It has been almost a year since I last wrote a blog update.
Most days I am still trying to keep my head above water. This parenting thing is tough. Staying connected with me as a unique individual and others seems unachievable most days.
I have been known to find myself hiding in the lines amidst my own prose and so the catalyst for a commitment to a 30 day blog challenge is found and I set forth to rediscover and unfurl the roadmap to me.
1. Have you ever been called a workaholic?
Yes. There have definitely been times in my life where I prioritized work above everything. I have greater balance in my life now. Projects are prioritized, but I recognize that I am exponentially more creative and industrious when inspired by time with my family.
It can often feel like I am a workaholic, however. Challenging life with a chronic pain and sleep disorder means putting the majority of my energy into my workday and assigning the remainder to familial responsibilities. It often feels like I am working all of my waking hours, because often I am.
2. How important is it for you to have a space in your home that is yours alone?
Exceptionally. My current home is my first in my adult life where I haven’t established a spot that is just for me. I don’t have anywhere, yet, to work, create or breathe.
In my first apartment it was my bedroom, in my condo it was a little nook in the master bedroom, in my little yellow house it was anan att office and a front yard garden and in the little red it was the yard, deck, and office area.
3. If you had unlimited resources, how would you live?
With far less stress. I would pay off my mortgages and buy a gym membership.
We were fortunate to find a house in our “budget” last year, but are definitely now house poor. Each time we think we are going to start climbing out of the hole something goes amuck at one of the houses, with the car, with the kids, or premiums or interest rates change. I would be happy to live as we live now, without the mortgage payment and with some money to participate in a fitness class or 20.
4. Do you play sports or take exercise classes?
Not right now. We wouldn’t have the money for this even if there was time and there is no time. My husband is a stay at home dad during the day and works at night to maintain his career trajectory and foothold in Edmonton’s creative industry: Monday, Tuesday and Thursday he works for a boxing club, Friday nights he write monologues and on Sunday evenings he has dedicated creation time. I am up most nights with the kids, so getting up early in the morning is out of the question. Wednesday is the only weekday evening where I can work late without lots of advance notice and planning. My team have dubbed Wednesday “Work late Wrdnesdays.” Saturday becomes my only “free” evening and one of the rare opportunities to spend time with my husband and kids, together.
My mom started having strokes and angina attacks in her early 40s. It weighs on me heavily that I haven’t found a way to prioritize health and fitness in my life. I will figure it out.
5. Are you close to your family?
Yes. My parents are my best friends. I feel guilt about not being closer with my extended family. In my 20s while I was busy prioritizing work I feel I let too many people slip away. I am pretty terrible with keeping in touch on the phone, but love when people are into letter writing or just dropping in for tea and a visit. Hosting is always easiest for me. I can rest immediately before and after a visit. I can take a breather in another room. My kids can entertain in bursts of chaos and destruction without elevating my stress or fatigue.
6. If your friends need you, are you there for them?
Without hesitation. My friends are extraordinarily important to me. I cannot say I am very good at keeping in touch. I probably think about my closest friends a few times a week, but may only “speak” with them once a month or so.
I have exceptional friends. I love them like family. I have several best friends, beyond my husband and parents. I have made one the godmother for my kids and the other gets reminded he is stuck with me, no matter what, on a fairly regular basis.
7. Are you an animal lover?
Yes! I feel had most days being able to give my EQ the life I would want to or I feel his little puppy self deserves. The one he had when he and I first became friends.
I miss cuddling him a night and walking him. I miss curling up on the couch with him and reading a good book.
My poor EQ spends most of his days wound up into a big ball of anxious puppy as toddlers chase him and adults shoo him out of allergy free sanctuaries where his doggy dander is unwelcome. He isn’t the brightest crayon in the box, so we start most days from square one, and I sometimes swear I can hear his little puppy heart break when it is reinforced once again that he cannot be in the bedroom or on the furniture.
8. Is it important for you to be involved in your local community?
Yes. I feel so fortunate that my husband is committed to help me model this for our children by agreeing to volunteer with the kids and I at an extended care facility. We, hopefully, will start soon. My husband has to fill out his application and we have to have our criminal record checks completed and then, soon after, we should be very near showing our kids how to care for their community!
9. Where do you get your news (for example, TV news programs, radio, newspapers, newsmagazines, the Internet, friends)?
I have apps for CBC and BBC on my phone and get the majority of my news from these sources.
When I am on social media I will also read news releases and stories shared by those I trust and respect. For the last couple of years I have been taking a break from social media at the start of each quarter. I started with a one week break and have now found myself with an 8 week extended break plan. Eventually it is my intension that I will be off of social media every other quarter for the entire quarter. My relationships, my family and my mental health benefit so much from me shutting my phone off and focusing on the present. No one needs to compete for my time or attention. I am not distracted by notifications or artificial exchanges masquerading as friendship.
The exception for my social media break would be if I was ever in the position of providing social media marketing and communication for an organization as I did in my previous job. I loved social media marketing. I loved providing an engaged voice that championed an entire community not just a product. For me the opportunity to craft a voice that was more than a marketing tool was fulfilling.
10. What is your idea of a fun day?
Any day I get to spend with my family without competing with external pushes and pulls is my idea of fun. I love being a goofball with the kids and looking up to see someone I love taking pleasure in our joy rather than taking in their phone. Getting to make breakfast together, eat together, and wash dishes together makes my heart sign. I burst into tears on Saturday at lunch when the whole family enjoyed a distraction free meal together. It is these moments I wish I could bottle up and keep forever. The times we are all together together.