Recently while browsing in the book store, I came across a book with a familiar cover which was red-orange with a little boy, a little girl, a cat and a little dog on the cover – better known as “Dick & Jane.” As I leafed through the pages, I was suddenly transported back in time when these words seemed so hard, I was sure to flunk out of elementary school. When I opened the book, the page read: “…See Jane, see Jane run. Run. Run. Run.” As I got back into my car and drove to my next stop, I kept thinking about Jane and how we are all just like Jane – running. The difference is we do not stop.
Let’s look at a typical day in your life shall we? Take out a scrap piece of paper and pen or pencil. Let me ask you to draw a circle like a face of a clock. Then around the outside write the hours in a day only use military time. So start with 1:00 am and make 24 lines for all 24 hours in a day. Now make a little arrow from the time you got up to your first activity and label that. Then the next activity and so on until you got into bed last night. You are going to have to write very small here, because you are soooooooo busy!
Take a good hard look at that thing. “See (insert your name), see (insert your name) run. Run. Run. Run…… If you were to give me a running list of a typical day’s activities what would that look like? Write it down below your 24 hour clock. It might read something like this dress, get breakfast, dress kids, carpool to school, drive to work, work, work, work, pick up kids, take kids to after school activities, errands, shopping, drive through dinner, dishes, homework, bathes, bills, housework, laundry, make lunches, take shower, collapse, worry some, maybe get 5 hours of sleep. Repeat 5 times weekly.
We know as women that there are other very specific needs that we each have a need which goes unmet. In some cases, those are a mountain of needs, especially if you are a single parent and I am not just talking about those who are divorced. Women are single parents if they have a traveling spouse or are military wives whose spouses are deployed somewhere else. Single parents can also be those who have lost their spouse.
Let me ask you, “When was the last time you waited for something?” “When was the last time you trusted someone else?” “When was the last time you actually rested until you were “stable, clear headed and not dragging?” These all drag our performance and our ability to be at our best down to where we are just chasing our tails so to speak. We are in a constant state of “Run, Run, Run…”
May I encourage you to do something radical over these next few weeks? I did this recently and when I made this decision, I was amazed at how much I finished to my satisfaction and how the stress just evaporated. Decide what you want to do in terms of decorating and then stop! Write and mail only the holiday cards that really are important to you and send everyone else a blanket email greeting and stop. If you really do not enjoy baking and giving elaborate get togethers…STOP! Yes, it will be a shock to some and a relief to others. Instead, pick up the phone with your feet up and your favorite beverage and call those people you really want to hear from. Last time I checked the cookie police and desert police were not out in force at your local bakery. If you must have tasty sweet treats buy one of each person’s favorite and make a gift of it one night and treat it like a “special treat” instead of a grazing station. I would rather have one delicious cookie all decorated on a beautiful plate that a kitchen which is a mess that I have to clean up.
Don’t misunderstand here; if these are your traditions and everyone and I mean everyone helps and enjoys the whole process then please continue, however, if this is a dreaded experience that you would rather have a root canal…it is time for a change.
See Jane! See Jane Rest!, Rest. Rest. Rest.