I’m going to be honest – this has been a tough month for me, full of heavy thoughts, unlike my usual terminally cheerful self. Maybe it is our handmade heritage month making me nostalgic or the leaves already starting to change colour on the trees. The summer is almost over and fall always makes me think of endings. Jennifer Perillo‘s loss of her husband also made me think of how quickly things can change-an instant transforming everything. I’ve got riots in London and children in Somalia roaming around in my heart, and an anniversary of one of my own major losses on my mind.
There has also been this constant feeling of failing at something. If I am amazing at my business I am not present as a parent, if I focus on parenting I fall behind on my business. Some months that juggling act is harder then others. I had a big wake up call this month too. On the first week of August I woke up early, after having spent a full day at the beach with the girls the day before, to the phone ringing. I thought it was a friend calling about a play date but when I went to go check on my oldest daughter Ila she wasn’t in her room. I listened to the message on the phone and my heart leaped into my throat.
My incredibly trusting six year old had packed a little bag and snuck out of the house while we were sleeping, walked out the front door, up the road and crossed our street to visit a friend to arrange her own playdate. It was a shock in more ways then one – I had not been being present as a parent, but worse, I was making Ila felt unwanted.
A heavy heavy load of guilt came and dumped itself on me.
I had to make some hard choices, keep building the momentum I have been creating for Oh My! or give myself permission to take the rest of the summer to focus on the girls, to wring every last bit of fun out of the sunny days left to us? A hard choice but a simple decision. My kids need me, bottom line. But as the emails and to-dos built up, the balls dropped, the projects postponed, I was feeling an equally heavy load of guilt. After talking with a friend about it she mentioned giving herself permission to feel a certain way. That word really stuck with me, it was exactly what I needed, to give myself permission to stop feeling guilty. I give myself permission to slack off until September and then to take Sundays off from now on. I give myself permission to be okay with where I am right now. So I wrote my own permission slip and thought you might want one too, click the banners below to download your own.
Let’s give ourselves permission to take the time, space, help, whatever it is that we feel in need of without guilt or shame. We are only human and deserve to be kind to ourselves.
What are you going to give yourself permission to do today?
This month has sucked. Everyone I keep in touch with has been battling with something – family, work, life in general… I wonder if we’ve collectively hit that point where we need to stop.
And step back.
What’s more important to us? Family or work? After a generation (or two) of both parents working, I think we’ve reached that point where we need to reassess our priorities. *Things* are nice to have, but so are families and friends. And I’d much rather spend time with my family and friends most days than the latest gadget.
It won’t hurt to slow down a bit. In the long run, it’ll probably put you further ahead 🙂
I am so sorry to hear this month has sucked for you-a lot of people I know are struggling too-end of summer fatigue? “I wonder if we’ve collectively hit that point where we need to stop. And step back. And breathe.” <—I love this, and think yes. One of the reasons why I wanted August to be the handmade heritage month is the end of summer should be slow and lazy, needle work under the trees and painting at the lake, tall glasses of iced tea and naps in hammocks. Simple pleasures-which are sometimes so hard to hold onto when life gets hectic. I don't need things at all but the mortgage & bills weigh heavily on my mind! But I know I would rather live in a shack in the woods with my family then have no time for them…hopefully it wont come to that; ) Here's to stepping back & breathing, long and slow.
OOOOh my gosh. First this post makes me so sad. This feeling is never fun. (You ooze with wisdom in your words, though! WOW.)
Second, I want to share this with you:
Thank you so much Katie! I love the post you shared-I am all about saying YES (with great enthusiasm) but am prioritizing saying yes to slowing down right now instead of my usual full steam ahead. Don’t be sad-I know this time will help me reflect/recharge for an amazing September: )
This summer has been an emotional one. We have lost a loved one, we have welcomed a new life into the world (BILs family), we have a friend who has endured a terribly injury and more…plus all that is happening around the world. This summer is not one that I will soon forget. I have learned so much, I have realized so much, and I am appreciating so much. This post is wonderful Jessika even though it’s a heavy one, it’s a post full of reality, one teaching us to take that step back and to learn from what is happening around us. Thank you. I’m so sorry to hear of Jennifer’s lost, my thoughts go out to her and her family.
