For the most of this year, it's been quite apparent I haven't been on Facebook or my blog regularly. For that, I am not going to apologize because it was important for me to take some time out. I posted about some accomplishments that I have made on my personal page and a dear friend made a comment that often she'd look to others to blame about not being there to help, so we are on our own and then things just don't get done. Her comment really made me think because we are both caregivers and busy but, she hit it right on the head. Have we become stuck in our own game of faulting others and then blaming others when we don't get things done? I think so. Sometimes, there were times where I didn't do shit because I spent most of my time angry because of others, then I would fuss about it on Facebook and, around the circle we went. Before I knew it, time ran wild. I spent the last five years putting things off, making excuses, finding faults in everyone else and realized I was running out of people to blame. It's a sudden realization that I think sort of smacks you upside the head and you look back and realize how immature, that you had no confidence or faith in yourself, and didn't even try. There is no such thing as failure unless you stop trying right? I realized there is no end if there is no beginning.
So I have stepped a bit back from the blogging, Facebooking and other social media outlets for one single purpose and that was ME. While things have been relatively quiet with my husband and I; we have still had some minor bumps we can get past or sometimes we get past and we just stop looking to the past. Not really sticking our heads in the sand but, realizing that we can't stay pissed off at each other all the time. There are going to be lots of bad days, days where the hours will drag by until bedtime but, there are days where they are good. Also, I realized some days, it would break my heart all day long reading other caregivers and thinking "that was my life", "yep, been there and done that" and on it went.
Taking respite care in Feb really was the turning point for me. I got fed up with a lot of things. As many of you know, I took my plain old jane hair and turned it into a dark beautiful brown with magenta and purple highlights that have become the latest rave here in my area and most definintely given me some spunk in my steps I think. Holding my hair hostage that is making me go once a month to get touched up, was a way for me to not make excuses about going out. I had no choice. Call it silly but it works. I highly recommend doing something ludicrous that will hold you hostage until further negotiations can be made outside of the house. Drastic yes, and maybe my method is not for you but let me tell you, it had to be done. I found I was making more and more excuses not to leave the house. Most of all, I learned that I earn money too from my caregiver stipend, so I still have the purple and magenta highlights that I have deemed my super hero hair.
I was happy because I decided on many things like stop stressing, stop blaming, stop looking for people to take it out on, and start making some things a reality. So I made myself a list. One that was a little more perplexed and had a lot of question marks next to it and then? I made simple check lists for every day that I decided to plan out my day. I was realistic with it and you should be too. There are some things I just could never do, like painting 17 foot walls in our home. I realized too, my family was somewhat taking over and even with them, mama had to bring the hammer down on some things I didn't like the fact that when I stopped, everyone stopped or just left it there for me to clean up later. We had several home repairs, and since moving here...I had never been happy with our home. It was not a warm, inviting spot I wanted like our living room, especially since it was an awkward space. I wasn't happy with the same flat grayish paint in the home, the dings and dents in the walls from the kids and well, I could go on. So I decided to make some changes and dug my heels in, gathered up what confidence I had, and I just did it.
Since the last couple of years, I have had two large mason jars in which we dropped broken dollar change. Didn't matter how much we needed it, those jars never got hit. Of course, you get somewhere where you needed a quarter but, it was sort of like a savings account. I saved, cut back and tried to reduce much of our income by just a tad and was able to get some things done.I was quite surprised to see by cutting a few things back, saving change in a jar, changing diet and so on really put some expendable income back into the home account. With careful planning, existing items we had picked up, already owned or bought and never used; I read up on refinishing, spray painting and distressing, and revamped items. I learned how to caulk, wallpaper, spray paint (becoming quickly addicted and it's cheap too!) and paint, clean antique hardware, and other household items by watching you tube videos as well as home depot and Lowe's videos. I am more of a hands on watch kind of gal, so it seemed better than reading a book. Just fixing something, even something small? Made me feel like I just walked on the moon. Seeing a finished project that I had in my head come into reality? Priceless!
