"How are you doing?"
A common question, and one I hear over and over now that school is in full gear. Of course I usually take the culturally appropriate response of "fine," but sometimes I spill the beans and share how things are still crazy.
Adding a new child to the family always turns things topsy turvy for a bit--but it's been more than a bit, so I guess I'm surprised. (And really, when I think about it, we added two kids in one year, so I guess it should take more time for homeostasis to return.)
But I'm impatient. I want time for the basics and extras--organization, schedules coordinated, dinners planned ahead, and projects brought to completion in a timely manner.
Oh, I want at least a little downtime and some space in between all the to-dos.
Go ahead. Laugh.
Instead, I feel like a juggler who just added a few more balls, yet hasn't quite figured out how to throw the previous ones higher. Sometimes one falls and I don't even notice, all the while I notice all the balls at my feet waiting for me to learn to juggle ever more.
It's not a new problem, but the sweat beads are building up with the pressure.
I decided it was time to hire a consultant. She was awesome! Here she is, teaching kitchen tricks.
We went over all the survival tricks that have worked in the past, created a schedule, read new organizational books, brainstormed additional ways to simplify, streamline, and reorganize.
And it seemed to help a little, but it still felt just a step above survival mode. I couldn't seem to implement many of the tools that previously worked. Organizing core areas wasn't even working as well.
And I struggled with that. But one day, I realized that's okay.
I don't need to keep striving for the past. Things won't always be this busy; the key is to prioritize for now.
I realize I have to let some important things go while prioritizing others. Education and health are the two key areas I am focusing on this school year.
Lots of time and money are going into education. Lizzy is in college and I am finishing the final year of my MSW which includes a time intensive internship in child welfare (it's awesome and I love it!). I'm homeschooling Mei Mei part-time and we've put in place a tutor for Vu (more on both those topics later). We are prioritizing Chinese school on Saturday and allowing for several hours of homework assistance on school days (kids learning English need lots of extra time to complete assignments).
In terms of health, we have a bone graft surgery coming up for Mei Mei, possible eye surgery to correct her extropia, occupational therapy, and orthodontics. We have three kids in speech and language therapy, two needing new glasses, one with a complicated dental issue, one with severe eczema, and three requiring visits to a specialist.
Normally, all these appointments, time and $$ spent would drive me nuts, because it's like throwing some bowling pins in for the juggler. But it's easier to accept now that I've deemed those categories the priorities. It's easier for me to accept that my house won't be as organized, because I'm able to use any extra time for priorities such as teaching kids to read. I allow myself to go to bed on time because health is a priority, not cleaning closets. I'm doing what I've prioritized as important.
I'm letting some of the balls go, in order to make sure I don't drop others--while still keeping a smile on my face. It feels good. At least for now.