In some ways it feels like the postpartum fog- on a smaller scale, of course. So much goes into preparing for a vacation with little ones. And then the time comes to actually take the trip, and you work so hard to make it successful. And it may, like ours did, turn out wonderfully! But then you get home and it hits you like a ton of bricks. You realize just how hard you worked, just how exhausted you are. Don't get me wrong, I loved our vacation. I'm just saying it feels sort of like I was on this high until the last bag was removed from the car. All then all I could think was "It's over. We did it. Now what? How do I transition back into real life?"
Transitions have always been difficult for me, on both the large scale and the small scale. I guess it's just my personality. It doesn't take much to throw a wrench in my spokes and throw me off course. I admire those women who seem to be able to "jump back in feet first," but that's just not me. I read a quote by Tim Allen recently that said, "I hate getting into the shower but I hate getting out." That's me. Not a fan of change. That's why routines are so important in our family. Although it takes me/us a little while to get back on track, having routines already in place at least gives us a starting point. It's like I'm able to put my mind on auto-pilot until I feel revived enough to actually put it back to work again!
Along those same lines, other things that I've found helpful in times of transition, both big and small include:
- Letting my husband know exactly how I feel. It helps to acknowledge my feelings to Kevin, not only to prepare him for a few "slower" days ahead, but also to get some encouragement from him in return. He is always faithful to remind me that nothing NEEDS to be done right now (except basic care for myself and the boys, of course). He reminds me to slow down and rest. He knows me well, and he reminds me to take the undue pressure off of myself. Have I mentioned that I love my husband? Thanks, Babe.
- Take extra down time for a few days to revive myself spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically before getting into the real swing of things. For me this means sitting on the couch with my Bible and devotional book and catching up on the quiet times I missed while on vacation. It means reading books, blogs, magazines that inspire me as a homemaker and get me motivated to start up again. It means taking extra time to snuggle with the boys instead of trying to get all the clothes washed and surfaces dusted and toys in their places. It means lingering in a hot bath and sleeping in a little later than usual. It means rest and recuperation.
- Allow a few exceptions until "normal life" resumes. Every family has certain "rules" that they try to enforce (eating together as a family, no food in the living room, bedtime at 9pm, etc.). Sometimes in times of transition it helps to make exceptions to the rules- nothing life-threatening, of course. I realize that not everyone would agree with this, but for us it makes things easier until we have the energy to enforce the rules again. Please don't think I'm talking about things like obedience, discipline, respecting one another, etc. I'm basically talking about those things that are not right or wrong- family preferences. I don't think little "breaks" from the norm will destroy well-established family rules. It's sort of like having icecream for dinner every now and then.. hehe.
What about you? What helps you through transitions? Is your personality different than mine? Do you thrive in times of transition? I'd be interested to know.