Once a month, my friend Ellen and I try to meet up for breakfast or lunch. HB jokes about us being “Ladies of Leisure” with our monthly meet-ups, but really it’s not that much different from him going to lunch with his coworkers. (I don’t get that privilege since I work from home.)
Although I felt overwhelmed this morning with everything that needed to get done and was feeling a bit down on myself, meeting with Ellen gave me the spirit-boost that I needed. I consider myself lucky to have a great friend nearby with whom I can meet and talk with about anything/everything and not worry about being judged. I’m able to see things more clearly, come up with alternatives, and most importantly, decompress.
Some things we talked about today:
Permission to take care of oneself. We both tend to give, give, and give to our families, and yet never quite keep a reserve for ourselves. So we decided to give each other permission—an assignment—to take care of ourselves: a day each week to recharge, or if schedules don’t permit that, then an hour or so each day during which we would allow ourselves to indulge in something frivolous. Because at the end of the day when the work is done and the kids are put to bed, we do deserve a little treat. For me, it could be a few rounds of Scrabble, some chapters of a romance novel, an episode from a Korean drama, or maybe some retail/e-tail therapy. I need to remind myself that it’s highly encouraged, because all work and no play makes Mommy even a greater bitch to reckon with.
Parenting—there’s no easy answer. We muddle through as best as we can. Although there are tons of advice out there, it’s all about trial and error. Some approaches work better than others. And it’s OK to blow up once in a while, to not justify/rationalize one’s actions, and simply say, “Do it because I said so.” Ultimately, we want to teach our kids some core values and basic skills so they can take care of themselves. For me, I want to make sure my daughter knows: 1) don’t give up when things get hard; 2) work hard, play hard—but make sure you meet your responsibilities first; 3) don’t blame others for things that aren’t going right—make the most of what you can; 4) if you need help/want something, ask; 5) the world doesn’t revolve around you—you have to work with and around others; 6) do the right thing. And although the Princess may not like my ways, I do hope she understands that I’m trying to do my best for her sake.
Celebrate the small victories. Change happens gradually. People need encouragement/positive feedback along with the criticism. Even if things don’t go according to plan, be grateful for the little things.
The flip-side—things can always be worse.