Sunday, August 18, 2013

Blog Challenge Day 17: My Most Proud Moment

Can a year be a moment?  If so, then this last year, from August 2012-August 2013, has been the moment (albeit a long moment), when I’ve been most proud of myself and my family. 

This time last year, I had just started to take on a lot more responsibility at work; it was a pretty big challenge that I welcomed and was excited about.  We were also about to move our kids to a new daycare, a home daycare that was close to the school.  We had just spent our first year in the red house, and were ready to start working on our long list of renovations, DIY updates, and were at the start of an estimated ten years of projects.     

Without realizing it, I had put a lot of pressure on myself to be perfect.  The perfect mom, wife, employee and home maker.  I wanted to do it all.  I was starting to see signs of anxiety at this point and had been to my doctor about it.  It didn’t occur to me though that maybe all the pressure was too much for me to handle until one little piece of my plan threw me for a loop and I cracked.  The crack was big.
We had always known our son was emotional, spirited and busy.  There were definitely some behavioural issues, but we assumed it was just regular 3-4 year old behaviour.  We had brought it up at our daycare at the time and they agreed, there was some challenging behaviour at times but all the other kids in the daycare had their challenging moments as well.  At the new home daycare, however, things got a lot worse.  Looking back, we really didn’t prepare our son well for the huge change that a new daycare would bring.  We definitely could have done that better.  The daycare provider also didn’t know how to deal with difficult behaviour and only made it worse by segregating our son from the rest of the kids and telling him he was bad.  We had to wait a month before we could get our son into another new daycare, and that month was filled with heartache and worry.  We watched our bright boy’s self-esteem plummet as my anxiety sky rocketed.  The angry and violent behaviour continued in our son's junior kindergarten class as well as at the new daycare and my panic attacks increased to several times daily.  This is when I left work and we got some help.

We took time, a lot of time.  We pulled our kids from daycare and took a look at how we were parenting.  We enrolled ourselves in a 12-week parenting course and were able to work really closely with our son’s teacher and the school administration to make sure we were staying consistent both at home and at school.  Not being at work allowed me the time to take care of myself as well.  I focused on eating properly, finding new hobbies and getting a lot of sleep. 
There were definitely some other benefits to being home with the kids for nine months: we were finally able to stick to a budget (as we had no choice but to), I was able to really get to know our school community and make some new friends, and best of all, we were able to take the time to find the perfect daycare for our kids so I could go back to work without worry.

My biggest learning from this last year has been accepting the fact that I’m not perfect, I’m never going to be perfect and that really, I don’t want to be perfect.  I’ve been able to figure my priorities out and know where I can take it a little easier.  I go into work five times a week and do the best I can do, but I don’t take my job home with me and I’m no longer interested in one day running the place.  I’ve stopped obsessing over every parenting book I can find and have once again started reading books just for the fun of it.  We weren’t able to take on any major renovations in the house this year, since I wasn’t brining in my regular salary while I was off work, and we’ve decided that, instead of taking on a project for 2014, that money will be better spent on our first real family vacation.  The renovations can wait. 

We’re on a new path here at the red house because we took the time to fix the cracks in our foundation.  It’s been the hardest year that I can remember but has also been the year, and the moment, that has made me the most proud.  

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