I have been thinking a lot about this lately, in the context of my own life, the lives of the women I know and in the context of the changes I am making.
Here is what I am coming to see and understand. In today's society women are expected (often by other women) to be successful, and it seems to me that it is hard to define success and so by default success has been defined by how busy someone is. How many volunteer committees are you involved in, how many nights a week are you running to and from meetings, or children's activities, how many mornings do you rise with a full plate of things to do places to be? How many businesses do you have your hand in? How much networking are you getting in, to push those businesses? How many hours do you spend working to get ahead?
I stopped to ask myself these questions and to take a moment to define what success meant to me.
|via my pinterest|
I saw someone who from the outside in may have looked like she had it all together.
I saw someone who was busy on this committee or that committee, going to that meeting and this meeting.
I saw a woman who worked to make her business successful and who spent many hours away from her family in order to do that ( even if she was physically present).
I saw a woman who spent quiet moments alone wondering about how her children were but not being with her children.
I saw a woman who was living with her shoulders up around her ears tight with tension and stress trying to please everyone around her, trying to be heard and seen doing the 'important things'
I saw a woman who missed an entire session of her children's swimming lessons because she had a business to run.
I saw a woman who when the weekend came and her children's eyes would light up at the idea of being together as a family had to tell her children no, she had to go to work.
I saw a woman who had no time to visit her eldest daughter as she begins her life and career.
I saw a woman who had lost sight of her priorities.
I saw a woman I did not like, nor want to be.
Now, not everyone will stop to look and not like what they see. Some people will be completely happy to spread themselves thin and stretch their limits and challenge themselves. For some people this will give them purpose and meaning. It will fill them with pride and contentment. Some will be able to balance the many facets of their lives in a way that makes them feel whole. Not me.
I love my family, my children, my husband and they are my priority. I want to have as much time and flexibility to be with them as I can. I want to be able to be present in all ways, not just physical. I want to stop checking emails and messages every ten seconds because I might miss something. I want to not have a tension headache all the time. I want to feel normal again...whatever that is.
You see, the thing is only you can decide what is right for you, but many of us are trapped or wrapped up in this notion that being busy equates to being successful...it does not...in my case it just makes me tired.
And so as change is the only constant in this world, I am making changes, and I am happier for it. I left all the committees I was on. I stepped away, and the world did not crumble. I am closing the business we have worked at for the last four years because now is not the time for this...now is a time to be a mom, and while I will have to work outside the home, I will come home at the end of a day and be present. I will have weekends to spend with my children and I will have vacations to take. Hopefully my shoulders will drop and the headaches will lessen. I will be a dedicated employee but when it is time to head home, I will be a dedicated wife and mother. This will be my definition of success.
I wish each of you your own definition of success.