Citing My Weaknesses
2008 – Conjoining motherhood with being a business owner is hard. I would maybe insert an expletive adjective prior to “hard” – truth be known. However, this site is rated “G.”
Yesterday morning I could have preempted disaster if I could have cited (aka admitted and controlled) my usual weaknesses.
However, here is how the morning unfolded:
Before 7 AM:
The morning started as usual, which means I was abruptly awakened with shocking surprise. This morning’s surprise was hearing my younger son being fed an impromptu breakfast of “veggie straws (chips)” by his older brother while still in his crib, each of them in their respective sagging, soaking diaper and underwear, nonetheless. After cleaning up crushed chips and urine soaked sheets (which makes a nice paste), our contractor knocked on the door (our house has been under construction for renovations since August 2008) and pointed at a typical scene on the front porch – a big pile of poo, lovingly left by my older toddler while he was watching the trash truck this morning (which loudly clamors up the hill to our home no later than 7 am three times a week). Of course by then the “gift” had been out for an hour on our eastern facing deck (based on the trash truck schedule), working itself into a nice baked aroma – unmatched by any other scent I might add.
The easiest way to clean that up was with a plastic bag and the water hose, I thought – which at that point I just drug (hose) through the house from the side door to the front door. Meanwhile, my younger son managed to get into black magic marker, and I wondered about the endless cycle of cleaning non-washable “washable” magic marker off the tables and walls since I put their “art tub” within their grasp in an attempt to foster their creativity. Hmm.
Maybe I’ll rethink that one.
During the cleaning of that mess, the contractor knocked on the door again to poke his head in and announce that our dog had been found. I was not aware that our dog was missing, actually. So I went outside, this was about 8:20, which tells you I had barely even gotten dressed yet. There was a very nice elderly man, a dog lover, who kindly brought our dog home when he could not reach my on my cell phone (from our dog’s collar identifier) and said he found him down at the public pier – and he looked awfully tired. His wife agreed, and so after profuse thanks and apology I took our 14 year old chocolate labrador retriever inside – who was happy to get into the A/C and drink fresh water.
During that time, I realized it was no less than 90 degrees outside and I needed sunglasses on secondary to having sensitive eyes (I had to get the boys outside to play. Stat.). So I went upstairs to put my contacts in (a must if I want to see my hand in front of my face). I realized the boys had gotten into their leftover eggs and milk from breakfast while I was talking to the nice man and woman who returned our dog, and so I needed to get them out of the house fast – to get some of their energy out.
While I was putting my contacts in the boys decided to start a door slamming race through their bedrooms and bathroom. With my finger in my eye I could not get downstairs to stop them from torturing our house (especially the sheetrock). As the slamming of doors got more violent, I rushed harder to put my contacts in – which of course – were revolting being put into my eyes. Door slams, door slams again, now an even louder slam, shrieking, somebody starts to cry, more door slams….sawing noises, hammer noises (What!? Oh yea – the contractors are up on the new roof).
By the time I got downstairs – there were perfect “door lock” sized dents in all the sheetrock behind each of the slammed doors. I believe steam may have been coming out of my ears at this point, so I decided at least 5 minutes in their rooms, understood as unequivocally not coming out of their rooms – was needed before so I could regain my composure. Now I could do a little damage control a la pranayama (breathwork).
It was 9:45 am.
Of course, none of what I mentioned so far included working in my day job as a CEO, clinical practice as a physical therapist, or my volunteer responsibilities with 2 nonprofits. I did manage to get in 4 hours of work on those items and still manage to help my husband hang sheet rock on the ceiling of our new (almost completed) garage.
That carried me through to a workday which ended at 8 pm. Another 14 hour workday.
How’s That Go?
So what in this story exposes my weaknesses? Well, the story is real, and it happens every day. As a parent, a wife, a working woman.
I juggle being with my boys, give or take a few accidental eye jabs (I got two of those I forgot to mention) or painting the floors or rugs (that was today), and always with at least one aching head from the high pitched squeals of delight & persistent whining, I persist. And I’m not perfect.
Being a mother always serves to humble me, to remind me of what is most important, and of course, give me a thoroughly exhausting cardiovascular and strength workout and a real reason (as if there aren’t 100) to follow through and have daily yoga practice and prayer/meditation.
My corporate and clinical jobs are wonderful, but do little to shape my character and fortitude the way being a mother has. As many moms say – being a mother is the toughest job you’ll ever love (and sometimes it feels like you are actually in boot camp or combat too).
The Christian faith tells us “in your weakness you are made strong.”
The Yoga Sutras tell us we should be aware of our weaknesses, because it is precisely when we think we have conquered them that they will rise and overtake us.
I believe both, and I could continue to cite from other ancient texts, however each reminds me that in my weakness, I am reminded I always can use:
- more patience
- a better sense of humor
- a lighter heart and less serious countenance
- a real sense of prioritizing work and family knowing how fast my children will grow
- a continuous unending dose of prayer and yoga
- a flexible schedule which can actually flex (within limits) to adapt for family needs
If you have not tried listing the things which you consider to be your weaknesses – you should give it a try. The reason is not to be judgmental or critical or harsh – because mothers and women – we are too hard on ourselves already. The reason is to liberate yourself –
Liberate Yourself (from fear of failure & encourage priority driven actions)
I am not perfect & would not want to be. My failings teach me more than my successes, and it is those struggles that teach me resilience and give me grit.
My short “confession” through story telling is my way of trying to say, we are all in this together. Mothers, women, we must support one another, especially in the complete absence of support for mothers in the workplace, and compounded by discrimination in pay and merit.
If my meek moments can help others and provide inspiration or comraderie – a sharing of humanity and its burdens with one another – then maybe this service is how we achieve the highest level of humanity possible.
- Make a list of things you know you need a “little” reminder to do – taking deep breaths BEFORE you speak, not letting the “sun go down” on your anger, getting your daily multi-vitamin in –
- Let the list help you be better, not bitter. Email it to yourself or post it inside your medicine cabinet – somewhere you look everyday.
- Let the list help you keep your top three most important things in your life – Mine are unshakably & eternally ordered.
- We all need a little reminder of the things we already know. What good is a high powered high paying job if you do not your health? What good is wealth amassed on earth if you have lost your soul and stepped on others backs while climbing the corporate ladder? What good is belittling those who sacrifice much to raise and care for children – when it is precisely those people who have the GREATEST influence on the future of our country, and in the world? Value yourself, and value others – everyone has Worth.
In the meantime, I will struggle forward and belief that I, just like the little engine, can. I think I can, I think I can, and if you believe it, you can too.