Shifting Gears for Summer
I made an “executive decision” this past week to shift gears a bit and slow down a little for the summer. I had been super-busy the past few weeks with some business projects and work in general, and I was finding myself stressed-out, over-tired, and increasingly overwhelmed. I had started to stray from my commitment to and philosophy of building my career and business around my desired lifestyle, rather than letting my career and business overtake my life. It is all about balance, and I had started to slip down the slippery slope of working and e-mailing until all hours of the night, skipping the gym, not spending as much time as I would like playing with my kids during the day, multi-multi-tasking, and taking absolutely no time to focus on my own self-care. For a brief while there, I wasn’t enjoying my work as much as usual, I wasn’t enjoying my moodiness and exhaustion, and I am sure that my family wasn’t enjoying me that much either. To top it all off, I was feeling hypocritical because I wasn’t following my own advice – moms need to make themselves a priority in their own lives.
Then, over the course of a few days, it seemed the Universe was knocking me upside the head, like in those “I shoulda had a V-8” commercials. I was receiving the message repeatedly (from what I was feeling, by what I was tuning into around me, by conversations I was having with other people outside of my home) that I was out of alignment with my Self, my values, and my goals, and it was time for an adjustment. So, I made a conscious choice to slow down a little, and I developed a daily “routine” that allows time for me to focus on getting my top work priorities done, uninterrupted, for an hour or so each morning and afternoon, while leaving time throughout the day to spend quality time with my kids and still leave myself some ME-Time each day. It was like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders and I could literally breathe easier. (I once read that when we are stressed, our breathing becomes shorter and more shallow – No wonder we become exhausted!) I have also decided to limit e-mail checking mostly to a time in the morning and one later in the day, rather than getting sucked into it every time I pass my desk. I feel the change in me and I see it reflected in my kids. They are content to keep themselves busy for that hour or so each morning and afternoon while I work uninterrupted (for the most part! : ) because they know that they’ll have my attention for the remainder of the day. Will this new approach always produce the perfectly balanced day – No, but it’s a definite step in the right direction for me.
I have also enlisted the kids’ help more around the house this summer – putting their own laundry away, folding towels, picking up after themselves, and their newest chore, which strangely they love (almost as much as I love them doing it!), unloading the dishwasher. We have also made most meal preparations a family affair. The girls love to help me cook! I have been spending more quality time with the kids this past week, had more time to do some things for myself, and have still stayed pretty much on top of my work. A few less things may be completed in a given time frame, but I am enjoying my days and my work so much more again, and that is worth it to me. I absolutely love my jobs as a mom and a business owner, and I will continue to approach balancing the two as an adjustable process that I tweak along the way so both work best for my family and me.
Most importantly, I did not beat myself up over straying from the balance I espouse to. When I felt the scattered discomfort and noticed the shift away from balance, I chose to do something about it. After all, there are no mistakes – only opportunities to learn and grow.