Having just returned from two weeks away (I was in England, if you haven’t noticed and yes, my children did come back with slight British accents), I feel somewhat overwhelmed. Work deadlines, dance recitals, violin practice, dance lessons, swim lessons, homework, state tests. So much to keep track of. It’s never easy to jump right back in after being outside our everyday norm.
Before we left, I was worried about how I could pick up and leave so many things. But my husband wanted to to go to the UK, as he was homesick and wanted to spend Passover with family (as did I), and the kids were off school on break. A trip can never hurt anyone, you can only gain from exploring the world.
It was good to get away from the everyday routine, open my kids’ minds up to new places and people and “unplug” as much as I can (although I admit it wasn’t 100%). We explored castles, we went caving, we went to wonderful art exhibits, we visited family, we had Passover seder in London. And I separated myself from work/everyday life as much as possible and it was good for all of us. I read, I wrote posts on our trip and I unplugged.
Of course, I came back to a big launch at work (Ruckus Reader, which I will be blogging about in the near future), a play that I’m producing called Listen to Your Mother that has a imminent show date on May 6th and a new MamaDrama campaign which I’m very proud of and will be able to share details of soon. I had to jump right in.
So, how do I balance it all on a daily basis? Slowly and with care. My kids come first and I never want to lose sight of that. I don’t want to feel extra guilt when I’m 95 years old looking back on my life. When they come home from school, and I am here, I put my work aside and dedicate my time and attention to them. Some say I do too much, but I want to enjoy my time as a woman just as much as a mother and professional achievements are very important to me, as well.
Lucila McElroy from the Perfect Mom Syndrome just published a great post that outlines steps to achieve a healthy balance. She talks about guilt – the guilt of not being where we are supposed to be or want to be but can’t. I have to share her list which you can find here.
-Accept that some things in your life are not working 100%. We are so caught up in looking strong and put together (for others and ourselves) that we suck it up, keep going and say “everything is ok”.
-Gently observe your thoughts. Take five minutes per day EVERY DAY to think about a challenge your are faced with. Then, just sit and notice your inner dialogue. Tip: keep noticing your thoughts, notice your “judging”.
-Write down what you noticed and ask yourself: “what am I making this mean about myself, my character, about others and about the world? Tip: this “meaning” is your interpretation and it is in the realm of the interpretation that we start to feel energized or drained.
-Notice your energy level while you get present to your interpretation. For example, if you noticed you started to judge yourself about something you did or said, how does that leave you feeling? How is your energy level now?
-Choose. Choose to let go of the interpretations that are not serving you. Choose to look at your situation from a different perspective. Choose to try on a different attitude. Choose a different way of being.
-Ask yourself: “What would be possible if I chose to look at this situation from a different perspective? What actions would be available to me now? And try these on!
I realize that I can’t do it all. But with a new sense of purpose, a new vision of how I spend my time, I’m realizing that it’s okay. And now? I’m going for a run. Then I’m going to read a book to my child. (Harry Potter, if you were wondering.)