An Examination.

January 31, 2017 § Leave a comment

Funny how some days can sneak up on you. Today for instance, I am missing home. I am missing home, but not just home – I am also yearning for special moments I once enjoyed.  I miss inviting a good friend over for tea and chatting while our children play, laughing at the mischief they create together, always with one eye watchful for potential toddler tumbles.  I miss spa pedicures and special dinners with my mom and sister, relaxing into the ease that family brings. I miss the house I rocked my babies in, and the beautiful views of sunrises it offers.

You wouldn’t think I would be missing home today, a rare sunny day during a Pacific NorthWest winter, but here I am. Alexa is playing the Lumineers and the song Nobody Knows comes on. It speaks of how hard it is to say goodbye, and how you don’t really realize how hard till you try. It speaks of journeys, and the road home, and how love keeps us going. It recommends to live the day doing what you can, ‘cause nobody knows how the story ends.

So here I am, writing, and doing what I can. I have interspersed my obligations of the day with tasks that bring me joy so as not to slip too deep into a sadness.  As I am watchful of my self-care today, in some funny way I begin to sense a heavy ribbon of gratitude woven through all that I feel.  I embrace the sweet memories created with loved ones in a place I call home, and I feel grateful for each beautiful experience. More than grateful, I feel enriched.

Each time I look at my teenage son, about to turn fourteen and already taller than me and wearing his Daddy’s shoes, even though he no longer says “Daddy”, I marvel at the light speed with which he has grown. My first born, I recall holding him in my arms and can even still remember his newborn smell. My eyes well up as I realize how far away those days are from where I stand now, and I pray the experience will be echo’d when I hold my future grandchildren one day.

With each wave of temptation to sink into what I am missing, I strive to see what is right in my world. A smile comes to my face as I recall with great clarity dreaming of this exact day. It was during a decade of pregnancies and nursing, up several times a night and rarely ever experiencing a moment to myself for all the demands of my young children. I remember imagining a day when my children would have more independence and not cling to me for every need. I emphatically wondered how far away that day was and how I would fare on the journey to get there.

I recall once, during my early high school years, one of my friends was unexpectedly scolded by her mother for repeatedly wishing for the coming weekend, barely able to contain her excitement about the planned activities. I found it remarkable that she would be scolded for such excitement until her mother explained that she was wishing her life away, and suggested she enjoy where she was at right now. Wise words commonly heard today, but not often heard in the early nineties.

As I close, I resolve to return to the present and embrace the gifts of the here and now. With a beautiful Namaste, I express my gratitude for the walk through cherished memories of my past and open my heart to how I want to feel today.

 

 

Advertisements

Mom Fatigue

May 6, 2016 § Leave a comment

If you are a mom, there is a good chance you have a very full definition of this term already in your head, and its resonance is why you are reading this now. It’s different for every mom, and as Mother’s Day approaches, I feel it deserves some real estate on my blog.  Also because my kids were complaining about having nothing to put in their lunch this morning and mismatched socks on their feet because I had no time for groceries or laundry this week. My response was less about empathy, and more about weariness.

I saw a Facebook post the other day outlining What Moms Really Want on Mother’s Day. It included:

  1. sleeping in
  2. silence
  3. to pee uninterrupted
  4. somebody else to cook
  5. a clean house.

I read that and heavily exhaled. Yes, so true. And then it hit me. Isn’t it crazy that none of those things involve celebrating our children or spouse? Enter Mom Fatigue.

We love our children. We love them so much we compete with every other mom in the PTSA to show what good moms we are. Some days I imagine we are all greyhounds, chasing that artificial hare speeding around the track, and I think to myself, who picked the hare, and how fast it goes?  Who decides that pace?

I see moms every day struggling with “not good enough” self-doubt, forever questioning how they could have done something better, been more organized, or how they missed a detail. Even on the good days, all it takes is one FB post or one Pinterest reference to send you into a tailspin of what you “should” be doing.

The word “should” just might be the most destructively–charged word in the English language.

