This was my facebook status on October 30, 2013. The amount of messages I received after publicly sharing this detail of my private life was astounding. Clearly, I was not alone in this struggle, as so many other single women, wives and mothers confessed that they too shared the pain of imbalance.
At first, the comments were consoling to me – I’m not alone! Everyone goes through seasons like this! My MIL even has a book I can read to help me! But then, the number of private messages I received began to worry me. Not only was I not alone, but there was no solution. We were all destined to feel this way; stressed, tired, misunderstood, lost… Essentially, overworked and emotionally underpaid.
I decided there must be an answer that could level out the scales a bit. I set out on a mission to find it.
It didn’t take long. It came to me so simply. And I feel like I have an obligation to share it with you.
Ask yourself this question. At this moment in time, what is the one thing you should be doing if you had to give up most everything else? Is it focusing on your career? Strengthening your marriage? Deepening your faith? Perhaps you need to address a health concern or relationship issue. For me, it was directing almost all of my focus toward mothering. I experienced this moment of clarity that I had never experienced before! For the entirety of my life as a parent, I had dreamed of having time to ‘just’ be a mom. And right now, I have it! So why was I trying to fill it with unpaid positions to build up a resume, attempting to fill every spare minute with an enriching activity, or looking for ways to prove my personal value to those around me, and to myself?
A bit of back-story is totally necessary to understand the full story of where I am. You can read about that here.
This revelation did not mean throwing in the towel on everything I had going on. But it did mean scaling back, even if that meant quitting things. Yup. I was a big quitter this fall. And let me tell you a secret… it was so empowering to be a bit less important in many places, but really important in just a few!
For the first time in a long time I felt like I was on the right path, and the more time I spent contemplating the idea of focussing almost solely on parenting the more at peace I felt with the idea. See, we’ve got six more summers. After that, the majority of my investment into my daughter will be completed. She’ll be heading off to college, will probably have a boyfriend, and mom will take a backseat to friends and fun and well – her life. And that will be ok. It will be how it should be.
But for me, if we’ve only got six more summers – six years of her attending The School of Mom, six sets of yearly holidays, six birthdays and summer vacations – if all I have left is six more gloriously lazy, sunny, happy, fun and carefree summers, I’m going to make each of them, and every day in between, count.
And everything else is just going to have to wait.
So I pose this question to you. How many do you have left? How many summers do you have before your kiddos leave the nest? Maybe you’re counting down exams, or years till retirement. Maybe it’s how many counselling sessions or chemo treatments you have to get through. Whatever it is, what’s your number? Lets count them down together, and see how we can make each and every one of them count.