Would you classify yourself as a “Crunchy Mom”? Do you want the best for your child but are struggling with managing your time? If there is one thing I feel like I don’t have a lot of, its time and I know this a conversation that I have inside of my head. I have the same 168 hours a week as Tony Robbins, the President, and the Dali Lama. I know right those three people in the same sentence, but its true! What makes those people able to manage and control their time. Do you think they or we get it everything done in a day… I wish! I am a list person, I love lists. They keep me focused, and they keep me accountable. I love schedules.. ha! Anyone that knows me knows how I live and die by my schedule. If you don’t get on the schedule, you don’t get the time, sorry! I prioritize everything in my schedule, each day has a different goal and a person. I used to be more CEO than crunchy mom and would drive myself to insanity to get everything done on my list. I would run myself down and run myself ragged trying to perfect, trying to be superwoman, trying to prove my worth through my to-do list, and trying so desperately to get it all done and get it all right! I had to retire the CEO mom. She was exhausted, irritable, sick, controlling, and would freak out if a last minute cancel would happen or if the dishes were left in the sink at night. I just could not function I was so nutty. The CEO mom was wearing me out, and worse than that she was rocking my adrenal glands all over my body… I am surprised they didn’t run away from my body in sheer terror. I felt guilty when I took downtime, and mind you my downtime consistently of me falling out on a Friday afternoon for an hour on the couch in exhaustion before by sheer wills I would get myself up and out back to work (or synagogue). I was unrelenting and tenacious, yet I was unbalanced, and not well rested. Sleeping consisted of me resting with my eyes closed for a few hours waking up 5 hours later exhausted. It wasn’t until I retired the CEO mom that I found true sleep, and boy was that different. I would work 45 days straight and then take one guilt reddened day off. I was pushing and forcing myself to succeed through education, and certifications trying to prove to myself that I was worthy. I was ruled by guilt and shame that I was a “bad mom.” If I was 5 mins late to a recital because of an employee issue, I would beat myself up at the disappointed look on my daughters face. In fact, I allowed her unrealistic nerve expectations of me rule my life more than any boss could. It was tough. I was always balancing life as a mother and life as an entrepreneur. I’ve been both her entire life. Eventually, I began to gain weight as the stress of finishing grad school, opening a practice, and going through failed marriages took a toll on my health. I felt less and less like myself with less joy and more depression, irritability, and sadness. I felt in many ways powerless over the rat race I found myself in, yet something needed to change.
SO I went to work, and not the work that you are thinking. I looked inward to find my inner crunchy mom Afterall, I am a hippie and the carefree nature of myself is who I was when I had her, that had been lost along the way of responsibility, single parenting, and doing things “well.” I wanted to find more freedom in my lifestyle. I put myself on a schedule, a Dan not just any schedule but an organized schedule. I changed my office hours from being 24/7 round the clock, call, text or email whenever to dedicated office hours. I declared to myself that I would only work 8-8pm (which still seems like a lot, yet has balanced itself more). I also broke out time that I would work on my business, work in my business, and time that I would just Netflix and chill (yes that is scheduled too). I prioritized which days I would focus on which tasks. Like right now is Thursday before patient care, Thursdays are marketing days for me so after a networking event this morning, I am banging out about 4 blog posts before I see cases for the day. Organization has become my friend, and discipline his close cousin. They used to be estranged this two, but after a lot of counseling, they have become best of friends. Discipline is not a dirty word to me anymore, which after a childhood with two overbearing marines I avoided this like the plague. I think this is what created that more free-spirited carefree nature of my personality. And now I can marry and celebrate the two worlds of freedom and discipline and in fact, have found more freedom amongst the discipline to which I teach my patients who literally break out into anaphylactic shock when I mention the word. I think it all comes down to choosing what your priorities you have and setting short term and long term goals while creating accountabilities. The bigger the dream, the goal, the vision the more structured and disciplined your life has to become, with fun sprinkled in there. I always find things to look forward to amongst all of the chaos. This new year I chose to join a hiking group so I could have something non-work related to experience that connects and bonds me deeper with nature and gets me out of the house with a little convincing my daughter may actually come with me, but at 14 years old anything away from WiFi can be a quite big sell.
I think there is a lot we can learn right from this current generation. They approach life in Avery’s relaxed manner, and our authoritarian brains go nuts, and we assume that they will fail because they do not see things in such a life or death manner, but reality is that they will find their way as we all have found our way. Even if that way is surfing their friends couch because they burned all their bridges. We hope that they take the ques, wake up, and are willing to do the work, but as we celebrate time freedom, we also celebrate our responsibility freedom. We are not responsible for other people’s journey. This has been a hard one for me to grasp.
When working with patients, I often reference the sandbox analogy. I give each person their own sandbox. As much as they may want to play with others sand, because it may look unkempt, they simply cannot because they can only stay in their own sandbox. They can’t play with other people toys either even if their toys look shiner. We simply must stay within the confounds of our experience, which means not intervening on another’s experience or lesson or journey. This is tough, especially if you have a save the world mentality, however, this approach can do more harm than help to both parties. You as you neglect ones self in order to rescue another that did not ask to be saved. And the backlash of resentment from the other for feeling as though you intervened when they could handle themselves. It is a hard lesson to learn and one that I continue to reflect on to the point of taking full responsibility even for the creations of the world around me… I’ll save that for another blog post.
The new year brings so much possibility and the one possibility that I want everyone to grasp is balance. Make time for you, make time for the kids, and make time for your sanity. The CEO will give you the time off, and the crunchy mom will be grateful she can meditate, read, or take a nap.
*All information contained in this blog post is intended for informational and educational purposes only, and is neither intended nor suited to be a replacement or substitute for professional medical treatment nor for professional medical advice relative to a specific medical question or condition.