Yesterday was not unlike most of my days which are filled with various activities that take place at many different locations. I began my day seeing clients wearing the hat of a professional - a therapist. I then met a friend for a lovely lunch which was followed by picking up my daughter to take her to a doctor's appointment and then to another appointment. I then saw more clients, made a few phone referrals to doctors, spoke to my mother to help her resolve a conflict, fed the kids and left them in good hands while I drove across town to get to my book club meeting. I went from therapist, to friend, to mother and medical advocate for my child, daughter, book group member and forever the chauffer. This is not an unusual scenario for most women today who are working moms.
The job of being a mom itself requires one to wear many different hats and when you add to that a career and aging parents we end up with a pretty full plate. There was very little time to stop and reflect on much of anything and even though most of my activities were enjoyable and even fun (although it is never enjoyable to have to take your little ones to the doctor) I was so busy I felt as though I was in constant motion. On my long but quiet drive to book club I was able process some of the events of my day and I thought, "Who am I now?" In other words - which hat was I going to put on next?
I have written other articles here about making sure we stop and enjoy the moments of our lives. It bears repeating that we also need to do our best to be fully present in the role we are assuming at the moment. An example of this is when couples go out on a date and talk about the children the entire evening. They are remaining in the role of parents (which of course is a constant) but often ignore the role of romantic partner.
Ideally life wouldn't be so busy all the time but it does seem that it is inevitable in these times and at certain stages of life. This is why we have to make a concerted effort to have days that are not quite as jam packed as the one I just described. Sometimes we just need to breathe deeply and exhale letting go of the role we were just in and embracing the new one. I found myself doing this several times yesterday and yet I couldn't help but to think about my next task when I was in the midst of my current activity.
This blog will hopefully serve as a reminder to me and to the readers that we need to constantly work on the skill of effectively and consciously changing hats throughout our day. It would be great to hear from the community about how some of you manage your busy lives and to learn about any methods that you have found particularly useful in this endeavor. I will continue to write about the topic of having a balanced life and offer tips and tools that can help us all to accomplish this goal.