Balancing From the Heart
Relational reflections are a really subtle and yet powerful way to know when we are out of balance. I don’t have kids, but I am so often in the observation position with my friends’ families or in the stories my clients use to tell me about their lives. How the kids are behaving is a really fascinating and beautiful way for mothers to see how they are behaving in life too. But it’s hard, really hard, because the kids will demand exactly the opposite to what the busy mother is trying to achieve.
I was at a friends’ house for dinner recently. I arrived to Dad cooking dinner, kids happily playing together, and Mum not home yet because she wanted to “slam” a workout before dinner. We sat down to a beer on the deck, and the kids joined us with a game on their shared tablet. In five minutes it was a lively and funny conversation as the kids “showed off” in front of their guest. Selfishly, I love this because this is how I learn how to use MY tablet ha! At the same time, my friend and I were having a quick catch-up about our lives. Balance.
In comes Mum. I’ll preface this with she’s AWESOME and I love her. She’s a great Mum; however, her energy changed the whole scene. In the time it took for her husband to get her a beer – probably less than one minute – she was yelling at the kids, re-arranging the patio furniture, and apologising for the mess. The kids were so confused. Huge eyes and frozen. They tried to explain that they were “just playing this game”, tipping the tablet so she could see. She ignored that and told them to put the tablet away, that they’d had enough “screen time” today. (Again, me taking notes – there’s a limit? Shit.) Well, in the flurry to be obedient to her mother, the little girl dropped the tablet on the floor. Tablet confiscated. Child sent to room, crying. Dad returns with her beer. “What the hell happened?” She actually ended her explanation with “those kids have no limits.”
It was incredible, and you can well imagine the connections my practitioner mind was making – not just for my clients, but my bad ass self! Holy moly. Instantly I was wondering about all the difficult situations I create for myself because I don’t know my limits. It was clear from where I sat that this woman was exhausted and angry about something before she walked into the room. She was looking for an outlet. Once the kids were gone, she explained about the terrible week she had had, and how grateful she was to have dinner made for her, and great company in me. So yes, now me, wide eyed and frozen. Fortunately, kids forget quickly (and they do have great parents), because they trundled down the stairs twenty minutes later for dinner, happy as clams. They had snuck down and got the tablet from the kitchen while we were visiting. Pretty sure my guffaw mixed with their cuteness saved their lives. She also laughed heartily, and we all sat down to a spaghetti dinner.
BUT, just to make it more obvious what was going on here – like text book! – she was tucking into a plate of zucchini noodles, and telling me how she was eating them as a way to reduce the carbs in her diet lately. Also that she had stopped eating meat for the summer. When I asked her why, she said that she had read an article about how important it was to eat an alkaline diet, and how she had been trying that to see if it made a difference. Well, yes of course, I jumped in, and by the end of the meal she was eating the “kids'” spaghetti sauce on her zucchini noodles because it had meat in it. After a few questions about how was she really feeling, had she added any other stress to her day, other than the reduction in calories, and she pretty quickly connected her diet change to her anger and irritability. At the end of the meal, she was relaxed and happy. Satisfied. She’ll never be heavy or lazy in life. She’s a mother, she has a career, and she has a healthy body; she needs to eat a lot to keep up that pace. Her frustrations with her kids that day, were directly related to coming out of balance with her diet changes.
This actually happened to me. I actually witnessed this, but I wouldn’t have been able to see it so clearly, without our conversations over the years, Amber. Watching you learn how to balance your business and your health has taught me how to see where others are out of balance. Your journey to success has always included the happiness and well-being of your children as a guide – your guide. When they act up or melt down or have difficulties at school, your solution plans always include looking into your own life and how well you are feeling. So often your solution to their difficulties includes a conscious adjustment in your own self-care. It’s pretty profound. You don’t see them as having the problem on their own, you see it as where you have become out of balance as their mother. It has been amazing to see your business grow and your well-being grow, when you make the changes in your life that make your kids happy. The practical solutions to balancing that equation come from the heart, not the mind.
I have so enjoyed my own success by learning this from you – both personal and professional. We have worked together for years now. As a practitioner, I am able to share your solutions with other mothers. And personally, I am able to find the wherewithal in my own busy life to include the feedback I receive from my “dependents” – my grandfather and his dog Molly. When I come into his home to walk Molly at the end of my busy day, and I don’t have the zen to sit and chat with him for a half an hour after the walk, I am out of balance. He loves that as much as I do, but he is (over) sensitive to being a burden. If he senses any hurry in me, he kicks me out immediately.
I am not his mother of course, but when he does kick me out, I drive away knowing the changes I need to make right away. Imagine if a child could speak that directly to a mother. “You’ve had a long and busy day. Go home and have a good dinner. I’ll see you tomorrow.”