This morning while I was pouring my 3rd cup of coffee, my three year old daughter asked me to look at her. When I turned around to face her she told me “Mommy, can you please smile a happy smile?” Ugh, punch in the gut. I’ve been doing my best to hold my shit together this week and that sweet, simple request showed that I was failing miserably. And it’s only Wednesday.
I was out for 2 days from work stuck sick in bed last week, so I’m behind. And I’m about to get even more behind because I’ll be working from home the next few days due to daycare being closed. I have two giant outdoor photoshoots planned for next week and it looks like it’s going to rain, and I just realized last night that I need to present for career day to a bunch of first graders this morning. I’m drowning. I guess I’m usually drowning, because working mom life, but I’m drowning with a side of flailing this week.
Centered: “feeling grounded and at peace with yourself.”-Rachel Hollis
I had a great conversation with a friend of mine yesterday about the difference between being balanced and being centered. Rachel Hollis defines them out in her new book as the following – Balanced:”feeling like you give equal care and effort to every aspect of your life” and Centered: “feeling grounded and at peace with yourself”. “What would you rather be?” she asked me. I always thought I would want to be balanced. I talk about finding balance all of the time, and it sounds amazing. But at the end of the day, in the life I lead that is not a possibility. Clinging on to the idea of a balanced life will alway let me down. And honestly, I’m ok with that. Some things will get more energy than others because I only have so much to give. The biggest issue that I’ve found lately is that I don’t have an energy reserve. What does that mean? Well, it means that if something super important comes crashing into my life that I hadn’t planned around I’m royally screwed. If more than one hits at once? I’m guaranteed to have a breakdown y’all. This bucket is not going to refill itself with the snap of my fingers, therefore I’d rather start being ok whatever happens and feeling at peace. This is a big one for me, because I currently find my peace through my control of things. But I’m finding that when that rug gets pulled out from under me I flail and flail. It’s not a long term solution for me and I’m guaranteed to burn out unless I can let go.
My emotions not only impact me now that I’m a mom, they impact my family. They impact my daughter. I was so frustrated this morning, which caused me to snap at her. And then I felt even more frustrated because I was snapping instead of savoring these fleeting moments. We have only have the mornings and the evenings together since I work, and making those moments count and be special while simultaneously getting everything else done at the same time is a lot of pressure. The thought of all of this caused me to snap more. And then her telling me to smile a happy smile? Final knockout punch. Waves of guilt and a whole ton of downward spiraling. Did I cry in the car on the way to work? Maybe.
So how in the world do I even embark on this journey towards being centered? I’m still trying to figure that out, and I think in some sense I always will be. But I can tell you for sure that I need to set boundaries- with others and for myself. Being the people pleaser that I am that’s going to be a hard one, but the cold hard truth is I don’t have time for a lot of friends and I’m done cutting into my tiny bit of “me” time I allow for myself to give it to others. I need to recognize my limits, and where I’m at emotionally. Is where I’m at a healthy place today? Awesome! Not so healthy? It’s not going to change unless I recognize my direction and in the wise words of Ross Geller, “Pivooooooot!” I also need to make sure I keep time for myself- which includes writing. I’ve made a pact with myself that my blog and my writing will never get put on the back burner to make room for others’ needs. We all need to have something that is just ours and ours alone, especially as mothers.
This week will get better, they always do. But trying to work on yourself as a human while also being exhausted is not an easy feat. Why is it that we become aware of our biggest flaws (*cough cough*, I mean areas for improvement) at the hardest times to try to repair them? I think for me it’s because I am at a place where I know that in order to get up and out of my rut I need to do something dramatic. Maybe something even a little life changing. A thing that will allow for me to grow from this experience and hopefully prevent it from happening again. Until then, I’ll pick myself back up and dust myself off, and give my sweet girl that smile that she (and I) both deserve to have today.