Being over here with a sick baby, jet lag, and the need to develop a new, temporary lifestyle hasn’t exactly left me with little to do, but the list has been minuscule compared to what I’m accustomed to! Not thinking about the laundry and the meals and the constant clutter all about my house and all the usual things that clog up by brain feed has left me with so much mental space.

And you know what? I like it. I like this decreased physical space and increased mental space. I really like it. I knew I would. I’ve been so specifically looking forward to finishing up the full renovation at home and decluttering/organizing everything so that I can have this mental space all the time at some point.

There’s been space to think clearly about what needs to be done, and how it needs to happen. There’s been space to not panic or freak out about what parts of that may or may not work out. There’s been space to pay attention to Kyle, check to see how he’s feeling, and take a minute to be happy with him if he’s happy, sad if he’s sad, commiserate if he’s frustrated, and pick (/beat) him up if he’s having a bad attitude. There’s been space for us to communicate better and be better teammates. Two weeks ago I was 85% positive that if I asked Kyle to pack the diaper bag, he’d pack it alright, but he’d likely forget the actual diapers. I’m now 85% confident that he’d do an 85% great job (c’mon, it’s only been a couple weeks, that’s quite a swap). There’s been space to play with my boy and not have to set a timer for it to make sure I get other stuff done too (I do realize that that part is strictly temporary). I like this space! This is great space!

There’s also been a lift on the distractions that have kept me from really looking at who I want to be spiritually and what my faith looks like right now. It’s been a rough year in that arena, and I’ve been gladly preoccupied from trying to sort it out, but now there are few places to go to escape it. Besides the Parliament channel, and that’s not always hoppin.

There’s been time to reflect on why I don’t have this space at home. Yes, it’s partly because our home isn’t really conducive to it right now, and yes, there’s plenty that can be done to change that and it’s a matter of doing. But it’s not just that. It’s that I’ve spent a while now defining my role as wife/mom (especially as a stay at home mom) with service and not including our actual relationships enough in that definition. Don’t get me wrong, service is important. Meals are important, cleaning our house is important, having clean clothes is important, and setting the example of that for our son is important, but all of that is second string to relationships with my boys.

My husband doesn’t need a personal baker, he needs a wife. My baby doesn’t need a maid, he needs a mama.

So I’m not okay with this being my all the time “at some point” anymore. Here’s what’s gonna happen:

– I recently went through most of our house and purged, but the remainder of the house is MINE when I get home. MINE, I SAY. Doubles of anything and all things unused/unneeded/unwanted are going to Goodwill. Everything that remains in our house will be organized within an inch of its life. Clutter, be gone! (If you know of anything that I have that you might want, just ask. If I’m too attached, I’ll let you know.)

– I’m going to type up and post my systems around the house, and my husband is going to think I’m crazy, and that’s okay because he’s finally going to know them and be able to use them.

– I’m going to wrap up the little projects in the house that need to be done (cutting in the ceilings, putting doorknobs on doors (because that’s a whole thing), installing a door with a big window to our laundry porch, hemming our curtains, making new cushion covers for our living room and bedroom, hanging art about the place, etc.).

– I’m going to paint my kitchen blue. Don’t tell my husband.

– I get to do two things every day: workout and read. Not because I want to workout. I really don’t. But because 1) I realize that I’m a better human being when I do, so I will. 2) My body might want me to be fat someday and working out is a good way to combat it, so I will. And 3) My body is a gift, intended to be stewarded–and stewarded well–and this is the only way to do that, so I will. And I’ll read not because I want to read. Even though I do…all day, every day, forever and ever amen; heaven is a library, I’m sure of it. But because it grows me and stretches me and teaches me and relaxes me and generally makes me feel more like me, and anything that makes me feel like me needs to be nurtured and honed and protected.

– I get one night every week. On that night, I get an hour to myself! Probably to take a bath, have a glass of whiskey, and listen to Norah Jones. Or hide under the covers in my bed and watch Downton Abbey (which I’m like six episodes behind on, so shut your traps right now).

– I get set time with my people! My introversion causes a problem even when I’m needing to see friends. Like, people who matter to me and who I enjoy being around. Getting to the point where I’m emotionally willing to go through the process of leaving the house or preparing to have any one else in my own house can sometimes be a serious hurdle because I’m a freaking hermit. That combined with the fact that my son keeps me from focusing on anything else when he’s around, so it’s best for me if I can see them while he’s sleeping or while someone else is watching him, which severely limits my time options. But because I love these people I’ve got to get over myself and my hurdles. It’s totally going to happen.

– I’m going to use the space I find from all of this to communicate better with my husband. I’m not going to let a fear of being needy, asking too much, him not getting to do whatever he wants to do and being angry or bitter about it, or anything else get in the way of telling him the kind of help I need when I need it. I have so enjoyed my wonderful husband here. I’ve enjoyed his company and his teamwork, and I’m going to keep enjoying him when we get back home by not getting myself in the way.

There are probably some other things that are going to happen as well, and let’s be real, I may or may not post them here on the blog. But these things? These things need to happen. These things will allow more space.

These things will be good for me and for my boys. Let’s do this!


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