identity and different times of life

Images-1 The more I write about women, the more I think about identity.  Personally I am entering or perhaps I have already entered a new phase of my life.  In many ways I feel like I am 23 again.  I can focus on myself which is something I have not done in a very long time and it feels great. 

In today's NYTimes Home Section, one of the front page articles is called Frazzed Moms Push Back Against Volunteering.  The title itself made me laugh out loud.  First thought that came to my head was "frazzled?  no shit." 

Having children is basically what separates women from men.  Nobody has figured out how men can carry those babies and I feel pretty safe in saying that won't be happening any time soon.  Women, like myself, decide to get off the ramp to raise the kids and in order to use your multiple talents and to be involved with your child's life, you start to volunteer to do anything and everything for your kid because it isn't work.  Here is the mistake.  It is work. 

I have always been a multi-tasker.  When my kids were young I was running a business.  I had a few offers from people to back me in my own business.  I didn't take up those offers because in my heart of hearts I knew that if I started my own business I would find myself working 24/7 and my kids would not get the best of me.  They'd get a stressed out person whose brain was going a million miles an hour thinking of how to grow my business, how to make sure the groceries were in the house, when to make that dinner reservation, how to get the orders out the door, making sure I was at all the schools events, etc.  So, I took a step back and made the decision that I would stay home for a few years and be the Mom.  For the kids, it was great.  For me, my personal identity, ego and intellect….not so sure how that was but in the end it seems to have worked out.  Life is not a straight path. I am back where I was although much older with different businesses and a very different role in the business world.  That is ok.  I am loving it. 

The key here is balance.  My friend says to me the other night that he is worried that I am going to overextend myself.  He brought up something that I have thought a lot about myself.  What I have learned is that I know now how not to do that.  I can say no.  I can say I have enough on my plate.  I can say I am taking off some time here to spend time with the family.  I know that too much isn't good for anyone.  The other key is reminding yourself every now and then what your number one priority and focus is at that time. Just because you are there physically doesn't mean you are there mentally and making sure you are aware of that is important too. 

After reading the article this morning of the frazzled Moms is that these women decided to stay home yet they kept working even though the work was as a volunteer vs being paid the load was the same.  One of the women stepped back and said to herself that she stayed home for a reason, to be with her kids and keep a personal business going under her own terms.  Being devoted to the school projects is admirable because it is fun and you get to do something that is yours but being devoted to your own true time and your own mission is more admirable if you can step back and look at the big picture everyone will be happy including you. 

Happy moms make happy kids which in turn make happy families.