My glass is filled to the brim of iced cold cucumber-lemon water that I poured in a Mason jar just to make me feel like I have some sense of control over my life — unlike the heat and the fact that the summer days are so clearly becoming longer just as our days truly are, in fact, getting shorter.
The girls bob up and down in the pool playing games, practicing underwater handstands and pretending to save each other from drowning in the shallow end. It’s been amazing to see them become such strong swimmers.
My pile of four legal pads, a to-do list, a pen and inspiration sweat on my lap as I try and turn ideas into tiny bees to send out into the universe, to pollinate this world with peace and kindness.
I. am. determined.
I. can. do. this.
I. must. work.
And yet I must mother first and foremost. And the summer seems to have grabbed all the sense of motivation I had and tossed it in the deep end.
The Abundant Mama Project — and its new exciting extra the Abundant Mama Peace Circle — will not happen by themselves. They will not suddenly just show up in people’s inboxes. They will do no good in the world as long as they just sit in my head. All the new ideas, new challenges, new self-discovery and self-care tools can’t just sit in a legal pad forever!
And I’ve already been making promises. And setting launch dates and start dates. And, oh my I. need. to. write.
I work and mother and mother and work — just like so many of you — and lately discovered that I feel like nothing is being done well. There’s no ends or beginnings to anything.
Everything, just a work-in-progress.
I look up and watch the handstands. Giggle at their unison “jinx you owe me a Coke” moments that seem to go on forever. Write more to-do lists, which seem to grow like mold in the summer for work-at-home mamas. And remind myself to breathe.
And when the space allows, like right now as they joyfully, preciously nap in their swimsuits on the bed next to me or down the hall, I write and work frantically. I create new websites. And schedule online workshops. And try so hard to respond quickly to your lovely notes and emails and requests. The pressure of making *this* work sits on MY shoulders and mine alone.
And yet …
Earlier this week, I began to feel like it’s not enough. I’m not doing enough. I’m not as far along as I’d like to be. The gremlins started piling on. The self-doubts crept in. This morning it all kind of seemed to hit the fan in my head. I started doing things like judging myself. And feeling ungrateful. And, gasp, even a tiny bit jealous of those who are producing more than I am able to do. I even wrote a note to a friend, complaining.
But the Abundant Mama spirit lives within me despite all of this. And, thankfully, I am able to notice when my spirits are starting to sink. And I know how to take a deep breath and pull myself out of the deep end.
I started meditating on the idea of abundance. And practicing all the self-care tools I talk so much about in The Abundant Mama Project — and all of my e-courses, for that matter.
And, a wonderful shift happened. Let’s call it my mid-summer sigh.
Oh, hello … I’m not able to produce much creative work right now because I am busy making memories. I am not able to be an online rockstar because I’m busy being super mom at home. I am not able to write because I am busy showing my girls how to draw, or making cucumber-lemon water or acting amazed while they go hunting for beetles in the backyard or showing them how to edit their photos on the computer so they can capture their own memories of this summer.
In other words, this summer isn’t about me.
It never was.
And I just have to keep reminding myself of that.
From that moment on, I was repeating this new mantra: Breathing and Being. Breathing and Being. Breathing and Being
I’ll still be working. But, only after I get in the pool and play and only after I take care of them — and myself. And the work will still be here waiting for me, even if I write for 100 hours straight. The work is always here.
And I hope you will still be here, too.
But my girls will only be 7 years old, doing handstands underwater on summer break once and I better wake up and remember that this is also my summer to remember what it’s like to be 7.
And, so far, it’s pretty belly-flopping awesome.
How about you? Anyone else struggling to maintain that working-mama presence while being a present mama? I’d love to hear how you are juggling it all.