"Whirlwind" is a great description for the last few weeks. Phew! Back to school time is always welcomed, as it brings back structure and routine for most of the day during the work/school week. I thrive on routine and structure, as it allows me to be as productive as possible and make sure I get to every item on my to-do list.
But when a holiday, a birthday, and a hurricane all happen at once, it takes that structure and routine and throws it out the proverbial window.
My youngest turned 11 the day before Labor Day. (Yep, he was actually born on Labor Day so we always joke about his timing!) It was supposed to be a fun and relaxing weekend celebrating him and having an extra day off of work and school. But when hurricane Dorian decided to head right towards Florida a few days prior, all energy and focus went to storm preparations and plans for a party were put on hold (poor kid, this is the second time this has happened to his birthday party plans!). School was cancelled for 2 days, my offices closed, and UCF, where I am an adjunct instructor, closed for the whole week. One might think that some extra days off would be welcomed, but honestly we had just caught our stride with the school routine and then it disrupted everything. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining as we were spared Dorian's destruction in our area, but having the anticipation of the storm and all the effort to get the house ready, made for some extra stressed and rambunctious kids - with no school or any place to go.
We decided to ride out Dorian at Disney (I'll have to do a post about that in the future because truth be told, there's no place better to be when a hurricane comes to town.) This diverted the kids' energies for a bit, but fitting 6 people (my family and my mother-in-law) in a family suite makes for cozy quarters and short fuses. My plan was to crank out some work and get a blog post done, but that was quickly squashed when there was no space or room for me to think, let alone try to put sentences together. I figured I could get some tasks accomplished when I was back home and the kids were in school again, but once again, the universe had other plans and I worked really hard to keep my nose above the waterline. I was feeling stressed about not having time to work on my passion projects (this blog and my podcast), but after a couple of days of allowing that stress to get to me, I realized I needed a step back.
I was subconsciously (and unnecessarily) stressing myself out. I have a to-do list that is 800 meters long, 3 kids that are SUPER busy with after school activities (most days we are out of the house for sports for at least 3-4 hours after school), and businesses that need attention. The fact that I wasn't able to keep my self-imposed 'deadlines' for the blog and podcast should not be adding to my plate - they should not be something I'm cramming into a few random pockets of time here and there just so I can 'check the box' that they are done. When I finally came to that moment, I had such a feeling of peace and gratitude that I realized I needed to give myself grace.
We (especially us women) can be so hard on ourselves! We try to do everything and be everything for everyone. It's just not possible! Sometimes, the world has a way of forcing you to just stop. Take a different path. Take a moment to BE in the moment and not worry about other things you aren't accomplishing - even when those things are things you WANT to do!
So this is a reminder for all of us, that flexibility and grace are the name of the game. They are so much easier said than done! I probably catch myself in this cycle every few months, and every single time when I get to the 'ah-ha' moment, I think "how did you do this to yourself AGAIN?!" It's a lesson I wonder if I'll ever learn. I know I'm not alone, though, so let's help to remind each other about giving grace to everyone, even ourselves.
At the time I'm writing this, we are a couple weeks out from Dorian's visit and I'm glad I didn't rush to write. Now, we still have a few months left of hurricane season and I pray I don't have any other hurricanes to include in future posts! I'm also including grace in the fact that I don't have any pictures to share with you during this crazy time, other than one I took on a run at Disney, the morning before Dorian came up the Florida coastline. (Giving myself grace on that as well.) :)