Treading Water - Baby Steps in High Heels

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Treading Water

Hi friends. It's been a hot minute ...

How many posts have I started with this line over the past few years? Quite a few, and yet, not that many, actually. It's been quiet around this space for some time, and there are some reasons for that:

Balancing work and motherhood and life is something like trying to fold a fitted sheet with perfect corners, cram the whole sheet set back into its original packaging, and return that midnight purchase to Amazon. And since I don't have time to print the label much less take all of those other necessary actions to complete the return, that haphazardly folded sheet set will be crammed into my linen closet until we find a free weekend (ha!) to have a garage sale in 2-6 years.

Sheesh, that analogy was a bit of a tangent, but I hope you stuck with me. The point is, for a blog that tries to share about work-life balance for moms, the balancing act over here is a bit sketchy.

Of the many obstacles life has thrown our way this year, and it has been the single most difficult year of my life, I have missed this space immensely. I hesitate to write anything shrouded in vagueness, to share half-truths, or to leave anyone hanging, but I hesitate even more to share pieces of my life that are intertwined with others (who may not have chosen to share their story publicly).

So, please bear with me as I aim to write more in the coming weeks.

To begin, I have been mulling over an observation this week that I find to be really important for anyone out there who feels overwhelmed with the messaging in the self-care space to 'start today' or 'be in charge of your own life' or 'stop apologizing' .... while I truly love these messages and find them to be incredibly relevant in their own time and appropriate place, my own personality hears them as personal failures when I am doing my best to just tread water.

In the middle of major health concerns, care-giving for multiple generations at the same time, and still trying to balance our full time jobs and parenting, life has also handed us things like massive double ear infections, lice (eeeewwwww!!), unexpected business trips, and more, all things that have canceled, one after the other, every single bit of sanity we have tried to sprinkle into this chaotic time.

We are not waking up an hour early to work out or write a book or embrace a little me-time at 4:30 a.m. No matter how much we want to do those things, sleep is our currency at the moment. And, y'all, that's okay. Treading water is okay when you're in survival mode.

It is highly unlikely that we will always be in this space that feels like we are barely keeping our heads above water, and that will be the time for ambitions and growth and goals. Today, we simply tread. It's a life skill, one that is taught in every swim lesson. It doesn't move you toward the shore, but it keeps you alive until somebody can throw you a raft.

And, if that's where you are today, that's okay.

When every date night, girls' lunch, and family fun event has been canceled due to one literal emergency or another, it is hard to do much more than tread. Hard to not feel overwhelmed and exhausted all the time. To balance all of this, I am trying simply to add in a gratitude practice. When and where I can, I look for and appreciate the life rafts, big or small, that are thrown my way. Making it through a stop light before it turns, finding pumpkin spice everything right now, noticing the sleepy smile my daughter makes every morning when I wake her for school, cooler mornings even if the high will still be in the 90s in October, etc. 

And I tell myself that physical, mental, and emotional strength that I am conditioning in these moments will build me up and prepare me for a time when I am ready to push past life's uncontrollable circumstances toward those goals I wish I had the energy to pursue today.

Until then, we keep our heads up. We keep treading water.

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