Wow what a summer Julie! Thank you so much for sharing here-some times it feels we need to wade through the heavy stuff in order to come out lighter on the other side. I have also been following Pema Teeter’s Memory to Light journey & been very moved by it http://www.storycharmer.com/2011/08/memory-to-light-31-days-of-stories/ these heavy feelings don’t go away if we ignore them hopefully by sharing them we let them go and move forward. Jennifer’s story is so hard to think about also, I’ve been hugging my family fiercely and doing a lot of cooking. Love & hugs to you <3
I love this post Jessika and admit I’ve been feeling a bit of the same with the end of summer. I remember when you said that your daughter had left without you knowing, and I can completely empathize with how scary that would have been.
Thank you for putting this into words for so many. I’m giving myself permission to enjoy the rest of the summer with my family so I can be ready to kick it into high gear for Fall!
Thank you for your bravery with this post. It is not easy for anyone to admit to themselves, let alone the world, their areas of weakness.
It is also a very valuable post to remind ourselves that we do need to give ourselves permission to let some of the balls in the air drop from time to time.
Your eloquence and printable have allowed me to admit that I too need to be more present with my kids and let some of the business stuff fall a little behind.
Thank you Stephanie! Balls drop whether we give them permission or not but when we allow them to without guilt-it is an amazing feeling! I hope you have a beautiful time with your familia!
It’s kind of funny that you post something like this today, I feel like Eeyore ( Winne the Pooh) lately. I think it’s okay too, we are not always jolly people.
just slow down and don’t feel guilty. If you don’t answer tweets or e-mail, what will happen? Your fabulous business will still grow. Maybe not as fast. Maybe someone you don’t/barely know will be a bit irked for a moment. If you don’t attend to your children, what will happen? You seem to already know the answer.
I’m sorry you’re having such a rough end-of-summer. Please let me know if I can help, I’m always happy to make time.
(And, remember that kids do things like that for all sorts of reasons, even when they have parents who spend all their time on top of their every move. I think in situations like that it’s all about how you react – that’s what the kid is usually interested in.)
Thank you for such honesty. I think I often make myself feel like I have to be the best at everything I am doing and do it all while being totally happy (even though I might be completely exhausted or overwhelmed while trying to do it all). I hope to incorporate more permission for myself to find a little peace and balance in every new day.
i started my own art and craft business a few months ago, after trying to balance working away from home, and being a mum and wife, and failing. i have given myself the summer ‘off’ to be with my littlies, in the full and certain knowledge that they won’t be little for ever, and we need to enjoy our time together.
i try to give myself a day ‘off’ a week, but with a home and family to run, sundays aint it. as a christian, i struggled with the whole ‘keep sunday special’ thing when i was dog tired running around after everyone so that we could have ‘family’ time. a friend, in a moment of clarity and wisdom, said ‘you need a day off, but it doesn’t need to be sunday’. my church has a service on thursday mornings, so i drop the the children at school, head up there, fellowship and drink tea, and have that as my ‘day off’. sure, i still need to cook and clean and do laundry, but my headspace is better because i am not trying to do everything.
august in england is the decline of summer, and the best days too, looking forward and back. it’s really hard to find balance anytime as a mum, let alone a working mum in the school holidays, but sometimes kicking back and enjoying the here and now is better than fretting and planning and missing what’s under our noses.
it’s good to read that other people have these dilemmas too, and that there are solutions if we are brave enough step back for long enough to find them.
I had a month like that in July.
The weird thing is when we’re going through it we think we’re the only ones experiencing it… til we tell someone.
thanks for being open and honest about the rough times too!
while i can’t of course understand exactly how you feel, i understand the general feeling. my summer’s been sucking too. i say we throw a pity party potluck, we can all give each other permission to take a break, then we can munch & chat & laugh to our hearts’ content!!!
You’re doing a great job, whether you know it or not. It’s not easy to work from home, split yourself in two and keep any balls in the air…and while you struggle with your time and place (and your place in time) know this:
you are (more than) enough.
@ Tracey “you are (more than) enough.”
thank you for this with the whole of my heart-I know it but sometimes forget & need to be reminded. Luckily I have glowing, gorgeous friends like you to call me back to myself <#
My heart aches for you dear friend! I know you are juggling 2 great things and making decisions on what to focus on can be tough, but follow your heart and it won’t guide you astray. I’m always here to talk/vent/be silly with!
xoxoxo your friend,
@ Bridgett I just adore you sweet friend, I feel your support and love flowing out to me and thank you for it! I am actually absurdly attempting to juggle a third awesome thing & am so excited but definitely overwhelmed: ) Come September I know things will mellow back into a working groove-I am doing my best to be present until then!
