I wrote another draft of this post that started out listing all the things I accomplished last week, and all the things I had planned to accomplish.
I’m pretty sure that most of you can relate. The expectations we set for ourselves each week are usually pretty ridiculous. And when we don’t cross every item off our to-do list? Well, we end up feeling like failures, no matter how many things we did get done.
I will admit that I think I set myself up for failure when returning from maternity leave. I thought about all I used to get done in a day. Run three errands at lunchtime? No problem. Proofread layouts for three different magazines, write an article, attend a meeting and keep in touch with all of my co-workers throughout the day? Sure thing. Attend an event after work, pick up dinner and do a load of laundry before bed? Easy-peasey.
We all overextend ourselves, and I had no idea how much this would be true until I had a baby. I’ve been back to work for almost two months now and there are so many things I planned to do — like cook more meals at night, work out more often, blog once in a while — that just aren’t getting done.
These are all things that I will do, when I can. But expecting myself to adjust quickly to working and raising a newborn, not to mention the emotional roller coaster of dropping her off at daycare and later rushing back because I can’t wait to pick her up every day, was foolish. I still cry every Sunday night knowing I won’t be with Penny the next day. Last Monday at daycare, I cried in front of her poor teachers, God bless them. I usually save that for the car.
The thought of doing anything that takes me away from her, from grocery shopping to exercising to even cooking dinner in the kitchen instead of singing her songs while she’s playing with toys on her blanket, well, I just don’t want to do it.
And this is where the book I’m reading, “Grace Not Perfection,” is literally saving me right now.
The book is written by Emily Ley, who created The Simplified Planner and just released her second book, “A Simplified Life.” She runs her own business and has two kids and, from what she wrote in her book, said she needed to learn what to spend her energy on and what to let go.
That’s where I am now. Learning what I can let go, what I can stop feeling guilty about. What I can organize or throw out or stop doing or start doing to give my mind some peace.
My friend Javacia is right when she says “balance is a unicorn.” It just doesn’t exist. I will always be letting something slide while I’m giving 100 percent to something else.
But that’s OK.
Right now, I will give myself permission to focus intently while working so I can do my job well. Then I can show myself grace to leave it be at the end of the day when I sign off so I can focus on my family.
I will give myself permission to do a few things for me every week, like work out or read a book or get a pedicure. But I will show myself grace if I do those things less often than I used to.
I will give myself permission to spend alone time with my husband or take time to call a friend. But I will show myself grace if I don’t want to do much away from my baby on the weekends.
And I will give myself permission to get my home organized in a way that works best for us. But I will show myself grace if the laundry piles up a little or the floors need to be swept because I played with Penny rather than cleaning the house.
Time management is not easy. We all expect too much from ourselves each day, each week. It’s time to show ourselves some kindness and allow our minds some peace.
We deserve it.