My life is crazy. Honestly though, it’s a self-inflicted kind of crazy. I have four children, a full-time job, a part-time job, and own a growing coffee business. I’m pretty sure I’ve spent the last 15 years practicing the word YES. I am a people pleaser and just want to make things easier for everyone (except myself). Lately, I’ve found myself regretting my choices. At thirty-six years old, I am thoroughly exhausted. At any moment, I could drop a ball that would inevitably be the end of the world (or *gasp* maybe disappoint someone).
After a particularly hard month at work which flowed over into home, I took a hard look at myself and decided to make some choices. I was starting to feel like I was failing. I was doing a LOT of things kind-of well instead of rocking a few really important things. I started therapy and she said “well of course you’re overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed just listening to what’s on your plate.” The therapist suggested I determine what the most important part of my life was and work from there. The obvious choice was family first. I had been doing so much for so many people that I often spent family time working on projects unrelated to my family. I knew this had to stop. I started to feel guilty and anxious about cutting back on my obligations. I felt more like a failure.
Realization: I’m Human!
It was at this moment, I decided – so what?!? So I failed. So I made the choice to take on too much and I can’t handle it. What’s the worst that will happen if I step back? Someone might be disappointed in me. Someone might think I’m not super-mom. Someone might realize I’m actually a normal person, and I don’t have 47 hours in a day. I began to own it. I began to feel okay with these things and tried to think of how much better I’d feel if I didn’t have something to do every moment. It was a scary but exciting thought.
I called my part-time-job and stepped down. This was the most difficult thing to do; I LOVED my job. I just felt that the time and thought required would be better spent on my family. My bosses were incredibly supportive and not only offered encouragement and admiration for my decision, but seemed to already have a succession plan in place (a sign of great management). After announcing the transition, I heard “I wondered when you’d finally break.”
The first few days of being intentional with my time I realized I didn’t need my phone on me all of the time. One day I picked up the kids after work, got home and sat on the couch. Two kids piled up on me. The older two started a movie and we began to watch it together. I was twitchy. My instinct was to get up and check my phone which was on the kitchen counter. I felt like there were things I should be doing. Things I might be missing. I was fighting with myself and quickly realized I don’t even know HOW to sit still. Like she knew I was struggling, my three year-old reached up and put her hand on the back of my neck and said “sit mama.” She kept it there for a solid 30 minutes.
As a friend once told me, “if it’s not a hard yes, it’s a heck no.” It seems so simple, and yet it’s something I needed to fall on my face in order to see. Family first. Period, end of story. Sometimes family first means date nights with my husband and girls nights with my friends to maintain my sanity. Sometimes it means saying no to a birthday party to sit home and do nothing. It’s strange sitting still and letting myself think. It’s strange yet absolutely wonderful.