Back in my single days, I was a full time potter, working every day and loving my craft and independence. Then I had 2 children. I completely gave up pottery, finding the juggling impossible for mainly the reasons you are struggling with. Time has flown and I am happy that I spent a number of years focusing on family without feeling guilty about any other projects in the background. (especially ones that by their very nature tend to be completely absorbing) It is amazing how short a time children are very young. My kids are 18 and 20 now and I do not regret my decision for a minute. Working online from home means that you can feel guilty about not working every minute or you can work and feel bad about not being with your kids. At least when you work away from home, you can walk away from it and be mentally “there” for your family when you’re home. Sometimes it isn’t financially possible for one person to stay home for a few years. We rented half of our house and made due with a small space so that I could do it.
@Eve-thank you for your comment! I made the decision early on about staying home with my daughter and have always worked from home for the most part. We have made a lot of changes & adjustments in order to make it possible but we do rely on my income too so there is the money stress to accompany any time off. I sometime feel a little jealous of my partner for being able to walk away from it all every day but I know at the same time I wouldn’t trade places with him in a million years! School will be starting so very soon & I will be able to get back to a regular work schedule again (hooray!).
I’m giving myself permission to take time out to read inspiring blog posts like this one when I should be writing my strategic marketing plan :o)
Jessika, give yourself a break! You spent a full day at the beach with the little ones – your adventurous 6-year-old didn’t get up and leave the house because she felt unwanted – she felt confident enough that she could take herself over to her friend’s house – confident because of how you’ve brought her up – be proud!
(Hope you don’t mind me preaching at you – I’m a juggler too and it’s not easy to do everything brilliantly – but that’s okay. Your family loves you, and so do the readers of OMHG!)
Hope September brings new smiles – love & hugs, fellow juggler, Lucy x
@ Lucy thank you so much sweetie!!!! You can preach to me any day mamasita: ) It was funny because last night I followed a link & found this quote:
“Children are like kites. You spend a lifetime trying to get them off the ground. You run with them until you are both breathless. They crash. They hit the rooftop. You patch and comfort, adjust and teach. You watch them lifted by the wind and assure them that someday they will fly. Finally, they are airborne. They need more string and you keep letting it out; but with each twist of the ball of twine, there is a sadness that goes with joy. The kite becomes more distant and you know it won’t be long before that beautiful creature will snap the lifeline that binds you two together and will soar, free and alone. Only then do you know that you did your job.”- Erma Bombeck
Its true it is probably more my guilt then any feeling unwanted on her part-I do try oh so hard to make lots of time for fun & give them my full attention, some times it doesn’t feel like enough! She is stretching her wings & it is painful to see her growing up & being so self-directed. Ah parenting!!!!
Thank you Lucy-I am giving myself a break, and feeling good about it <3 to you & all jugglers
Hey Jessika. I just wanted to pop in to say that you’ve got my support lady! I don’t know you as a parent–I mean, I’ve never seen you with your kids. But, I’ve talked to you about your kids and I’ve read posts where you’ve talked about your kids, and I know they’re two lucky girls to have such a loving mom who wants nothing more than the best for them.
But, you’re right–life can change in an instant and you’ve got to do what feels right. You should know that the people who enjoy Oh My! aren’t going anywhere because you need to take time for yourself and your family. They’re not going to go away if you don’t reply to an email for days or because you don’t get back to them on Twitter. It makes me sad to know that you’ve had a rough month–but it makes me happy to know that you’re giving yourself permission.
@April-I appreciate your support so very much April, thank you! Sometimes I can get so invested in doing everything perfectly I forget that it is equally important to say “whatever” and do what my heart/gut tells me it needs. After a full summer of juggling I think I’m just feeling worn out & instead of pushing harder I’m easing off on the gas (which goes against my nature!). I already feel hugely better today-reading these comments is enough to fill anyone’s heart right up, knowing that we are all in this together is the best medicine of all.
Oh there’s nothing like that working parent guilt is there? The juggling act is impossible to perfect, no matter what, the scales will always tip one way or the other. But in light of what you’re enduring, you found the answer really. Giving yourself permission to do what’s best for you at this time. Period. And that permission continually adjusts as your priorities change. When you finally allow yourself to be okay with that, the guilt amazingly goes away 🙂 We’ve all been there, that’s a comfort to know right? LOL! Here’s to a fabulous September!
