So, I took a day for myself this week. I have literally drained myself of all life in relation to work, deadlines, grant writing, meetings, etc. and that doesn’t include being a mom and caring for little people and a home. I take maybe 2 days a year, to do something fun, for me. Like go to museum, go out to a good, lunch or dinner, go to a Broadway show, visit a state park, etc. by myself. However, I am riddled with guilt when I do anything for myself and I think I am not alone.
As mothers/women, there is an unrealistic expectation of family, parenting and working related responsibilities. Society and ourselves, place incredibly unrealistic ideas of what it means to be a mom, wife, working woman, etc. Some women look like they have it all together and which makes me feel even more like a failure. However, what I have learned in life, is that no matter Instagram perfect someone’s life looks, it really isn’t. That we all good and bad days, we all struggle with balance, we all give so much of our selves to others that we don’t save much for ourselves. That is my problem. I am always emailing, always working, always writing, always in motion. Like many, many other women.
Case in point: I took the day Friday to go out of state to John F Kennedy Photography exhibition (which was in Springfield, Ill, at the Lincoln Museum which is an amazing museum) and I was so excited about! I love the Kennedys and especially Jackie Kennedy. I have read over 40 books about the Kennedys. I find them fascinating as a family, as civil servants, politicians, etc. They are not perfect, but I like to read about them.
As I ran out the door at 6:30 am, to drive to this exhibit, of course I took my work bag and my laptop. I COULD NOT LEAVE THEM BEHIND. I seriously have a problem. So much, that after my exhibition tour (which was awesome), I sat a restaurant and emailed, made calls, typed up corrections, texted, etc. However, my anxiety was building as I knew emails were coming in, calls, texts, etc., that need to be addressed. Plus, I work about 10-15 hours most weekends.
So, at the end of the day, it was win that I got to the exhibit and got to spend a lot of time, really reading, looking, learning and enjoying! However, I still worked and intentionally brought work with me. What is wrong with me! I commend people who can clock out or commit to no emails on the weekend, or evenings. Talk about self-control and great perspective on work/life balance. I just plain, old suck at this.
I will take the good with the bad here today. A half victory but I was still productive. Not completely unplugged but still got to do something for myself. I think that more women need to seek out time and opportunities for themselves. To recharge, to seek mindfulness, to find inspiration, to take breath, to take a nap, etc. You don’t need to drive 3 hours to an exhibit, but take care of yourself. NO ONE ELSE IS GOING TO GIVE YOU TIME, EVERYONE WANTS YOUR TIME. There is also no such thing as work/life balance. PERIOD. I still struggle with this concept.
Look for small victories and mark you your calendars. Find time for you.