In the life before the current one, the one that was not yet dedicated to rearing a tiny human, there were frequent work peaks that required lots of last-minute activity, long days and nights, frantic multi-tasking, lots of travel. A constant rush of adrenaline would carry me through to the big day, and a beautiful glowy feeling accommodated the drink (and sleep!) after.
Recently, one of these events was coming up again – and yet again, it was all there: the long hours, the rushing around, the constant vibration of the phone. Just that this time, I had the tiny human on my side. Which most of the time meant squeezing jobs tightly into nap times. Shared attention between child and phone. A lot of missed communication and catching up. A lot of “fun trips” to the office.
And unsurprisingly, I didn’t enjoy it how I used to enjoy it. I felt simultaneously like an insufficient mum and an insufficient colleague, not giving either what I wanted to give. I felt unusually stressed, and I felt a little frustrated.
And then I felt grateful.
Jen Sincero describes a technique called: “This is good because…”. This technique encourages you to focus on the learning resulting from adverse events. My schedule last week made me initially fall back into my old habits – the non-stop working, the adrenaline-driven decision-making, the constant feeling of being “on”. But here is the thing: This doesn’t work for me anymore. I can’t just drop out of my real life like I used to. The tiny human still wants food, time, and attention. And his needs can’t be switched off just because something else got switched on.
This work event was a great opportunity to see (feel) how things have changed. That I don’t need to be or want to be, at work all the time – physically or mentally. That I can effectively delegate. That I can contribute in a range of ways. And that I am at my best if I state exactly what I am able to deliver, and by when. And not more. Without feeling guilty.
And this is good because… working without boundaries has lost its function for me. At least at this point in time. I need to let go of my old habits and develop ones that work for the here and now. And I am lucky I got a practice-run.
About the Author: Leni is a professional writer and researcher, currently on maternity leave from a busy full-time job. She is passionate about minimalism and mindfulness and their potential for self-improvement.