@Gina, yes! I come from a line of Jewish mothers too, it’s a recipe for an overactive guilt complex. I try to stomp on it right away but sometimes it comes sneaking up on me! I love this: “that permission continually adjusts as your priorities change. When you finally allow yourself to be okay with that, the guilt amazingly goes away” powerful, magical stuff there. I like the idea of building businesses that are resilient enough to allow us to shift along with those priorities. Yes, it is a comfort to know we’ve all been there/are there/can share the tough stuff & the successes too. September is going to be awesome!
What a lovely and honest post. It’s been a tough few weeks here too. I’m not totally sold on astrology but am still quite happy to blame Mercury being retrograde for the miscommunication, delays and difficulties we’ve all experienced this month. I’m giving myself permission to let go of all that frustration. I’m also giving myself a break from feeling guilty about about asking for what I need. Not being clear and straightforward about that isn’t helpful to anyone, and not speaking up makes things unbearable. I don’t have children yet but I love my business and I have to look after it in the same kind of way if I want it to survive. So…all that stuff is gone.
I’m so sorry you got such a fright Jessika, but thanks for writing about such a reflective and insightful post about it.
@Clare sure, mercury sounds like a brilliant excuse, I’ll take it; ) But good for you to give yourself the permission to let go of that frustration & ask for what you need. That can be really hard! Running a business is so much like parenting, we can become consumed by it and forget about our other joys or be neglectful of it and caught up in other things-working towards some equilibrium between the two is quite a teeter-totter!
Jessika ~ You are a beautiful brave soul! We all go through times like these. Life is not always easy but through the struggles we develop strength and wisdom. Thanks for being so transparent ~ I know many ladies will be helped 🙂 I too have been stepping away more than usual lately. My ds has needed mom time to reassure him that he is just as important to me as his sisters. When faced with this, hands down like you I would rather live with little, surrounded by family than with much and not know or like each other. Sending hugs 🙂
Oh, how I know this pain. My two are still toddlers and I struggle with the permission slips and slip-ups. I ask my husband ‘how do I build a business and still be a present mom?’ and he says I am staying home to be a MOM; the business can take its time.
It is ironic that you wrote this post. I have found myself thinking that it would be great to be like you–a great business person, intelligently promoting others, a mom, witty, smart, and providing great information for us. It is a necessary reminder that running a business and being a parent is WORK and takes time.
Oh gosh, I can totally relate. I’ve had health problems lately and it’s been hard for me to swallow that I can’t do everything I want to, exactly when I want to. I’m figuring it out too.
But to echo some of the comments: I hate the idea of you feeling guilty about your parenting– you seem like such a wonderful mama!!
I can’t imagine how scary it must have been for you guys, but perhaps for your daughter it was a fun adventure?– meaning she’s independent and strong… A friend of mine had a similar (terrifying!) experience, but her son was just so proud and completely unaware of the uproar he caused.
Hugs to you! and Here’s to continually figuring it out:)
Oh Jessika! I had no idea you were having such a hard month! I have to emphasize what some have said before, do not take Ila’s trek down the street as a comment on your parenting. It is not. That is just the thing that a child of her age does, it is developmentally appropriate, testing the boundaries, asserting her independence, showing you she can do it because she is becoming a big girl. I do it myself! I hear this all the time from my 4yo:) Even when that means she runs off down the road because she is going to the park at the campground, by herself. Feel proud that you have done such a good job leading the way for her to become an independent, strong girl who feels she can conquer the world on her own, because she can do it. That is our role as mama’s, teach them how to fly and let them do it, in developmentally appropriate ways of course 🙂 And this was one of them! Do not beat yourself up over this, you are a great mother doing great things.
That mama guilt and struggle will always be there if you let it be there. I decided in July that it was foolish of me to try to work with the girls home from school. The summer before my 4yo starts school for the first time. I really miss work, like seriously miss it, I have so much in my head to get out, but I don’t want to miss this time with them more. I only have this summer, these opportunities with them once, and once Sept hits and school starts, well wow, I will have 6 dedicated hours to work everyday. I have never had that! Yes it means I grow slowly, but oh the precious gift I have been given in both family and work. You deserve the time, you only get it once. Remember the old adage, when you look back upon your life you will never wish you worked more…
Love and light to you sweet lady.
