Another brilliant blog from Vicky, who as you know, used to be one of our amazing coaches delivering programmes for me here at Natural Flair. Since her move to Hull she is now working for me remotely and is my parenting programme administrator and social media manager.
In this edition Vicky shares an insightful, from the heart blog looking at how she, like many of us, struggles with boundaries in life, and the unreasonable expectations we put on ourselves.
We'd love your thoughts after reading her blog.....
If you were on the outside looking in, you would most likely think that I was quite a ‘together’ person. I am pretty much always presentable looking (on the odd occasion I pass my ‘mum bun’ off as ‘fashionably disheveled’ rather than ‘I didn’t brush it’)!
My children are well turned out, I am smiley and chatty and I would like to think quite approachable (after my first cuppa!)
But lately, I have noticed less quiet and more chaos – internally. Granted there is a lot going on in my life right now.....
I have just relocated my entire life,
I am getting married in 5 weeks time,
my partner is 4,300 miles away with work and we have been apart for a significant stretch,
I am mum of two very busy children,
I have a new job and am self-managed for the most part
and I have a home to run/clean and then clean some more.
I know it's not forever. Come Christmas time things will not feel so overwhelming, but whilst I am in the midst of this more challenging period in my life, it has got me thinking. Reflecting really.
Time is so precious. It really matters who we give it to, what we give it to, where we spend it…how we spend it.
I’ve read lots of things about this ‘internal chaos’ I have been feeling lately. Words have been thrown up like ‘safety’, ‘limitations’ and possibly the one that resonates most with me – ‘boundaries’.
Where I lived previously, in my childhood home town everything was familiar. I didn’t have to try very hard and everyone was virtually on my doorstep.
I felt quiet, naturally centred and calm. I am not lonely here in the village where I have put down roots, but I do feel conscious that I am not part of what I was in the same way. As human beings we all seek connection and a sense of belonging.
I have felt a pressure to stay connected and that has drawn me into my phone more. ‘I must reply to that message asap’ or ‘I really should read those group chat messages and respond now!’ It's felt a little bit like not wanting to be left behind, or forgotten even.
My partner has been in the Middle East since Mid-October. There’s a four hour time difference and he is very limited around phone use when he is on shift so we have only had certain windows where we have been able to communicate. It's been hugely frustrating and sometimes inconvenient for us both! We are tired and missing each other and craving that contact but our days are running very differently. Again, I am feeling pulled toward my hand set, not always at the best time of the day and I feel distracted and disconnected.
I work from home these days. I have always been a ‘go out to work and get it done’ type of person, so this is all very new to me. It's exciting and rewarding, but it takes management on my part and the timing of it all is a balancing act at times. I do have ‘hours’ but they are set by…well, me. So I can change them if I want and sometimes that is really helpful.
But when those emails come through, or I notice messages coming in on my phone I am loathed to put that in my mental ‘work box’ and deal with it during ‘office hours’. A quick reply here, a sneaky check there – it adds up. I lose track of time easily and I want to give everything I do 100% all of the time, so it’s a balance I really need to work on.
Which brings me to the most important part in all of this. My home life. My family. My children. I had a real wake up call this week, and it scared me a little.
My son was talking to me and I wasn’t paying attention. He is 7 and bright and funny and sensitive. He said ‘I keep having to tell you things five times before you listen to me’. He was smiling when he said it, like it was normal and he was getting used to it and I suddenly stopped what I was doing (I was checking my phone – obviously!) and I said to him ‘I’m so sorry. I really mean it. Nothing is more important than you.’
Everything that came after that moment is a bit of a blur because I suddenly realised I am in control of this thing called life and not the other way around. Life doesn’t come in the form of a handset or a screen or a WiFi connection. It's relationships make my life what it is. It's the HUMAN connection makes my life what it is. And it's wonderful.
Don’t misunderstand me – my friends, my partner, my work – they are all extremely important. They help shape me, and they bring me love and happiness and contentment and the stimulation that I value and need and want.
They are priorities. But I also want to be present. And because of the relationships in my life that I have chosen, I know that they would all understand that need in me. They are very much part of that. I want to show up for each and every one of them.
But I wouldn’t be true to myself if I didn’t say that I want my children to know that there is more to life than being ‘logged on’. You don’t measure your own self worth in Facebook likes or Instagram ‘loves’. You don’t ‘connect’ via the internet – you connect via your heart, your senses, your human spirit.
I don’t have to sacrifice one thing for another. But I do have to put in some boundaries. It's ok to compartmentalise my life a little bit.
It's ok to not answer straight away.
It's ok to be unavailable sometimes
It's ok to be in a room with my children and just be there with them.
It's ok not to do every single thing on my to do list in a day and then some.
It's ok to leave my phone at home sometimes.
I am only one person and that is more than enough. I need to have appropriate expectations of myself and what I can do.
I think we live in a conflicting age. One where we are continually encouraged to test ourselves, extend our limitations, push our boundaries. But also, we are expected to be border control in our own lives – ‘know your limitations’, ‘you get what you tolerate’ and so on and so forth. It can feel very confusing!
But this much I know to be true: ‘The sprint is like life…blink and you miss it’ (Steve Backley, Athlete)
I don’t want to miss it!
I’d love to hear how you felt about this and our other blogs – comment at the bottom or contact me via;
tweet me: @sharonnatflair