I didn't think I was a procrastinator. Because I was always busy.
I mean, mums are always busy.
"How's your week been...?"
Most mums I know would include "erm... busy" in their answer...
Because, usually, we're attempting to do a ridiculous number of things, on a long impossible list.
And usually, we're trying to meet an unrealistic expectation of what we think we 'should' be. And being mean to ourselves when we don't.
Usually, we're struggling to say no to yet more things we don't need to do. Because we want to help others more than we're able to help ourselves.
Sometimes that busy-ness is simply about scrolling through our phones and social media in a search for connection...usually forgetting what on earth it was we went there for in the first place.
Staying on track is hard. It's hard to prioritise when you're too busy to pause and ask yourself what you actually need. When you're exhausted, over-worked and under-appreciated, it's hard to see what really matters. It's hard to see beyond the 'usual'. And so we put too many things on our lists that aren't really important. And lose faith in ourselves when we can't do them all.
The photo above was taken today in my back room, surrounded by washing, bags of swim stuff, surfboards, craft gear, and general 'room of requirement' chaos. I did pretend to be on my phone, but the rest of it is real - this is basically what it looks like all the time...
One interpretation of this 'housekeeping failure' might be that I'm procrastinating. That I'm simply putting off all the difficult conversations, nagging, trips to the dump and boring hard work that a proper back room sort-out would entail.
Another one would be that I'm prioritising. And prioritising isn't always comfortable. It means accepting that some things won't get done. It means accepting imperfection. It means not being superwoman.
And I really want to be superwoman.
Moving forward means that I have to accept that I'm not. I'm a woman trying my best. And that's enough.
Sometimes, we keep ourselves busy to avoid facing the stuff that, deep down, we really want to do. Because making a change is scary. And secretly, we're scared we will fail at it.
If you don't do it, you can't fail, right?
Except, if you don't do it, you don't do it.
And when we start, gently, kindly, slowly, taking small achievable steps... each one takes us closer to possible success.
So how do we prioritise, and get moving?
- We notice what is absolutely necessary (feeding the kids, washing, earning money to survive, exercise, whatever your minimum needs are). To you. Not to everyone else.
- We let go of what isn't. It doesn't have to be forever. But, for now.
- We give ourselves some time to work out what really matters. To you. Not to everyone else.
And some of us will discover that what matters is clearing and beautifully decorating their own back room - for the joy it brings them. For others, it will be finding time to write and create, to build a business, get fit or get outside - because that's what lights them up.
What is it for you?
It's pay what you can, so there's no risk. Apart from taking that risk on yourself, and getting started in the first place. You need a little courage for that.
And you deserve it, beautiful brave mama that you are. Trust in yourself, take something off your list, and put you on it.
A new online group programme from Story of Mum
Getting clear, being brave, and starting towards change together: a fortnight of community encouragement, resources and inspiration for stuck mamas.
30 April to 13 May 2018