Failure is Relative

I debated for a while whether or not 2 months was enough time between blog posts but decided “hey, it’s my blog and I can post that close together if I want to.” Okay. Obviously I’m totally kidding! But seriously ya’ll, I can’t believe it’s been that long! Life went from a comfortable, predictable 45 miles an hour to 120,000! While invigorating and exciting, the increased speed has not come without its side effects. Several major things have shifted and new things have taken flight and I honestly feel like my brain is such mush. Writing always helps me organize my thoughts so in the midst of my chaos, I’m taking time to weed through some stuff.

The moral dilemma for this post: Failure isn’t an option… but I’m failing anyway. This isn’t going to be a whine fest, I promise. This is stuff that I’ve been working through as an individual and with my husband, and finally feeling like I’m gaining a little more mental and emotional clarity (even if my sleep cycle hasn’t caught the memo). I’m hoping that by being honest and completely vulnerable about my life right now, it might resonate with others who are muddling through themselves and looking for a lifeline. So here goes…

Isaac has officially started and gotten settled into his new job. He is absolutely loving it and Emmy and I are starting to enjoy the consistency and reliability of him being physically and mentally present for a change. He wants to (and does) come home from work and be involved, he wants to engage in the house to-do list, and he actually makes it home in time for us to have dinner as a family. Having weekends to reliably count on for getting stuff done or just spending family time has been indescribable. It was one of those things we didn’t know that we were missing out on until we had it.

This adjustment hasn’t been without its challenges though. I referenced in my previous post (yeah, the one from like a hundred years ago) that there were transitional stressers ahead and we are certainly noticing those. Isaac and I have always worked pretty well as a team, we love spending time together in a plethora of ways, and we had gotten in the habit of hoarding any of his time off to be together as a family since it was incredibly limited. To be candid, that’s a habit we are having to break because I simply can’t handle the stress and pressure of being available like that with all the other gazillion things I need to accomplish. I now have less hours in the day to get my stuff done before Isaac is home. He leaves later for work and is home earlier and it’s crazy how just those 3 extra hours I have to get stuff done makes a difference. Also, since he used to work most Saturdays, that was my day to focus on personal development/ to-do’s (like blogging and projects) without the guilt of it being during the week and needing to be routine focused. We recently had that discussion on how I just realized I still need that time to an extent without feeling the pressure to “spend every available moment together as a family”. Basically I’m asking him to go do whatever he wants for a few hours on a Saturday so Emmy and I can do our own thing. This might be temporary or it might become our new traditional weekend thing if we aren’t traveling but regardless, it’s definitely necessary. He’s also very generously offered to take 100% care of Emmy on a weekend so I can focus if I need to, and I honestly might make it a monthly thing where I take some time to myself and catch up on work uninterrupted.

One of the most noticeable changes in our life is the launch of my sewing business. (I plan on posting an actual sewing room reveal this coming week.) I launched the beginning of August and have been so overwhelmed with work, I’ve been working closer to 20 hours per week than our original scheduled 10. Now that doesn’t seem like a whole lot but I have a 4 year old I’m homeschooling (more on that in a minute),

an entire home I still have to run, and because it’s a home-based business, my house has to say company ready at all times as clients are in and out at all hours of the day, and then my chronic illness flare ups are still all over the map and I’m constantly having to tweak and adjust when I’m bedridden. My schedule has flopped multiple times where I work in the morning then do homeschooling and home management/ chores in the afternoon but that seems to be worse than my original plan to work in the afternoon instead so this week we’re going back to me working in the afternoon. I tried working in the morning because I focus and work better in the morning but truthfully Emmy is just too stir crazy so I’ll have to figure out how to plug through my afternoon slumps and keep working. I’ve been doing Plexus and that has helped but I’m still having hormone fluxuations that don’t seem to want to stabilize.

