I sometimes have ideas for a blog post long before I am ready to write the whole thing. In that case, I may save a draft with just a meme, or just a title, or in this case, both. I thought about this topic somewhere around the end of last year. What’s interesting about this title and meme is that the blog post will now end up the complete opposite of what was intended when I saved the first draft.

Having stepped out of the world of full time employment to stay home with my kids four and a half years ago, I’ve had a lot of time to think about what life would be like when I got all three of them in school full time. And when I initially had the idea for this post, it was going to be about how disappointed I was in all the ways in which it didn’t resemble that dream at all. Not because my dream was too grand for anyone to fulfill, but because my limitations were too great for me to fulfill it.

It was an emotional struggle to know I had so many hours a day without any children under foot and yet, most days I still couldn’t measure up to even the most basic level of standards. This is probably why the post never got written…it is hard to talk about feelings of failure when the feeling is fresh. It is easier for me to reflect upon it in hindsight when my spirit is in a more uplifted place.

kids in school

The main thing that made me give myself a break on it all was the fact that the only reason my two year old was even in school at all was because of my illness. Otherwise, she would have still been with me all day, every day and probably a similar level of inability would have persisted. In fact, I realized that without this illness, she wouldn’t have been full time in school until September 2018! So I took deep breaths, found a deep sense of gratitude for having a husband that did not judge me on my shortcomings in the home and continued to do all that I knew to do to improve my life and in turn, the lives of my family.

Fast forward to today, amazing and totally unexpected things have taken place. I am no longer using supplemental oxygen. Although still short of breath, I’ve been totally cleared of any heart or lung issues that could prohibit any type of activity. I have learned to treat my shortness of breath as if I am in the gym exercising (even if I’m just folding laundry or picking up after the kids). I simply remind myself that if I’m short of breath, that means my body is in exercise mode and I change my breathing pattern to reflect that. I’ve been able to pick up my walking pace, with the help of deliberate breathing, so that whatever short burst I have to give will allow me to make it to my destination and back (without doubling over to catch my breath!).

With this new-found freedom, energy and ability, I’ve put it to use. Since the kids have gone back to school, I’ve taken on house projects that have been on a list for two years now. I have done things in the last month that would have been unthinkable in the last couple of years. I’m still not the perfect housewife, but that more often has to do with running out of time in a day, rather than barely starting one. Well…that and the fact that my husband will always be the better chef in the house, regardless of how much time or energy I might muster.

Today I am reminded that, while it is important to know my limits, I must not arbitrarily limit myself. My symptoms may sometimes whisper great fears into my heart, but it’s best to follow that up with testing and trusted physicians to understand which fears are fact and which are fantasy. Now that it is only September of 2016, I’m two years ahead of where I thought I’d be in terms of having three children in school full-time. I plan on taking advantage of that time for as long as my health can hold out!

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