Maybe I can live on automatic …
If you are anything like me, pausing requires effort.
For many years, I needed a really good reason to pause and as a mum and full time educator, usually the reason needed to be connected to my children or my work.
For many years, I worked through my to do list religiously. Answer emails, make lunches, teach for a set number of hours, go shopping, cook, answer more emails, check in on my parents, cook again, drive the kids around, clear the kitchen, scroll through social media to feed myself the illusion of a social life, remind everyone to brush their teeth, prepare lessons and the list goes on…
Unless I had ticked all the boxes, I wouldn’t go to sleep.
And first thing in the morning I would revise my list to make sure that I had not left anything out.
In many ways, this system works. It is organised and helps me be responsible.
I am well known for being reliable and for delivering high quality work on time. My children are used to having a mum available to meet all their needs and the combination of work and home ran like clockwork.
But something was missing and about three years ago, I began to feel very tired and demoralised. There were days when it got so bad that I finally had to acknowledge that something had to change.
I did a lot of self-development work, trained with coaches who had greater experience than I, updated my research into working with children and participated in mindset workshops that pushed me way beyond my comfort zone.
The deeper I went into this work, the more I realised that the stories I told myself about my value, about who I am and why I matter, needed to change.
It sounds obvious now but back then I needed to burn out and embark on a process of healing to accept what I needed to change and learn how to change it.
Through the work I did with experts in the vocational sector, as well as parent coaches and storytellers, I realised that no amount of efficiency in working through my to do list or quick fix baths were going to give me what I needed.
I needed to PAUSE.
I needed to accept the scary fact that unless I nourished myself first, I could not nourish anyone else.
Unless I taught myself how to create and maintain boundaries to serve those I love well, I would end up hurting them and myself. My parenting and my teaching would suffer.
Perhaps, like me, you know the discomfort this brings.
Perhaps, like me, you have been mistaking your to do list with your to be list.
Perhaps, like me, you realise that at some point we need to pause and take care of ourselves.
Ouch…difficult realisation because I actually like being as efficient as a robot.
But robots don’t love, they simply operate. I was tired of just operating and I wanted to change my patterns.
I realised that I couldn’t change my unhealthy pattern of leaving myself last on the ‘to take care of’ list on my own.
To be honest, I don’t think anyone can do it alone. Not me, not you, not anyone.
I know it’s scary to take the first step. I know because I am a mum and educator too. I ‘should’ be hardwired to manage and preferably to manage alone!
But this is a lie. I don’t have to manage alone and neither do you.
Please don’t try to manage alone…it’s an awful feeling.
Instead, you can receive support that is proven to work, you can reflect on the balance between work and home in a safe environment, you can manifest systems that allow you to sustain yourself, your students and your community.
These two programmes were created for you.
One of them will surely appeal to you.
Take a look and let me know which.
3 month programme for parents – How Stories Can Help Me Parent
3 month programme for teachers – The Story Solution For Teachers
And if the voice in your head is shouting ‘I don’t have time!’ just shout back even louder ‘Shut up’ or if you’re a little more polite you can shout ‘PAUSE!’