I am talking about the tabs that stay open on your internet browser… I read that the average woman has 100 different things going on at once and I first thought that’s a lot! But actually when you break it down I totally get it!
What happens though when too many are open? When that extra tab is just too much and it turns from organised tabs/ sections (be that mum, work, friend, writing, health, school… whatever) to just chaos, almost white noise when you just can’t even hear your thoughts clearly?
Can we freeze and then shut down like a computer or device?
I think we can, I think that’s what happened to me just a couple of weeks ago. I felt with so much on my plate, a job that just couldn’t get done in the time I had to do it with emails spilling into late evenings and days off, calls being taken whilst handing kids iPads to keep them quite for 10 minutes… which quickly turns into half an hour, changes of plans for one aspect of life that in turn changes plans and diary arrangements for all others and demands from every area. Then the times I found I had with the kids when I got in from work, normally later than intended, were when they were tired and cranky.
I began to feel so touched out that even ‘mummy can you make me a drink’ felt like such a huge ask… coming from a 4 year old and 2 year old who rely on me I know how absolutely ridiculous that sounds.
I was at a media event recently in which the professional advised that blogging should really be positive, upbeat and inspiring in order to be successful. I get that. Everyone has their own issues and when they get 5 minutes to escape they don’t want to listen to anyone else’s. Except I have 40,000 individuals that follow my snippets of life on social media. If I said that I juggled full time work, 2 young children and a home while having a smile painted on my face like Coco the Clown I can just imagine how inferior that may make others feel. I know it would for me and I’d be wondering what the hell I was doing so wrong. I like pretty pictures, I like inspiring, I also like realism and I think that’s very different than negativity.
It’s tough. Fact.
I also am aware that I don’t know hardship, I feel very conscious when I write blogs like this as I am aware that it can sound very ‘first world problems’ and it is. But I think it’s important not to discredit when people are finding things tough or ever feel ashamed to speak up and say ‘I’m not feeling ok’- that’s ok. Speak up.
Anyway, last week after the 4th time changing my day off, reorganising childcare, not wanting to be the 4 day week manager that said ‘I can’t be there’, late nights catching up, housework that was ever increasing, kids feeling under the weather which meant sleepless nights and after one more ‘to do’ being added I froze and shut down (in other words had a ‘bit’ of a melt down, ugly cried to Colin and decided that I couldn’t do ‘ this’ anymore… ‘this’ wasn’t specific, it was just the spinning plates)
But it’s ok to freeze and shut down, I think it’s programmed into us to protect us. It’s about how we restart and what we do to prevent the freezing and shutting down.
Arianna Huffington describes that you wouldn’t watch your phone battery go right down, when it starts flashing red we would start to think about recharging it and we should look after ourselves the way we would phones. Arianna knows this too well, she burnt herself out so bad she passed out and split her head open due to pure exhaustion.
I needed to be clear on what I was doing wrong or too much of and fix it. Was I the mum I wanted to be for the passed few weeks that I’d been feeling so overwhelmed? No.
I don’t believe there is really such thing as a work life balance… a very wise and inspiring business woman described it as ‘work/ life navigation’ and I think that’s much more attainable, it’s always a journey and may take different directions but this time I needed to take stock and realign back to where I wanted to be.
I reminded myself of the tabs I needed to leave open and what ones I could shut down, that were unnecessary.
I reminded myself that as much as I want to say yes to everything, often I am saying ‘no’ to two little people that really need their share of my time. It’s ok to say no too, or even better, when it will suit.
I reminded myself of what gives me energy, refreshes me and clears my mind and it’s being outside with the girls, watching a programme device free or reading a magazine (Red magazine in particular).
I acknowledged that a tidy house is important to me but had to tell myself to just settle with the fact the cupboards and drawers are a mess, it’s not a priority at the minute and an unattainable task.
I had to put a mental timeline on how long things were going to be this busy for, if you can see when things will settle a little I think it’s easier to get on with.
Also this is less about feeling ‘guilty’ it’s not about the ‘guilt’ of what I’m doing or not doing it’s about what’s needed, what’s necessary and when to speak up and say enough or ask for help.
This week already I am feeling the weight lifted, to be honest all the tabs are still there but I’ve took a rain check on what needed closed, rearranged and prioritised. I’m back to thriving on the juggle as I really am someone that does enjoy having things to keep me on my toes but ultimately I am getting more time for who restores me and who I do everything for.
I also take comfort from many ladies who share with me when things are heavy and we can spur each other on… Victoria Beckham shared her mum guilt and I’m sure even with nannies in tow she has had her share of ‘freeze and shut down’ moments too. It’s all about the restart.
We are all Wonder Women, Wondering how the hell we are going to make it through the day sometimes but we have a 100% success rate so far! Just watch that while we are trying to burn so bright for everyone that we don’t burn ourselves out.
Ctl – Alt – Del / Restart.