Balancing in Motion




Hey all! Happy Wednesday and hope your week has been going well so far.

I have been struggling with some things this summer and trying to find a better structure for my life. Sometimes things have been really scattered for me and I worry it reflects in how my posts have changed as of late. In following the footsteps of some other ladies who have been sharing more personal struggles I thought it would make sense to cue you all in.   



I haven't talked about it much on the blog, but I work as a mental health therapist with adolescents. I love my job, but it's difficult at times. It's a lot of work both mentally and practically. Anyone in mental health will tell you that the calling card of this job is the sheer amount of paperwork. They prepare you for that in grad school, but there is knowing and experiencing. Before Reese, I did a lot of paperwork at home to meet the demands. I didn't mind it so much, because what the heck else was I doing? It also wasn't all the time, just in times of high need. After Reese, the balance of life was so different. For those of you who are parents, or know new parents your world really changes in an instant. 

I knew life would be different with her, I was not trying to be naive that life would be the same. But as they say, it's hard to know how much it will change your life until it's here. There is definitely a part of me that wanted to keep doing what I was doing at the pace I was doing it. I really wanted to make sure that being a mom became a piece of who I was and not all of who I was. Like, if you are sitting at a table and there are seats for all parts of yourself I wanted to add a seat for 'mom' and just make the table bigger. Turns out, I can add the seat but the table is the same damn size. I love my daughter. At the same time, I needed to keep the other seats at the table.

When I came back from maternity leave last year work changed drastically too. We got involved in another program and our paperwork demands essentially doubled. So what was a challenge sans bebe (without baby) was going to exponentially become more challenging. With most new projects there is a fair amount of uncertainty and tasks took more time and keeping up with the new curveballs became more exhausting.

This last year I was working non-stop. I would get up in the morning, exercise, get ready, go to work, pick up Reese, feed her dinner, put her to bed,  pull out my computer and do more work, repeat. Every minute had something going on. Oh and add to that trying to produce blog content and I got a promotion at work adding to my overall responsibilities.

Somewhere in the spring, I hit my breaking point. April was a crazy busy month workwise. So many deadlines were hitting me, pressure on preparation for the summer months (historically a difficult time), trying to be a good mom, wife, friend, daughter, blogger....ugh. My life was way out of balance. Everything was priority one and legitimately most of it was not things other people could help with. That isn't me being ridiculous, legit things others could not do for me. I remember being at work one day and recognizing the moment I was burned out. I was in a situation where typically I would be expressing empathy and I couldn't do it. I had none to give. It was strange because I actually felt the lack of it. The absence of it was palpable to me. I was irritable all the time, sick of going to work. Frustrated with almost every aspect of what I was doing. To add to that, I was sick of hearing myself complain but couldn't stop either. Exhausted by my own exhaustion.


I knew I had to get some things sorted out. It's hard for me, as I am sure for all of you to make a change. I mean, I see this every day at work. I had some ways of working and the boundaries I set for myself. Things I always wanted to accomplish before quitting work for the day. In certain ways, I am a perfectionist at work (in other ways super not) and I had to let go of this. I desperately needed some balance to return to my life. This couldn't continue and expect to be a sane human.

This summer has really been about trying to find that balance again. Much of that has been me letting go of how things used to work for me and creating new strategies. In my work, I am almost constantly using the phrase "it's a balance." I probably say that ad nauseum to my clients. It is time I took a page out of my own book. For work, I had to figure out what absolutely had to get done and what could wait. My definition of 'absolutely' has changed. I am trying more often than not to get done what I can during the work day and leave the rest. I was never getting ahead and work kept getting piled on. I had to realize that it was presenting a false reality of what could be accomplished in a day. No one knew how bad I was really struggling and it was making it appear that more could be done than actually could. This not only caused trouble for me, but put a bad light on co-workers who were probably drawing a healthier work/life balance.

I also had to be ok with posts not getting done for the blog. Some weeks work or my personal life needed more attention and that meant a post or two didn't get up that week. Sometimes being a blogger or engaging on social media is like getting on a ride that never stops. It can feel like if you take a minute off that you have taken so many steps back because the ride goes on without you. There is no sage advice here, I just had to be ok with it. Did I lose some followers doing this? Yea. Did it suck? Yea. I had to make peace with it. I love the world of blogging and what it has pushed me to do, as well as the awesome people I have had the opportunity to meet. At the same time, it cannot come at the cost of the time with my family and my mental health.

I am not perfect here or have amazing advice on how to create this balance. Part of the challenge of a work/life balance is the nuisances. What kind of job do you have? What is your personal life like? What is your personality like? How do you prioritize your values? I cannot tell anyone what specifically they 'should' do to create this. The best thing I can say is to take stock of your life when feeling this sense that things are out of balance and how to restructure or completely remake your idea of how things 'should' be. I am really working on that this summer so I can be better prepared when things kick off again for me in the fall. Taking time at night to be present with my daughter. Taking time to be with family, see my friends. At the end of the day, I know those are the things I will remember. Not how much paperwork I got done or how many posts I made (she says writing a blog post...) . Finding the balance for me was restructuring my priorities to align more with my values and long-term goals. So far, so good! I'll keep you posted.



If you read this long rant I really appreciate it. My goal was to just let you know what I have been working on. That I am not 'all better' and ready share to '3 easy steps for work/life balance.' My goal was to share that it's hard, really frickin' hard and that it changes as your life changes. I could probably write this post again in a year with a whole set of new challenges. I hope, at a minimum, if you identify with this you can feel less alone in it.  That the beautiful and fun curated photos don't tell the whole story. It's not fake, it's just not all.

Thank you for listening,

Meg



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Also linking up with Jersey Girl Texan Heart and Shopping My Closet today!


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