Ah, the first year of marriage. The uncertainty, the excitement. Learning how to love each other, learning how to fight clean, learning how to sleep next to someone who snores or steals all the blankets at night. This new phase of life is full of challenges. Not only are you learning your new spouse, but you’re also learning a lot about yourself. Though beautiful, it can be stressful and downright overwhelming.
Now, imagine coming home from your honeymoon to a house full of children. Literally, a child in every bedroom, looking to you, their new parent, to guide them on how to navigate this brand new phase in their life. Take all the uncertainty of a new marriage, add all the responsibility of new parenthood, and what do you get? An anxiety disorder.
But in addition to exploring new heights of stress in your life, if this is your new reality, you’ve just tapped into a greater capacity for joy!
Scrap last week’s post. Start a new one. This is the advice I give myself as I sit comfortably in the warm coffee shop, feet up as I recline slightly in the comfy chair in the cozy corner that my daughter-my joy chose for us this Monday. After all, last week I went on a multi-paragraph unfinished rant about the dentist and childhood and consequences my children will never face. And this week, though I could readily work myself up into a righteous frenzy again, I will spare you all and move on to a new topic. It is no coincidence then, that my new thought for the new week is: positivity. Yes, I have recently been challenged to think and speak more positively. And I don’t like it.
Do everything without complaining and arguing. -Phil 2:14
Routine. We thrive on it here on Frank Corner. After being “out of school” for over two weeks in observance of Christmas Vacation, I realized something: Children do not need two weeks off of school. They just don’t. (I can almost hear my inner child scream at this betrayal.) This was true of my oldest son who attends a local private school, and of my three youngest children whom I endeavor to educate at home.
For two weeks, we simply weren’t sure what to put our hands and minds to. Seriously, how much Netflix can one family watch? Sleeping in has its occasional place in our lives, but it gets awkward to have to explain to Daddy daily why we’re all still in our pajamas when he gets home from work. And it was uncommonly cold here in Indiana, so playing outside was simply not an option.
I should have thought about it before I walked into my closet that morning. Perhaps laid out my outfit the night before. After all, this was not a typical Friday. My husband, my oldest daughter, and I were making our annual trip to see her cardiologist in Indianapolis. This was not a day to throw on my go-to sweat pants, my 2011 VBS t-shirt, a messy bun (and not a cute, trendy messy bun, either. We’re talking the “I haven’t brushed my hair in three days” look), and my grandma sandals. Yes, that is a typical weekday morning outfit as I grab my cup of coffee (always the appropriate mom accessory), hop in my mini-van, and run my oldest son to school across town.
But no, that wouldn’t do today. So inevitably, I found myself standing in my closet, thumbing through my wardrobe, and getting more and more discouraged. It’s true, I’ve gained a little (A LOT) of weight since I got married, so about 75% of my wardrobe doesn’t fit. Of the remaining clothing, at least half is for a cooler season, and everything I had left…was horrendous. At least, that’s how it felt. This is not an uncommon occurrence among women and I reacted with what I assume, was a typical reaction: I yelled at my husband. “All I have is frumpy homeschool mom clothes because I’m a frumpy homeschool mom!” For this, Mr. Frank had no response and his attempts to comfort me were met with my flailing frustrations.