I’ll never forget looking down and seeing “PREGNANT” in tiny, pink lettering… or the next four pregnancy tests I took immediately afterwards with the same result. I’ll never forget how hyperaware I was of my body, marveling at each change – subtle or drastic – as I morphed from “Temper” to “BABY MACHINE 2008”. I’ll never forget the ultrasound with my best friend holding my hand, hearing the technician say “Well… that’s definitely a penis…”, and the resulting squeals of “It’s a BOY!” over a plate of pancakes at Denny’s. I’ll never forget how, at 41 weeks, I finally went into labor only to have the cord wrapped around my son’s neck four times, and his heart rate disappearing from the monitor. Now, four years (and a second “It’s a BOY!”) later, I know there is a lot that I have forgotten. Life does that.
Today, I want to talk to the parents out there. It’s so easy for us to get wrapped up in one aspect of our lives – parenthood, work, relationships, volunteering, extreme underwater basket-weaving – that we start to forget those things that we swore we never would.
Evaluate. Accept. Find and Nurture Balance.
When you’re faced with a looming deadline, and more work than you can possibly accomplish in that time, it’s time to evaluate your workload. Try to imagine all of your responsibilities, priorities and desires as objects that have to fit into a huge silo; there’s only so much space, and some things will HAVE to go. Try to figure out what has to be done, what should be done, what would be nice to have done, and what you could do without doing. Once you’ve done that, it’s time to accept it… I’m talking about Luke-I-Am-Your-Father type of acceptance. We humans (parents, especially) aren’t always the greatest at hearing that we can’t do every single thing that we feel we should. Time to get over it, Junior. Remember that saying – “Anything worth doing is worth doing well”…?
So, now what? You’ve taken stock of the food on your plate, you’ve decided what you can and cannot stomach… so now it’s time to work on finding and nurturing balance. I’m sure you’ve heard the adages, “too much of a good thing”, or “all things in moderation”. They’re popular clichés for a reason. Did you know that it’s possible to drink too much water? What about getting too much sun – a great source of Vitamin D? We get sunburned (or, if you’re me, become slightly less pasty for a week). So, too, will your life get clogged and stressful if you’re not careful about how you spend your time on the things you’ve decided are worth that time.
Get creative with how you spend your time! Have a meal to prepare? Enlist your kids as your helpers! Not only will you get to spend time with your little loinfruits, but it also helps to keep the Picky Eater disease at bay. Know that you’ll be spending an hour in the waiting room of the doctor’s office, but can’t seem to find any time for yourself that week? Pack that book you’ve been meaning to get around to, or bring some paper and a pen and write a letter (Google it… I swear, it’s a thing) to a family member or friend you’ve fallen out of step with.
If you can get creative with how you spend your time, you can see more bang for your buck without that nasty kickback called “stress”.
Until next time…