 

I found reprieve this week in an exercise from Sanaya Roman’s book “Living With Joy”. In it, she offers:

 

“You may have been taught that being busy creates self-worth”.

 

(notice how there is no judgement in that statement? It just offers an idea for you to consider and decide if it aligns with your experience)

From this book, I learned to differentiate between Personality-driven activity (all the shoulds, and obligations we have created in our life) and Soul-driven activity – those activities done with your higher purpose in mind.

Weigh that for a minute in your mind, and as you do, gently walk yourself through your schedule today. For each activity, consider how it makes you feel and how it relates to your higher purpose? Keep in mind that your ego will try to step in and begin justifying your choices to help you feel better, but follow your intuition. Do you feel resistance and negative emotions in response to the activity, or do you feel excited about it, like it is aligned with your true nature?

And I hear what you are thinking…”Well that’s a neat exercise, but I can’t just drop my obligations cause they don’t feel good, I’ve made a commitment to them!” Right?

If you discover activity in your day that is creating resistance and negative emotion, it doesn’t mean you have to drop it. This new awareness is gifting you with choice. Perhaps the choice is to drop it, but more practically, maybe the choice is to shift your perception of it. Reach for a better feeling thought about the situation. Consider it from a different angle or perspective and see if there is a lens through which you can see the activity in a way that better aligns with your inner purpose.

For example, when I tried this for myself the other day, I lay in bed after hitting the snooze and walked myself through the planned activities of my upcoming day, applying the lens of Personality-driven vs Soul-driven. It was going very well at first, until I got snagged on washing the dishes (the ones I have left for several days). Hmm, I don’t love doing dishes and there is no way scraping day-old food off a frying pan is part of my higher purpose!  The job still needed to be done, and seeing how it’s unlikely I will get a butler for Mother’s day, I chose to look at it from another angle. How do I feel when the dishes are clean, put away and available to me when I wish to use them? Way better than I feel when I go to make dinner and can’t find a clean pan anywhere in the drawer. I reached for the better feeling thought – the one that fills me up when things are where they are supposed to be when I need them. I also love the way the kitchen looks when it is clean. It brings me joy to see a clean kitchen, and living with joy is most definitely part of my higher purpose.

 

“You may have many reasons why you cannot change your life right now. If you do not begin to create reasons why you can, change will always be a future thought, and you will not be on the path of joy”.

-Sanaya Roman

 

You have a choice to live joyfully*! Learn not to be trapped by your own creations. Everyone around you will thank you for it, and feel liberated to do the same!

Wishing you a joyful Mother’s Day!

 

 

*If you need a little nudge on how to live more joyfully, see below for an exercise from Sanaya Roman’s book, “Living With Joy”.

  1. List seven things that you love to do, that feel joyful when you do them, and that you haven’t done in the last several months. They may be anything – lying in the sun, taking a trip, getting a massage, accomplishing a goal, exercising, reading a book.
  2. Beside each of these seven things, list what stops you from doing it – something either inside (such as your feelings) or outside (someone or something, such as lack of money, that keeps you from it).
  3. Take two or three things on your list that hold the most joy for you, and think of one step you can take toward each to bring it into your life.
  4. Mark your calendar with a date and a time that you will bring each of these joyful activities into your life.

Bask in the sun

October 5, 2015 § Leave a comment

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 12:  A lizard basking in the hot sun during day three of the 2011 Emirates Australian Open at The Lakes Golf Club on November 12, 2011 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

(Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

As I sit at my computer, feeling the warmth of the early afternoon sun on my body, I feel joy. I take a minute to just notice the warmth from the sun: how it feels on my hand, on my leg, on my arm. I imagine it must feel the same as it does for a lizard basking on a stone, soaking up the warmth. I feel very much at one with that lizard, enjoying the present moment for what it is. Comforted and reassured by the notion that there is no “getting it wrong” when you are basking in the warmth of the sun. It doesn’t matter what you look like, how old you are, where you live, it is just pure enjoyment and expansion in that moment. A feeling of complete relief sweeps over my body as I breathe in deeply and exhale.

