If you follow me on instagram, I’ve talked many times about a document I made several years ago after having my first son, Charlie. To give you a little background – I was just going back to work after maternity leave and felt so sad about it all. I wanted to stay home longer with him, quit my school librarian job, throw caution, our family insurance, and my pension to the wind, but I just couldn’t. But after I had a second son, and then a third, I’ve since come around to being a working mom and I’ve actually found that I am a much more balanced and happier person this way. Now…of course, I am on a teacher schedule which I highly recommend if you have kids and are looking at work options. I have summers off, long holiday breaks, I get off at 3pm every day, and I don’t take any work home (Let it be know that I often did have to bring work home my first few years of teaching and of course I have no homework, papers or tests to grade).
Ok but that’s right now – when I started back at work after that very first maternity leave, I was struggling emotionally and just with figuring out routines and how to make days meaningful when I was so tired all the time from working all day and then caring for a child all night. I would sit in my office while pumping and watch the online video feed of my son crying at daycare and I would cry too. I would get so upset about how unnatural it is to separate a mother from her child at 12 weeks when he was just so tiny and helpless and needed his mama. Phew! I’m getting emotional just thinking back on it.
Well…I soon got pregnant with a second son and decided that something had to change. I had to figure out a way to manage it all – to make childhood magical and special for my kids even if I was so freaking tired I couldn’t even think about how to get to bedtime every night. I wasn’t depressed. I was just struggling with how to do it “all”. And no one was going to figure it out for me. If I didn’t make the memories happen – they just weren’t going to happen. My husband is wonderful, caring and everything one could want in a partner for life but he doesn’t really care about having green milk on St. Patrick’s Day, God love him. I found that things were passing by without me noticing. I forgot St. Nicholas Day, I forgot to send a homemade card from the boys to my mom for her birthday, I realized my husband’s half birthday had been the week before. These things matter to me. All these special, (seemingly) silly little moments passed me by without me doing anything about it. My life was being lived. Not celebrated. And not to mention that we didn’t have clean laundry because I kept forgetting that I had to do a load of laundry every day, and I had to make dinner every night and also somehow keep the house clean and get the boys to daycare and myself to work on time?? After many weeks (or was it months?) of floundering – enter, The Document.
As a librarian, I have a mind that likes to put things into categories. (I live by the Dewey Decimal System after all). So I started to think through what things are important to me. Tradition. Family. Celebrating major and minor holidays. Baking. Acts of Kindness. Food. Having a clean house. Predictability. I am a huge believer in rhythms. If you know nothing about rhythms or the importance of routine for small children, try reading Simplicity Parenting. It’s one of my favorite parenting books and gave me so much inspiration for what I wanted my own parenting to look like. Anyway. I could go on at length about all of these ideas, but I wanted this post to serve as a little introduction to these ideas, and where Making Every Day Special came from. I especially wanted to have a place on here for this spreadsheet that I made to manage our life. It may seem a little structured and boring to you at first, but I feel like it has helped me so much in just wrapping my brain around doing “it all”. I’ll probably use this space to talk through some ideas for celebrating life every day, but now this document has a place to live!
Just click on this link to make a copy of the Making Every Day Special that will go directly to your Google Docs. If you don’t have Google Docs – Here is the Word Document.
I left my text in there to give you ideas for things we do and celebrate, but make it your own! I usually go through throughout the year and add and delete things for the new year. Delete everything that doesn’t speak to you, and add new columns for things that are important to you.