Take a few seconds to answer this question. Have a pen and paper handy. Who are the 5 most important people in your life? Don't think about it, just name them and keep reading.
I just finished reading a few blogposts of women I admire who are openly and courageously expressing that they have stretched themselves too thin, are feeling overwhelmed, diminished, and reduced to going through the motions, and acting up their lives rather than living them fully. As a result, some of them have decided to stop blogging (or insert favourite activity), because of the demands that it places on their time. For some of them blogging (or insert favourite activity), or going online, is an outlet, a joy, something that fills them up and distracts them from the demands of their lives. Others may have turned blogging (or insert favourite activity) into a job that "must" be done and becomes a dreadful chore. So they come to term with the fact that in order to find time and balance, they must stop blogging (or insert favourite activity).
While I applaud them for their courage and for making decisions to reclaim their life, at the same time it breaks my heart that the one thing they have chosen to end is the one thing they were doing for their "ME".
Remember that question at the top of my blog post? So when you look at your answer, is your ME at the top of your list? Is your ME even on the list?
I'd wager that none of you even included your ME on the list, and in the rare event that you did, I bet your ME didn't come first. How do I know? Because, coincidentally, I saw and answered this question today, and my ME was MIA from the list. And I know that I am just like you. I know, because I have read all those posts today and I know that the curse of our generation is that we are too busy for ME, that we put every other priority ahead of ME, and that unless we are willing to stop that way of prioritizing by putting ME first, we will never, ever, ever find balance, peace and happiness with our lives.
So I would love to take each of you beautiful, harried and overwhelmed women, give you a hug and tell you this:
"I am sorry that you feel this overwhelmed and stretched thin. I understand. And you are right to want to shorten your to-do list so life becomes enjoyable again and not a chore. But in choosing which activity to let go of to have more time and find balance, remember ME. The ME that nurtures you and makes you who you are. The ME that strives to find a voice, and that we so quickly shove down in the name of other priorities or responsibilities. The ME who brings you joy and fills you up, that gives your soul purpose and spirit. That ME that we put last but should always come first, because without ME there is no WE. WE the couple, WE the family, WE the community. So if your ME needs blogging, gardening, knitting, or running to feel happy, then why deny yourself that pleasure? Your ME is worth 15-20 minutes per day, sometimes less and sometimes more, and if you're worried about being selfish remember that by showing your children that you need time to care for yourself every day, you are modeling a behaviour to them that will allow them to grow into well-balanced individuals. Reclaim time in your day by chopping off other to-dos or "responsibilities" (are they real or expectations) and instead, honour the time you deserve each day to nurture your ME."
From ME to your ME with all my love.