Thursday, July 16, 2015

Finding Joy in the Journey

How cute is this baby girl?? I cannot believe that she is almost 7 months old. I mean, goodness gracious! Time really does have a way of flying on by.

You might be wondering, "Is all you do now is post about your baby?" Eh, maybe. Yes. Yes it is. My life right now revolves around her. And that isn't going to change anytime soon! This sweet little thing has captured my heart and I love her so much. Even when she's fussy. Even when she cries. Even when she is so tired but just won't take a nap. Especially when she's happy. Especially when she's smiling at her daddy. Especially when she's shoving food into her mouth (like mother *and father* like daughter, eh?). Especially when she wakes up so excited and happy to see me.

As you'll remember from this post, I pretty much base my schedule around hers. Yeah, I've read different things about getting a baby on a schedule and such...and yeah, she takes LOTS of naps, but who am I to try and keep her awake when she is tired? I would get grouchy if someone tried to do that to me, too! So when she starts acting tired, I put her down for a nap (even though every chart I have looked at for baby sleep/naps has said that at her age she should be taking just two naps a day). The truth of it is, she takes 3 naps every day. On the days that Graham works, she is up late and often she takes 4 naps on those days. The most she is up between naps is 2 hours. Often it's closer to an hour and a half, and sometimes she is acting tired again after just one hour. So I put her down for a nap. And I am so thankful that she does nap, because I have lots of friends who are lucky if their kid takes one nap each day. Yes, napping after being awake for just an hour or so does limit what I am able to do sometimes, but I am okay with that. I've learned to cram in what I can and get out of the apartment every day (even if it is just for a short walk around the block).

Wow. Sorry, that got really off topic. Well, maybe just a little, but I was definitely rambling. I could delete it, but I'll leave it in in case anyone is curious as to what my mind is like... Moving on.

I think it can be easy to get into a rut when you keep the same schedule day after day and never do anything any differently, so I've decided to do a couple of things in order to change that, while still being mindful of Evie's schedule (that's where that above rambling thought was supposed to be headed...heh).

1) I've started leaving the apartment. Normally I would only get out of the house when Graham was off from work, because it's easier to take a baby some place when there is an extra adult. But I realized that I wasn't interacting with other people or spending time outside ever. And while it was good to get out with Graham, that still left me inside our apartment far too long on the other days. So now I take Evie to the pool almost every day (I was nervous about doing it by myself at first, but it's not too hard), and sometimes we'll go on a little walk around our apartment complex as well.

2) Additionally, I make an effort to see/talk to other people! I've been trying recently (like, really just this past week) to be good about scheduling things for days that Graham works, like visiting with people who are also at home with a baby all day or going to the library (typically just one "item" for each of the days he works). And I've started Skyping too, in order to have contact with others without having to leave the house! *shout out to April and our now weekly Skype sessions!*

3) I've also been consistent with exercising (more on that in this post). As I've made it into a habit, I've found that even on the mornings when I wake up tired, by the time Evie goes down for her first nap I am ready to go because I know that exercising will help me to have more energy, be happier and healthier, and get my day kick-started.

So basically I'm making the conscious decisions to get outside, see people, and be healthier (including sleep, exercise, and what I eat). I promise this relates to the title of the post. I'm making the conscious effort to do these things each day because I know that by doing them, I really will be happier. When I am able to take care of my needs (contact with other adults, getting out of the apartment, etc.), I am able to be a better mother and wife. I'm happier and able to be happy through the everyday moments. Because I realized that I had really started to watch the clock like crazy. When is it time for E's next nap? How long until Graham gets home? How much longer until time for bed so I can sleeeep? When that's what I am focused on, I get grumpy. Plain and simple. But I didn't want to be grumpy. I wanted to be happy!

That's when I started to make those changes. And I see it working. I'm able to be more focused on Evie when she's awake: playing games and singing songs, keeping her from eating shoes and computer wires, watching her as she explores and learns new things. And I'm able to be more productive when she's napping. (Well, some days. Sometimes you just want to have a lazy day, you know??)

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf told a story about looking toward the finish line in an address in October 2012. (For the full article, "Of Regrets and Resolutions," go here. It's a good read!) It was a good reminder to me and reiterated the changes that I was striving to make. I needed to be reminded to really focus on what was happening now, and finding joy and happiness in that, instead of thinking that I would be happier once something else happened.

So I'm trying to change my mindset to line up with this idea. Instead of focusing on what Evie is going to learn next, I'm trying to find joy in what she is doing now. Instead of focusing on how great it would be to be in a house, I'm trying to find joy in our life in an apartment now (the pool may or may not be what's keeping me going). Instead of focusing on how it would be nice if Graham was out of school, I'm trying to find joy in the amount of time we get together now, and the things we are doing. Instead of focusing on how I wish I saw more people or had friends close by, I'm trying to reach out to those that I am able to see/talk to and find joy in the here and now.

Life is a journey, and if we're only going to be happy once we reach the end, then what's the point? I think our Heavenly Father wants us to be happy now. To do the things today that will help us to be happy and truly find joy as we continue on. Sometimes you just have to make the leap.

What have you been waiting for in order to be happy? Take that leap and be happier today. Just do it.

From Marissa, with love.