And I realize, that that is what every moment is.  All the previous moments leading up to this one are past. Yes, there will be future moments, but they are not yet here. This moment is all that is. Which sounds small, but it’s actually a very, very big truth.

Imagine for a moment that you are in the midst of a really big project. There is pressure and stress to get it done on time and deliver it as close to expectations as possible. You work very hard and long to ensure that happens, because it is all on you. It feels heavy, but the reward will be worth it when you pull it all off, maybe even beyond what is expected. You know it’s what you are good at and you mistake that growing fatigue for proof that you have worked hard. Time is getting short, and there is still so much expected of you, how will you get it all done? It’s building, and building, heavier, faster, push harder, push through, lift more…

Then BAM.

All of a sudden time has stopped. You are floating like a bubble among all of it. You feel a disconnectedness from it, like you are seeing it for the first time. As you gaze around at all the variables you were juggling, now frozen in the moment, a sense of wonderment comes over you. You notice things. The expressions on people’s faces, the energy in the room, the colour of the walls, the gorgeous fall colours on the trees outside the window you are standing near. You see that someone has brought their toddler to work with them that day, and how beautifully innocent the child is in contrast to the chaos you felt in the room before everything stopped. All of a sudden you hear a voice that says, none of what you thought matters, matters. The goal, the achievement, the expectations, the on-timeness, none of it matters. You suddenly understand that the entire experience has nothing to do with what you thought the end result should be. This experience is all about expansion.

And the pressure is off.

It all seems so clear now. The only true purpose in the project was your own growth and enjoyment.

Before you began the project, you knew no one involved. Now you have nurtured 6 new relationships that will ripple through your life bringing even more interesting people into your world. You have learned a whole new set of skills while pulling it all together that you are now very excited to know. You have brought into your perspective, a beautiful new viewpoint, and you are known by others differently now because of the interactions you have had with them. That is expansion.

And relief!

Because that is why we are here. To grow and flourish, and live different experiences. And to find joy in them! To live in such a way that when we can compare our own  “before” and “after” shots, we marvel at the vast number of experiences that we have allowed into our perspective, that have broadened our container, and that we have then used to fill it up even more.

This is your moment. Each and every one of ‘em. Feel the warmth of the sun and relax… it’s all about expansion.

The Secret to Stay-at-Home-Parenting

September 10, 2015 § 1 Comment

It occurred to me yesterday as I was chatting with a good friend over the most delicious chai tea latte I’ve had in months, that I have discovered a secret that not every stay-at-home parent knows. Naturally, I have to share it with you.

Backstory: During our family’s “newborn years” (we have four children, so this lasted for roughly a decade), there was one argument trap my husband and I would repeatedly fall into. You may recognize it from your own newborn and infant years, and it goes a little something like this:

Parent 1: “Hi honey, I’m home”. <slowly takes in the home environment noticing that it looks like a tornado went through>.  “Um, so, what did you do today?”

Parent 2: <already exhausted and amped up at the same time because the day has been long but the reinforcements have arrived> ”Hi honey,” <huge exhale>, “Geez I don’t even know, it’s just a blur most days.”  <wondering why the reinforcements have draped their coat over the chair instead of hanging it up and are sitting down instead of reaching to take the baby from your hip while you are preparing supper>. “How was your day?”

Parent 1: “I don’t know why you always ask how my day was. It’s always busy and it’s always hard.” <sighing deeply as Parent 2 passes the baby over>

Parent 2: <feeling like they have made a monumental effort to be interested in Parent 1’s day as it’s the last bit of energy they have left to give to someone else; feels like the edge is near and it’s time to tag out>. “Oh-kaaaaay. Well, I’m exhausted from [insert long list of play-by-plays arising from the day at home that seem trivial to Parent 1 but represents a huge amount of work for Parent 2]. Oh, and don’t forget I have my dentist appointment this evening”. <secretly grateful to have even a few minutes to themselves even if it does mean fluoride and teeth cleaning>

Parent 1: <feeling the barometer rising because their mind is already overloaded with stuff from work, and their brain just can’t take any further items today; they just need a break> “Ugh, ok. You couldn’t have booked that during the day? I’m exhausted. You get so much time at home, and I’m at work all day, then I gotta come home and watch the kids – I get no break!”

