Although I’ve gotten amazingly adept at telling people “no,” I’ve not always been so great at telling myself the same. I could push myself to the limits of exhaustion in my quest to keep my home running smoothly, my child happy and centered, my husband supported and content. At the end of my long list of to-do’s was usually a reminder to do something nice for myself, except that most days that particular point went to the wayside as I strove to be a good mother and wife.

I put a lot of pressure on myself to get things done, not necessarily to be perfect, but I’d set the bar high for myself and anything less on my end left me feeling guilty.

And so this year I’ve worked hard at taking the kinks out of my day to day. With Brooks gone most of the time I’m left at home to juggle everything and if I’m not careful stress will surely creep in. Many a day I found myself overwhelmed with the amount of things on my plate, all because “no” didn’t come easy to me and I was incredibly overextended. Over time the “no’s” came easier and the schedule was worked out to something that was easy to manage, stressless, and left room for breathing.

The end result was a happier Mommy, and in effect, a happier family. I’ve gotten better at recognizing that I do get a lot done each day and that if my list over flows with to do’s the world doesn’t end if I bump something to another day. In essence, I’ve learned to be kind to myself, to make time to enjoy the day to day.

So this particular week would have filled me with dread even a year ago. See, this week there is no homeschooling in the Julius’ household. And this on the heels of a week of sickness which equaled no schooling. I had planned for this week as soon as I realized how difficult my college courses were proving to be. And instead of feeling guilty or being wracked my stress at the lack of a schedule, I’m embracing it. I’m embracing the fact that I need a whole week to prepare for my exams. I’m embracing a week of fun for my boy, and too much school work for myself. I’m embracing the fact that it would be ridiculous for me to keep up the pace of a regular week (homeschooling, daily art activities, games, activities, etc) without negatively affecting my schoolwork.

Embracing my limits isn’t about saying that I haven’t met the mark. It’s more about saying that I’m smart enough to understand what my family needs here, now.

I’ll be incredibly happy when this week of nonstop schoolwork is behind me. Shoot, I’ll be excited when the semester is over, for more reasons than one 🙂 And I remain grateful for my today. For a day I was dreading, but because I’d cleared my schedule, proved to be relaxing and fun in it’s own way. I gave myself time to work on a craft I’d set aside, got some neglected yard work taken care of, and studied like crazy. I love that in the midst of a busy day I gave myself the ability to decompress by doing things I enjoy (yes, yard work and cleaning are up there on my fun list).

Life is surely good, and I’m thankful for the lessons gleaned along the way.