We are in transition over here at the Poole House…
You may have noticed that the posts are slow in coming since the new year and I must admit to being a little overwhelmed. You see, we’re living among the mortals again, without household help. Our amazing, wonderful, splendiferous nanny has moved on to greener pastures and is in the process of becoming a teacher. We couldn’t be happier for her (and her future students)… but… life is different now. Although Andrea worked for us part-time (read Love Note to Our Nanny), she made life with three kids and creative ambitions feel possible. Aside from my husband and children, Andrea has been my absolute favorite person for the last two years. I even brought her flowers a few times to express my affection and gratitude. Amazingly, what started out as a short-term commitment turned into a symbiotic relationship that went on much longer than expected and blossomed into a lovely relationship. We all miss her.
Households are an intriguing thing. Although we all universally cook, clean, do laundry, and play, we do it in infinitely different ways. I don’t know how often it happens that one shares the intimate details of life inside the home with others. Even close friends of mine don’t know how often I mop (rarely) or which direction I prefer my silverware to go in the dishwasher (up). Do yours? By inviting another adult into our home, I was able to share our best practices with someone and learn better ones. As I reflect on the last two years and what it was like incorporating a stranger into our home, I realize that I have learned some important life lessons:
- Our nanny is one of the hardest-working people I have ever met. Life will be good to her, for the express reason that she understands that good things take work and discipline. She reminded me that it is important to simply put one foot in front of the other and do the work.
- Sometimes good enough is just that… good enough. Personally, I can get a little mired down in the details, obsessed with getting something perfect. That trait doesn’t work particularly well when running a busy house. Keep on moving…
- Finish what you start. Something I watched Andrea do is start and finish tasks. With three children it is easy to get distracted (read: all the time). This means that many projects are started and left half-done, leaving the house a disaster and me completely overwhelmed. By trying to finish what I start (putting away laundry, chopping an apple, or making lunch), the house stays ordered and I stay focused.
- It was wonderful to have someone here to remind me to take a quick break for myself. Sometimes I can forget this fact and become overwhelmed by all there is to do. I need to remember this more than anything else. A quick walk or run always helps regain my sanity. A day at the spa may not be realistic right now, but taking just 20 minutes to clear my mind always makes me feel better.
- Be Brave. Do the thing that scares you (for example: starting a new career, teaching yourself to sew or simply asking someone for help) and trust that things will work out as they need to. I don’t think I would have been nearly as brave over the last couple years with all my crazy ideas and projects if I hadn’t had Andrea as a cheerleader behind the scenes. Remember to be your own cheerleader.
Sometimes it can be difficult to spot when progress has been made in life. The reason for this is progress usually happens slowly – in inches, versus leaps or miles. As I look at where we were two years ago when Andrea joined us (overwhelmed with a new baby and two busy preschoolers, not knowing which direction was up) and where we are now (three busy kids, but able to breathe), I see all sorts of differences. Before, we were barely sleeping and there were days when I felt all I was doing was holding our little baby and nursing. Now, I have two kids in school most days and we sleep through the night (some of the time). Before, the kids needed help with every little task. Now, I have a son in kindergarten that can tie his own shoes (sometimes). Before, we were late everywhere we went. Now, our schedule feels more like a normal routine and we arrive to places generally on time. Believe it or not, this is progress.
I believe that it is the human condition to always want more, to barely notice when progress has been made. But it is important to congratulate ourselves on small victories as they happen. We made the choice to have a nanny during a terribly chaotic time in our family. We were lucky enough to find a wonderful person to assist us. We have emerged from that crazy time, and we are whole. I can’t think of a better investment in our life than that. We are now moving into a different kind of crazy and that will require some practice. As I said, we are in transition. It feels like we are in new territory with too much too do and not enough hands to do it. And right now, this transition feels like two steps backward… but, my hope is that eventually all this practice will look like progress.
(images of inspiration courtesy of Pinterest)