reading more!

  2. Maria, you have put down in words what many mothers have thought! I’m sure this will give others the strength to be ‘okay’ with themselves. I, too, have a strong distaste for cleaning (sorry if I passed it on to you), so I can relate to your tales of the potty. Get rid of the drudgeries and use that time to better your life and your family’s life. You have a great way with words! I am sure your blogs will not only be informative but also humorous. I look forward to reading much more! And YES! Kudos to your wonderfully supportive husband!

  3. Awesome post babe! ELEPHANT SHOES too. I will have to do a reply blog post some time about my experiences “from the other side”. I have all new respect for you this week, and would recommend this little exercise to any family that feels a little “caught in a rut”. We had a blast, but know the boys are looking forward to having some more Mommy time! Great to see the sparks back in your eye and can’t wait to watch (and help) you kick some butt as you take on this next chapter of life!


    1. Awww…thanks 🙂 And I LOVE the idea of you getting your post up here, too. It’s liberating and way more fun than I expected! I can’t wait to hear about your experiences as a housewife! Hehe. And I’m also looking forward to being back home with our amazing kiddos. I am so blessed.

  4. Maria – one strength that you and Joe have always had is an open communication line between the two of you. It has enabled you to set common goals, and to adapt as a team to changing circumstances. I see that again, as you both make room in your lives for a new dimension. Never stop talking!
    Meanwhile, I am finding in your writing a new appreciation for all the sacrifices that your Mother made for our family (really, all Mothers), and how she deserves my support for any direction she now wants to go!


    1. I agree, Dad…Mom has made some serious sacrifices for our family and it took me a long time to realize it! Thank you, Mom!

      1. I agree with Becca, that once they know enough how to aim & choose to do otherwise, it is time to make them part of the cleaning process. Works like a charm

  5. Congratulations on your first blog post, Maria! You’ve found an amazing amount of honesty and hilarity in daily life and shared a little piece of it with everyone.

    It’s also nice to know that somewhere out there another mother is also scrubbing pee or crayon or spaghetti off the walls 🙂 Tony and I have almost given up on asking the kiddos to aim and instead started to teach them how to scrub. Ugh!

    And kudos to you for deciding to hire a cleaning service. I’m sure that wasn’t an easy decision. May you soon celebrate house cleaning day instead of dreading it! Win!

    1. Thanks, Becca! And I think you might be onto something with teaching how to scrub toilets instead of expecting perfect aim!

  6. What an amazing first post!! So happy for you to start your new adventure. I know you will succeed in anything you do! Looking forward to the next blog post:)

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