“Do not touch that!” I screech at Jenna, looking at the pop-up that appears on my screen asking whether I really want to discard the email I had been drafting. I have a vague awareness of the crestfallen look on her face as she slinks beneath the keyboard on the desk where I am busily focused.
At this precise moment I am driven by a desire to sort out an issue with the telephone supplier, wanting to hand off the details to someone with the power to action them, before taking the kids to school. This sense of urgency I feel is conflicted with the need to fully focus on the kids at this time of day. As I press send on the email awareness returns to my surroundings.
“Oh Jenna” I say, she’s still under the keyboard looking glum, “I’m sorry; mum was a bit grumpy then huh?” She slumps into my arms for a cuddle, and then I refocus on the task at hand, fleetingly thinking that perhaps I should have just left the email until later.
This may seem minor in the scheme of things, and it is, but I could recount many examples in each day where I am somewhat distracted and growl at the kids, or my partner, or inwardly (mostly) to anyone else who happens to interrupt wherever my attention is focused; I like to get things done.
The world of handy devices makes it so much easier to multi-task, except we aren’t actually wired to focus on more than one thing at a time. It can’t make for a very nice experience of being with me at those times I’m sure.
Each week as I sit down to write these articles, it’s always to reflect and share what’s inspiring me in the moment, always linked to the lessons I’m learning. When I read them to my partner he says “they all sound the same to me, different circumstances, but you’re saying the same thing”.
True, the basis of a happy life is simple, think good things, feel good things, and more good things will come to you. “Yes, “I say “I need to keep writing about it to drum it in.”
The problem is, imperfection. At birth we arrive in our complete perfection, knowing it, then life (in the guise of often well-meaning people) sharpens our edges and we grow into adulthood with fears, insecurities and a lack of self worth. We humans are a bit clunky at all that for now.
Loving ourselves in all our humanness is one of our biggest challenges; even knowing ourselves is a challenge. There are so many versions of us; certainly there’s the happy, inspired version and then there’s the version under stress, when we are far from our best.
These days that super stressed version of me isn’t around as much as it used to be, but it certainly presents itself often enough to remind me it exists. In the past I’d likely even have lacked the awareness that I’d hurt Jenna’s feelings, the little 4-year old who just wanted some of her mum’s attention, far less apologised. It’s more likely that my mood would have spiraled in self righteous indignation at having been constantly interrupted – and included more yelling at the kids about them not being ready.
We expect so much of ourselves, and certainly there’s nothing wrong for aspiring to be the best version of who you are, but you have to cut yourself a break.
I find myself dwelling on the things I could have done better, then I remind myself that those things have passed, and there is zero benefit to wallowing in any bad feelings about it. Then I feel bad that I even wallowed.
As I say often, I am a most imperfect being, and thank goodness because it’s taught me some valuable lessons in life, heralded some magnificent opportunities and growth and reaped many rewards in that awareness.
But I am quite sure I could embrace that imperfection without the constant beat up sessions. Perfection is the aspiration, imperfection is the inspiration. Like everything else in life though, it’s about the journey, not the destination.
If I am trying to get things done and other things keep getting in the way, I know enough now to see it’s actually a sign that I just need to be more present, let the other stuff go until it can have my full focus. One thing at a time.
So I am thankful for this morning’s distraction and imperfect parenting moment for reminding me that I do not need to get everything done all at once. We have not transcended our humanness and become superheroes. Embracing our imperfection in this way can only help lead us to our best lives.
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