Today’s the day my kids head back to school. I love my children dearly, but I am definitely ready to get back to work — and they’ve been ready to get back to school, meet their new teachers and hook up with their friends for at least a week now. Yay! Today everybody wins.
I got a little hand smack on one of my Facebook pages because a week or so ago, I posted a link to this hilarious Staples commercial. Someone didn’t appreciate it and called it “horrible” and mentioned something about “pawning kids off” on someone else. Which kind of annoyed me. I think I responded in a super-mature way by saying something like “we can’t all homeschool, you know” (but I’m pretty sure I said it a little nicer than that).
This was the first summer in a long time that we kept the kids home and didn’t do any kind of day camp or anything. The first month was awesome, we hung out and had a blast. But by the time July 4th had passed, I was really wanting to refocus on my work and my writing. Everyone should get to take a month off — it’s rejuvenating and liberating and really recharges those batteries.
The trouble is, my kids loved it too — they got used to hanging out with us all day every day, so when July 5th rolled around, they weren’t too happy that we were no longer as available. Then all sorts of crap creeps in: guilt, frustration, feeling neglected, feeling unbalanced and overwhelmed, etc.
The result was unpleasant: mostly, feelings of inadequacy on my part. Like I should be able to manage it all with ease and grace. On the one hand, I’m at a critical time in my business, and taking two months off would not have been a wise move. I already don’t work on the weekends, so if I don’t work weekdays either, well, then I’m not getting squat done! On the other hand, I understand that our children are only “on loan” to us for a short time, and it really does go by fast, and I want to make as many memories together as we can.
(Perhaps next year my strategy should be to work through June and then take July off with the kids. Actually, I have an even better strategy for next year that will allow me to take June AND July off, which I think will be great fit for our family.)
Whether you have kids or not, here’s the point here:
Too much of a good thing will always make you feel unbalanced.
The key is not to try to be a superhero and do it all — the key is to figure out how to balance your priorities.
Last week, I got into a groove. I took 2 weekdays to work hard and TCB that needed to get done, and I took 2 weekdays to do nothing but play. (And I arranged a playdate for another day!) The kids didn’t mind the 2 days on their own because they had something to look forward to (my 2 days off). It worked. Will that same formula work all the time? Doubtful. But it’s not about creating a process and always sticking to it — it’s about finding a way to balance. In each day, in each moment, and over time.
Can you dig it?