I was talking to a working mom of an infant. She wondered and admired how I kept up without taking a career break and never compromising on any front - work or home or kids. I felt overwhelmed. I felt joy for being acknowledged and appreciated and sadness for all that I missed. I leaned back to reflect and here is what I learned.
I have been working for 22 years and married for 20 years now - managing work, home and two children (who are now teenagers)! Add to that a conditioning to efficiency, sense of duty and perfection. I now look back to see that I have actually embodied that rush. It is like a mutation that happened. I never stopped. Rushed from one task to another, day or night, fit or sick, throughout the years.
I celebrate the commando level training I gave myself and the way I managed things to perfection. Be it my performance at work, the time spent with kids, their education, hobbies, development, being there for their adolescent ups and downs, or be it the household chores, I feel very satisfied. I thank God for whatever I could do.
However, I have a lot to mourn! Several unmet needs of ease, support, leisure, relaxation, fun, play, joy, care. I never paused and reflected on my needs. My joy and well-being were never a priority.
I was married and had two families that I could seek support from apart from my spouse. I kept on to my assumptions that "support should be offered voluntarily". I can't demand people to support me and care for me. Wherever I went I made myself the most sought out by being reliable, efficient and considerate. But I was never there for myself, I mourn that.
I look back at that younger version of myself and tell her "girl, relax, lean back for a while and rejuvenate! It's absolutely OK to put yourselves first. Take a break. Seek support. Don't rush. You matter."