I would like to add that I’m incredibly grateful for all the business and constant inquiries for lessons and custom orders that I have received. I’ve absolutely loved being able to sew and interact with customers again even if it is very labor intensive and time consuming. I’ve been taking in so much work that I’ve had to upgrade to a much sturdier and more capable machine which I just got this past week and am still setting up and learning. I have such an insanely high volume of requests for classes and an addition “happy stresser” is that I’m spending even more hours and even more “midnight oil” hours coming up with and creating classes and sewing curriculum and will soon be launching a whole series for adult and child beginners and early intermediate sewers. My brain has not stopped once with the business development and it’s thrown off my sleep cycle so bad that I’ve pulled several all nighters and average about 3 hours of sleep per night. Any sleep aids I take (natural or not) and breathing techniques are not cutting it and I often just get up at 2 AM and start my day but get too tired to cope by noon and basically just exist in zombie mode. I know as time goes on, I’ll adjust to the change of pace and demands but right now it’s pretty intense.

We new it was coming but I wasn’t fully prepared for the extra mental demand that starting homeschooling would bring. It is just kindergarten starting out, thankfully, but there’s still work and prep involved not to mention my constant thoughts of self doubt that I can’t seem to stop. I’m always wondering if I’m doing enough, if I’m teaching properly, if she’s actually getting it, will she catch on like she’s supposed to, the list goes on.

I do wonder if these doubts are magnified with the other stress with the business and other commitments though. Everything seems bigger when you’re frazzled and deep down I know we’ll get in a groove but I still doubt myself a lot. I’m using Emmy as my gauge and so far she gets incredibly excited about school every day and is insatiable. No matter how much extra work we do, she still wants more and despite one meltdown, we’re plugging along pretty smoothly. I’ll take that.

It might seem like a small thing but it’s another large slice of my life pie right now. I am helping to re-brand and operate a local moms group. In the midst of all the Covid complications and back and forth with what we can and can’t do, it’s been all over the place.

My specific job includes running the social media, building and managing a website, running prayer and outreach, publicity, coordinating the table leaders, assisting with the running of the monthly meetings, and basically all the background paperwork, policies, and graphic design. In addition to that, I also am responsible to coordinating playdates which resume this month. Because we’ve been rebranding, there’s been SO much that has to be redone and updated. There are so many different things that go into each of those responsibilities and it feels pretty overwhelming at times. What sucks is that I love each one of those and if this happened a year ago or a year from now, it probably wouldn’t feel so overwhelming. Once again, so many changes taking place at once just magnify the normal and usually doable.

This last thing is both a relief and a point of acceptance enabling me to move forward. August 27th was the day that our little boy Leo was due. The weeks leading up to it were very difficult. I kept deeply feeling his loss more than ever. My arms literally ached with emptiness. We had planned on having him earlier than his due date to avoid complications that my health problems expose me to and because of that, I knew most of August that I should holding him and cuddling him. But now there is no more counting down till his due date, weekly reminders of how far along I’d be, etc.

At this same time, I was coming to accept and realize that I might never ever get that aching arm relief from here out. I’ve been coming to that acceptance and learning to picture my life with just one kid. Coming from and growing up around large families, I never pictured that for myself and often felt like I was a failure of human being for not having more kids. I’ve had to learn and accept that I am just as valid of a mom with 1 kid as I am with 10 or 15. I am not less of a mom or parent because I have less kids. For some that’s a no duh but for me, having more than 2 or 3 kids is always what established you as “legitimate” and being taken seriously. Knowing that God considers me just as legitimate with one has been a learning curb along with the identity crisis when you aren’t so overwhelmed with childreering that you can focus on more than that.

I would like to add while I’m here that I know I’m so incredibly blessed to be a mom at all. I know countless women currently struggling with having any child or are trying to figure out what the best path to achieving motherhood is for them. I will never know that specific struggle even though I did face that as a potential reality when we had 2 miscarriages before conceiving Emmy. I won’t minimize that struggle by pretending I fully get it or by trying to make my situation seem worse or harder. The truth is that God has us all on a different journey. My struggle is very real for me and my hopes and dreams for life. Your struggle is very real for you and your hopes and dreams for your life. It’s so important that we don’t minimize each other’s pain or ignore ours because it could “always be worse”. Let your heart feel as deeply as it wants. Let it remain open to what God is trying to show you. Let it heal so you can be used mightily to help others through their pain.