<and snap!>

Parent 2: “Are you kidding me?! YOU get no break? You have it so much easier. At least you get to pee alone, and shower peacefully every morning without children banging on the door! You get to have lunch hours and speak to adults regularly and use your brain!.  I’M the one who is exhausted!

Parent 1: “You get to stay home with our children. I would trade you that in a heartbeat. You have no idea what I do at work or how hard it is. Have you seen my calendar?!”

And close scene.

The argument goes on from there with each side trying to “convince” the other of who has it easier, only the joke’s on them because neither one of them have it easy. There is no winner. Alas, they won’t learn that until later when they have entered the “sweet spot” (the stage where the all the kids are out of diapers and sippy cups, but not yet teenagers).

You may have noticed that much of that argument was in italics. That is because there is a lot of underlying emotion influencing the situation that neither of them can appreciate because they’ve never walked a mile in the other’s shoes. More on this later.

I don’t remember the exact date I figured out the secret. I feel like it was more of an evolution as I gradually gave myself permission to use it. But here is what it comes down to.

Most work days, legally, consist of 8 hours. A lot of professions demand closer to 10, but at some point you get to leave work and go do something else. Maybe it is family, sports, relaxing, or whatever. The work day ends, and your personal choices begin. Speaking of personal choices, for many working parents, they have probably chosen a job/field that is challenging, rewarding or fulfilling to them in some way (some working parents have not, and to that I say, go find a job you love cause you spend more time working than you do anything else and if you aren’t loving it then it isn’t worth it). Bottom line, the work can be demanding, but in most cases you have chosen it because it fits with what you love/are good at, and you get fulfilment from that.

Same goes for stay-at-home parents. They also have chosen what they do because they love it. They love their children, caring for them, and experiencing amazing childhood moments with them. And they get fulfilment from that. That doesn’t mean it isn’t demanding, just like above, but they have chosen it for a reason, just like above. Where the difference lies, is that the stay-at-home-parent’s day DOES NOT END. From the time they wake (which is often through the night when you have newborns), straight through to supper time, dishes and bedtime, the work day continues. If you’re lucky, you still have a little energy left to spend with your spouse between kid’s bedtime and adult bedtime, but you consistently have that lack-of-energy/sleep fog that never seems to end.

So what’s the solution? What is the secret to the stay-at-home-parent’s sanity and energy saver? What is the magical answer that allows you to feel yourself (not just someone else’s caretaker) and allows you to appreciate your working spouse instead of resenting them for being able to sit down at their computer with a coffee and read their email without interruption? Quite simply, you give yourself permission to have a break. A break for you. You find a time during the day that has the least resistance with the kids (nap time, TV time, whatever) and you create “me time”. And you don’t feel guilty for it. Here’s why.

If you are going to work from sun up to sun down, you need a break. If you take that break when your working spouse comes home, that builds resentment because they haven’t yet walked that mile in your shoes. They don’t see all those italics. So you take your break when your body is telling you to. You know exactly what time that is. Early to mid-afternoon, when your body starts feeling sluggish, your head is feeling heavier, and you think to myself “man, I need a coffee”. So get one, grab that book that’s been waiting for you, or your journal and pen, or better yet, meditation cushion, and start your break. Commit to it. Don’t just justify it as a well-deserved indulgence, own it as time that is rightfully yours.

I still practice this secret today! I’m out of the diaper and sippy cup stage, but my evenings are now filled with soccer practices, girl scout meetings and drama rehearsals. My day starts at 6:30am and doesn’t end until 9pm (even later if hubby needs a knot rubbed out of his shoulder). If I don’t take my “me time” in the afternoon, when my body starts telling me it’s needed, then I am not nearly as fun to be around in the evening.

You know this stuff.

