__Weak spots, we all have one-for some, the weak spot may be Instagram…others, we Pinterest until our eyes bleed…Still, for others, we have people in our community that are just one step ahead in living the life, the dream, the career we always wanted.
Often, we mistake the hard work, hours, and tears they’ve put into their brand, career, or passion project for sheer luck and talent…I hope I’m not alone in thinking this way.
A quote that’s been making an appearance on social media lately is this one by Thomas Edison: _Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. _How often do we push an opportunity aside because it’s disguised and covered in the sandy dirt of grit? Like a treasure box long buried, we must rub the dirt off to see the shiny and true value.
I’m exhausted from juggling the schedule of our four kids and doctors appointments and work and I see these moms on the internet and in my own life who are just covered in peace and joy and perfectly kept, artistic, Anthropologie-esque houses…and doing creative work and managing businesses, and, to top it off, Instagram feeds that are documenting just how much they are killing it.
I hit a crossroad where I could either continue to be exhausted and stressed and overwhelmed at the _how in the world am I going to make all this work, _or choose to get out of bed, throw on my big girl pants, and get to it-rise to the occasion of creating the kind of life I want for me, my family, and for the Yellow Co.
NO GRIT, NO PEARL -Anonymous
Now, there is grace in all of this. At least for our house, no one day is perfect or the same. Some days, I realize the sitter we hired actually needs me to stay and talk and offer my ears to her, because she’s offered her heart to me; others, the baby has a fever so I have conference calls at the kitchen table with tantrums and Max Steel all happening at once within arm’s distance. Still, others, I lose my mind because I need a date with my husband where we don’t talk about jobs or kids or…anything, besides how good the food in front of us is in that very moment.
What I’ve realized through reading books and blogs and looking towards the women that inspire me most, is that balance and peace come with a bit of preparation for the week. To have a week of grit, not completely free of stress, but where I’m equipped to handle the stress, with real accomplishment-you know the weeks I’m talking about…where you lay your head down each night with a big sigh because you know you worked your tail off and you worked it good-I need to have a day for myself, to prepare my body, mind, soul for what’s ahead.
Here are the ways I’m leaning in to prep for a week of Grit, with all the flexibility and grace that’s required to make it last:
- Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier starting Sunday night: I recently read about a successful blogger who starts work at 4am everyday…Doesn’t wake up at 4am, STARTS WORK AT 4am. Every. Single. Day. Then she goes to Yoga and is home and present for the rest…WHAT. I was so inspired by this. I told my husband my new plan and he laughed at me and said, “no but seriously, you physically can’t do that…“ _in his sweet, I love you but you are _cray sort of way. And it’s true. He still wakes me up three hours after our baby has woken up and it’s time to take the other two to school…with bacon and eggs already cooked for me…Tomorrow…I can’t start waking up at 4am. I probably won’t be able to achieve this until after our fifth is born, but I can set my clock 15 minutes earlier every day this week. Just little baby steps walking towards the hour I actually want to be awake, alert, and fueled up to face the tasks of the day.
- MAKE YOUR BED. _Ok mom…But seriously! _Just plan on it. Starting Sunday night, tell yourself, _I am going to make my bed tomorrow morning, and it is going to be awesome. _This is important ESPECIALLY if you work from home. Making our bed just sends off a sense of serenity as you are in the house that can’t really be beat. It sets us up to face the reality of messy that follows throughout the rest of the day, because we know that the place we rest is well kept and ready for us at the end of a long day. Invest in some nice pillows, and maybe some new sheets that get you excited to make your bed everyday, spray some essential oils and then move towards Monday with a smile.
- Spend a few extra minutes on Sunday night doing whatever you want. Sundays in our house are no screen days, unless it’s a family movie of some sort. We have the same bedtime routine every night, and, more often than not, I rush through them because “Mommy needs to work.” _But now, at least just for one day and night a week, I’m setting aside my phone, I’m saying NO to all work (even quick email and Instagram checks!), and I’m being fully present in that game we’re playing, in cooking dinner, in a walk to the park. I’m singing an extra song or reading an extra story at bedtime, and I’m taking the time to answer life’s big questions (that _alwayssss make their appearance as our six year old is getting into bed). Because these moments matter and I’ll work better on Monday knowing I gave myself to those sweet seconds and my people fully. So spend those few extra minutes with your loved ones, or with that book you’ve curled up with, or outside on your walk (or run…if you do that…which is awesome). Enjoy the sunset or cool breeze for an extra fifteen minutes. Sip your coffee a little slower and take the time to pick out a bouquet that’s calling your name at the grocery store.
Set up an “email ritual….” This might sound odd, and you can disagree, but, for me, trying to check my email on Monday is like trying to wrangle cats. I’m rushing out to my hour long commute, trying to talk to my husband a little and schedule posts for the week and before I know it I’m at the office and it’s meetings back to back. And you know what I’m thinking about? Emails. What a waste of energy and time! I’ve found that, after I’ve given my full attention to my family and cleaned the kitchen, if I light a candle, put on some light music, and pour something nice and bubbly (ok…I’m pregnant, so to me that’s a ginger beer or sparking lemonade…), the mood is set for me to actually enjoy answering emails and organizing my folders and inbox as a way to prep for the week. I am more efficient, more thoughtful in my answers, and more tactful in how I organize my inbox if the ambiance is created to make it enjoyable and a relaxing routine. And, by Monday, I’m free to listen to an audiobook and set myself up to give myself to the team fully. The flip side is frantic answers and a false sense of accomplishment just because my inbox is empty from quick scrolls, and a frazzled mind, which no one
- Kiss Sunday goodnight. Maybe you choose not to veg out on Netflix for this one night, to ensure you go to bed on time and you set aside time to plan your meals for the week instead. Maybe you use a special face mask, or take bath with fancy sea salts and candles. I like to take time to remove all my make up (instead of the usual quick swish with a face wipe), wash, tone and moisturize my face (I’m in love with this rose water toner), and maybe even spray something delightful on my bed before I jump in, as my way of kissing Sunday, a day of intentional rest and relationship, goodnight, before jumping headfirst into the hustle of the week. Lay out your outfits for the week and do a quick room pick up; strategically place the books you want to read for the week in a beautiful pile that gets you excited to dive in. Write out your to do’s and organize them in categories like _Urgent/Important, Urgent/Not Important, Not Urgent/Important, Not Urgent/Not Important…_Use that time before bed to set yourself up for Monday-either with rest or productivity or creativity. You decide. It’s your day. Then, give Sunday a goodnight kiss, and wake up Monday with a big morning hug.
Yes, the grit and labor is all part of it, but let’s not lose sight of the freedom and flexibility that must exist to make any of our dreams a reality, or worthwhile. If my career is flying above the clouds with success but I’m stressed beyond function and my husband and kids are living with a crazy-tired monster…what’s the gain?
It’s important and necessary to take a day of the week to get yourself ready for the grit and gravel it takes to push through a productive week. Use this Sunday as a means to an end. A Sunday well spent brings a week of content, am I right?
Photos by Valerie Denise Photos