This goes into my “personal notes” collection, my cobweb thinking at its best, spontaneous writings that start as a sentence on my todo list, and 10 minutes later they’re a whole non-filtered, non-edited “thought” that not always make sense to others. Definitely my favorite kind of writing.
I haven’t shared this with you, but for a few weeks (months?) now I’ve been through a bit of a rough patch. I haven’t been myself, I’ve felt very stressed and not in control, overwhelmed by the smallest commitments. I smiled less and stressed more; I’ve been less patient and more jumpy. I haven’t felt like meeting up with friends, or going to my dance classes, or working on the blog, which, in my world, are very clear warning signs that something is wrong. And the more I tried to swallow these feelings, to man up and react, to reason with myself (after all, I have an amazing life and I’m aware of it!), the more tangled my emotions got. I started finding myself often playing with the kids and thinking about blogging, or blogging and thinking about playing with the kids—I felt like my life was on autopilot, I was never in the moment.
That’s when I knew I needed to take a step back and reset my priorities. And although it sounds easy in theory, practice turned out to be very complicated: as always, I was torn between “can do” and “should do”. Because I CAN do it all—I proved it to myself so many times. But at what cost? And in what mood?
I needed to make a change in my life. For a week now, I haven’t even tried to blog during the day (just here and there, on the spur of the moment), I haven’t tried to control Emily’s naps, I haven’t opened my computer at night if I felt too tired, I haven’t written meaningful posts, I’ve let the programmed posts publish themselves without even double checking them—hard to do for a perfectionist like myself—and I haven’t checked anything off my endless todo list. In the evenings, I haven’t forced myself to go to my dance classes (and for the first time in 5 years, I decided not to participate in the end-of-year show). I haven’t taken Oliver to play dates unless I really felt like it. I haven’t even worked late at night—by 9pm I was in bed to make the most of every little bit of sleep I could get. But above all, I haven’t stressed about all the things I couldn’t do and all the friends I couldn’t see and all the play dates I missed and all the deadlines I didn’t meet.
Instead, every afternoon I played with Oliver and Emily and dedicated my full attention to them. I took the time to do house chores slowly, enjoying the process (as opposed to fulfilling a duty) of taking care of my environment. I sat more on my balcony and looked at the sea. I walked more with my dog. I even day dreamt more about our future travels, which is something I hadn’t done in a while—I think that day dreaming is a powerful tool for happiness.
For a whole week now I felt happier, it’s not just the coincidence of one good day. And it’s all because I accepted. I respected my real, undeniable priorities. I lived more in the moment. I paid more attention to what really matters—myself, my kids, my husband, my dog, my house even. I was more in touch with my emotions. I smiled and laughed more. I loved myself more.
My blogging job is a priority, of course: I’m a driven person and personal achievements (out of the family business ;-) bring me to life. But in this very special moment of my life, it simply comes after other bigger, more important priorities—like being happy, spending quality time with my kids, living slowly, loving myself, being more mindful. And this is what makes all the difference in parenting: setting your priorities right.
Rewind. Reset. Play.