My head is spinning after a very long and somewhat busy day. My time management was off today which caused me to run late to pick up my daughter. Thank God one of my village members was right there to pick up the slack. The three of us met up for a speedy dinner and then I zipped my little one home. What then, you ask? I dropped her off, changed, gave her a kiss and was off to a networking meeting for people who are going through a “career transition.”
I’m so darn tired. I was up late last night, supposedly working on my business plan. In hind sight, I was doing more connecting on social media (which is also necessary) that accomplishing my actual task. So when I figured out that I wasn’t done with my tasks I stayed up late – 2 am late. It’s a vicious circle. I stay up to some ungodly hour, have trouble getting going in the morning and then am overwhelmed by how much I have to do in so little time.
So should I complain? Nope. We all have the same 24 hours. On days like this I think about all the people that are out there smashing their checklists, while putting the time in with their families and still making time for their communities and for themselves. I’m not saying that’s the norm, because I truly don’t think it is. I would love to meet some of these phenomenal women and men, so I could learn from them.
The tough part is that people are saying do more. What sticks out in my head from tonight’s meeting was the recommendation to go to at least 3 networking events a month. That may not seem like a lot to some people, but on top of what I’ve got going on and with being a single parent on a very fixed income it means getting creative. Creative so that I don’t neglect my daughter’s needs and that I find ways to get coverage that doesn’t cost me $50 a night.
The solution? Work smarter, better time management, prioritize, breathe and remember that I only live once so if something slips through the cracks…it slips.
My baby girl turns 6 this week. The school year is coming to a close, I have to get my place in order for her birthday party, my workload has increased and I am still struggling to get all of my workouts in. I’m beginning to feel the pressure of the impending birthday activities. This year I had to tell my little one that a party at Chuck E Cheese or Bounce U was just not in the budget. We’ve talked about budgets a lot this year.
This was a difficult conversation for me because she had been looking forward to a party with her classmates all year. What amazed me was her capacity to understand the situation and be open to finding joy in an alternate solution. We decided that instead of a big party, we would celebrate by having special mommy and me time (thank you Tanisha for the suggestion). Looks like we’ll be going out for a manicure/pedicure or painting pottery – two things that have also not been in the budget.
We’ve had our share of financial ups and downs over the last few years, more downs than ups. My daughter is remarkable. As much as she asks for stuff like any other kid, she usually doesn’t want to burden me by having tantrums when I say we can’t afford something. I also make a point to let her know that if money weren’t an issue, I wouldn’t buy her everything she wanted. We talk about how money doesn’t buy happiness and that if she had all the toys in the world she wouldn’t appreciate them. Some days are better than others.
We agreed that instead of a big party, she could bring cupcakes into her school programs (to cover both programs we’re talking 60 cupcakes). Over the weekend she saw pink cupcakes that were decorated with handbags, high-heeled shoes and make up. This morning she asked if she could bring the “fashionista cupcakes” to school. I told her that they were too expensive because we needed a lot. As is typical with my little one, she asked if she could use her own money to buy them. This is always when my heart aches a little and my resolve weakens.
What do you say to that? It’s not like she has a lot of money, but she’s willing to cash in her piggy bank so she can have her cupcakes for her birthday. I asked her if she’d rather have the cupcakes or a present from me because I couldn’t do both. Not surprisingly her answer was that she wanted a present. I used to feel badly about making her choose, but I have come to realize that it’s the only way I can determine how important something is to her.
I will get her one set of fashionista cupcakes for one of her classes, but the other class is getting the run of the mill mini cupcakes. As I strive to find balance this week, generate revenue and plan a party she will love, I will remind myself to stay present in each moment. My little girl will never be 5 again. That’s it. Poof. It’s gone. What’s left is the twinkle in her eye and the sparkle in her smile…if I am open, watching and waiting for the magical moment.
When I was younger I remember being glued to the television watching the performers spinning plates. It was an amazing feat, single-handedly getting 6 or 7 plates spinning on long sticks at the same time and keeping them rotating so they didn’t crash to the ground. At the time it was a really cool trick, now I realize it’s a lot like life. In my life it is a variety of things…single parenting, entrepreneurship, dating after divorce or the ever-illusive quest for health and wellness.
Some people call it balance. I did for a long time. I was channeling balance. Being a grounded, healthy and sane woman. That was my goal. It actually still is my goal, but I am beginning to accept that my life is and might always be a set of spinning plates. Some days I’m a star who gets it all done with panache and then there are the days where every last plate comes crashing to the floor.
I’m beginning to realize that it doesn’t matter which day I’m having…yes, here it is – it’s the journey that counts. Heard it a million times, right? The thing is that it’s true. Once one situation improves some other crazy complication will creep up. Life is not pretty. It is an ugly, putrid mess! It is also breathtakingly beautiful. The challenge is to take the mess and the beauty in stride and keep on spinning.