In the spirit of trying new things I’ve created a new blog site for some of my more business and career-minded workplace writings! I hope you will check me out and follow me in my new location at http://www.WorkThinkForward.com! Cheers … Continue reading
Those articles that shout “you too can have it all” must be outright lies…or just belong to someone else’s reality.
It has been well over a month since I have written anything more elaborate than a Facebook status: partially because I haven’t had time and partially because I get ashamed when I see myself falling behind and would rather fall off the map than admit I see an inability to get everything done as a weakness instead of just a practical reality.
In the past few weeks, I have had a loved one unexpectedly hospitalized (way scary), giant projects at work, the birth of a new niece and travel shoved in with general survival. Add in several anxiety attacks, occasional bouts of exercise, toddler tantrum remediation and obligatory social occasions and you have…
It’s the way it goes. You roll with it or fight it; the former has benefits of conservation of energy, the latter allows room for the illusion that we have much control.
I went away for a hiring event (one I worked my arse off to plan and execute) for one of my company’s locations. It was many long hours on my feet, and my blister’s blisters had babies over a 4 day period.
My sainted hubby had the kids alone while I was gone. Both kids and the dog got sick at the same time. After 4 days of business travel I flew home, got off the plane, arrived at my house (after an hour stuck in rush hour traffic) and took over for the weekend.
Today I went back to work wondering
If I really did anything this weekend beyond herding crying children, wiping gooey, snotty faces and hiding in the bathroom (which doesn’t work by the way).
And yet? I have a job to go to and a reason to work hard. I have the children and family I always wanted. We’re not rich, but we have a roof and clothes and help should we need it. I have reasons to laugh daily. Everyone made it through their various illnesses, and I am still here to write about it all.
And while I wish I were writing more, perhaps I should just be grateful I can write at all, and be pleased when I can eek out more than a fragment in a bathroom stall (ew!) or during bouts of insomnia.
Or maybe at least I can be willing to accept that I am human, I can only do so much, and be thankful for those things that I do manage to get done…and accept that for me, if I am spending time cuddling my babies (and yes, they are not technically babies, dangit, but they are my babies) and providing for their welfare as best I can, I’m doing okay…and maybe work on trying to better fit some of the other bits in there too and not be so hard on myself.
I like to believe I am pretty honest and straightforward. I do not like the fake, and I am not a fan of the airbrushed. Half of my job depends on my ability to see through the facades people project to find and in some respects, judge, the character and potential beneath.
And I am damn good at it.
But here’s the thing: I am coming to believe in the necessity of multiple personalities and identities. Where blood types and hair color used to be enough to identify bodies, we now have to use DNA to really make sure. And these days, the same level of research seems critical to figuring out who the heck you’re dealing with on a daily basis.
No longer are these judgements based on resumes and simple conversation. You now have to cross-reference LinkedIn profiles versus Twitter feeds versus Facebook. And in some cases you’ll find all 3 vastly different, and that is not by accident.
Even on a micro-level, we compartmentalize our identities more and more, and with social media that trend expands. I am attempting to write not one, but two blogs: one that speaks to me, myself and my experiences and the other to those as they relate to my kids. Why? Because even though I am the same person and tied to my world in both ways, there are some people who dig reading about kids and my stories there and others who just don’t.
I would add a third blog to cover my career gal side if I had time. My work life is catalogued on LinkedIn, my personal on Facebook, and other parts of me scattered among blogs and hash tags. Fragments of who I am show up all over the internet.
I don’t think I am less of a person, less deep, or less kind (usually). I am still me. But adaptation to the social landscape comes at a price: using
so many different outlets for connection and business and self-expression shapes our identities as well. The very tools we use to craft our outward identities change us and the way we think in the process.
I am Google-optimized. That can feel scary, and occasionally leaves me feeling fragmented. But I try to believe I am becoming more of a person, not less, and that we grow to fit not shrink the identities we develop – at least I pray that is the case.
To keep myself sane, I make a conscious effort to step away from the machines, the laptops the iPhone and television and unplug. I play with my kids, pet the dog, and drink a glass of wine on the porch.
Call a friend you usually text message and see them in person. Remind yourself (and them) how much more you are than your status update or latest tweet. That’s what I do anyway. And if maybe you are feeling a little fragmented and overwhelmed by all the social media in your life, you can try it too.
1:55 am. Respond to screaming baby and try to put him back to sleep. Change diaper. Put permanent dents in chest from leaning over side of crib rubbing infant’s back.
2:18 am. Return to bed. Rescue pillow from pug, try to block out combined snores of husband and dog. Resent hot pillow.
3:34 am. Wake to sound of child’s screams. Try to blot out sound ineffectively. Wake up husband and delegate bottle duty. Lay in bed pretending I am not monitoring activity. Fall back to sleep. Nightmare. Damn.
4:50 am. Wake, remembering that I forgot to send a work email. Panic.
5:50 am. Husband’s 20-year-old alarm goes off – for me. Horrid sports radio. ::shudder:: Force self into shower, away from annoying sound.
6:30 am. Trick daughter into clothes for preschool, search house for hair clip and left shoe. Try not to wake baby.
6:34 am. Woke baby. Cuss under breath. Remind daughter she didn’t hear anything.
7:45 am. Leave house with random food items for lunch.
7:50am. Blow through Dunkin Donuts for the coffee I was giving up. Burn mouth, make note to order iced tomorrow.
8:30am. Arrive at office. Pluck eyebrows in car mirror, apply makeup so as not to scare coworkers.
8:34am. Work. Try not to mess up. Eat lunch at desk, try to remember what day it is. Make note to play Lotto.
6:13pm. Leave office. Report location and status to spouse. Pick up dinner for family.
6:53pm. Walk in house. Drop purse, pick up baby. Hug toddler. Share food. Cuddle and play with kiddos.
7:45pm. Give baby bottle. Hope baby falls asleep before I do.
9pm. Fall asleep in clothes on bed while husband continues to try and wrangle toddler.
::Repeat. Rinse. Pray. ::
Stuck under a sleeping baby last night with no access to the remote control, I was forced unwittingly to watch a documentary on unemployment. I don’t know what channel it was on or its title , but it was horribly depressing. Watching people try to smile as they discussed how long they had been out of a job, how they were trying to manage their money, and how they were trying to get through made my heart race and my gut clench like I’d been punched. Continue reading
Let me start with a disclaimer: I am probably the least qualified person I know to speak of a tidy, clutter-free house so if you were hoping for those kinds of tips you are out of luck. Continue reading