Now, here comes the honesty........
Was it easy?
Was it easy to navigate the cleaning, the scouring, the tossing of the old and bringing in the new; all while working with my husband who wants to stay two steps behind and three boys who are settled into the "well mom will get it?"
BUT, I dug my heels in. I chartered my course, I mapped out one thing at a time and no matter how much stress was going on, I put forth the stress and worked it off by doing projects. Through it all, even when I doubted myself, I found out that I could do a LOT more on my own without anyone's help. I realized then? I was just using the blame game on family members and outsiders as an excuse. As mentioned in the last blog, my new motto this year is "Move forward and Let it Go". That meant for me to stand up to my family, my husband, and everyone else and stick with it. When things got bad, I repeated it in my head. As I tossed out the old, I let go of some old lingering resentment. When I revamped something old we had and made it beautiful? It meant change in my life. My master bedroom is romantic, warm and sexy which appealed to my husband. I noticed the more I stuck to my guns, the more I saw my husband inch just a little closer. Some days, things being out of whack because of painters being here upset him. We thrive on precision, things in their rightful and normal place, and patterns. While this was the hardest part of it all working with him on bringing in changes, and perhaps caused some moods...I am extremely thrilled of my accomplishments, and of his.
So I am putting it on the record as of today...I am proud of him. I have backed off a little, giving him more chances to make his own decisions, cutting the old apron strings which is needed. I am and will always be there to jump in at a moment's notice but, I want him to feel that same sense of accomplishment. When he said "I really really love the living room", I sighed a breath of relief. He loves it! More importantly, he pitched in. Perhaps my thinking of lead, follow or get the hell out of the way finally may be reaching him. Maybe by my letting go of things are letting him see that I am trying more and that I haven't given up on him or my family. We have decided on some small long overdue projects to do together, realistic ones and time frames that can be adjusted. For the first time, in five years...he admitted there were things he just can no longer do and that's ok. Hell, there are things I can't do! So we have knocked out the bathroom minus the decorating, knocked out the master bedroom, revamped the little ones room, and redid and arranged our living room.
Out of all this?
It's for once, starting to feel like a home.
I think I am going to have my new motto made into a sticker that you put on walls and place it on the wall. I also stopped and spent ten dollars and bought this one to put into the house where everyone in my family can see it every single time they walk in. Here is my new family rules......
Keep calm and carry on, Say I love you, Trust in yourself and keep your promise. Those are my favorite.
As of this Summer it's been hectic. I have stepped away from some responsibilities of my volunteer work but, I needed to do this. To my favorite organizations and closest friends? I am sorry I haven't been there to do much but, I needed this time for me. Thank you for understanding and allowing me this time. The exhaustion, the soreness, and the push of adrenaline to get it done has been tough to deal with but, rewarding. Sure, I am going to have bad days and so will my husband. My kids are going to have bad ones as well. But you know what? That's ok.
So am now going to watch an oldie but goodie movie with my family, kick my feet up and enjoy the time while we have it. I think by August or September, the PEB will be alerting us of retirement and all of the rush will begin again. However, I have in this time, learned to choose and pick my battles in which is something I think we ALL need to learn. It's hard to get in a rut, living a certain way and then changing. If you stick to it though...there are rewards in the end. This Father's Day was really nice and for the first time in a long time, I saw my husband smiling and playing with the kids outside. While I was manning the grill, I smiled and thought "Yes! It's working! Keep moving forward!". I am going to keep this up and see how much more I can learn and how much more comes from it. I am sure we will have some set backs but, we have already been to hell and back.....so we can't go any further down than that. Bad days I will blog but, I thought this positive stuff was needed as well because I needed to show myself that I still believe in myself, in my family and in my husband. It might be a long walk to the top of the hill but, I am willing to take the challenge.
Carry On and Keep Calm,
If you haven't heard this song....Listen. It's my favorite and one I sing all the time. It is also my theme song for my husband and I currently.