In case you didn't know, I named this blog after my all time favorite quote (and that's quite a distinction to have because I'm kind of a quote junkie).
Surviving is important; thriving is elegant. ~ Maya Angelou
From the first moment I read that quote (on a Hallmark card of all things), I knew it would be the theme of my life from then on out. One day I will have it tattooed on my body but for right now I'm still trying to find the perfect spot. When I went to name my blog, I knew it could be none other than Thriving is Elegant. Someone once asked me what that meant to me and after some thought I responded that it was about rising above. Instead of cursing the rain, it's about learning to dance in it. (Side note: My mom told me the other day about how she was always having to drag my Childhood BFF and I in from the rain when we were little girls. Apparently putting on our rain boot and grabbing our umbrellas was one of our favorite pastimes.)
Don't get me wrong! I'm no Pollyanna by any means, but I do find inspiration in people who have been able to rise above their circumstances. Because of my Type II Bi-Polar disorder, sometimes rising above is more challenging than others, but I'm sure it's that way for everyone.
Life has been rather challenging lately. I always expected to be a stay at home mother (not because I thought it was my "duty" but because it was what I wanted to do). So, when Turtle was born and that wasn't possible it was difficult for me to bear. Thankfully it wasn't as difficult as I feared.
But then I had a pretty rough bought of depression which got so bad I was all but forced to see my psychiatrist. Because he has moved offices and is not set up with my insurance just yet I had to pay out of pocket which caused some major financial stress, on top of the crazy financial situation we were already dealing with. To alleviate that stress my husband decided to go back to school. I know that sounds counter intuitive but because of his military service he's eligible for the Post 9/11 GI bill which pays housing allowance. He was able to find a school with a schedule that has allowed him to continue to work full time. But that means he's going to school at night.
So on top of being a working mom, I had to learn to be a single working mom two nights a week. Thankfully that wasn't as difficult as I feared. My mom helped out some on the nights I was alone. Our friends offered to come over and keep me company any time I needed it. And I found out that I kind of like having some time to myself and some time to just snuggle my Turtle. (I bet you didn't realize Turtles were so snuggly!) We were just starting to figure out what worked for us those two nights a week and a new session started.
Now Daddy's gone four nights a week. We see him for about a half an hour in the morning and then we are asleep when he comes home. I found myself becoming very anxious over the weekend. I didn't realize that it was tied to my apprehension of this new schedule and it kind of came spewing out all over everything Sunday night. I had forgotten one of the cardinal rules of preparing for deployment is to watch out for sadness and anxiety masked as anger. It's easier to be angry at your deploying service member than it is to say how much you are going to miss them. (Editor's Note: Please do not think that I'm comparing my measly 4 nights a week alone to 12 and 18 month deployments!) But just like all the other challenges this past year, this has one turned out to be one we can handle.
I've realized that organization is going to be the key to thriving in this new challenge (that will probably last the next couple years of our lives). I only have an hour or so after I get home that Turtle is content to play by herself (and because we get up so early she and I have about the same bedtime). So, I have to be very proactive about what needs to be done. Jay brings a load of laundry down in the mornings (since I have a baby in my arms when I come down). Before I leave for the morning I throw it in the washer. When I come home I switch them over and fold the ones in the dryer that we started the day before. I load or unload the dish washer depending on what day it is, and I do one other chore type thing like pick up clutter, wipe down a bathroom or sweep and mop the floor. (Vacuuming has to be done on the weekend because Turtle is DEATHLY afraid of the vacuum cleaner. I mean she will scream like she's being tortured and try to climb out of the sling if she's on me when she hears it!)
By staying focused and knowing what I have to do, I can accomplish what I need in that hour and then be free to spend the rest of the evening cuddling with my Turtle which she pretty much insists on (and I totally understand since she sees me so little during the day). Is it easy? No. Do others have it harder? Absolutely! Am I trying to learn to thrive in the midst of the chaos? As elegantly as possible! And this time it's not only for my sake, but for Turtle's too.