I feel like we spend a lot of time as working moms running and swirling through our days trying to keep all of the balls in the air, all while trying to keep our feet on the ground. What I’ve realized in all of this is that sometimes, we lose that ground. I’m realizing that it takes some awareness and gentle nudges to force us to find that ground again. Because, let’s be honest, keeping everything afloat without having your feet on solid ground isn’t exactly sustainable forever.
Some of you know exactly what I’m talking about, others maybe not. And if you have no idea what I’m talking about – well, good for you! I am one of those people who need to find my ground from time to time. I need to get my brain and soul re-centered and feel the confidence that the earth beneath my feet is not moving so much that I can’t think, process, reason and act rationally because I’m coming from a place of constant chaos. I don’t function well when I’m completely ungrounded.
I’m sharing my story about most recent grab for ground because I feel like we need to be honest about everyday struggles.
This all started in May 2017 when I took a new job. It was a bit of a scary risk because it was a very different industry and job function (more business than legal) for me. In my first year, I went into a chaos coma of seeing my job function drastically change, my responsibilities grow beyond my wingspan, my bosses failing to support my area, then we had some significant process disruptions throughout the department, consulting/engagement groups brought in, followed by major leadership changes.
I spent much of May through March trying to figure out if I made the biggest mistake of my career. During this same time, my family relationships were strained. I had picked up and moved the family in August to bring us together by allowing for a shorter commute, great schools, bigger opportunities and a fresh start. The move backfired. The family was unhappy. And on top of it all, I was beyond frustrated at my job. I felt like they were all looking at me and thinking “you moved us here and you’re not even happy with the reason behind it all….”
Things were getting a little rough at work and home. The house we were renting was becoming another sore topic. The bathroom ceiling started leaking, we ended up with an ant infestation, the boys would whine about the house and started asking every….single….day… when we were going to move back to our old home. My wife and I actually sought out some emotional help together. The therapist was awesome and much of where we were at was centered on communication. It didn’t take too many visits for her to lean forward, look at the two of us and say “you two don’t have a relationship problem. You are actually really good together. You just both (mostly you – looking at me) have to work on some individual crap at the moment.”
I went home that night, made a cup of sleepy time tea (for the first time in months) and sat on the couch just letting the thoughts swirl. Here I was, just a mom handing the everyday stresses of 40+ hour/week job, worrying about finances, dealing with growing behavior issues from one of my kids, a frustrated (yet patient) spouse, etc. We were all healthy but no one was happy. I wasn’t meditating or working out. My sleep was sporadic, I’d gained weight again, my body was achy and tired and my brain was exhausted. I was in constant “ARRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH mode”. This was not sustainable.
I’ve read enough books, lived enough years and have enough meditation apps/support to know that I could level set myself. But I acknowledged that I needed some help. So, I took a leap based on a recommendation from a friend. I made a series of 3 appointments with a woman who does “Reiki & Spiritual Counseling” in Hamden. Many years ago, I would have thought this was nuts. I’m sure many of my friends (and even my wife) think this is looney. But she is fantastic (go see her!) and this was THE BEST DECISION I’VE MADE IN 2018.
Clearing the air and my brain, stepping back and looking at the world again from solid ground made a big difference! I was able to think from a place that wasn’t panic mode. Slowly and patiently, things started to come together more succinctly. After the first session, we sat down as a family and reevaluated where we wanted to be. Within 4 weeks, we were putting down an offer on the right house in the right place for us – back home. Two weeks after that, I had a job interview land in my lap. It was relaxed and I was calm and confident. But, I realized that I wasn’t interested. I didn’t need to jump. I’ve been looking at the changes and work and my shifting roles (and additional respect) with the new leadership. For the first time, we have strong female leadership who are potentially going to be great mentors.
I’ve recently allowed myself to focus on personality and brain function as an ENFP and working through how this applies at home and work, how I process and think, trying to not get frustrated with things that are opposed to my personal process. I’m forgiving others for their process and functions as well. And, honestly, I’m road raging much less.
I started paying more attention to my health a bit. I started nutrisystem just to get focused on routine and preparation during these crazy few months of packing, moving, summer baseball and the busiest, most stressful part of the year for work!
This is all taking work. These are not overnight things. I have much more progress to make. I slip quite a bit. But the clarity it still nearby and I’m able to get back to solid ground quicker than I was 3 months ago! I still want to set aside meditation time – which I haven’t yet. I’m working on small steps towards a more consistent exercise schedule – and I mean small right now. I’m working on sleep, different habits at night with reading and tea rather than TV or phone.
Finding ground isn’t an immediate fix, it’s a shift in perspective that allows us to clear the cobwebs. I’m still working on clearing mine, but I feel like I’m getting back to the place where I am mommying and working from a better place.
I hope everyone who relates to this will take the opportunity to step back and figure out what you need to do to find your ground. It’s so worth it. I promise.