I finally slept in this morning until after 5. I've been a little stressed the last couple weeks and the first sign my body gives me that I'm not balanced, is I stop sleeping. I've been known to get up at 5am to go mop the kitchen or scrub the shower. It's not uncommon for Mr. Howard to wake up to a wife elbow deep in Clorox bleach because - as I was laying in bed - I couldn't stop thinking about how dirty the bathtub is. It's scary.
But what's more scary is when I STOP cleaning. That's a sign that the stress is too overwhelming. Seriously. I hate those quotes that say essentially you're being a crazy person and a bad mom if you care what your house looks like. "I hope my children look back on today and see a mother who had time to play. There will be years for cleaning and cooking...for children grow up when we're not looking." All those quotes just make me feel more guilty. Who's going to do my laundry if the only thing I'm concerned about is playing with my kids? Look. That's just not reality. I can care about my house AND be a good mom.
But lately, I've been so stressed that I've stopped cleaning. Instead of waking up at 5am to clean, I wake up at 5am thinking about how I need to clean. And then lay in bed stressed about it. It's ridiculous and then I end up feeling even more guilty.
And the reality is that I don't think it's ever going to go away. Because - the root of my guilt is just wanting to be a good Wife, Mommy, homeowner, employee, friend, and human being. And I don't think I'm ever going to stop wanting to be the best I can be at all those things. So I'm just going to have to figure out this thing called balance. And picking your battles. And maybe, just maybe, some day - I'll have it all figured out.
So, last weekend I decided to stop feeling guilty for a little bit and get out of the house. Our Christmas lights are still on our house and our yard still isn't landscaped, but our kids had fun at a party with their friends - so we won the battle of "happy kids" and lost the battle of "productive mom". There's always next weekend to win the battle of productive mom and probably lose the battle of happy kids. Ha! You can't ever truly win.
On Sunday, it was pouring rain again. Absolutely POURING. In fact, our lake in the area actually got 10 feet of water in the two days that it rained...so it was coming down pretty consistently. Before we left, Mr. Howard took a few photos of me and the kids. Miss Isabella Lynn and Me:
The twins refused to look at Daddy for the photo. But I think it captures their personalities pretty well. I'm pretty sure Aiden and Izzy started out playing and ended in a fight after this picture. I thought Connor was leaving the photo and wasn't going to participate (because he was originally sitting next to Izzy), but then he walked around behind me and put his head on my shoulder. What a little ham.
My Super Little Man.
*Disclaimer: I know Aiden's not wearing his seatbelt properly. We weren't moving yet.*
They were holding hands and then took turns kissing each other's hands. What sweetie pies.
The adorable big brother to the birthday girl (birthday girl is pictured in the background being held by her Aunt):