The other day when I was sweeping the floors, I glanced over at my husband and Abby playing. They were giggling and smiling and having so much fun. And it made me smile to see them so happy and content.
I realized that for a while now, this has been the typical scene in my household and I began to think about what has changed lately. What has gotten my beautiful and amazing family to the point having more of these kinds of moments and less of those stress filled times that once filled our home more times than not.
And I realized it could be summed up in one word: Priorities.
Since the end of last school year, I began a journey of setting priorities not only for me, but also for my household. I made a conscious effort to stop consuming all the things. I decided that health and fitness needed to be at the top of my daily mental to-do list. And recently, I created a schedule for keeping the house clean(er) and tidy. Since making all of these changes over the past 4 months, I’m happier and so is my family.
It goes without saying that when I stop allowing things to upset me as much, my brain is no longer clouded. I’m not saying that I’m Miss Mary Sunshine 24/7, but I’ve learned to realize what is important in the grand scheme of things. Is it worth both my mental and physical health for me to cling to negativity? Not really. And it wasn’t good for my family as I’ve realized that a happy mommy does equal a happy family.
In addition, since I began running (even though I’m on an unfortunate running break right now) and working out more, I’m dealing with all of the stress that comes my way a whole lot better. Instead of letting all those emotions consume me, I work them out while working up a sweat. And those endorphins that start firing in my brain as a result, help to keep me focused and on track long after I’ve finished exercising. Instead of craving a piece of chocolate when I’m feeling stressed, I now crave a run or a good workout. And my husband has been so supportive of this new endeavor as he encourages me to keep going and helping me to find the time to keep it up as I’m back to teaching.
The clincher, well, that’s the whole cleaning the house thing. Does my husband help with this? Absolutely. Laundry…dishes…picking up the tornado of a mess Abby has left….he’s on it. But do I do most of the more in-depth cleaning? Yep. And I’m 100% OK with it. It makes me happy to take care of my family. I feel joy knowing that I’m making their lives a little bit easier. And with that new cleaning schedule of mine, I no longer feel like this is a burden I have to take on. It’s just an extra 10-20 minutes a day of tasks I do once I’m home. Easy Peasy.
Since I’ve been back to work for 3 weeks now, I’ve also seen how this happier, well-oiled machine of a family is seeping into my professional life. Being happy at home propels me to want the same for my career. As I’m beginning my 6th year of teaching, I’ve never felt so satisfied professionally as I do now. I feel settled into my role as teacher. I feel confident in my abilities. I feel fulfilled with all I’m taking on and how I’m helping struggling readers with new intervention courses I’m teaching. I feel like I just have this whole new outlook on life, and when items pile up at work and my brain feels like it’s on the verge of exploding, I take a step back, know I have the skills to get it all done (and if not, I know I have a great support system to help me out), and sometimes I just leave as soon as I can to rush home and get that workout in which know will help clear my head. It’s so cyclical really.
As I’m about to turn 33 just before 2012 is over, I’m feeling the most fulfilled in life than I ever have before. And it gives me butterflies in my stomach and tears of joy in my eyes as I sit back and relish in all life has afforded me thus far. I know every day won’t be perfect and I may falter along the way, but having the forethought to step back, think about what’s more important, will help me to continue on this amazing path of being a wife, mom, and teacher.
What about you? Do you set priorities? What helps you get through your day feeling satisfied?