Today I turned 30. Truthfully, I’m not one to get too worked up over a specific age or date on the calendar, but something about 30 – a new decade – makes me a little sentimental and reflective. Joe tells me I need to stop listening to sappy, serious podcasts because my deep-thinking, Enneagram 4 self is already prone to feeling all the feelings. It’s true. But today I’m affording myself a little time of self-reflection as I prepare to embark on a new decade. I’ve heard great things about 30 and I firmly believe that I would rather be 30 than 20 any and all days of the week.
I got a question from a blog reader/Instagram follower the other day asking if I would share how I “do it all” or, if I don’t do it all, what I don’t do. I mulled the question over for a week or so and thought about how I would (honestly) answer that question. I’ll be the first to admit that I feel like I’m just doing my best to juggle it all, but I’ve been surprised at how much I LOVE this stage of life with very little kids. Don’t get me wrong, there are lots of days when I just want a nap and a solo vacation, but I have also never felt more alive, more challenged, more fulfilled than I do right now. My mom is a really high-energy individual, about twice as much as I am, so I think I do come by my energy honestly.
Let me also say that while I might seem like I’m “doing it all” sometimes, I have the advantage of the fact that my work is flexible and can be very accommodating to life with little kids. I have 16 hours of childcare each week and if I want to work at 5 am or early Sunday morning I can because I’m the boss. Working part-time affords me more time to do housework, spend quality time with the girls, dinner prep, etc. It’s a gift and opportunity that isn’t lost on me and my hat goes off to all the full-time working mommas trying to juggle it all.
THINGS I DON’T DO (in no particular order)
- Workouts longer than 30 minutes. It’s just not worth it to me. I want to be fit and fit into my jeans, and that can be done in 30 minutes, 5 to 6 days per week. Anything more feels, for me, like a vanity project and asking my kids to tolerate more than 30 minutes tends to result in more stress than benefit.
- Fancy Dinners. I DO make dinner for my family most nights of the week, but let me tell you that if you learn how to cook meat well, roast veggies and cook some type of grain you really are set.
- Over-Commitment. Life is crazy enough without me adding too many things to our plate as a family. I’m an introvert at heart, so when our family runs ragged I start to get snappy. I don’t parent well, I’m not a good spouse or friend. We have a few standing commitments right now (Wednesday night youth group, Sunday night church life group, and Joe helps with the high school football team on Friday nights) so I’ve intentionally avoided adding any other standing commitments to our calendar for the time being.
- Deep Cleaning My House. Before Collins arrived, one of my good mom friends suggested that I hire someone to clean my house to take something off my plate. We now have someone come for two hours every other week. It’s not enough help that I can completely abandon cleaning on a daily basis, but I don’t have to worry about keeping the water spots off our fixtures or scrubbing our tub and shower, etc.
- Spending more than 10 minutes getting ready. I DO get ready almost every day, but it doesn’t take much time. I intentionally keep my hair long because of this reason. It’s easier for me to get ready for my day and look/feel put together when my hair is long. It takes me about 10 minutes to do something with my hair and swipe on a little minimalist makeup. Shameless plug: When your skin and hair feels great using high-quality products, you don’t really need much makeup.
- Playing the social media comparison game. This isn’t a particular sticking point for me, but I do try to keep in mind that I’m the owner of my social media feed. I decide who shows up in my feed and who doesn’t. If there is someone who is rubbing me the wrong way or making me feel less than, it’s probably my own heart issue more than anything, but it’s my responsibility to follow judiciously. If someone or something makes you feel less than? Unfollow.
- Allow my mornings to be frazzled. I’m fully aware that my work at home schedule puts me at a distinct advantage because I don’t have to hustle to get the girls dropped off at daycare or be at the office at a certain time. But I do wake up at the crack of dawn each day to get some time to myself and set our family up for a smooth morning. Most mornings I’m awake at 5. I have coffee, read my Bible, do a little personal development or pleasure reading, and answer emails. Then I get Joe’s lunch packed, unload the dishwasher, run a load of laundry and fold a load if I’m on my game. Before the girls get up, I wash my face, get dressed and put on a little makeup and we start our mornings sometime between 6:30 and 7. Ainsley usually watches and episode of Curious George when she wakes up because she is slow to get going in the morning and if Collins is still sleeping I’ll do a little work on my computer sitting next to her.
Things I’m Learning to Do (key word, learning)
- Embracing the Chaos. I grew up in an only-child family most of my life where my house was quiet and I had plenty of time to myself. Admittedly, the transition to two kids was a little jarring to me because it’s just so loud and crazy all the time. But I’m learning to embrace the chaos, laugh about it, and even, dare I say, love it?
- Putting my phone down. This is an area I could still use some significant improvement on, but I’m working on being more conscious about my phone use around the girls. I don’t mind them seeing me work – I think it’s good they know what mom does and that I work hard – but I don’t want mindless scrolling of social media to distract me from what really matters.
- Being more organized. I’m about as far from Type-A as can be in many ways, so schedules and organization are a big area of improvement. I’m realizing that with two kids, my memory and head space just isn’t what it used to be, so writing all the things down is not just a nicety but a necessity.
Here’s to 30 being the best decade yet!