A new normal
The struggle for working moms to find a work-life balance is real. There has been a lot of chatter recently about the mental load of motherhood, but not much is spoken of how exactly on a practical level we are expected to balance the needs of ourselves and our families with those of our businesses. Turns out I’m pretty awful at balancing all of these things so when Contract offered to help me figure things out I jumped at the chance.
CONTRACT specialize in human resource and organizational development. They work with leaders and their teams to help them be their best both in and outside the workplace. They offer executive and business coaching to help people understand themselves better to gain insight into their life and work. They provide a framework for making sense of team conflict in an effort to decrease behind-the-scenes organizational politics and improve communication, productivity and performance. The focus may be company-oriented but the process is personal.
Before the first session, I did the Enneagram test. The Enneagram test is a dynamically adaptive intelligent assessment, which is a mouthful but basically it’s a set of questions that will ultimately place you on a spectrum of nine personality types. Once you have identified which personality number you are, you’ll have a greater self-awareness with regards to your deep motivational patterns, fears, thoughts and behaviours. On an individual level it can help you understand why you do what you do, say what you say and think what you think, and on an organizational level this can foster compassion and understanding between co-workers, improving communication and increasing productivity.
Turns out I’m a 4 (intense creative), with high happiness levels and high psychological strain, and tendencies to 2 (considerate helper) and 1 (strict perfectionist).
I wouldn’t naturally have said that about me but for those of you who know me this might not actually come as a surprise, because I don’t think we can see ourselves as clearly as other people can! This was a deeply personal session and some of the things my Enneagram profile revealed hit home hard. It just made so much sense.
I saw Judith twice more. While the first session looked at myself on an individual level, the second session looked at the bigger picture of my life. This was a very practical session which helped me understand why I was feeling the way I was – things related to guilt, self-worth, control – and ways I could make changes so that I could cope better.
What I loved about this is that it was so practical. I constructed a breakthrough promise which would help me on a day-to-day basis when I was feeling out of control and overwhelmed. We came to the conclusion that my life is crazy at the moment but that that is ok. It’s just the time of my life. There is no need to fight the chaos; I need to accept it and go with the flow – which I actually find quite difficult to do.
Judith helped me to see that things always get done, even if it’s not in the way I might want them to be done or the time I need them to be done. I mean, is this not parenting is a nutshell? Things are crazy. We make a plan. We get things done. So while I was trying to force my life into a schedule to tick things off my list, the chaos was flowing around me and making me, well, crazy.
Some of you may remember that my word of the year for 2019 is pause and as cheesy as it sounds, it’s something I remind myself of every day. This breakthrough promise is going to be similar, in that I will use it as a mantra whenever I find myself slipping into distress:
I trust that I can go with the flow to get things done.
Simple. Sensible. Smart.
The third session was a recap on the two sessions and the journey we’d taken together and a discussion on how I was implementing what we’d spoken about. Bear in mind that these sessions take place a few weeks apart to give you time to reflect and incorporate some of the practices and gauge whether they are effective or not, so it had been a couple of months since our first session.
So what am I taking away from my sessions with Judith?
- Take each day as it comes
- Be mindful of focusing on the positive
- Trust that I will get things done
- Accept my life as it is
- Enjoy the chaos
It’s been a few weeks since I’ve seen Judith and I can honestly say I’m in a much happier place. I’ve never been more productive at work (funny how that happens) and I’m a lot more relaxed when dealing with the kid-life. The Beard and I took some time off to reconnect and recharge (don’t you love grandparents?) and we are generally in a good space right now.
Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had our fair share of sickness this winter, J just had grommets put in and adenoids out, J is potty-training, S is teething like a mofo so our sleep has been totally disrupted again, but you know what? This is how it’s going to be for a while and I just need to
…trust that I can go with the flow and get things done.
If you’d like to contact CONTRACT for more information on their sessions, please check out their website.
Disclaimer: these sessions were sponsored by CONTRACT but the (issues and) opinions are all my own.
Family photos: Sofi Dadourian