Putting me on my to do list!

I remember sitting at a Women’s networking event last year and the discussion topic was on work life balance.

The group of women started by talking about all the different hats women wear. We can wear a lot of hats…. Janitor, taxi driver, event planner, banker, cook, gardener, mediator etc.

This was the list they put together a year ago… now, as we isolate at home, women are doing most of these while at home trying to be teachers and still manage a career! Yikes!

Personally, I don’t think balance exists. I think it is all about harmony (I stole this idea from the book “Who’s in your Room”). What I mean is that you need to spend your time on what is of value to you. And sometimes you will prioritize certain things above others and then move the pendulum back the other way. For example, if you are writing a book and have a deadline, you may spend all your time on that activity but when it is done, make extra time for your family and friends. Assuming these are values to you.

I think it is more important to determine WHAT makes you happy, what fills your cup. Then spend time on those things. Those things that fill my cup will be different from yours. We need to recognize that and ensure we don’t judge someone else’s values and priorities because they are different than yours.

At least this was my belief before COVID. Now…. I’m still thinks its true… but my pendulum is struggling to move back and forth. It seems stuck to one side. You see, spending time with friends was part of my harmony. I’ve replaced it with zoom cocktails and dinners but it’s not the same. So my harmony is out of tune. I can only imagine it is even more out of tune for moms and dads who have to try to manage jobs, with kids at home full time, no play dates, and trying to keep them engaged for online learning. Let’s not even talk about how much more time, planning and coordinating everything seems to take these days. Gone are the days that I “pop” in and pick up milk or pool noodles.

I don’t have to manage kids. I do have a wonderful husband. We share an office. Two desks, but one room. It was not an issue before, now… we have to discuss what meetings we have and coordinate who is working from the kitchen if we have overlapping or private meetings. We have dinner together, lunch together, work on our house together, watch a movie together, play games together. Etc. Do see the challenge. We are always together! (Good thing I really like him!)

At that networking event, a quote from book was shared. I’m reminded of it now as I struggle to find time for me. JUST ME.

“We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own to do list” – Michelle Obama.

I remember that the women in the room all nodded in agreement to this quote.

I remember that one smart lady commented about this quote and asked, if we all agree, what are you doing personally to put yourself on your to do list? There were almost no answers then…

Now… is anyone putting themselves on their to do list right now?

I still believe in Harmony over work life balance. I know that I used to have the challenge of recharge my batteries. I would give it all to my business, my friends, and personal development and then feel drained. Often I wasn’t stopping to care for me. I’m no different now… actually I might be even worse. Now I give it to my business, personal development, my husband and some to my friends. What I’m missing is time to myself. Time to be with just me.

Some things I would to for me included.. wandering around Chapters/Idigo or Homesense (in between appointments if the time permitted). Once a quarter I would treat myself to a manicure. I liked the evening that my husband went out and I would order Sushi for dinner and watch a movie all by myself. I liked the solitude of just being by myself.

Today I’m almost never by myself. What about you? I guess it depends if you lived alone or not. You may be struggling with the opposite of me. I have had to adjust my self care. I encourage my husband to do zoom calls with friends that does not include me. I do the same. When he is on his zoom calls, I read, watch a movie etc. I’m taking more baths just to be alone. I’m curling up with a book and a cup of tea (hopefully I’ll be able to to this outside soon) because reading is a solitary thing.

I’m lucky I can do these small acts for myself. But what about a mom… that can’t even wonder around Chapters, Homesense anymore? Or can’t escape to a garden center or grocery store without stress and anxiety? I feel for you.

But I still think it’s important for you to carve out that time. To find time for yourself. Maybe talk to your family and see if they will allow you to have that bath, read a book or just go for a drive in the car by yourself? (Personally I hate driving so that would not be fun for me).

I wonder when it will be safe again to wonder around Chapters? To look at books, touch books, and look at the pretty home accessories, pretty scarfs, and stunning journals. Even as I type that I see all the things that are now wrong with it… too much hands on.

Michelle Obama is right… we do need to make sure we do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own To Do lists. And maybe today more than ever. We need to remember to put our mask on first so we can continue to help those we love.

What do you think? Will you try to carve out a little bit of time of you?

“Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.”

Eleanor Brown