I've let my kids become my excuse for making excuses. I used to be the kind of person who accepted invitations with excitement. I'd go to events, even if I didn't know anyone, and I'd make the best of it. It worked to my advantage because the more I said 'yes' to invitations the more things I got invited to. I went on a bunch of press trips, I attended technology conferences, I went to book launches, and film openings. I met amazing people and got to know this city really well.
I did it all on my own—and I loved it! Back then, I didn't like staying home and going to bed early. I liked having plans. I loved going out. And I enjoyed pushing myself outside of my comfort zone.
But then I had kids and I got really "busy" and really tired—and the excuses they just kept coming!
I'd love to go to that event but...
I don't have childcare.
It's too far downtown.
I don't have anyone to go with.
What if I get stuck standing by myself?
I'll have to talk to people.
I'll have to get dressed up.
I just don't have the energy.
I'd love to start my own business, but how will I have enough money/time/energy to make it happen?!
What if it's not profitable?
How will I find the motivation to put in all the work needed to make it a success?
I'd love to go on more dates with my husband, but babysitters are so expensive.
I'd love to see my friends more often, but that requires getting dressed and going out...at the end of the day...when all I really want to do is crawl into bed!
And on and on and on I go.
I used to love doing things—these days all I'm doing is dreaming up reasons not to do things. And frankly I'm sick of it.
I hate that feeling when the day of an event arrives and I know it's happening and I wish I was attending, but instead I'm home in my PJs telling myself that it's easier to stay in and watch Netflix than to make the effort to go out.
Interestingly, I don't make the same excuses when it comes to my kids' activities. We never miss a Saturday morning dance class and we go to all the birthday parties my kiddo is invited to (even if that means going to three in one weekend, like we did over the past few days). Interestingly, I make sure my kids have an amazing social life, but I'm willing to let mine slip.
It's so easy to fall into this trap. It's so easy to say 'no thanks' or 'maybe next time.'
But I'm SO done with excuses.
I'm going to BlissDom in October! I just secured my ticket. I might even stay over at the hotel for a night.
I'm going to start saying YES to invitations when I get them. So please feel free to invite me to your events!
I'm going to get dressed, dry my hair, and drag myself out of the house. I'm going to start having a life outside of my kids! I deserve it. It's all part of putting myself first.
Does having having kids prevent you from living your life? How do you stop yourself from making excuses? I want to know!
Read all about my plan to start really putting myself first. And, this is an old post I wrote about getting outside and enjoying nature, which I think is relevant because now that the weather is FINALLY nicer I think it's going to be MUCH easier for all of us to stop making excuses and get outside more.
So here's to a spring/summer without any excuses! Are you with me?
There is a lot going on my in head these days. My baby girl turned 1 a few weeks ago, and it's as if a switch went off the day we celebrated her birthday. I didn't take a formal mat leave. I worked right though baby Fi's first year, albeit much less. But, I always had that nice buffer giving me an excuse not to stress so much, or worry if I wasn't making enough money, or be so hard on myself if I wasn't accomplishing a lot. I have a newborn, I'd say to myself. I'm allowed to be less productive. I'm not getting a full night's sleep, so I can't be expected to work every day. If I were on EI, I wouldn't be making much money anyway. This internal monologue let me off the hook.
But then my baby's first birthday crept up on me...and BAM just like that, she was 1!
And I was all: I need to get to work. What have I been doing all year? I need to produce more. I need to make more money. I need a better routine. I've got to find work I love and that will pay me well. I need to spend ALL of my 'free' time working.
In an instant, all of my productivity, energy, self-confidence, and creativity flew right out the window.
I was exhausted. I was feeling down on myself. I couldn't bring myself to write much of anything. I started three blog posts and discarded them all. I was still producing good quality work, but I wasn't really feeling great about any of it. When a contract I'd been working on and loving came to an end, I cried. When I looked at my dwindling bank account, I felt defeated. And, when I visited the YMC site, I felt frustrated that I couldn't think of anything worthwhile to write.
I had spent the past year being really productive, taking care of a new baby and working—but suddenly, that wasn't enough.
And that, my dear readers, is how powerful guilt and self-doubt can be. One minute I was doing my best and feeling pretty darn good about it, and the next I was a huge failure who needed a complete life and career overhaul.
Interestingly, I've been thinking a lot about what it means to 'take care of yourself' when you're a mom. And, I've realized, just over the past few days, that self-care and putting yourself first aren't actually about making time for manicures, or girls' nights, or yoga classes. Self-care isn't about blowdrying your hair or wearing nice clothes. It's not about carving out time every evening to take a bath and read a book. While these things all help, they aren't going to be enough to make your life better or to make you feel good about yourself.
What taking care of yourself really means, is giving yourself permission to be wherever you are and to do whatever you're doing—without guilt and without pressure to do more or be more or have more.
You are enough.
I am enough.
As a mom, I'm finding this extremely hard to accept. I have more expectations of myself that I've ever had. I want to do it ALL. I want to be productive in my career, I want to be successful, I want to make money, I want to be there for my kids, I want my kids to be happy and healthy all the time, I want to have a good relationship with my husband, I want to have a balanced life, I want to spend time with my friends, I want to go shopping, I want to get my hair done, I want to look good when I leave the house, I want to have energy once my kids are in bed, I want to eat well, I want to be in good shape...
But all this wanting is doing a real number on me. I'm so busy wanting it ALL that I'm not enjoying what I do have. I'm not congratulating myself on small accomplishments. I'm not embracing the chaos...I'm fighting it.
Putting yourself first means doing LESS. But all I can think of is how much MORE I have/want to do.
I think many moms feel the same way. And, so I'm giving myself a new challenge. By the time Fiona turns two I will have embraced and accepted the fact that I CAN'T DO IT ALL. I will give myself a break when things don't get done on time or don't get done at all. I'll take care of myself by saying NO more often. By doing less, more often. And by being okay with my life—just the way it is.
Like this post? Click here to read what happened when my big kid turned 4 or read the letter I wrote to all new moms about how to embrace life with a new baby.