Sam had a short hospital stint this week. After experiencing fevers of over 38.5 on Monday morning, it’s protocol for us to take him straight up to Emergency in case there’s a nasty infection lurking. He was admitted later that day and stayed in for two nights, but thankfully he didn’t seem particularly sick. Once doctors had located the source of the fevers (he tested positive for Influenza B on the final morning) and the fevers dissipated, we were sent home.
It’s often in these ‘hospital weeks’ where I more regularly hear comments like “I’m not sure how you do it”. While the logistics of managing three children across two locations can be tricky, the truth is that hospital weeks, for us, don’t feel that much more difficult than normal busy life with three young children. I go into action mode and organisational overdrive, Ben has a fabulous team who manage the business very well without him onsite, and we’re very grateful for the friends and family nearby who are able to help out when required.
But comments like those do get me thinking about what helps me feel happiest and most in control of my life, especially in weeks where things don’t go according to plan. So, without overthinking it, here’s my list:
Eating well, and going to bed early.
Having a weekly plan of what I’m going to have for dinner (or at least having knowing what I’m going to have for dinner and having ingredients on hand before 5.30pm each night!)
Making school/kindy lunches the night before, so that each morning runs more smoothly.
Getting up a little earlier on school mornings, so there’s more breathing space and less craziness (somehow this never translates to being early for school though!).
Outsourcing where required. Whether this be something that we pay for (like a cleaner), or just asking Ben to do something I’d love to do, but never feel like I have enough time to (like making chicken stock), it definitely helps me feel more balanced.
Asking for help. My husband probably doesn’t agree, but I am getting better at this.
Not overcommitting. Saying no to things that aren’t imperative or that aren’t going to add value to our lives.
Having a tidy house (rare occurrence, but a clearer living space does give me more headspace).
But, sometimes, when life does feel a bit overwhelming and I need to find my happy place, these are the things I try in the hope of restoring some balance:
Dance party in the kitchen with my little Loves and our favourite tunes.
Being grateful for the little things, like Sam putting lavender from our garden in a little glass of water on a shelf, or the way the light shines through our bedroom window in the mornings.
Sneaking out to the bench seat in our backyard, with leafy trees and colourful lanterns overhead, for five minutes alone with a cup of tea.
Getting some fresh air and physical exercise. Given I am rarely alone, this usually involves going for a spontaneous walk or scooter ride to the park with the boys.
Switching off the screens and social media and engaging fully with my children.
Writing a random note to a friend and putting it in the post (I love these little notebooks from Kikki K).
If I can swing it, escaping by myself for a few hours to indulge in a magazine and coffee at a café.
A glass of wine and conversation with my husband at the end of the day, preferably with children all tucked up in bed, sleeping peacefully.
How do you find your happy place?
(I think I’m pretty lucky that I tend to have an inbuilt positive outlook and was brought up with Pollyanna as a mother who always encouraged me to look on the bright side of things. I’m thankful that I’m not prone to depression and its debilitating ways, and in no way want to make light of those who truly suffer from ‘rough days’. If you think you might be struggling with depression, please reach out to someone you know or call Lifeline on 13 11 14.)
sam: Your front teeth were a little wobbly, but a week ago you were playing on the trampoline with a friend and somehow both teeth came out in one fell swoop (followed by blood and a fair bit of screaming), but thankfully you calmed quickly and realised that the Tooth Fairy would be visiting (not that night, though – she had obviously had a very busy week and had an early night). I’m quite fond of your gappy smile.
nicholas: Spending time at our newly renovated local library was a perfect way to spend a few hours on a rainy Friday (good suggestion by Sam). You love the new kids area, complete with cosy couches and nooks and crannies to explore, but you much prefer adult novels to picture books at the moment. It was pretty fascinating when animated bugs started crawling all over the mat and butterflies shone on your face – those lights coming from above were quite mesmerising.
charlie: Is there any place better than within Daddy’s strong arms? With Daddy suffering from the flu this week, he’s been at home and therefore been on hand for extra cuddles, and probably needed more than usual too. Luckily, you’re a very cuddly kid and are happiest when you’re snuggled up to someone. You looked very fetching in my slippers too, by the way.
Joining in the 52 Project at Practising Simplicity ~ a portrait of each of my boys every week in 2014.