When I read this article where Randi Zuckerberg, entrepreneur and sister of Mark, said this:
“Work, family, friends, fitness, sleep. Pick three.”
My first thought was, “Holy shit, I am so fucking tired.”
Second was, “How is this the first time this has been so clearly articulated in my brain?”
Third, “I have tried so hard to not disappoint anyone that my work and son suffered.”
Fourth, “I’ve disappointed so many people.”
And, finally, “I need to jack up my discernment game even higher.”
Last year, I said the words “self-employed, homeschooling, single mother” so many times that my mouth started to hurt and the words became knotted and nonsensical. I felt like those words should be enough to explain why I didn’t respond to the texts, why the time I had to volunteer was so limited (and often non-existent) why staying out of the house for more than a couple hours wasn’t viable more than once every couple of months.
I was doing so much and it felt like the more I did, the more people wanted me to do.
People: “It’s so great to see you at this party finally! We should do this more often! There’s a thing next week – can you come to it?”
Me: “ I AM RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW.”
People: “Hey I’d love to pick your brain….”
You know where this one is going. Can we all just agree that “picking a brain” sounds painful AF and it should be outlawed?
People: Your social media looks so fun we should do all those things together sometime!
Me: I worked so hard on making beautiful Social Media that I need a nap.
Without negating the privileges I do have, I also have some pretty big security negators: Female, Felon, No college degree, No trust fund or family financial safety net, No active co-parent for my son. Entrepreneurial income is inconsistent. Additionally, I’ve moved more times than I can count and have been navigating a separation and divorce for years. I’ve had so many balls in the air and can’t drop any of them. If I spend the day doing homeschool enrichment, I can’t work. If I spend the day working, I can’t pay enough attention to my boy. If I do both, I don’t sleep or exercise. If I try to do all of it, I crash and don’t do anything. (Or seek oblivion by binging on foods that comfort rather than nourish.)
All to say I am proud of my life, what I have, what I’ve made. Also, I work really hard. And I’m usually really tired.
But I want it ALL! I also want spiritual evolution, reading, art, time alone without any commitments whatsoever so that I can stay sane and have ideas of my own. To volunteer! I spent a year on the board of a non-profit whose work I hold near and dear to my heart. I sincerely want to be of service in this life.
I figured all the things I committed to would work out somehow! Because I cared so much! Because it seemed easy for other people, so I *should* probably also be able to do these things. Turns out, caring doesn’t actually make more hours appear in a day.
I wrote this out and laughed and cried:
Sleep = 9 hours (it’s true, I need this.)
Exercise = 1 hour
Work = 8-10 hours
Errands = 1 -2 hours
Cooking = 1-2 hours
Parenting = 24 hours
Total = 48 hours per day.
In the past, I have been able to give up some sleep for a party, or leave my son at home alone while I went to yoga classes for a few consistent weeks. I would feel amazing and optimistic. I would think, “Maybe I can do this!”. Until work would get extraordinarily busy, or I would need to give the boy a screen break and TADA. Hours and HOURS of my time would be instantly reallocated. And then I would think, “What was I thinking?”
I’ve been learning my limitations while I live them.
What I’m probably trying to say here is that I’m going to disappoint you.
I’m picking three. If I can. Sometimes it’s more like two. Or one.
But I’m just not going to make my work, son, or sanity second to anything anymore.
It’s never “just coffee”. Or “just lunch”.
The planning, the anxiety, the recovery. Holy crap.
My brain doesn’t break from thinking about health insurance, finalizing my divorce, trying to say the right words to make the right people feel safe for their, and my, security. Trying to do something reasonable with my face. Wondering if swallowing a can of sweetened condensed milk will help and realizing it won’t, so grieving that old friend a little. Making juice. Going running. Feeling old feelings that have no business being in the now but are anyway. I am constantly distilling ideas so my job will keep paying me and keep being the rewarding career it is. I am crying over the lost years and I’m consumed with guilt about more things parenting than I can count. Trying to make sure my son, now 14 and in an alternative school, has some kind of sustainable life skills – like empathy, and maybe coding? And, like a program running nonstop on my mental hard drive, I’m also hyper conscious of the fallout of capitalism, the patriarchy, and the rampant dehumanizing of people of color and the incarcerated, feeling debilitated in the face of another impotent election.
This *is* my thriving. That *is* me doing my best. I cannot do it all but I am doing a lot and it’s going to have to be enough. For you. But, mostly, for me.
Because the truth is, it’s probably ME I’ve disappointed with the unrealistic expectations more than anyone else. It’s hubris to make assumptions about others’ feelings and how *I* affect them. But I’m committing to being more realistic. For me, and for my relationships. I want to say “no” to even more cool stuff that isn’t mission critical to my three. Even if it seems like it *should* be easy.
I feel freer already.
Wanna go have a coffee?
I can, however, sometimes take new clients. Client work is my favorite of all of the things I do, and would love love love to help you jack up your discernment game. Is it you? LET US HANG OUT IN THIS LIFE-FULL, MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL WAY WHERE WE WILL BE FULLY NOURISHED AND NOT DEPLETED. OMG YESSSSSS.
What are you waiting for? Email me!
For the record, you are also doing enough. Probably more than enough. You have my permission to take a fucking load off.