The better you are to yourself, the better you are for everyone else. “Me time” is the opportunity to connect with yourself, which allows the highest good to flow through you when you do interact with your family members. Do you really think they are getting the best of you when you are strung out exhausted, feeling like you lost the contest of who has it easiest? Of course not.

Don’t live your life in the italics. Be free to be yourself.

With light and love. Namaste.

Cooking Conundrum

March 23, 2015 § Leave a comment

So we recently had a conundrum in our family:

My family likes to eat delicious meals. I don’t like to cook.

As I explained to my husband, the source of my aversion to cooking is the perfect storm of:

1) I don’t enjoy cooking. Perhaps I might if it was by preferred choice and only on occasion when I was feeling adventurous. But the tedious obligation of preparing something new every night makes me want to run for the hills. My inner psychologist tells me my aversion stems from my formative years watching a working mother juggle family meals with a busy work day, but you can’t blame your mother for everything, right?

2) I am not especially good at it. I seem to have misplaced that element of my DNA that naturally inclines me to blend spices and to intuitively know proper temperatures and cooking times. My grandmother has it. My mother has it. Where is the research proving that trait skips every third generation?

3) I can rarely please everyone. The feedback is hardly inspiring when someone is always complaining about what I have produced. The odds simply don’t fall in my favour with a family of six, four of which are children with oscillating preferences. It’s a miracle I can keep all their favourite foods straight, let alone keep track of them when they take a sharp turn: “You used to love tuna melts, what happened?”

So those are my excuses explanations.

Anyways, back to the conundrum. Recently all of this came bubbling to the surface, resulting in a family meeting and a new system for supper delivery.  My husband stated in an I-don’t-know-why-its-so-difficult sort of tone, that he and his siblings used to take turns cooking dinner, each one having their designated night to cook. Eureka!

I quickly began the math. Seven nights in a week: One for each kid, one for Dad, one for Mom, and one for eating out.

<cue the operatic hallelujah and heavenly spotlight>

The kids were thrilled. “We get to choose and make supper?!”. The only ground rules were that it needs to be reasonably healthy, and the supper choices need to be made on Sunday nights so I only have to grocery shop once per week.

And so it began.

Night one: my 5 year old chose spaghetti. Fairly straightforward, even went quite smoothly! Daddy was at work late but he prefers low carb meals anyway, so everyone was happy.

Night two: my 7 year old chose shepherd’s pie. A little more work for mom supervising, but many teachable moments and maternal visions of his future wife thanking me for showing him how to cook.

Night three: my 12 year old chooses his favourite, chocolate chip banana pancakes. And the waters start to get rocky. Healthy choice? Mmm, pushing the envelope. Also,his brother has given up chocolate for Lent and refuses any other flavour of pancake. The situation is precarious in its precedent-setting potential. Are we allowed to opt-out if we don’t like what is served for supper?  So the negotiations begin and we are able to stabilize the rocking boat, landing on a non-chocolate chip option for his brother and adding a third clause to the ground rules that there is no opting-out of dinner: you eat what is served.

Night four: my 10 year old chooses panzerottis. Again, a little higher supervision requirement than what I was hoping for, but balanced by own gastro-inclinations (I love panzerotti).

Night five: my husband makes grilled cheese for part of our group, while I enjoy pizza with my eldest during his birthday party (fair enough, I thought, given that I also put together fruit and veggie trays for the party)

Night Six: I prepare chicken legs and vegetables. While it was not greeted with the same enthusiasm as chocolate chip pancakes or panzerottis, there was minimal griping.

Night seven: leftovers.

Not bad for our inaugural week, but as we head into week two, the boat has started rocking again.

Tonight my 5 year old selected omelettes, which is only favourable to ¼ of the kids. Can you guess which one? She took the blows all in stride as her siblings griped and complained about having to eat omelettes, desperately suggesting any other alternative they could come up with to avoid having to eat what was on their plates.

As I began to defend her to her siblings and encourage them towards kindness in their comments about her efforts, I realize that she is skipping away from the table unscathed, content with her newly mastered culinary skills, and her full belly.

