Transforming to Just Being

Nothing has a stronger influence on their children than the unlived lives of their parents.” – Carl Jung

My 2-year-old cried in the car all the way to daycare yesterday. I cried all the way back. At issue for him was that after spending 3 ½ days out of school last week and then having to have a root canal to solve the problem, it’s hard to get back to the routine. Especially because his 6-year-old sister is now staying home from school with a sore throat.  At issue for me is this is the way the last three weeks of work days have gone – X’s denote a day that one of my two kids was home (placeholders for today, tomorrow and Friday because I haven’t woken the kids up yet):

Because I’m self-employed, there are many things I’m so lucky to be able to swing because I don’t have any corporate meetings, I don’t commute and my boss understands the situation. With all that said, here’s my question – does any parent with primary parenting responsibility actually get any work done? And has any parent gotten work done since the pandemic started?

It seems from my informal small survey of two kids, that the non-Covid illnesses are way more prevalent in these days of getting back to group activities. If that’s the case, I’d suspect that this will even out over time. But I’m not sure that I will even out after two+ years of feeling like the fulcrum on which I’ve tried to create balance in my kid’s lives no matter what’s happening in the world. Here’s how that feels:

Of course this is a little tongue in cheek and you must forgive the crude artwork. But with that said, the problem is that it is sometimes hard to get some perspective from down there. It brings to mind the quote for this post from Carl Jung, “Nothing has a stronger influence on their children than the unlived lives of their parents.

Which I take to mean that when we sacrifice any aspect of ourselves – whether for our children, our parents, our partner or anyone else in our lives, that part haunts the remaining parts of our lives if we don’t make peace with it.  In my current situation, I’m having a hard time being successful at work. And aside from the monetary ramifications, it also impacts my ability to commit to things. Who am I if I’m not someone who can set deadlines?

In this process, I’m finding out that what’s getting squashed out is my self-conception. I’m becoming someone better at just being instead of being measured by my doing. I’ve said this before so I know I’m repeating myself but this is a process of transformation, so it’s taking some time. I still like to be reliable and productive. But I’m better at rescheduling something on my work calendar if I have to without it impacting my sense of who I am.

Dr. Gerald Stein quipped in a blog comment the other day, “”I wish I would have worked more’ said no one ever on their death bed.” But there is a wide crevasse to cross to understand how to put that into practice when we are in this middle part of our lives where we are responsible. I suspect parenting is one of the bridges that might help us get a leg over.

Has your conception of work changed during the pandemic or over time? Did parenting change it?

Keeping Up the Good Work

To create one’s own world takes courage.” – Georgia O’Keefe

Before I got married to my former husband, I would throw all the clean Tupperware into one big cupboard. But my ex had a great idea that if the tops and bottoms were matched when it was put away, it would be way easier to use the Tupperware.

The problem was, he liked to have the Tupperware like that but he didn’t want to do the work to put it away like that. I’m not really dogging on my ex-husband (well, not much) because I think there’s always a big divide between knowing what to do and doing it.

For all our human knowledge and experience, the hardest part is implementing it.

I know I need to get 7-8 hours of sleep at night. But it’s still hard to get out of the chair at night and go to bed.

I’m completely aware I need to eat more greens and less sugar. But then the Easter candy is left out and I’m helping myself.

I want to teach the kids to put their coats away in the proper place when we come in but I often find it easier to just pick them up and put them away myself instead of tracking them down.

All this thinking about systems came up for me because I recently bought my daughter some socks that show the day of the week and she spent an hour devising a box in which they can be neatly stored. It’s delightful. I’m laughing because I’m the one that does the laundry and therefore it reminds me very much of putting the Tupperware away for my ex.

Maybe, in an effort to instill part of the DOING for her, I’ll wash them – but she has to put them away. 😊

How about you? Any tricks to narrow the gap between knowing and doing? Does anyone remember the scene in the RomCom where someone tells the funny break-up story due to day of the week underpants?