I have a new list book for this new term and I am being very productive with my ‘54321 done!’ attitude.
And yet today, after reading the most poignant article – ‘The day my child lost her joy’, I am keeping with the lists, both written and mentally stored, but reprioritising the order.
The author’s striking words, ‘In the process of making my own life miserable, I’d funneled my unhappiness straight into my daughter’s once joyful heart and spirit. Her pain was a direct reflection of the expression I wore on my face’ reminded me of me, many versions of me:
The ‘corporate me’ when I was working all hours with 2 little people in full time nursery, 2 little people who wouldn’t go to bed and one who would never sleep; a Mummy always on her blackberry, desperate to ensure her ‘working Mum’ or ‘part time’ status never gave them an excuse to think less of her; a wife and housewife juggling social occasions, affection, a tidy house and never quite meeting expectations, especially of her own; a woman desperate for 5 minutes peace and quiet to think, be still or even just get her legs waxed. All my boys wanted was time with a relaxed, present physically and mentally Mummy and all I got were snot rings around my black trousers where they clung on crying.
The ‘entrepreneur me’ when I was juggling lots of different ideas on how to generate an income and contribute financially to our family – ecommerce strategy consultant, health and wellness business or magazine sales and promotion; juggling being a single Mum during the week; and 2 boys in different schools, both craving attention, to tell their day stories, cuddles and craving security, tantrums the only way to get me to listen or hear when I was living totally in my head.
The ‘broken me’ when I was on my rocky sea bed when I was juggling the battle between my head and my heart, struggling to ‘live’ and breath, unable to get out of bed, eat, function. My 2 boys mirroring my pain, Tom hiding in the corner of his bedroom, curled up and hiding his sobs, Willy openly despairing, his wide eyes not able to comprehend.
I recognize I have come so far. I am no longer any of those ‘me’s’. I congratulate myself as I silently nod in agreement of her words on how to ensure goals aren’t always tangible but that ‘they consisted of immeasurable items like listening, laughing, dreaming, playing, connecting, and loving. With a more meaningful daily goal, I was able to see the blessings in my imperfect self and in my imperfect life.’
And my boys are far happier, relaxed now. Their relationship to each other greatly improved, rather than playing off each other to get my attention. They play together, the odd fight soon forgotten, they care for each other; they are calmer, loving, laughing, talk openly and delightedly about their lives and plans for the future.
She concludes, ‘And we have the power to control what they absorb, but first, we must tend to ourselves.’
Brian Tracy wrote a brilliant book called ‘Eat the Frog’ in order to promote efficiency by doing the biggest item or the item you are most reluctant or nervous about, first; by putting it at the top of your list and getting it done leaves you the rest of the day clear to tick off the ‘easier’ or simpler tasks. It makes sense to front load your day, so you don’t end up with the big or most important jobs at the end of the day when you are tired or have less time, therefore more likely to deprioritize to tomorrow…
So top of my list now is me. I am the frog. I do the things first that make me the best person I can be for that day. That first hour at least is mine. Before I do anything else. It may sound selfish, but actually, from experience, it is selfless. To be the best version of me right from the get go of the day, means I can serve my boys, my family, my business, our future. By the time they come home, I am theirs. My mind isn’t filled with anger or frustration or resentment, because I put myself first.
I am the frog. I taste delicious!!
Full article and required reading for all parents, not just mothers.