From the moment my twins were born over a decade ago, I was always 100% devoted to them (and their year-younger sister), winding up my career in academia to be a stay-at-home mom. If we were to make a ‘Life is Good’ t-shirt for my kids, it would be an illustration of me in my PJs holding a cup of coffee and three kiddos wrapped around both my legs. Life was Good.
If you were to ask my kiddos what their mom did all day, they would reply, “She exercises, has lunch with her friends and then helps us with homework after school.” And, the comforting part of my stay-at-homeness was that I was always available to them––any time for any thing—from “Mommy, I forgot my trumpet,” or “Can you run by Michaels and pick up supplies, I have a project due tomorrow,” to “Mommy, can you braid my hair,” (this request was, without fail, right before bedtime so that my daughter’s wet hair would dry into a wavy mess when she woke up the next morning). Life was Good.
However, everything changed for my children eighteen months ago when I started CherylStyle and became totally preoccupied with left the nest for another venture—or ADventure as I think about it. I jumped into working with both feet and have never regretted a single moment. I am in heaven! I’ve never been more excited to wake up in the morning and more bummed to have to sleep. I have become an entrepreneur and I’ll never be the same. But somehow, Life Was No Longer Quite So Good.
My children, you see, felt like I had abandoned them and this was the worst thing EVER––think Oliver Twist or Annie. They had been orphaned! Which introduced the new dialogue: ”You NEVER braid my hair anymore,” or worse “you’re ALWAYS too tired to braid my hair and you ALWAYS want to check your email,” or the real heart stabber: “I feel like you don’t love us anymore because Max is ALWAYS picking us up from school.” As you can gather, Max helps me juggle the day-to-day tasks of three children and working full time. Even my dog, Annie was feeling the pain. She would follow me around the house with her baby in her mouth begging me to sit down. She, too, missed her quiet time with me in the mornings.
So how to cope? Or better question, how do I begin to balance all of this? Below is the plan.
- I have adjusted my awake hours. Instead of a 5:00 a.m. wake up call, I sleep in an extra hour and a half so I have more bandwidth to braid hair at 9:00 p.m.
- I now block out the 3:00-4:00 hour so I can pick up the kids from school. Not only am I waiting for them when they walk out of their classrooms, but as soon as I see them, I smile and actively engage—I am not distracted by teachers or other parents while I await their arrival (before, I would be chatting with the other moms as the children arrived.) I am there for them, so I refuse to let anyone take this special time of day away from me.
- I only check my email while holed up in the bathroom with the door closed or hanging out in my closet. I am still wired, but I don’t feed my crack email addiction in front of the kids. Perception is 99% reality, so now I am completely unplugged when I’m around them.
- And I work out before dinner. This gives me a newfound energy to be completely “ON” for them from 6:00-10:00 pm—the time they are the most tired and really just want a compassionate, understanding, loving parent to be around and present. I am returning to truly being their Mommy.
So, Life is Good at the Najafi house again, and I am loving––and balancing––my two full time jobs: Creative Catalyst, and CMO (Chief Mommy Officer).
Live the moment,