Tonight was my Mama Renew night, a monthly class/discussion group with other mothers about adjusting to our roles as mothers, and re-discovering the ‘me’ that is suddenly buried under work, being Mommy, being partner.
It’s a wonderful way to spend an evening, relaxing and nourishing on a personal level. There’s always something in the evening that sparks a light (or sometimes a fire under my behind), an interest, or just something to reflect on.
Tonight’s was no different.
The Big Thing that caught me unaware was in setting goals for the next ninety days that reflect my values; changing my behaviour towards reducing the crap that sucks up a whole lot of my attention and focusing my energy on what really matters. Okay, I thought. My top priorities are parenting, work, and self-care. Discussion with and amongst the other women there prompted me to write down: BE MORE SPECIFIC, focus, set goals that allow me to succeed. One word caught my attention.
The night’s main topic, being able to say no, being able to focus your energy, not wasting your energy, became secondary.
At work, I make lists of tasks that need to get accomplished, things like “Call Perkin-Elmer and set up training on the Envision Multi-Label Plate Reader,” “Email virus room upgrade information to user group,” and “Sort invoices and packing slips.” Nice, neat, accomplishable tasks. Large and complicated tasks get broken down into their parts. These tasks get prioritized, and checked off as they’re completed. At the end of the day I have a very satisfying record of what I’ve done. As a CYA (cover your ass) technique, this list is in my dayplanner. What did I do on August 15th that made me indispensable to the Centre? It’s all right there.
But in my personal life, I don’t get that daily or even weekly affirmation, or feeling of success. “Self-care” isn’t a clearly defined goal or task. I might actually be doing great on that front, and yet not feel like it. I’m not saying I need to keep a daily list of tasks and accomplishments. What I’m saying is that I need to be more clear. But even more so, I need to set clear goals that allow me to feel a success. Usually one goal kind of morphs into the next before it’s totally done, an endless “and then.” There’s no staircase leading from “Here I am now,” to “Have better self-esteem.” Since there’s no marker points, no milestones, the journey just seems impossibly long. But I have this itchy feeling under the surface, that it’s not simply a lack of ability to set clear, attainable goals. I can do that. I demonstrate it at work daily. For some reason I find it hard to permit myself to feel success on a personal level.
A couple of months ago now I set very clear self-care goals. It worked. I went to the next Mama Renew feeling all happy and satisfied, I’d done my homework and looked after myself. And then this month some of that went by the wayside. Why? It felt good. In theory, we should stop doing the things that make us feel like crap, and keep doing the things that make us feel good. I’ve got it backwards.
So here’s a new attempt.
My priorities this month:
1) Self-Care needs to come to the front again. I will continue to go to the gym at least two lunch hours a week. I will return to consistently writing happinesses. I will resume my ten minutes of guided meditations.
2) Parenting as always is a priority. My goals are to read Cameron at least one story a day outside of bedtime stories, allowing him to ‘help’, to encourage good eating habits and independence by putting a plate of snackables in the fridge (fruit, cheese, crackers, etc) at his height, and to try to focus on the successes instead of the frustrations. As the facilitator, a wonderful woman, suggested – be able to say at the end of the weekend that we got through a weekend, it had its ups and downs, and just accept it. I’ll also look for the book that Jonahlisa suggested a couple of posts back, as it sounds like it might be helpful.
3) Friendships. I’ve let most of them slide – one in particular. I will make more of an effort to contact that one particular super-amazing brilliant light of a friend on a more regular basis, and stop making her make all the ‘first moves’.