Change happens for us all every day. We do not always realize how much change hits us on a day-to-day basis, often because of how we handle the change. At some level we all have a bit of dislike to change. Some individuals are more flexible than others, some are more set in their ways or routines, and yet others relish the freedom and excitement of having things constantly changing in life.
Whatever level of tolerance we have for change, we often do not have a choice of if it happens to us. Whether that means changes at work, at home, with our family, there is change that happens by choice and change that we would rather not come close to with a ten foot pole. These past few weeks for me have been emotional to one extent (thank you hormones) and a little nerve-racking on another level. I know I am not the first woman to have a baby, and I know (because everyone tells you) that my life is about to change in numerous ways. Some of those changes will be amazing, and some will knock me on my ass.
I have to say that what has been hardest (besides my body no longer being mine, the endless peeing, and little to no sleep because of the endless peeing) has been being a professional woman with a team. When you read about others that go on maternity leave, they talk about the baby side of it, but what they do not really talk often about is what it is like for the working mom. I have been working since I was 9 years old. I had a paper route, and babysat kids in the neighborhood. This means that I have been working non-stop for the last 28 years. The most time I have taken off (other than a period when I was laid off), is the two weeks I took for my wedding/honeymoon. I have never not worked for a longer period than that.
Now, judge me all you want, as I think some mothers might — when I say it is going to be hard for me to be away from work. There are some pretty involved and intense projects happening in the coming months and, while I have the most amazing team, it does not make it easy for me to be away from it all. I have poured my heart into the work and my team, and having a child does not necessarily change my dedication to my work. Sure, some of my priorities will change when I meet Mini Conk, but I also want to raise a son that not only understands the importance of hard work, but also sees that I have an identity that is different from just being a mom.
Folks rarely talk about how hard it is for a working mom, instead I see more judgement that my place as a mom is at home with my son. Why should I have to choose, and why should I be judged for how I want to live my life? As more and more women have leadership positions at companies, not only do the rights for women having children need to change, so does the behavior for how we treat women that work and want to do both.
I am a get-shit-done-now kind of woman. I blogged recently about how it is hard for me to sometimes be artistic and creative (which I love doing) if there is not order in my home and my mind. I have to clear out the clutter, organize, and make space for new ideas to grow and flourish. In the coming weeks, Chris and I have a list of home projects and tasks to embark on. One is to make space in a few closets and find ways to build shelves within the closets to truly maximize the space. Not the most fun project in the world, but I have a hunch that as we do it, and we truly go through the items stacked away we will find that purging and organizing will be therapeutic.
Which is why I loved this idea from a recent Daily Om:
“Most of us have had the experience of tackling some dreaded task only to come out the other side feeling invigorated, filled with a new sense of confidence and strength. The funny thing is, most of the time when we do them, we come out on the other side changed and often wondering what we were so worried about or why it took us so long. We may even begin to look for other tasks we’ve been avoiding so that we can feel that same heady mix of excitement and completion.”
Not that cleaning out a closet is a daunting task, my point is more that sometimes when we talk about something we need to just shut up and do it. And, stop talking about it! Your list itself might be painful to look at because you think: “How am I ever going to do all this?” Instead of wallowing in all you have to do, just get started.
Maybe your dreaded task is actually a conversation. It might be one you have tried to have many times before with that person and you never truly get out what you want to get across. Or, maybe you have had the conversation multiple times, but the other person does not get it. You dread it, but know that being transparent, open, and direct with your thoughts and feedback allows you to get it off your chest leaving you feeling free and stronger.
Whatever the project, my hope is that you start, work through it, get ‘er done, and move on. You will feel lighter. You will.
Often we think about all the many tasks that we have not completed. I know my to-do list feels never ending, whether it is all the projects I want to get after when I am at home at night or on the weekend, or the multitude of projects that are in front of me at work. I love the feeling of accomplishment of large projects and many tasks and knowing how a to-do list can be like carving away the excess to find the beauty of the sculpture that will eventually surface.
Yet, we usually think about what we cross off of our lists. I am definitely one to cross something off my list so I do not have to see it anymore, but recently came across a Fast Company article about having a “To-Done” list and celebrating the accomplishments by being able to look at all that was done. An aha moment for me! The article is definitely a must read, but I specifically wanted to highlight three key questions from the article:
“1. What am I thankful for today?
2. What did I enjoy today?
3. What am I satisfied with today?”
Have you thought about what you did at work this week, what you accomplished, and what you felt good about most of all? I definitely need to retrain my thought from “get it done” to “appreciate what got done.” It will be a shift for me, but a welcome one. I know there are many days when I cross a ton of items off of my list, and then never remember all that I got done that day or week. Maybe we should all start “To-Do” and then move items to “Done” (whether you are old school and have paper lists, or via an app).