The greatest commodity is time. Not money, talent or possessions, but time. I never truly realized how precious it was until I became a mother. A lot of my time was consumed with thinking about his needs, my responsibilities and everything in between. Suddenly I found myself using every minute of every day "attempting" to get things done.
All my life I’ve had a strange relationship with time. I knew it was important and shouldn’t be wasted, yet dreaded not having enough or using it properly. Growing up my father shaped this perception. It wasn’t acceptable to spend a second doing nothing or allow others to waste those seconds. So to this day, I rush through everything. As if faster is better, when honestly, it’s just exhausting.
I see my clients (mainly mothers) go through this as well. Lining things up perfectly so everything happens at the right time, in the right order. Frustrated and absolutely pissed when it doesn’t. Who do you think gets the blame? Themselves of course, for not seeing the obstacle coming. For not being able to predict the future, for not being magic, for not being perfect.
I find myself doing the same. Rushing through life trying to get everything in as it should be. Desperately reaching for the overarching goal- perfection. You know what I’m talking about. Having the perfect day, being the perfect person, having the perfect life. My mouth waters just typing it.
It's All Perfect Timing
This past week I wanted to go to two events. Both were extremely important to me. It got on my calendar, made arrangements for IV, and “prepped” the night before, and yet I was still late to both of them. Both times I highly considered not going. Believing I wasn’t worthy of the experience if I couldn’t capture all of it. Both times I was angry at myself for not doing everything just right so I could be there 15 min early, take my time, network, appear to be well put together, and absorb all of what I hoped to gain- having the perfect experience. I went anyway, kicking and screaming the whole way in my head.
“They’re going to be nearly done when you arrive.”
“People will shake their head in disappointment of your tardiness”
“No one will take you seriously as a business owner or as a person.”
The truth is, I didn’t know what people were thinking of me, and I wouldn’t have known had I been on time. I had to remember that this was important to me, despite it not turning out as planned. Who I am and how I show up once I get there is all that matters. No one knows what it’s like for me to wake-up and get myself together each day. No one sees my larger than life 2 year old jump around and hide from me to start the day off right or see me fixing us a hot and healthy breakfast, or me driving to a lovely daycare that is always the opposite direction from where I’m going. No one knows anyone’s situation and no one cares. The greatest takeaway from this truth is no one has any power over what opportunities come your way either. It’s up to you to make something out of everything- even the smallest of things.
Needless to say, I was happy I went to the events despite my tardiness. By the end I gained more than I thought I would. I wasn’t thinking about my lateness and neither was anyone else.
Take Your Time
I’m learning to slow down for a few reasons:
1. Rush a toddler if you want to and you’ll find yourself walking out the door with no pants on.
2. Always being in a hurry is not something I don't want to pass down.
3. The extra anxiety I put on myself is unnecessary and unhealthy to my productivity and self-esteem.
4. Slowing down always provides a much better outcome.
The Cost of Perfection
I could be running late but will easily fall onto the bed with IV tickling and laughing, eating his baby toes, and chirping along with the birds right outside the window. I love those moments. In those moments I’m reminded of how beautiful and simple life can be if you let it. Those moments can’t be planned or rushed through. They’re only captured taking your time.
I wonder how many of those I’ve missed with a stranger, a loved one, or even myself? I cringe at the thought.
The pressure to be a perfect person once you become a mother is enormous. You’re constantly attempting to prove that motherhood can’t hold you back or slow you down. When the truth is, it does slow you down and force you to take your time. It reminds you to experience life. Not as a goal-getter or a boss babe, but as the curious spirit you were at birth and still are right now. Society may put pressure on us for not thinking of everything, having everything, and being everything, but we also put it on ourselves.
Give Yourself Permission
Today I grant my own damn permission slip to be tardy. Tardy for having a balanced breakfast, me time with God himself, snuggles with my son, and driving within ten miles of the speed limit. I’m worthy of that. We all are.
I’m a mother, a business owner and more importantly, human. So I can’t be perfect, but I can be free.