Before I had my son I was a pretty balanced dreamer/realist, always working towards some type of goal whether it be related to work, fitness, personal finances, pursuing a creative project or a memorable life experience.
After my son was born it took some time to adjust to a new daily rhythm. Like many other moms, each day brings a new list of to-dos for me to get done – errands to run, emails/blog posts/newsletters to write, admin tasks for my husband’s photo & video businesses, various things to fix around the house, cooking, cleaning, volunteer tasks to show up for and more all while engaging, feeding, raising and watching after my son. Sometimes I get them ALL checked off but most often I don’t. In the midst of my mostly routine days I have tried to add in working on something that’s just for me, my own little passion project.
Over the past few years I’ve been uncovering my love for simple living. As I’ve been adopting more zero-waste habits and attempting to live more simply I started writing a blog where I share encouragement and non-intimidating practices towards a more sustainable and minimalist lifestyle. I figured a good way to support my blog would be to sell macrame on Etsy. My writing and crafting goals were pretty straight forward but my progress towards them has been slow as they’ve taken a backseat to my other daily must-do’s.
This past Saturday night I found myself with some spare time to myself after my son and husband had gone to bed. I lit my favorite candle, pulled up a few podcast episodes I wanted to catch up on and got to work on a macrame I had been letting sit untouched for weeks.
Incomplete projects bug me and this one literally hangs over my head each night so it felt great to make some progress on this wall hanging. Actually, I was quite surprised I was getting any work on it done. In my mind, since I had failed to make steady and consistent progress on this project I started to think I would probably never finish it. I forecasted it to be a failure despite it still having full potential to be a success.
I didn’t realize until recently that my extremely slow and inconsistent progress had led me to feel I wasn’t making any progress at all, especially compared to what I could accomplish before my son was born. It’s not that I’m discouraged by having to put solid effort and time into something; I really enjoy having a project to pour myself into. I was letting myself feel defeated a little too soon.
So, I’m working at getting back on track. I’m cutting out the parts of my day that distract and keep me from writing and creating. I don’t want to give up on the projects that bring me joy but I need to be ok with an even slower progress on them. It might take me 10 times longer to finish than it would had I worked on it before I was a mom, but I’m not giving up, even though I do still get frustrated and discouraged.
I want my son to dream, to have a strong work ethic, embrace delayed gratification and persevere when challenges arise so I need to live those out myself and keep at it, snail’s pace and all. Working on a task that brings me life is a way to “fill up my cup” so when I am tasked with pouring into others I’m not empty.
Be sure to fill your cup no matter how long it’ll be until you reach the finish line. You and your kids not only need it, you deserve it.