Me. It’s a loaded word. When other people have words like ‘Courage’ or ‘Inspire’ or ‘Hope’, ‘Me’ falls flat.
You might think, wow, that’s a pretty selfish word. You’re supposed to give of yourself, then give some more. We live in a society that frowns upon putting yourself first, unless you’re a cutthroat Wall Street broker. If you are a parent, you are expected to put your children first, all the time. I’m not sure who’s expecting all this, but the expectations are there.
The nature of a child is that they demand to be put first, all the time. So the kids are no help.
As a mother, you are somehow expected to do it all, whatever that means. Work, household, children, there are simply not enough hours in the day to do it all.
Doing it all is absolutely impossible. No one can do everything. (Although there are times when I think I come close.)
For a few months at the end 2012 I juggled a ridiculously demanding work schedule and the craziness of our family life. Hubby was SAHDad, and made sure I had a meal before I collapsed into bed exhausted, only to do it all again the next day.
My health suffered, I had a flare up of a chronic illness that left me wiped with crushing fatigue and simply ill for months. I couldn’t even accomplish basic tasks, never mind perform at a high level. Hubby took over all childcare duties and my work suffered.
Not putting myself first meant that I had nothing left to give anyone.
So my one word for 2013 is Me. I’m taking time for myself, to do what interests and inspires me. To accomplish this goal I need to use another word – No.
No takes some getting used to, especially if you tend to take everything on, manage to somehow sort it all out, and miraculously accomplish everything singlehandedly. No. We can dress it up with, “No thank you”, or, “No, my schedule is too full right now,” or even the vague, “Let me get back to you on that” (which gives you time to refuse with dignity).
Years ago a supervisor coached me on the effective use of, “Let me think about it and get back to you,” to avoid taking on too much. Even now I appreciate his advice.
But the stuff of life still needs to be done. Work projects, household chores, meeting the needs of children. This leads me to another word – delegate.
This is another skill I need to work on. Sure, if someone else does what I could do, it will not be the same as if I did it. Duh, of course, they are a different person than I am. I need to get over it, and just get it done, in whatever way it takes. This allows me to put Me first, to focus on what I want and need to.
Laundry is a perfect example. Hubby has taken over laundry for our whole family. Sure, there is a basket of wet clothes that now needs to be rewashed because he forgot to hang them up to dry. And sure, there are baskets of clean clothes in the kids’ room, waiting to be put away weeks after they were washed. And yes, we have the daily hassle of searching for clean socks that are buried in baskets of clean laundry.
But it’s not my problem. I have clean clothes. If Hubby wants to spend every morning digging through mountains of laundry just to get the kids dressed (instead of following my carefully labeled schematic on the kid’s dresser drawers) so be it.
If you see us walking down the street, I’ll be the one wearing clean clothes and matching socks. Because I’m putting Me first.
Do you put yourself first? How do you manage this? What’s your one word for 2013?