And she has delivered her own teachable moment. To me.

Siblings

March 2, 2015 § 1 Comment

“To the outside world, we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other’s hearts. We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys. We live outside the touch of time.” – Clara Ortega

Today the little girl who lives next door to us asked me why we stopped at four children and didn’t have more. A little disarming coming from a 9 year old “only child”, and surrounded by my kids, sure made me think before I answered. I had fleeting flashbacks to points between my pregnancies when people would ask if we planned to have more children (such an intimate question but no one really gets that), to which my husband and I would always respond, if we continue to be blessed with healthy, happy children, we will continue to have more. That of course stopped at four, when the number of children then matched the collective number of hands between my husband and I.

 

Truth is, I come from a fairly small family. My mother was an only child, and my father one of two, so even the number of cousins was limited. When my husband and I were contemplating round three, I got a bit fearful looking at the statistics, and asked him “Shouldn’t we stop while we are ahead? We have two beautiful, healthy children”, to which he responded in his confident wisdom, “That is WHY we should continue, because we make beautiful, healthy children!”. I’m forever grateful to have a partner in life who talks me out of my fear.

 

Now, as I see our children play and connect, I witness the beauty and intimacy written in the truth above:

“To the outside world, we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were.”

I think of my grandparents, who each had loads of siblings and have attended many of their funerals. They do not see a frail, aged body, devoid of spirit, cushioned in satin and surrounded by floral condolences. They see a life-long friend and confidant. Someone who knew not just their past but their origin, where they came from and what they looked like at every stage of growing up. No matter how many friends they made along the way, none of them can match that list of qualities.

I see my children oscillate with each other, sometimes playing with one sibling one day and another sibling the next day, or switching it up mid-day depending on the activity. Then there are the days that they all play together. And that is a beautiful thing. Sometimes very loud, but there is beauty in it. And in their adult years, around the Thanksgiving dinner table, they will laugh and remember funny stories, embarrassing moments incurred along the way, discoveries, and revelations among their varied perspectives.

And their personalities, they are captivating to watch emerge. To have evolved so differently under the same parenting, environment, and genes, just fascinating. I get so excited at their futures, where they go, what they will do, whom they will choose, the journey each will take. I find myself smiling, imagining weddings, grandchildren, travelling adventures, wherever the road takes them.

After I finish writing this, I will prepare for sleep, but not before I check on each child, asleep in their bed, in their most innocent and peaceful state. And I will be overwhelmed with both love and gratitude, resisting the urge to scoop them into my arms and shower them with kisses, snuggling their small bodies and breathing in their scent.

One day, a long time from now I will be away from them, but something in the air will remind me of that scent, and it will take me back, bringing a smile to my face, knowing I am blessed.

And I will live outside the touch of time.

 

The New Balance.

February 11, 2015 § Leave a comment

When we were preparing to move to Seattle, I would tell people over a tea or coffee that it was the children I suspected would have the most challenging time. My husband knew people at work, and I would be fine anywhere, but it was the children who would have to walk into a brand new school environment, not knowing a single soul, and work out for themselves where they fit in.

The children have had their speed bumps and hurdles, but for the most part have managed beautifully, much better than my husband or I expected. My husband struggled a bit at first to find his personal bearings in a much larger company but seems to be navigating fairly well now. And then there is me. The one I thought would be fine, is not. I have been tripped up most unexpectedly.

Meeting new people through school, church and community – easy and enjoyable. Getting everything unpacked and the roots put down for the kids (doctor, dentist, etc.) – check. Figuring out what to do with my SELF. Work in progress. I say SELF because as far as filling time goes, no problem. As a mother of four, there is always lots to do…for others. Also as a mother of any number, it is very easy to get lost in ensuring everyone else is looked after, and misplace your own identity, your own purpose, your own passion.

From what I can tell, many mothers struggle with “balancing” what they call “work” and “home” (I see it more as “self” and “others”). There seems to be a paradigm that these two things must be separate.

