Do You Take The Breaks You Need?
Drink while you pour.
When you reflect upon the year as it comes to an end, what do you focus on?
Do your shortcomings, flaws, and failures initially flash before you?
What about all those goals you set, but didn't accomplish?
I know, at first glance, I fell short too.
Then I remember that thing called a negativity bias, and I force myself to reflect with a more positive lens.
I ask myself, What went well?
This inspired my flashback to a few rough notes I jotted down quickly on January 1, 2017. I had an idea for a new website, an aching desire to publish a book, and hoped I could generate enough income to call myself a "real writer."
Then I put my head down and just started writing, everyday, religiously, without fail or break. Day after day, I rose early to gather my thoughts, and then I would carry on editing in fifteen minute increments until my head hit the pillow at night.
While cooking, or in stolen moments during kid shuffling, I sketched out a new website and studied marketing strategies. If I wasn't researching or physically writing, I was sewing words together in my head, aching for the next moment I could return to my computer and polish a piece.
Around March, I had the idea that I should post regularly and I have published a new piece on my blog every single Friday since then...
No matter how tired.
No matter how sick.
No matter how much I had going on, I got a post up and then checked out to be with my family all weekend long.
Well, then I found myself writing whenever it wouldn't take away from the kids like in the car on a Saturday morning as Eddie drove us to the beach. The words didn't stop flowing, and I couldn't stop writing. Some call this obsession, but I consider it a calling. Writing makes me blissfully happy.
People often wonder how I've been keeping up this pace of writing with an already very full plate. I say, "It’s amazing what you can accomplish by setting your intentions and becoming mindful of your time."
The greatest accomplishment of my year? Publishing On Resilience and Motherhood, the free eBook you receive for subscribing to this site.
Still, there have been moments when I have sat down at my desk in the early morning darkness and thought, I work so hard, but I earn no money. What is the point of all this?
But you know what? In 2017, I created a foundation to stand on, found an audience to write to, and published a book. Then, after taxes are deducted from my very first writing paycheck from a few of the articles I published outside this site, I might just be able to buy my clan breakfast.
While my first year-end reflection mocked this meager income, my self-publishing "feat," and the small following I claim, my second pass celebrates something I cannot quantify with a dollar amount or post likes:
Now, as the year winds down, and I think about the 7 Choices of a Resilient Mom, my own words on self-care are nagging at me. Indeed, I am just realizing how tired I am from all this writing I have been doing. I'm also behind on a lot of little things in life. My dearest friend who visited this week quipped, "Great tree, but where is the tree skirt?"
The missing tree skirt revealing the metal legs of my very first artificial tree is just the tip of my imperfection iceberg. No, I couldn't handle watering a fresh tree or cleaning up those needles in the same way that I can’t even muster the 20 minutes of exercise a day I swear by. I have been up to the attic more times than I can count to get that darn tree skirt, but somehow, it just doesn't make it down. Yes, Christmas will happen with or without a perfect tree, but what I think my forgetfulness suggests is that I need a break. Something's gotta give.
That being said, one of the greatest lessons I have learned this year is that you cannot be a mom, a homemaker, and an entrepreneur at the same time and do it all perfectly.
No, I never did anything perfect in my decade as "Just Mom," but now I feel the push and pull of my family, life, and the things I want to do. While I've gained confidence, found meaningful work, and have a passionate reason beyond my kids to get up everyday, all this writing has complicated my life. Hence, I've decided, for us women, there is just no easy way to go about things. Sigh.
I've said, "Motherhood is a delicate dance between determination and surrender. It's hard to know when to fight or when to stand down."
I am realizing that goes with just about anything you do that doesn't come with a manual or is self-motivated. To raise thriving kids or create your genius work, you must listen to your body and know when to take a break. Therefore, for the next few weeks, I won't be writing a single word.
As I sign off and heed my own self-care advice, let me leave you on a note of gratitude.
One of the greatest blessings of my year has been connecting with you here. Thanks for subscribing to my website, and reading my words. I have a thousand reasons to get out of bed every day, but writing to you just makes my soul sing.
I'll be back with fresh words, new insights, and fun stories in the new year. In the meantime, my wish for you is that whether you are a SAHM, WAHM, or anything in between, you live a meaningful life.
If you don’t have passion and purpose, set your intentions, write them down, and don’t be afraid of the work it takes to carve out a life worth living.
Most importantly, be mindful of how you measure success. In motherhood, my measurement is love and in the work I do, it's meaning and purpose.
So it seems, in 2017, I became a writer, but now it's time to take a break.