It takes a village! Creating our own!
I find there is a lot of societal pressure on parents. Especially moms (or the primary care giver), to be the ultimate multitasker. You have to be the perfect parent, spouse, household planner, cook, cleaner, and for some bring in income as well. As the wearer of many hats I found for myself, that this was a heavy load to bear. There is only so much time in the day and so much energy in my sleep deprived body.
Personally, I want to be great at whatever I do. Adding many tasks to each day and personal roles to play had spread me mentally way too thin. With little sleep over the last 4 years and more tasks added with each child, I was at a tipping point in having too many tasks to handle and most went undone or half done. This didn’t sit well with me.
I am so grateful and feel unbelievably fortunate to have a husband who wants to be involved in our kids daily activities. He has so much love and has no problem helping out with the kids. Iain’s work schedule is flexible and he can give me some reprieve through the day when I need it. However, I know that it is important for him to have the ability and time to focus during the day on the projects that he has on the go with work. It provides him personal fulfillment and is a huge part of his identity. So when he gets the time and space to live his professional life to its potential, his personal life benefits greatly.
Both Iain & I grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba and all of our immediate family now live in western Canada. With no direct family members to rely on for regular help with the kids or the house, we were in a tough place in only relying on each other to take that on. We had to change our viewpoint on how we ran this household.
We decided to start looking at our family life as a type of business. In a business, you have a group of people working together for a common outcome that share the same values, yet have different strengths and skills. We figure why not build this same structure into our home life to help streamline daily tasks. The mindset was to help create a sense of balance within our own lives and delegate tasks that were not our strengths, to others who were passionate about them.
First, we needed help with child care. We initially tried part time help, along with part time daycare for Tessa & Scotch but that structure was not working. We missed them too much! We needed someone full time who could help us raise the kids in our home. Someone who shares our same values yet adds a different perspective on life. In comes Arianne. A young, patient, kind person who has fit into our family from day one.
Second, we needed help with the house. The majority of our time was either spent working or spending quality time with our kids. It left both of us exhausted and the deep cleans on the house took a back seat to getting a few extra hours of sleep. We decided to hire someone to come and do a weekly deep clean of all the surfaces. Best money ever spent! When our house is clean and organized, I feel so much happier, and more productive. Wednesday afternoons are now my favourite time of the week! It may only last a few hours before the next toy tornado hits, but the few hours in-between are bliss. Finding Riclecia to help us stay on top of the household cleaning has been amazing for our relationship as a couple. It allows Iain and I a ton of personal time in the evenings to get some work done or have time to ourselves. Riclecia is meticulous and adds so much value to her service, and takes pride in the work she does. Having her help on a weekly basis has been so integral in many facets of our life. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Third, we needed help in the kitchen. After several years of illness and injury within our family we have put a high value on living a health focused lifestyle. At the forefront of that journey are changes in our food choices. I decided that the best food choice for myself and the kids would be to transition to a whole food plant based style of eating. Like most who are the first to make a big lifestyle change, I figured I would get quite a lot of push back from Iain. I was happily surprised that he was completely on board with the idea. After many failed attempts to be consistent with the change, I realized that I needed some help. We looked into pre-made meal plans and tried a few but none completely alined with our specific wants & needs. We then decided to hire a personal chef to prepare meals in our home to both keep us consistent and successfully build these new habits. Also, amazing decision! It has been fairly new into our lifestyle, but so far it has taken so much weight off of my shoulders. We all know how picky kids can be with their food choices. How much time does it takes to plan, shop, and cook meals? To then have them within one second push it away and them give you that dreaded word NO! Insert a lot of hair pulling and frustration. “Bahhh! Are you serious!? Do you know how lucky you all are to even have food on the table?” You know how the rest goes.
So I decided to take that stress factor off my shoulders. It took some time to get the formula right on what works and what doesn’t but now that we have worked all that out, meal times are much more enjoyable. Not perfect, but far less stressful.
It is very important for us, to have the kids see how food is made and know where it comes from. Having Carolyn here prepping meals in house and involving them will be so beneficial long term for their own food and nutrition journeys.
With three amazing new people integrated into our daily life, this has given me the freedom to now spend QUALITY time with the kids. Time to myself to work on new ventures. As well as time to focus on our marriage. I never want to take that for granted and it requires effort and intent to stay exciting and passionate.