By Erin Cox
Today I am writing from my brother and sister-in-laws home during a crazy California tour. We spent the first part of this week on the Central Coast of California with my in-law’s, and now we are in Mammoth Lakes celebrating my brother-in-law’s 40th birthday. I wouldn’t miss this week for anything… but it is certainly putting a cramp in my new class launch planning and editorial calendar. I thought I’d have plenty of free time to fit in some planning and writing during this week… but “life” has gotten in the way (as in swinging at the beach, savoring fish tacos while listening to a live reggae band, playing at the beach, hiking with an ocean view, engaging in deep family conversations over delicious meals and wine…etc.). These moments are what life’s really all about!
Every single mom I know goes through frustrating moments when she has an amazing creative project that is aching to be created or book that needs to be written or a product about to launch… but then life gets in the way. A child comes home from school sick, family comes to town for a visit, children need to be fed, or a household is getting too far out of control and the passion projects often have to be set-aside for the moment.
In our hearts we want to be the “good mom” and keep our priorities properly aligned, but it can leave us feeling constantly frustrated and as though the feat of accomplishing our goals is always just out of grasp. Sometimes we just don’t get as much done as we planned to and it can stress us out!
When you are a woman with firm priorities who strives to keep her family and marriage first, this feeling of internal struggle can become all to familiar. As a woman who struggles with this daily, and as a mentor who coaches women who deal with this as well, I know it’s a fact of life for ambitious parents who are balancing so much!
Here are a few keys to thriving through the madness, and achieving great success while raising a family:
- Keep your deadlines realistic and build in time for unexpected events and duties that “pop up.” Also be okay if it takes you twice as long as others to launch your class or a year to write your book. If that’s what it takes to live in alignment with your priorities, then so be it! Don’t fight it, accept and embrace that things just might take longer.
- Get help with the domestic duties of maintaining your home (i.e. cleaning) so you can focus your at-home time on engaging with your family.
- Focus on being where you are! It can be easy to ruminate about the fact that your projects are falling behind while trying to participate in a toddler tea party…just as we can suffer from guilt while we toil away for hours at our computers and others are looking after your kids. In both scenarios, everyone suffers. When you are at work, focus like a laser and eliminate distractions (to the extent possible) and at the end of your workday, put aside your work, be grateful for what you accomplished, and head to give your spouse and children the very best gift – a completely present, on fire, and fulfilled woman.
- Involve your family by describing your projects and work with excitement and delight so they can better understand why it matters and why you have to spend time away from them. (If you can’t describe your projects with excitement and delight… consider a career change!)
- Take regular and sometimes extended time off where there is no computer, no phone, nothing but you and your loved ones.
You are ambitious because you have something unique and beautiful to share with the world. By living your purpose, you are setting an amazing example for your children. Accomplishing your professional goals will also make you a more fulfilled and happier person to be around, as long as you aren’t sacrificing those that matter most to you!
When you can truly focus on what you’re doing and “be” where you are, use realistic expectations and deadlines, and keep your priorities properly aligned – that’s when you are achieving authentic success.
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