Today, as I’m sitting down to write, I notice myself being distracted: remembering a follow-up email I need to send, eager to write up a flyer for an upcoming program I’m co-leading, wanting to figure out what I need to thaw out for dinner, making a note to call the pediatrician and get appointments scheduled.
The beauty of my work is that I can be home, create a flexible schedule and jump from my professional hat to my home hat and back again fairly seamlessly.
The challenge of my work is that I am home with a flexible schedule and keep jumping from my professional hat to my home hat and back again throughout the day.
Sometimes it feels like I’m not doing either job at 100%.
Sometimes I’ll look up from my computer and realize I have to stop what I’m doing and go pick up kids from baseball practice. Even if I’m in a really good creative place of flow, I have to stop and pivot.
Other times, I have to skip out on dinner to go to a networking event, even though I really want to hear about what happened in Games class or on the bus ride home.
I realize that I am not alone in this balancing act - probably most women who have chosen to create a family and a career for themselves feel this tension.
The question that I’m asking myself today is - how do I honor each role and hold that tension gently while keeping myself feeling grounded and balanced?
Here are some thoughts to answer my own question:
- BE INTENTIONAL - I want to be intentional about which hat I’m wearing at any given time by giving myself scheduled blocks for different focuses. Creating some structure keeps me from wandering in and out of various activities, helps me feel more productive and more focused.
- GO HATLESS - I also make sure to have time when I’m wearing neither hat and doing things simply because I enjoy them. Reading a novel, meeting up with a friend for lunch, going to a church service fall into this category for me.
- BE AS MUCH AS DO - Stepping away from my productivity lens can be a challenge for me. I tend to measure my success by how much I “got done.” Without leaving space for focusing on who and how I want to BE, I risk pushing myself to a place of discouragement where I get bogged down in self-criticism and a model of scarcity.
- BREATHE AND MOVE - My work often keeps me in my head, as does managing the household. Getting into my body and turning off the ticker tape in my mind helps me to reconnect to myself and the bigger picture. Being outside always inspires me to breathe deeply and let the busy details of my juggling roles fall away.
- CALL UPON THE BIG PICTURE - When I slow down enough to ask myself big questions like, “Who do I want to be in the world,” I get past some of the flotsam of details and reconnect to the big, big, biggest picture of being stardust and universal energy and part of something infinitely larger than myself.
- SAY THANKS - When I fill my cup with gratitude, it runs over. Getting stuck in stories of lack or dis-ease only serves to make life even more difficult. Watching things bud and bloom this week as spring surges forth with new life is awe-inspiring. I am eternally grateful that I get to be here to witness it all.
What’s interesting as I look back on this list is noticing how these ideas don’t live in a vacuum. One thing leads to another: When I am intentional, I slow down, I breathe. When I get out and move, I connect to nature, to beauty and awe, to the bigger picture. All of it calls forth my presence and my gratitude.
And from this place of presence and gratitude, the tension of roles and how well I'm doing at them dissipates, and I can simply feel at home with myself.
What is it like for you to put down your roles (go hatless)? Where does this land on your priority list?
Jessica Curtis is a professional coach who helps people cultivate intention and live from a place of meaning and authenticity. If you think you could benefit from working with Jessica or want to invite her to work with your group, reach out to start a conversation.