When I look at my own family example, I see clear division of the workload. My husband and I each carry our share of the demands of a large family. Where it becomes “unbalanced” is when you look at the context of each side of the scale. Imagine both sides of the scale being of equal weight, but one side consists of apples, and the other of oranges.

When the kids were very young my husband and I used to argue repetitively about who had the greatest amount of “SELF time”, each one accusing the other of having more. Truth is when your children are newborns and toddlers, neither of you get that much personal time, but be re-assured that it is only for a season.

Now that we are out of diapers, sippy cups and strollers, from a task perspective, I would call it a wash. While sometimes managing a large family can still be overwhelming, my husband and I do a good job of conquering what needs to be done, and still find time for each other. However, when you look at the context of those tasks, the scales seem to have been blown off their centre.

My husband goes outside the house to work every weekday, and travels frequently. This means he gets less time with our children than I do, occasionally mourning moments in our children’s life for which he would have liked to be there, but he goes to great lengths, often at personal sacrifice, to be there when it counts and then some.  The job that he goes to is his personal choice, intended to provide challenges to better develop his skills and experience and advance his exposure to new areas. His travel, while admittedly exhausting sometimes, has gifted him with tremendous adventures and sights he would have never had the opportunity to experience on his own dime.  Many of the daily grind obligations common to most humans we know are looked after for him, such as buying groceries, preparing meals, sorting, cleaning, folding of laundry, house cleaning…you get the idea.

Myself. Well now, that’s a bit tougher to describe, cause it rather resembles the glue that holds everything else together. That last list of items that are looked after for my husband (and also our four children), that’s my job. Responding to tech support calls for their life routine from the lot of them, at any hour on any day, also my job. Ensuring that everyone is on their schedule (some days demanding much greater effort than others), another line in my job description. Volunteering at my kid’s school, that’s me too. And time with the kids, yes I get loads and am grateful to have it, but too many sweets will lead anyone to a sugar crash.

Do you see the pattern? My “work week” is curiously absent of self-betterment and skill developing challenges. A bit too heavy on the laundry and dishes side to be considered Dharma-infused.

Now please don’t get me wrong, a great part of my fulfillment is to see my family happy. I wouldn’t have embraced this “job” if that weren’t a significant piece for me. I cherish being my kid’s mother and my husband’s wife. Best gig I ever had!

I love it in the same way that my husband loves being a Dad and husband.  And in the same way our kids love us as parents. And how we all love being a family together.

We aren’t talking about love.

We are talking about SELF fulfillment. Dharma. Purpose. Passion. Whichever term you relate best to. I am referring to the quality of tasks you busy yourself with each day that all mesh together at the end to become your life.

Now I have to tread lightly here, because all of those terms I just mentioned, they are not anyone’s responsibility but my own. It is not my husband’ job, or my kid’s job, or anyone else’s job to ensure my SELF is happy. That is also my job.

And I certainly don’t expect every day to be consciousness-expanding enlightenment, but there is a New Balance in order.

The epiphany that led to this post, is that is important to pay attention to more than just division of work. Running down a To-Do list is easy.  The quality and context of those line items however, must always provide room for SELF.  If it doesn’t, the train switches tracks very quickly from feeling “of service”, to feeling resentment. That is no good for anyone.  I once read that in many cases the Mom is the barometer for the rest of the family. The metaphor runs along the same lines of the popular expression: Happy Wife, Happy Life.  The idea being: If Mom is off kilter, that energy transfers to everyone else. I feel that goes for both sides of the equation: husband AND wife.

So my lesson learned today, I’m setting some goals. Each week, I intend to walk a few steps in line with my life purpose, and the highest good.

Not indulgence.  Not, “I’m going to eat that second brownie cause I deserve it” kind of stuff. More like, committing to an hour of “study time” reading a book that will teach me something I want to learn, with the same unwavering devotion I give my family. Cause they weigh the same. That is the New Balance.

It’s a bit late for resolutions, but that is mine.

Namaste.

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing the balance category at Budding Wisdom.

%d bloggers like this: