This is the Earliest That I’ve Been Late

That’s the line I use to say after my son Jake was born. I created that explanation when I was living in that “newborn fog” and I always seemed to be running late to meet people. “This is the earliest that I’ve been late” is what I was thinking last month when I called yet another friend to tell her that I was running late to our Working Moms Support Lunch.

As I drove to the restaurant, I realized that I didn’t use to be late like this unless there was something beyond my control like traffic. I was always the first to get to a meeting, the first to get to the restaurant and I sometimes use to bring something with me to work on because I knew that I would be waiting for everyone else.

Thankfully my friends and fellow working moms, Kim and Laura, were patient with me as I arrived late to our lunch. We had a great time sharing kid stories, work updates and a rant from Laura about my last blog post. We all had a great lunch but it bothered me a bit that I had cut into our support group time. As I drove back to my office, I was wondering what was going on with me and what happened to my usual “on-time behavior”?

AND I had even planned to do a new blog post for February but somewhere between Jake’s stomach virus that got transferred to me (why does it take me 5 days to his 2 days to recover?), the pile of proposals that I cranked out and dealing with other crisis management moments like Jake telling me that he had to do a school project the night BEFORE it was due … I hit a brick wall. I just lost steam and somewhere in there went my motivation.

I struggled for a week to figure out this out but it took a Jimmy Buffett concert to get my answer. As I stood there listening to an old song with thousands of my Parrothead friends, it finally hit me (yes, folks, I admit it – I’m a Parrothead and have been one for over 20 years. I’ve lost track of the number of concerts I’ve attended!). I’ve been running so hard for the last few months that I forgot to stop and take a break.

The song is called “Trying to Reason with Hurricane Season” and for those of you unfamiliar with the lyrics, here is the chorus and quite honestly, the part that hit home with me:

And now I must confess,
I could use some rest.
I can’t run at this pace very long.
Yes, it’s quite insane,
I think it hurts my brain.
But it cleans me out and then I can go on.

Last month I was looking for a way to find a support system to help me get more work done and in the process, I discovered a new meaning to the words “support system.” I now realize that I need to find room for some downtime for me to be more productive. I need to find more ways to ‘support’ myself or this Quest for Balance will be all about work and not the balance for my personal, family and work life.

So the day after the Buffett concert, I closed shop early and spent time with Jake while we waited for his Dad to come pick him up. Then when Lisa, one of my college friends, came to visit me over the weekend, I didn’t wake up early on Saturday to squeeze in a couple of hours of work before she showed up. I enjoyed a lazy morning and had a great time with Lisa playing the “remember when this happened” game. We laughed so hard that weekend that my stomach hurt for most of the day on Sunday.

When Monday morning came, I felt refreshed and was able to get back on track with work and my home life. They say that things happen for a reason and I probably wouldn’t have listened to anyone who would have told me to slow down. I’m still working on goal setting exercises and looking for more ways to create a working mom’s support system (thanks to everyone who sent me their suggestions – keep ’em coming!) but now I’m reminded that I also need to create more ME time in my life.

So to Buffett I say, keep on singing and helping me get through this crazy life. Because¬† ‘it cleans me out and then I can go on’ ….thanks for the life lesson Jimmy!

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