It was finally time to allow myself some "mommy time" to catch up on those things that make me happy. And this week I gave myself an hour to listen to the next interview in the MAPP Gathering series. This interview was with best selling author, Jennifer Louden. (Find out more about her at www.jenniferlouden.com.)
In this interview she talked a lot about the idea of following your own unique path and how the idea of clarity or perfectionism is just a construct in your mind. You'll never attain it! So let's quit setting unreasonable expectations for ourselves! She also talked about how mothering and her career intersected in her life. She said that it never occurred to her to give up her career, her creativity, or her business when she became a mother. It also never occurred to her to put her daughter in full-time care. So she had to figure out a way to make it all work together.
I have been very lucky in my ability to make that happen. I often say that I get the best of both worlds. I work at home. That allows me to continue my career that I love. It also allows me to have an outlet for my personal interests. I also get to (with help) be a stay-at-home mom. My kids are at home with our nanny while I'm working in my office. I get to drop in to have lunch with them or spend 15 minutes reading a book with them in the middle of the day. It's really the best blend.
But these weren't the only areas I found myself relating to with Jennifer. She talked about all of the panic around caring for our children. She talked about panicking over how much time she was spending with her children - was it enough? Was it quality time? She panicked over what other moms were doing - how she stacked up by comparison. And I thought - Yes! Me too! I worry about whether I'm spending enough time with the kids. How much is enough? And when I am spending time with them are we spending it doing the right things? Is it enough quality time? And then I see what other moms are doing and I think I should be doing those things too! I'm not living up to what I'm supposed to be. But Jennifer did a really nice job of putting all of this in perspective. She says that we just step back and ask ourselves "What does my kid need?" Does she need more time with me? Does she need some special time with me? Does she need some space to spend time on her own? Does she need to pick herself back up or does she need me to rush in to help? We shouldn't be worried about what other moms are doing or what is "enough", we should just worry about what our kids need and making sure that they get it.
And that's what I'm focusing on this week. I'm going to quit setting expectations for myself. I'm going to just tune into my kids. What do they need? And I'm going to do my best to fill that need for them - without trying to be perfect. And without panic!