Life with Two: The Beauty of Stress and the Search for Perfection

As the year hits December and starts to comes to a close, I often find myself reflecting back and trying to summarize what kind of year it has been in my mind. Truthfully, every single memory and flashback that hits me is of the kids – not of me purchasing the Type R, not about work, not about my favourite movie that I’ve watched this year – a really big change of mindset for me because 3 years ago, those would’ve been the things I thought about.

This has been another really big year for us with the addition of Rin to the family and having an infant and a toddler can really put you through your paces. Although the amount of time in a day remains the same, it feels as though it’s been cut in half because the things you used to be able to do, you’re now struggling to even remember and the things you didn’t ever think about takes more time than you would have ever imagined. Each day really feels like you’re in a controlled whirlwind – everything is moving and it feels hectic but you’re able to see it all in slow motion except you have to choose which battle you’re going to fight today because you just don’t have enough hands or energy to do it all, and you’ll just fight those other battles tomorrow.

This last year has really been a discovery year for Diana and I, and although we’re far from learning what it’s like to have two pre-teen/teenage/adult girls, they still teach us how to be better people everyday. This discovery year has been discovering the beauty of stress while searching for perfection. Every single waking minute, we aim to be perfect parents even though we know damn well it’s not possible – there’s too much room for error, too much spontaneity in two girls that don’t even know or understand what life really is yet, and too much emotional investment to be perfect – it just won’t happen. The point of it all is to try to be the best parents we can be and sometimes striving for the impossible – with the right mindset – can help motivate you do that.

The stress part – Oh… the stress part… That has been a journey all on its own. We’ve learned over the last few years that stress isn’t always the enemy – it is more of a double-edged sword and for the longest time, we thought it was something that burdened us by weighing us down but I think now that it is not a weight on our shoulders but in fact something that we wield improperly and we feel that it is the bad guy when really, we are just bad at handling it. The last 7 months have really helped us understand this with Rin in our lives – stress in our home is never really high anymore because if the two of us are handling this double-edged sword together, there’s less of a chance that we’re going to be hitting ourselves with it – feel me? In other words, it’s really just being able to tell when the other is starting to hit their limit and you just swoop in, grab the handle and continue lifting the sword… Things get better quickly as long as the both of us don’t let that sword drag on the ground because as soon as it does, disaster often follows.

Metaphorically, the sword (the stress) changes often – its size, its weight – but the one thing always remains the same – it is always double-edged. Sometimes one of us can carry it for days, sometimes we can only carry it for a few minutes or hours, but the other is always on the sidelines waiting to come help – you just don’t let it fall down.

Aria and Rin are two completely different people despite what we thought about having two girls and despite what people told us. Aria is dramatic, attention-loving, quirky and very particular while Rin is extremely relaxed, content and easy-going – complete polar opposites of each other and it makes for an interesting dynamic at home. Diana and I often have to switch between the two of them because one will tire us out and the other lets us regain our energy.

We often find ourselves talking about how we did at the end of the day so that we know how to tackle the next day and we find that it helps reset our mindset so that we don’t continue doing something that we think is wrong. Some days, it ends up being “I feel bad for saying this to Aria today” or “I think we need to try this tomorrow” and while most of the time, it’s very small things – It helps us to really think about those small things because kids don’t always care about the big things since they happen so often – they pay attention to the details. Have you ever said something once and a week later, they repeat it and you gasp at where they learned it? Their little minds are always absorbing and sometimes it’s hard to remember to watch your words – every parent is guilty, I’m sure. 🙂

At the end of the day, it’s another year in the books and another year of learning. You’d think that after 32 ignorant years on earth, we’ve done all the learning we need to do but we’re far from it. We move into 2020 continuing to learn how to handle the unruly stress sword while trudging along the never-ending and impossible path to perfection. Although the new year is often seen as a time to forget about all the bad things that have happened in the previous year, it’s important to know that the next year will only be better by remembering the bad things to avoid repeating the same mistakes again. It’s by acknowledging the bad that you can start to see the good – life, like stress is a double-edged sword – it doesn’t sit on your shoulders, you just get better at wielding it.

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