(this is looong.. mostly a reflection, sorry for the length!)
My children opted to try out public school this year and after over a decade of homeschooling I was okay with it. The transition went smoothly and they all enjoy it. Now we're in Virginia and they get to go to school with their cousins - which they love even more! I'm a single mom of six, so it really hasn't made my life easier, but I confess that I do enjoy NOT doing lesson planning! :) If they decide to come back home, that'll be fine too. I honestly believe my life will be -less- harried as a midwife than it was as a VERY busy apprentice, student, etc.
I do need to lose weight, but did pre-midwifery as well. My mantra has been "practice your practice" -- so I'm following my own nutrition advice.
As for haircuts.. I'm cheap. It gets trimmed when it needs it and life goes on. For a birth, my hair is brushed and pulled up in a bun. For everyday life, it's brushed and hangs loose. I've decided it's very hippie and I'm cool with not owning a hair dryer or hair spray for that matter. ;) Less chemicals, less fuss, less money spent.. and I do think I look nice, I just don't want some frufru hairstyle that needs a lot of attention. (I did dye my hair because the silver streak was starting to get to me. Daughter used a blue/black and it's awesome. The silver streak turned DEEP blue and the rest is black. $6 well spent!)
My house is tidy. It's necessary for my happiness. I also want to be able to use my home for client meetings. Plus, we live in the sticks, yet have neighbors that wander over and being embarrassed by my home would be TOO much for me. I'm not a neat freak. I am a major simplifier. My living room has a large scarlet red sofa from home reserve (awesome furniture lots o' storage) , tv stand (with storage under), and an ottoman. We line book bags up along the wall. Hardwood floors which take moments to sweep. Dining room is just a piano (needs refinished. It is an eye sore, but I loves it! :) and the huge oak table with cheaper chairs I bought because they stack and wipe down great. I couldn't afford $100 pop for other wooden chairs. Plus it has a large oil painting. Hardwood floors as well. Kitchen is minimalist.. and that rounds out my downstairs. Having less stuff means having less work. The kids rooms can have their doors shut (girls are messy'ish, boys are not. 3 kids in each room) and I can ignore their clutter for the most part. All of their books and toys live upstairs, even the 4yo's. We live in an old farmhouse and have ONE bathroom that happens to be upstairs. The major major perk of this house is it has a gazillion windows, so I can get away with very little decoration (again, I have one painting downstairs, no nicknacks except house plants and a cockatiel!) because there are lovely views of nature everywhere you look. Simplicity makes housekeeping so easy.. even in a small house with 7 people, 1 bird, and a dog.
My kids know that vacation WILL happen. 100% guaranteed. However, they know everything else is up to births. We will sometimes celebrate bdays a day early just to make sure if it looks like someone might labor. I have backup helpers for special occasions if I think I might be gone - and have sometimes had folks host things at my house without me there. But my children (15, 13, 11, 7, 6, & 4) are very much like their mom. Laid back. I don't stress kodak moments, I don't stress holidays with the special whatevers, I enjoy what is going on when it's going on. We enjoy the HECK out of it as we have it and it all balances. They're okay that I missed a bday because when we have free time a lake day might turn into a major fun event -- usually free. We're frugal. We love each other, I love them. I smother them in love (not stuff) when I can and let them know all the time that they inspired me to be a midwife and are my great helpers.
Learn to shut off when it's time to. Accept that there is abundance if you sloooow down and let it happen. Realize that to have money it sometimes adds up slowly. It's that $1 you didn't spend on a trinket and the $3 you saved in gas by not going to xyz when you didn't need to. It's the $15 shirt you skipped and so on. Spend money on the important to you stuff and stop on the things that don't matter.
Now that my apprenticeship is done, I do crafts again. I'm getting back into digital scrapbooking and this winter will be working on a quilt top my mother pieced. I'm crocheting a blanket. I'm reading fiction (YES! It does exist!!). I'm not studying for NARM every free moment! (hurray!) There's a life on the other side of apprenticing. Really.
I still have friends, we use FB to communicate a lot. I just moved so I need to make more friends here. I went to an open house/movie at the invite of another midwife and truly enjoyed myself. But I do want non-midwife friends so I'm scouring the area for whatever else socially there is.
I think a balance can be found, the stress (at least for me) does decrease. Just today I was telling my best friend how AMAZING it is to be a cpm now, to be DONE with all of the studying, planning, stressing, etc and the "What if I don't pass??" thoughts and so on. Now I read because I always want to learn, but it's with a true pleasure again and not at all about The Test! I finished a Crichton novel and today went back to Myles. It's like the apprenticeship ends and you get this whole new love back for what it is that you're doing.
Hang in there. And declutter. Really. It'll change your whole outlook on life! :)
And another tip that has REMARKABLY decreased my mental fog and made me a happier person -- LEARN SINGLETASKING.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/caterina/3270176074/ -- not always possible, but a great goal. A lot of time is frittered away when we look/act busy but have no results.
http://www.pomodorotechnique.com/ - I like this too.