Monday, December 27, 2010
Monday, December 20, 2010
Saturday, December 11, 2010
One of my goals for this blog was to rediscover things that have been put aside. I wanted to be intentional about work-life balance and friends. I wanted to be intentional about my home life - decorating, baking, the fine art of homemaking. And, from re-reading the MPs, I realized that I've actually made some progress on these goals!
Over the last few months, I've spent more time baking and caring about how my home looks. There are almost always muffins baked now - unless the kids eat all the bananas first. The house has been decorated for Halloween, Thanksgiving and now, Christmas with a renewed sense of passion --- and for Christmas, whimsy. In the "needs more work" category --- um, housecleaning!!! But, I figure, a few dust bunnies never hurt anyone!
The MPs have helped me gain a sense of confidence about my friends --- those I have both needy and not, those that nurture and support me, those that fill other roles and those that I like but don't have to spend a lot of time on (I mean that in that nicest way possible... truly). I have suffered for as long as I can remember from an enormous lack of confidence in the friend department --- hurt feelings if I feel "left out", struggles of jealousy when a "best" friend has more than me as a best friend (the nerve!) and other struggles. I'm not saying that I'm healed but has there been progress? Absolutely! And, for that, I am incredibly proud of myself.
My attention to my family and juggling work demands continues to be a struggle. But I feel good about my efforts to... be a better wife, lover, cheerleader to Jim; to pay attention to Helen and her schoolwork; to support Katie and let her grow her wings. I'm more aware of my role as a wife and mother. I've been more intentional in the way I spend time with them and the way I love them. Work continues to be a demand on my time but I've realized that the pursuit of balance may be something I never achieve. I can only keep trying.
As my friend, Janel, says.... "We don't come to this fully grown". I feel like I've done some growing. The process continues...
Friday, December 3, 2010
Instead, eating peppermint ice cream and driving around on a hunt for tacky Christmas house lights with my girls won. And now, there is a homemade blueberry coffee cake in the oven --- made with blueberries we picked together this summer at a local farm.
Earlier today, I had the loveliest lunch with girlfriends. Jim planned it as part of his birthday gift to me. Friends I love... who love me and nurture me at a lunch planned by my husband. Perfect.
I'm a very lucky girl.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
After the meltdown of a few weeks ago, I have tried to be very intentional about balance. I've been intentional about how I spent my time, where I spend it and with whom. I've also tried to focus on priorities: my family, my friends, my work, myself. And that has meant drawing some lines and putting up some boundaries.
I got my prize today --- or the realization that all of this extra effort has been worth it. She got 100 on some extra credit she worked on last week. She sat down and did her homework this afternoon with minimal nagging from me. She has only watched the 6:30 news since we got home. She seems calmer about her school work. And, more confident. I am thrilled. I'm also realistic. I'm enjoying today because who knows what tomorrow will bring. But for today, the racing around has accomplished a goal. Time and attention for my daughter. There is plenty of work to be done, at the office and here at home. But I made an intentional decision about how to spend my time. And, today, it has paid off.
Saturday, October 30, 2010
The last two weeks have been filled almost non-stop with activities: Work deadlines, errands, field hockey games, quick recall matches, an amazing trip to visit friends and the everyday mechanics of being a working wife, mother, friend, daughter and sister. I knew it was too much -- I kept saying it to myself but I didn't do anything to stop it, manage it, control it. Instead, it controlled me. To make things worse, I actually ADDED things to the list. And what do I have to show for it? Exhaustion, embarassment, frustration, tears....
Today I got back on track. I took care of myself. I took care of my family. I took care of my work. And I feel better. I spent time doing the things I wanted to do -- even if it was mopping the kitchen floor and going to the grocery. I spent time in the office and did some good work. I nurtured my creativity --- doing my morning pages (even if it was in the afternoon) and baked some amazing banana muffins. I spent time with my family and really paid attention. I feel better.
I don't think the tank is totally refilled but it has more in it than fumes. And compared to yesterday, that's amazing progress. It was a day with no mistakes in it.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Then this week began and here's what has happened so far.....
This is a holiday weekend --- and a long weekend from work. In the course of one afternoon, I find out that Jim has invited our friend, Alan, and his family to stay with us over this weekend. And, before Alan and crew arrive, one of Jim's old girlfriends will be in town and ---- yep, you know where this is going --- he has invited her over for dinner. The good news is that both sets of guests are lovely. Jim is a great ex-boyfriend. All of his ex-girlfriends are lovely, actually. Well, except for one. I know that we will have a lovely evening and that the slumber party with Alan's family will be lots of fun. But, seriously, both things... in one weekend.... is God somewhere smiling, laughing and pointing His finger at me?
But wait, there's more...
I spent some time this week reflecting on how much of my time is spent on work. Not just being there and doing my job but feeling guilty because I have left something undone to come home. Or checking email when I'm not working. Or, on the flip side, realizing that I haven't done any of Helen's camp paperwork because I've been working.
I am tired of feeling like my position isn't being respected. I am tired of having too much on my plate and not enough soldiers to handle it all. And I am tired of feeling like there are certain expectations of the position that I can't meet. And, then, before I bust from inner turmoil, I talk to my boss. It goes pretty well but involves rambling (from me) and hurt feelings (from my gently put words about his management style and my struggles with them) for him. I leave his office in a rush --- got to pick Helen up from day camp --- and feel terrible. Beyond terrible. Tears streaming down my face, "I'm a whack job, what have I done", terrible. Conversations with Jim and a colleague from work and an email to Rob (my boss) seem to have settled my heart but I still feel badly. And the worst part, I don't know what to do. I'm left wondering... "What in the Hell do I do now"?
I was reading GFTS last week during our annual trip to the beach. I don't know what it is about the beach, but it just seems to feed my soul. I'm almost like an addict - I can never get enough time at the beach. There are certain times when I crave the peace, the pace and the respite I get from listening to the surf, feeling the salty mist on my face and feeling the sunshine just fill me up. I like reading GFTS at the beach - it's like getting two meals at once. During this latest trip, I spent most of my reading time in the 'Oyster Bed' and 'Argonauta' chapters of the book. These chapters talk about a woman's life as her children grow older and seem to need less of her time. It is during this time -- as she and her husband grow older, too -- that a woman moves to the 'afternoon' of her life. The 'feverish pace of the morning' has passed and, at last, there is time for other activities. There are more opportunities to take time for oneself, to try or re-try things that previously had to be put aside.
Reading these words was like discovering that one missing piece to a puzzle. You know the one... you've been searching endlessly for it, convinced that it is lost and then you find it. It's right in front of you, where it has been the entire time. I realized that there were countless things that seem to have gotten lost in the waves of work, parenting, being a wife and just trying to survive it all. Things like spending time journaling, baking and trying new recipes, decorating the house, yoga, taking care of myself. I realized that I wanted to reclaim some of these things -- or keep them lost, if that was where they belonged. I realized that it was time to being embracing - and enjoying - the 'afternoon of my life'. As Anne says in GFTS, "Perhaps one can at last in middle age, if not earlier, become completely oneself".
But how... How do I find the enthusiasm for doing and being more than just someone who seems like her life is running her? I looked to GFTS. Anne suggests spending time in creative activities. On the ride home from the beach, I came up with some of my own: be intentional, fake it until it becomes real, be more selfish with my time, reassess how and where I spend my time. Be accountable. So I've decided to incorporate these thoughts, ideas, wishes and adventures into a blog. A creative activity that will serve as a framework for the reassessment of my life and priorities. Sure... a blog. Why not?
And so it begins.