Realignment

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This blog is Day 24 of my 30 days of motherhood blogging challenge. Every day, for 30 days, I’m sharing diary-style snippets of my life as a working mum to one cheeky toddler. Consider this part creative experiment, part self-therapy. Feel free to play along at home! You can read days one to 23 here.

I’m living out of alignment with one of my values at the moment. I know this because I’ve got stress eczema all over my hands, I’m not getting enough sleep and my back and shoulders are sore and tight.

Health is one of my highest values, but it’s also one of the first to fall when life gets full. You, too?

My life is overflowing at the moment, in so many big and beautiful ways. Zoey is changing before my eyes every single day, learning new words and making new discoveries about the world. Work is abundant. My creative brain is humming non-stop (all the ideas, so little time…). And Tom and I are getting married in 23 days, a formal celebration of our love with our nearest and dearest.

There’s a lot going on, and most of it is magical, but I keep thinking about something Oprah said…

You can have it all. Just not all once.
— Oprah

I’ve always struggled to accept this lesson, long before motherhood. At high school, I would experience cycles of over-commitment and burnout. I’m a curious, enthusiastic soul – I like to say yes to things and figure it out later. I’m also a time optimist – I believe I can make time for just about anything if I’m driven and organised enough.

But one thing I’m learning about motherhood is it requires so much ‘white space’ in your calendar. You can’t colour code every hour of every day. You can’t over-schedule yourself to the point that, if your child gets sick or wants to colour in for three hours straight, then your whole week is out of kilter.

In motherhood, my time management and organisational skills are no longer enough to support my ambitions. In my quest to do so much, I risk losing precious time with Zoey. The most precious time of all – time to just be.

One good thing about living out of alignment, is your body makes it impossible to ignore. My eczema is the worst it’s ever been and I keep getting colds. I’ve been avoiding gluten and dairy for months now, hoping it will make a difference to my skin. It hasn’t, not really. Deep down, I know the real trigger is probably stress and fatigue. But I’d way rather give up dairy and gluten than try to get more sleep each night or reduce my work hours. I can buy dairy-free milk and gluten-free bread, but which store do I go to for more time to write and create and read??

To some people, I probably sound like a total workaholic. I think it’s more that I’m living by ‘old rules’ – I’m living in a way that used to work for me pretty well (give or take a few times when I pushed myself too hard) but is no longer a realistic option. My life has changed and the old rules no longer apply.

So, what does realignment with my values look like for me? What changes are necessary?

I won’t figure this out overnight, but I know the first step is to stop acting like I’m superhuman. I need more sleep. I need to breathe and stretch more (yoga). And I need to create more white space in my calendar to simply be, instead of trying to squeeze the productive juice out of every hour.

Old habits can be hard to break, but I think I’m getting there.

Until tomorrow,
Jess x