@Tracey THANK YOU! I was talking with my mama about it & how it’s funny that when you teach your child to be self-assured & make choices they don’t differentiate about those choices. Maybe I should have taught her to obey instead of be a free thinker like me; ) I also realized I have read her all the Pippi Longstockings books & maybe she thinks parents are nice but will still be there when you get home!
I ran away when I was 7 but I made a big dramatic production of it, I wanted to go save the trees in Clayoquot Sound (I even wrote a bunch of letters to the PM at the time) but I told my mom all about it first! I also got distracted by a girl in the courtyard with mentos & decided to go home. It was Ila’s silent sneaking that really got my heart.
I think it is hard when work is play/life-I seriously love everything I am doing SOOOO much & want to do it all, but my girls are just small now & my love for work isn’t going anywhere. I have a friend up the road who will be visiting with Sela a few mornings a week in September so I have time to work, I am so excited!
Thank you for sending your love & light my way-you always brighten up my day: )
Thank you so much for sharing so much of what you’re experiencing right now.
The balance you talk about really is a struggle- you really do it all with such grace and honesty, which is so incredibly honorable!
It seems like the mom/business owner role is one that constantly gets redefined and measured. I love the idea of allowing ourselves permission to feel & do certain things…
sending hugs & happy wishes to you sweet friend! you really are a shining light! xo, allisa
@allisa You are so sweet!!! Thank you! I read lots of blogs & I love them but so often I think-my life doesn’t look anything like them! Most people I know don’t have lives that are always lovely, I think being truthful about who we REALLY are, not only when things are awesome but when they aren’t is at the heart of building a true community. I also feel so incredibly loved right now, which wasn’t my intention, but is so good for the soul!
just reread my comment and meant to say your honesty & grace is admirable….but it is honorable too 🙂
you’re right, it’s nice to hear it’s not all lemonade & sunshine for everyone… your post is such a reminder that this time, this age, this day only comes once!
Thanks for sharing your story and the permission downloads. A normal part of being human means experiencing both ebbs and flows in life, but so many times we feel like something is wrong or we are somehow inadequate when we are in the midst of the ebbs. I think that learning to lean into life and feeling whatever it is that you are in the midst of at that time is important. Thanks for reminding me!
wow, your post really hit home for me as well. i have been dealing with being 100% present when I am working and 100% present when I am with my kids. I feel guilty when i am playing with them because there are so many things on my to do list and i feel guilty when i am working because i know i wasn’t 100% present with them. thanks for the reminder to give myself permission to feel… whatever that is… i am printing your card and putting it up in my office.
I just want to say thank you so much to everyone who has left such honest, beautiful and kind comments-my heart feels a thousand times lighter then before! Amazing how sharing how we are feeling can be the resolution we are looking for. Proof that we are stronger together then we are when isolated with our fears/stress. I hope we all give ourselves permission to JUST BE-whatever that looks like for us.
This made me cry…. in a good way. I have to give myself permission every day to NOT be perfect. I burn myself out daily by trying to do everything perfectly, and when I can’t, I feel like a failure…. last week I gave myself permission to do nothing for an entire day…. the freedom that came with that surprized me. Your honestly is a blessing, and your permission slips are printed. 🙂
Just wanted to thank you for that wonderful quote about children as kites – made me cry.
So true – my little kite is currently eating fishfingers on the settee and putting the crumbs in the tissue box…. never loved him more xxx
I’ve been beating myself up a lot lately over my insane to-do list because I never seem to get ahead. This means I NEVER take time for myself.
That ends today! These cards are my new best friends. 🙂
Can not tell you how much I loved this post!!! And your courage to share this …
I came over here via Allisa at quiltish. She is such an inspiration to me. It’s interesting but I just finished writing a post (it will post tomorrow) after seeing a quote that says “I can do anything but not everything.” I get discouraged sometimes most when I think everyone else is an uber-achiever. Except me. How do women get so much done–blogging, photographing, reading other blogs, commenting, responding to comments, AND creating?? It makes me feel “less than.” Your post was very well written. I’m giving myself permission to…accomplish what I accomplish and be okay with it.
Wow… thanks for your honesty. The guilt you speak of can be so overwhelming and I think affects so many, actually all moms, who are also trying to run their own businesses. It’s always just so encouraging to know we’re not alone in our journey of being moms and in business. Thanks for sharing this – I’m going to be giving myself permission to do something (or not do something) every day.
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