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That whole imperfection thing. I’m getting better at making peace with it, but still, there are days.
As working moms we will never have enough time to be the perfect mom or the perfect employee or the perfect anything, and there can be pain in living that. I remember days when the pain of it was just blinding. Days when the kitchen was a mess and the report was overdue, and all I wanted was more time to sit and read to my kids and I felt utterly inadequate. Pain, sister. This life is not for sissies.
It helped when I learned about Big Rocks.
Big rocks. Put the big rocks in first. You’ve probably heard this analogy from Stephen Covey, but just in case: Imagine you have a big jar, and you are asked to fill it with sand and pebbles and small rocks and a few big rocks. There is more than enough material there to fill the jar to the top, how can you get the most in your jar? Well, if you put the sand and pebbles in first, there won’t be room for the big rocks. The trick is to put the big rocks in first and then fit the pebbles and sand in around them.
The big rocks for me are my family, my health, my job. Small rocks, friendships, our dogs, the compulsion I have to continually learn about the world around me. Sand: Shopping (fine if I have time, but mostly I go with what we already own or, if I have to, have the new item delivered).
Big rock: Christmas gift for the kid. Sand: Wrapping it beautifully.
Big rock: Family eating dinner together. Sand: Fancy food.
Big rock: Major project at work. Sand: Happy hour.
Big rock: Safe house. Sand: Clean house.
Let yourself live this. It won’t all fit in, it just won’t. Especially in those early and fleeting years when your kids are little and they want and need so much from you. Let the sand-little unimportant stuff go, and no regrets.
When the sand-people complain or criticize you – and, sadly, it’s a when, not an if – let it roll past without touching your heart. You can, because you know your big rocks are taken care of.
Identify your big rocks. What matters to you? Protect that.
You’ve got this.