I’m beginning to feel more at home in my own skin.
In my own home.
The first year of teaching is often called survival year.
The first year of anything could probably be called survival year.
This is the end of the second month.
End. Of. The. Second. Month.
Of a survival year.
During a global pandemic.
All the changes came so hard and fast. And came during the strangest possible time.
Pandemic kept us cooped up for safety. And just when that started to feel unbearable, three more people and three dogs joined this household.
Initially it was exciting and new.
Then it was all about getting settled.
Then simple logistics of cohabitating.
How do we make this work? Two small families creating one big family…how can we be both?
Expectations are being ironed out.
Anybody else hear Hamilton in their head?
“I’m past patiently waitin’. I’m passionately mashin’ every expectation. Every action’s an act of creation.”
Just me? OK…
Anyway, we’re beginning to managing expectations. We’re learning how to navigate each other’s personal language. We’re asking what did that mean when you/she/he said that? We’re figuring out how to cohabitate successfully.
I’m used to being alone the majority of my time.
Now I’m never alone.
My daughter is used to being in charge of her own environment.
Now her environment is not her own.
YBW continues his routine of going to work each day.
Now he supports more people.
Husband N is becoming more and more anxious about finding a job.
YBW and I agree he needs gainful employment, we want him to make the best possible choice instead of taking any job because it’s a job.
Baby K alternates between being so delightful it nearly kills us, and being a tiny terrorist demon bent on destruction. (as a toddler do)
And doesn’t even include the chaos of construction in the house.
YBW and I have no access to our own bathroom. And trying to make due with the bare minimum in the hall bathroom is taking it’s toll on me.
I know I’m feeling the stress.
I am acutely aware everybody experiences me feeling the stress.
I do my best to make sure to explain myself and/or apologize if I’m irritable or querulous. (more than normal)
It’s simply too much all at once and my adaption rate is lagging.
To combat this, I am actively carving out time for myself.
I’m reading again. That simple act sparked a change in me. Shifted me from the back of my brain back to the front. My brain moved out of survival mode and into all the good stuff.
I’m so much better off for it. (so is everyone else)
I’m engaged in a mindful way, not simply navigating fight or flight.
I will work as hard as I can to remain here in this healthy brain space.
I will learn to balance my needs with my wants when they’re at odds.
I want to spend every possible moment with Baby K.
I need some quiet time for myself.
Every time I think I’m on it, I fall. Honestly, she’s hard to resist…
But then I remember we’re at the end of the second month.
End. Of. The. Second. Month.
And I offer myself empathy and understanding.
Which, if I’m being honest, I never do.
My personal expectations are residual from my childhood, keep my head down and do the hard work and don’t complain about it. I received no empathy or understanding. I was expected to do what I was told without question.
I end up expecting myself to manage all ‘the things’ and be resigned to do so without complaint.
When triggered, we all go to the place we ‘know’.
So, if I offer myself some grace, it can be a place where I can stop and breathe. I can bask in that grace and encourage understanding for myself. I can stop the triggers, and in doing so I can find balance.
I can manage my own expectations.
I can take the time I need.
I can take the time I want.
I can feel strong and grateful instead of anxious and overwhelmed.
I feel indescribable love and joy having my daughter and her family here.
Now I’m working on making it comfortable.
For my husband.
For Thing 1 and Husband N.
For Baby K.
Though, let’s be honest, she’s in high cotton as the tiny princess in this multigenerational household.
At the end of the second month, I feel tired. But more than that, I feel hopeful.