Attending the needs of our children and responding to the demands of work may leave us with a sense of stripping us apart – especially when there can seem to be so many demands of both, often times appearing to be in conflict. In the effort to manage and give your energy to both, you may begin to wonder where time and energy for you are in the middle of all of it.
How do you give your best to your career and motherhood and not lose yourself in the process?
You don’t have to lose yourself nor make sacrifices in your career or parenting to have fulfillment and enjoyment of all elements of your life.
If you have a sense that you are losing touch with yourself amongst the roles of parent and worker, there are some simple steps you can take to function a little differently and have greater success (and enjoyment) in your commitment to your kids, your career, and have a strong and healthy connection with yourself.
One important element to accomplishing this is choosing to be more present in your life. Contrary to what you might believe, being present is not about excluding one element or one part of your life in order to focus on another. It is being willing to be engaged with what is in front of you, while not dimming your awareness of everything else. You don’t have to put aside your role as a mother to do well at work, and you don’t have to forget your career skills and abilities in your parenting, and you do not have to exclude your own needs to successfully raise kids or have a career.
Here are three simple ways to invite more moments of presence and avoid losing you as you navigate the challenges of work and motherhood.
Start every day being present with you
One simple yet effective method to begin being more present with yourself is to consciously and regularly give you your undivided attention throughout the day.
This could begin by waking 15 minutes earlier each morning. In that time, give yourself some attention: “check in” with yourself. Take a moment to look in the mirror have a moment of gratitude for you (no judgment or criticism!). Use those minutes to have some fun. Play with what you are going to wear that day, read something that really inspires you, write something in a journal, or take some time to set some personal targets. Whatever you do, the point is to take that time to be with you first instead of rushing into the day’s activities. Use those moments to relax and be fully present with you and see the changes it starts to create in your day.
Choose some fun and lightness in moments throughout the day
When you have activities where you are on your own, where does your mind go? When you visit the gym, go to the supermarket, or drive, why not use those moments to do something for you, in your favor?
Instead of repeatedly running through a to-do list, playing a movie of complaints or resentments, or fixating on things that have gone wrong, use those minutes to your advantage. Listen to music you like, take time to breathe and clear your head. Have fun with yourself. Tell yourself a joke or find something to laugh about. Even amid the most boring activity, what could you choose or put your attention on that would create some fun and lightness for you?
Be present with whatever comes your way
When you catch our mind wandering off-task, you may assume the remedy is to push those thoughts aside in attempt to narrow your focus. Rather than focus, be present with what is in front of you. The difference with being present is you can be there for the task at hand, but, unlike focus, you do not have to cut away anything else in your mind not related to that activity. It actually takes a lot more energy to exclude and focus than to be present and allow.
For example, if your child is coming to your mind while at work, allow it to be there. Allow the feelings you have for your child to be there, too. When you allow all of it to be there as part of you and your day, there is no need to put any energy or attention toward trying to avoid it.
What if the different areas of your life could contribute to each other and making you whole instead of split apart?
Losing yourself occurs when you believe you have to exclude any other part of you in the roles you play. By allowing yourself to bring all of you to work and motherhood, choosing to be more present with you in the moments of daily life, and by including your personal life in the picture of your day, you will begin to have a greater sense of yourself in all elements of life, and you may find that you have a lot more energy and resourcefulness available to you than ever before.