I have been doing a lot of self reflection lately. In previous posts, I have been open about the fact that I have been feeling very lost this past year. I have never had so much time on my hands to simply spend on myself and at times it is overwhelming. This is the first time in my life where I truly am not working. When we moved up to DC last year my husband and I decided that we would put my efforts into acclimating our family into our new city, providing a clean and healthy home environment for the family, and undergoing the surgery to focus on bettering my health. We weren’t sure how long we would be in the area and wanted to make sure that we were focusing adequate time on our kids, family, and health. This meant I’d truly be a stay at home mom – not like before where I was running a business at the same time or working part time at the counseling center.
A year has gone by now and I am feeling healthy, acclimated, and to be quite honest – bored, selfish, and valueless.
These statements may seem strong, but let me explain.
I am the type of person who burns the candle at both ends, while slowly taking the lighter back and forth over the middle. And of course, as you can imagine, this does leave me feeling burnt out from time to time, but I thrive on doing. This past year, I have really tried focusing on being rather than doing, and let me tell you, it is a challenge.
Over the past few months, while I had the auction to focus on, I felt like I had value and purpose, but at the same time I knew this was temporary, unpaid, and I even had reservations about the whole fundraising experience – but it allowed me to use my skills, provide leadership, and work with a great group of individuals. Now that it is over, my days are freed up tremendously. I have been focusing a lot of time at the moment on researching our next living situation as our lease is coming to an end and it doesn’t look like we will be renewing at this time, but still – there are more hours to the day than just this.
I am a decently self-motivated individual, but without deadlines or pressure, it is easy to get off track and wind up getting nothing done. And there are so many distractions in a day. I miss the heat of a deadline and the thrill of getting my work done and pleasing my team.
As almost all moms know all too well, the deadlines and projects that I complete as a mom go seemingly unnoticed day by day. I overcome challenges and obstacles daily to get the kids to the bus on time – making breakfast and lunch, getting hair brushed, teeth brushed, feeding dogs, getting myself dressed, and out the door – but rather than kudos I get push back. Then I come home and clean the house – do laundry, and prep food. I pick up the kids and entertain them for the remainder of the day while providing snacks and getting dinner prepared. After a home cooked meal, it’s time for the bedtime routine and the pushback begins again. But, I overcome it and get them into bed, just to have it all start over in the morning.
The days can easily become rote and boring and very little unprompted thanks get offered throughout the day. In full transparency, I believe this is why I find myself posting my little achievements to Instagram – like pictures of meals I make or my post-workout selfies – and a world of strangers can give me a “like” or a quick encouraging comment which provides me with that little reinforcement I need to keep up the hard work.
There are a few hours every day that are leftover and become mine to do with as I please. Sometimes these hours are used doing research for the family, volunteering at the school, working out, reading or writing. And these few hours that I have to myself make me feel selfish. Despite knowing rationally that my free time pretty much reflects the same amount of time that my husband has after he comes home from work (while I am cooking, cleaning, and doing bedtime), I still am having trouble shaking the feeling that I am being selfish by taking the time to pursue my own self growth during the day – rather than finding a way to monetize my time and bring in money for the family.
In a society that puts so much focus on money and how much we make, it is hard to not feel some sort of stigma associated with not bringing in any income. I know that I bring value to my family by providing around the clock care including concierge service, home cooked meals, laundry service, counseling, and cleaning, not to forget endless amounts of love and affection. But at the end of the day, when I go out to purchase something – whether it be food for the family or a new bottle of concealer, I still feel like I am spending my husband’s money. Perhaps if he wrote me an actual paycheck for the work I did, I would feel different. Money is certainly a block that I am working to get over and a topic worth writing about on it’s own, but I would not be authentic if I didn’t admit that this is how I feel.
And above all of these confusing and degrading feelings, I also feel that I am not living up to my full potential. That may sound really harsh, but it’s not for lack of trying. I feel that I there is something that I am supposed to be doing that I have not quite unlocked yet.
I feel quite vulnerable putting this out there, but I know I need to put it out more boldly into the universe if I ever want it to manifest itself.
I want to write.
I want to motivate others to live their best lives.
I want be a public speaker and to help create change in this world.
I want to coach people on how to declutter their lives both physically and emotionally.
But at this time, I just don’t know how to make this happen and to be honest, I’m scared. I do believe in time, as I continue to make forward growth in my own life, a path will reveal itself, but being patient and trusting in the process is hard. Right now I am focusing on slowing down, believing in myself, and preparing for when the opportunity presents itself, so that I don’t accidently pass it by. Thanks for sharing in this journey with me. As always, I invite you to share your own thoughts and journeys with me.