Maybe I’m allergic?
Or, maybe, similar to carbohydrates or khaki pants, I don’t wear stress well?
I had to find out. I gracefully bowed out of several commitments and, much to my bruised ego, things ran perfectly smoothly without me. I said no. I returned phone calls. I wrote my grandmother a letter. I engaged in humorous conversations with my five year old. I discovered a Grande Starbucks does not make for a healthy breakfast. I calmed down. I took it down a notch.
We live in a stress centered culture. The more we volunteer, the more we give of our time, the more meetings we attend, the more committees we Chair, the better. I’m important because I’m involved. Right? Not necessarily. I’m important because three precious little people love me, need me, and long to be with me.
I’m not encouraging women to clear their schedules and bag on their commitments. I’m suggesting we think before we raise our hand. Does this work for me? Does this work for my family? Is this commitment fulfilling a passion for me?
I know woman who thrive under pressure. These are the same woman who rock cargo khakis without looking like a GAP advertisement gone wrong. Oh, and working moms are incredible to me. How do they do it? How do they look so fabulous in their suits and heels? How do they remain so calm? How do they make it to the same committee meetings I do while working a 40 (or more) hour work week? How do they show up on time? How do they stay so ironed?
I have kept several volunteer positions in my schedule. You couldn’t pay me to step down as Room Parent for my daughters class. This position brings me joy and an understanding of the teachers that is personal and intimate. I’m also eager about my involvement in a local event that raises funds for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Carolinas Medical Center, the same NICU my twins lived in for the first weeks of their lives. It’s quality, not quantity.
Being a good mom requires focus, time, and love. Oh, and a good glass of red wine after bedtime. It doesn’t require a stress induced headache or a full schedule. This week was peaceful for me. I spent time playing on the floor with my 14 month old baby girl. At one point, my precious daughter climbed on me and sat in my lap. She put her head down on my chest and placed her sweet thumb in her mouth. My baby, the one who has not stopped wiggling since the moment the doctor handed her to me, sat still. For ten minutes I cradled her and listened to her breathing. Do you know how long ten minutes is? Not long enough. I’m quite sure I will hear her soft purr in my mind when I take my last breath of air.
I vow to no longer shove an hour into a minute. I vow to focus more. The past few weeks have been lovely for me.
I have been sleeping better.
I lost four pounds.
As it turns out, I’m not allergic to stress. It just seems that much like khakis, stress doesn’t fit me well.
Don’t forget to vote for the 2011 Jennifer Lisman Bunich Smarty Mom of the Year Award! The deadline to vote is Friday, 12/30!