So to go on to explaining what the moral conundrum is for this post (Failure isn’t an option- but I’m failing anyway)… I feel like I’m failing every single moment of every single day. I haven’t had one night in the last two months that I haven’t woken up having a panic attack. My brain is so clogged and all over the place, I don’t know where to start organizing the mess to move forward. My heart palpitations have increased and my ability to cope with basic life has decreased. BUT I’m attempting to turn my anxiety around by keeping one scripture passage in mind. It is fairly well know but often divided to address either anxiety or being positive. I encourage you to read it in its entirety and really think about it for a second.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will gaurd your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, DWELL ON THESE THINGS.”

Phillippians 4:6-8

When I keep these verses in mind and especially keeping them in perspective as a unit, my focus becomes more honed in on the positive and what I am accomplishing- not where I’m failing. In the end, I still have to strive for a healthy work/ family balance. I still need to prioritize my marriage. I still need to make my business profitable and reliable because we need that supplemental income right now.

My child still has to receive a good, strong education and I need to be present and positively minded towards that and her learning process. I still need to uphold my commitments to my friends and family by doing what I said I would through my mom group and other social commitments. I still have to accept and move on from losing 7 babies and all the grief that can haunt you on a daily basis from that. If God wanted us to be stressed out and miserable all the time, He wouldn’t give us scriptures like this to help redirect our thoughts towards what will ultimately help us heal mentally. (Yes- God believes in mental wellness.)

I’m currently doing this ever popular exercise to get through this particularly strenuous period in life. I’m turning what I’m failing at into what I’m accomplishing. Allow me to demonstrate…

“I can’t keep up with family and house demands and run my business”
“I am so blessed to have an understanding and forbearing husband willing to help me through these demanding times.”

“I’m failing as a mom by not having extra unit studies, field trips, and endless educational crafts planned for school”
“I am getting to spend quality time with my child and her and I are both learning daily the value of hard work and education and have so much to look forward to as we grow together and continue to homeschool.”

“I can’t keep up with my business and am therefore failing because I have to extend deadlines, pull way more hours than I planned, am not making enough, and can’t find time to make samples and develop curriculum”
“I launched a home business right in the midst of a job transition, learning to homeschool, rebranding and launching local group mom group in the midst of a pandemic, and continued debilitating health problems and yet I’m obviously killing it because I can’t keep up and have had to invest in a whole new machine just to accommodate my work load. How lucky I am to still be plugging through and have so much potential I have ahead of me!”

To answer your nagging question… yes! I do this perfectly all the time and I never have a melt down, blow up, or deviate at all from being fabulously perfect! Come on ya’ll. NOBODY- even your favorite role model for life, lives what they preach perfectly. I’m certainly going to give it my best shot and I am never going to give up. Hypocrisy isn’t that someone fails to follow through on what they tell everyone else. Hypocrisy is when someone deliberately does the opposite. Be deliberate. Be positive. Don’t wallow in your failings and thrive off of how terrible your life is. Take it one step at a time and give yourself and those around you grace to move forward when life is beyond stressful. I’m talking to myself here too. My stress is so high (I didn’t even cover in this post all the things weighing on me right now) that I’m constantly on the verge of throwing up and my vision is impaired because I can’t think straight. But I’m taking steps every day to restore balance and by the grace of God, I’ll find it sooner rather than later.

If you’re currently struggling with balance and stress and feeling like you’re failing, feel free to comment, email, or reach out to me via social media. I’d love to pray for you or even just talk you through some of it and we can help each other. Stay sain, my friend! (Oh and stay tuned for my sewing room/ business reveal post!)

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