The past few months have been an odd season. In parenting, relationships, finances and life in general, it has felt that there was some forward momentum. However, though I felt as though we were going forward, it also felt like we were moving back. Going south to go north, if you know what I mean.
Have I lost you?
Imagine that you are in a track and field event. Imagine that the goal is to jump as far as you absolutely can. If you are standing with your toes on the line and then jump, you will get so far. However, if you back up a few yards and get a running start, you’ll jump a lot further. But, to get a running start you have to turn around and walk away from the line. In short, sometimes you have to back up to propel yourself forward.
Ever heard the saying you have to spend money to make money? Well, lately I’ve been telling myself I have to spend money to save money. Things like cloth diapers, for example. I finally bit the bullet and decided to do cloth diapers. While it cost a lot upfront, after a few months I’ll no longer be spending money for diapers. So, in the long run I’ll save. Right now, I’ve spent a whole heap. Solar panels, for another example. Your forehead vein will pop if you get a quote on adding solar panels but, again, they’ll save in the long run. Sometimes you have to bite the bullet and spend now to save later.
Babywise says it often, progress is a spiral. My prince is now 4 months old. He’s an amazing sleeper in general (read my tips on getting newborns to sleep better) but nighttime sleep always spirals. A few nights are great, then one night we go back, etc. It’s life. Progress isn’t a straight line. Some nights I stay up later doing things around the house to get ahead. It means the next few nights are stress free and relaxed, but at first I’m losing sleep to gain some.
I had a few things happen in the past month or two, hiccups if you will, in relationships and friendships. I took this as a good sign really, that we were settling in our community and with our friends in a way that real life has started happening. Confrontations and tough conversations seem like steps backward. Conflicts or arguments seem like they are fracturing something. But, if you push through and clarify and repair then you’ll set your relationship up to go a lot further into the future.
4. Training and Discipline.
Lately I’ve realized that I’d been treating Jiggy, my 1-year-old, the same as I’d been treating Pickles, my 2-year-old. Needless to say, it wasn’t working, and I’ve had to step back and re-evaluate my methods and strategies with Jiggy. I sat down and evaluated the behaviors that I did not like. I weighed, tested and measured, and came out with new strategies. New convictions to be consistent. It feels like I’ve really dropped the ball, gone backward. But realizing that was actually a great thing because I’ve now changed course and am on the right track again.
5. Home organization.
We recently moved and, as it happens, some furniture didn’t fit and new furniture was needed. I love tossing, downsizing and organizing so it’s been fun for me. However, in the name of organizing I’ve trashed the house. I’ve packed the garage and, at least initially, I’ve made a big mess. However, little by little, things have been sold. Things have been donated and things are getting put in their place. The house is becoming more ordered, simpler and more functional for us.
Progress can look ugly and messy. It can seem completely counterproductive. In the middle, when it doesn’t make sense, you can feel like a failure. You can think all your goals are lost, but remember that progress is a spiral. If you feel as though you are straining to move forward yet you are moving back, take heart. Sometimes it’s the backward movements that give us the most momentum for moving far far ahead.