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Week 26: Creating Boundaries

As we enter Week 9 of Quarantine, which for me is also Week 5 of doing double-duty between working from home and being a full-time Mom, it was time I admitted to myself it just wasn’t working. If I'm being totally honest, I'd been struggling to keep all my metaphorical plates spinning over the past few weeks, but more specifically, it was the constant back and forth between the spinning plates that I was finding unworkable; from chef, to teacher, to employee, to mom, to wife; there was just too much to do and too many places to be.

It didn’t take me long to realize it wasn’t going to be sustainable; I couldn’t be everything to everyone all of the time. What's crazy is that it took me this long to realize I didn’t need to be. The value of Motherhood shouldn't be assessed using a "quantity over quality" metric. Therefore, I wasn’t a bad mother because I was working and I certainly wasn’t a bad mother because I stopped catering to every single one of my children's whims. Once I realized this, it was certainly a watershed moment for me.

I knew I was going to have to make some physical and mental changes if I was going to progress from surviving to thriving. My first adjustment was the location of my home office, which up until then had been a makeshift set-up in the dining room. While it seemed like a great space at the start, I soon came to realize it was actually smack in the middle of everything with no physical boundaries to prevent interruption. I decided to relocate to the boy's bedroom upstairs, which came equipped with a door I could close and a window through which I could see the outside world.

Right off the bat I knew it was going to make a difference, but I never imagined how significant such a small change could be. I suddenly had a dedicated workspace where I could fully engage with my job, without being totally detached from my children if they needed me for something important. The simple act of establishing a physical barrier helped to narrow my focus to the point where I was able to let go of my wider surroundings and hone in on the task in front of me. I don't want to say I had my blinkers on, but I was finally able to "get down to brass tacks" as far as work was concerned.

The moral of this week's blog is that it’s ok not to be everything to everyone all of the time. We all play many different roles in our lives, but the key is to establish the right balance between them by finding the right time and place for each. No matter what, it’s super important to disengage yourself from guilt by not dwelling on the things you aren’t doing, but instead focusing on the role you're actively playing at that moment in time. By doing this, you can always be sure you're going to be bringing your best self to every single task and personal interaction.

In my case, the only change I felt I could make was in the construction of a real physical boundary to help me better define my roles, but for you it could certainly mean something less tangible. Either way, it's important to remember that whatever change you feel like you need to make, everything's ok and you're trying your best. Stay focused on all that you are doing and let go of what you could’ve/should've/would've done. Spending your time pondering what-ifs is not healthy for anyone and certainly won’t make things better. What-ifs only serve to weigh you down and prevent you from being the best version of yourself.

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