My Circus Life - a balancing act
My 12 year old takes circus classes and pulls off pretty awesome tricks, twists and balancing acts. In a performance setting, it's entraining, exciting and everyone claps. My circus, I mean, my life rarely gets applause, but is full of entertainment and excitement... often at my expense and resulting in more grey hair!
I’m just trying to make it work, all of it. But this past week my life really felt like the circus.
My childcare provider is on holiday for two weeks and I thought I could still work from home, three days of the week, while caring for my 3 year old. Financially it was going to make sense and I would get to spend some quality time with my awesome little person.
We’re into week two…The reality is this; a pre-schooler constantly hanging off my boob as I try to work on my laptop, continuous “Mummy” interruptions, “I need a snack”, “I need to go pee” and resorting to Peppa Pig.
I plan outdoor adventures for us and the whole time we’re in the beautiful sunshine, I’m distracted because of the laundry list of deliverables I need to get done, not to mention the actual laundry that was staring me in the face before we left! When my husband and other kids get home I usually put work away for the night, but now I find myself running off to get just one more email done. Or worse yet- on my phone while sitting right next to them! So much for being present to my little one and keeping the “work/ life balance” happening!
I feel guilty, touched out, anxious and irritable. No one likes me, least of all me! My issue is that I feel like I need to meet the needs of everyone, all the time and I just realized; I’m NOT Wonder Woman! #disappointment
I need a reset button. Everyone needs a reset button. Sometimes just changing my perspective makes the world of difference.
So, on the weekend as I nursed my 3 year old to sleep, I made a mental list of what my needs were and how I could create support for those needs.
• I need some designated time to get on my computer.
• I need to spend some time with my daughter, undistracted and having fun!
• I need to be present to my children and husband when they get home.
• I need to feel like I'm not neglecting my family
Once, I knew my list, I had to communicate those needs! This is possibly the most important step, since apparently my family can’t read my mind!
• I let clients know that I had limited time this week to respond quickly, pushed back some deadlines and even postponed a project until the spring.
• I asked my family for a short amount of the evening to fire off emails and I’d set a timer.
• I delegated some household tasks and some work tasks to others.
• I flipped my perspective on what my time with the little one looked like. Since I work physical activity or a workout into most of my days, I decided to think of the morning adventure as my workout. A good long walk through the ravine, running around a playground and then hiking back up the huge hill we live on, is maybe not as physically challenging as Pilates or Yoga class but it’s certainly a mindful challenge to stay present!
Setting up the expectations for my family and for my time has already helped and this week is still young!
Admittedly, my little person is watching Peppa Pig right now so I can write. But we’ve had a great morning running through the leaves and scooting through the neighbourhood. We’ll have lunch in a few minutes and cuddle in for some books, "milkies" and a nap. We both know how much screen time she’ll get and I know that in the big picture, this is better than feeling like I’m neglecting her and yelling at her for jumping all over me.
What I've learned through this childcare-less experiment is that I clearly love my family and I love my work... Otherwise, I wouldn't feel so conflicted! I don’t think there’s really a perfect work/ life balance. There are too many variables for that to be possible. I do think we can find a way to make things work in the "right now", if we take a step back for some perspective, communicate our needs and expectations and ask for help.
AND... I'm excited for my childcare provider to come back!!