A Confession for the New Year

Well, it's the end of January and I'm finally getting around to publishing my new year's post.  The end of January still counts as the new year, right?  We'll go with yes.

Happy New Year!  One of our family New Year's traditions is reflecting on the past year and writing down some goals for the year to come.  Corey and I have come a long way in the past few years and we attribute a lot of it to a combination of luck and having written goals.

Unlike past years, this year writing our goals will have to wait until February.  Why?  Because we are freaking exhausted at the end of the days and can barely keep our eyes open.  Rudy's been waking us up at night for a few nights in a row now and we're finally experiencing what other parents warned us about when we discussed sleep deprivation.  In our case, we think this is short-lived and probably due to a combination of Rudy teething and fighting the flu.  Still, we find our patience wearing thin and it's easy to have a short temper at three in the morning when there's a screaming baby down the hall.

Earlier this month, I was up with Rudy (Corey had already been up with her for an hour) and we were finally getting her settled but Corey and I were exhausted and snapping at each other and so many thoughts and emotions were swarming around my foggy brain.  I was furious with him for not being more patient and grumbling as he prepared yet another bottle but at the same time I was grateful to him for trying to let me sleep through it and I was mad at myself for thinking that he wasn't patient enough but I was still mad at him because it was the middle of the night and I was too tired to resolve my feelings.  Our room was too hot and one of the dogs had farted and then I stubbed a toe I had hurt earlier and the nail mostly came off and it was bleeding and I wanted to cuddle with Rudy but she only wanted Corey to hold her and I pessimistically thought that this was such an upsetting start to 2016.

Then I took a deep breath.  I remembered how lucky we are and that we generally have very few REAL complaints.  This past year, I've seen many close friends work through some of the most difficult obstacles life can throw at us.  From lost jobs to lost family members and marital problems to the big C, 2015 was an ass-kicker for many of our friends.

Then, I thought about how little of our friends' troubles I'd know about if I only looked through the rose coloured glasses of social media.  So little of our real lives makes it into the highlight reel that is Facebook that it's all too easy to assume that our own troubles and worries are unique to us.  It was then that I realized that I'm both guilty of making these assumptions based on other people's social media posts as well as contributing to the problem myself... Often through this blog.

I try my best to post honestly about the challenges of working on our house with busy jobs, a demanding toddler and two (often more demanding) dogs, but I often post staged and edited photos of finished rooms and "before and after" transformations that over simplify things.  Yes, we are lucky and life is pretty darn good at the moment but we still have (many, many) moments where we are just trying to keep our heads above water.

Two weeks ago, Corey returned to work.  It was bittersweet (okay, mostly just bitter) for his parental leave to end, but we never intended to be a one income family and bills need to be paid.  Our new routine involves Corey leaving the house EARLY and me getting Rudy up and taking her to daycare so that I can spend the rest of the day working (often returning home after Rudy is asleep and Corey is in charge of picking her up from daycare and doing dinner, bath, story time and bed.  Sounds simple, right?  Unfortunately, after so many months of Corey running point on all things baby, I haven't had to do many baby things by myself.

It was Wednesday of week one when I first realized that I was in over my head.  Like, WAY over my head.  I cried.  To Corey; to my mom; to a couple of friends...  How do people do this every single day?  Seriously, morning routine with a baby is not for wimps!  I have a few more days under my belt now and I'm finally hitting my groove and I see how this can be manageable in a couple of weeks.  Still, my mornings before 9 a.m. will continue to be both my favourite (I get to hang with the Wump) and one of the toughest parts of each day.

People often ask me how we have time to work on the house with a toddler and the truth is, working on the house is one of our hobbies.  We find time because hitting the hardware store and tackling a project is something we enjoy doing together.

In addition to that, you guys see the results when we finish a big project but I don't post about the weeks when all the chores suffer.  Life gets busy and even with Corey not working outside the home until two weeks ago, when I am having a crazy time at work, weeks go by without any work on house projects and sometimes, it's all we can do to keep up with the dishwasher and laundry.  We sometimes order in enough food for leftovers so we can be lazy about cooking and I usually straighten up before taking photos of a room so you can usually assume there's a pile of laundry, some cheerios ground into the carpet or some dirty dishes just outside the shot.

For the sake of honesty, here's what our kitchen looked like the other night.  Full disclosure: I'm looking at the photo of our kitchen below and I'm thinking that the photo isn't so bad.  I think it's almost certainly far worse tonight (Rudy fed herself chili) but I have neither the energy nor the inclination to get dressed and head downstairs and I always ensure that I'm properly dressed before taking a photo because I have a secret fear of being visible in a reflective surface and then not noticing until after one of my blog posts goes viral... for the wrong reasons!

So there you have it, I love our lives but they are far from perfect.  I post heavily edited photos on this blog but in reality, I am a terrible housekeeper and we never make our bed.  I tend to be very Type A and that sometimes translates to drill Sergeant, so I need to make an effort not to nag the people around me into adhering to my goals and timelines.  As much as I try to keep things pretty real here, this is still our highlight reel and you're only seeing a small sliver of what is really happening behind the scenes.  We love to work on our home but we are also busy and tired and messy and we often let the dishes pile up so that we can spend some more precious time with Rudy.  ...So please don't feel like a slacker if you're not building bookshelves every night because (trust me) neither are we!

And finally, as a part of my effort to ensure that this blog shows a little more reality, I will share a truly BAD photo.  I searched my phone for a real doozy.  In fact, that woman holding Rudy isn't even me.  She looks more like my evil twin, Poot.  (Poot is the ugly twin who rears her head in photos taken with unfortunate lighting and angles and sometimes just before a sneeze.)  Here's a perfect example of what could have been a lovely family photo with my cousins and our parents but instead, Rudy was tired and seconds from a meltdown and photogenic Taylor inexplicably disappeared and was replaced by Poot!  The blurriness may be my saving grace here.  This is real life and much closer to what you would all see if I didn't discard twenty photos for every one I post!

Just keepin' it real!  ;)

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