I have a four-year-old and I am exhausted! So I would like to share 4 things that I have I learned that have helped me navigate in this new normal:

  1. Slow down.

We live in a world where everything is demanded for right now and everything is considered high priority and urgent. Slow down. That is the one thing I had to learn.  It is easy for me to get overwhelmed quickly, especially living with grief. It is OK to stop and not smell the roses, but just stand still. It is OK to gather your thoughts for one second. If that means that priorities shift in your life, it means that there is a priority that shifts within your life. In the times that you slow down, try to figure out what is important to you. What I mean by that is to prioritize things in your life and figure out what really needs to happen in what order that works best for YOU. I know that keeping a clean house is important but it is OK if I don’t do the dishes tonight and do them tomorrow.  It is OK if I don’t make my bed at all this week.  It is OK if laundry waits one more day— that is, unless I NEED it today. Yes it’s OK to stop and not smell the roses but to ponder, think, and breathe.

  1. Ask for what you need.

There is nothing wrong with being specific with your needs. Especially if there are people in your life that are asking you if there is anything they can do for you. Sometimes someone will take initiative and make you a meal or give you a call or something that they think that you need. If there are those people in your life they want to help you. Ask them for the specifics of what you need. For example, my son has an activity on Saturday mornings, I asked my sister to take him so that relieved some pressure from me for an hour. Plus, she is spending time bonding with her nephew. It ended up being a win for all three of us. Whatever the need is for you, start by asking.

  1. Enjoy the times you can.

During the first year after my husband passed, I missed out on a lot of things because I was just numb. As my son has grown in the last three years I have seen him develop into himself. It brings joy to me to see him as a “combo baby.” I see a little bit of Raymond and I see a little bit of me in him.  Our personalities mixed together seems to include an amazing whit and strength. I can’t wait to see him grow and do more in life. I realize I do not want to miss my son growing up.  Believe me when I tell you, I am tired all day long and parenting is also a 24 hour job. This is in addition to every other responsibility that I have and parenting happens even when I need a break.  As frustrated as times can be, I don’t want to miss out on what we created. I want to make sure that I give my best as a parent. And sometimes that means enjoying good times with your children.  Good times could be one good laugh together that day. Good times could mean let’s sit in silence next to each other together and just be close. Nonetheless, being together is what we have now and should be enjoyed when it can be.

  1. Seek help.

If finding time to navigate through your new life is proving to be difficult and you feel like you cannot manage it, seek help. That could be a longtime friend, a new friend, family, support group, or a therapist. You don’t have to be in this alone. I encourage self-help, self-care, or getting additional help from another resource. But I also want to remind that we all make mistakes and nobody is perfect.  If you don’t like how you handled the situation this time, you can handle it differently next time. If you don’t like how you responded to your child, or you yelled and you know it was not anyone’s fault, acknowledge it and next time will do better.

I saw a quote earlier this week and it read, “Life doesn’t get easier, YOU GOT STRONGER.”