There have been (too many) times in my life when I have taken to wearing too many different hats at any one time. The results have not been pretty.
Of course I refer to more than bad fashion sense – although there have been many such episodes in that category too. I refer to those times where I’ve forgotten to respect my own body and mind, demanded too much from myself and been ungrateful at the reality of what my mind and body could realistically deliver. During those times I have perceived myself as weak or failing but in my more lucid (!) moments, like now, I can clearly see that the demands I put on myself far out way those I would expect from anyone else.
Who made me Wonder Woman? I have neither the figure nor costume to pull it off!
When I look back though I also realise that those periods where I have overstretched myself haven’t always or consciously been for fear of appearing weak or of letting people down. They have often been because all the opportunities presented to me have simply been just too damned interesting to say ‘no’ to.
Take for example organising and running the annual Real Ale Wobble here in Llanwrtyd when it takes place over our busiest weekend of the year. Or giving up paid employment to set up constituted group to run a TIC and starting my own shop so I could be there to man the TIC. Or agreeing to work part time for my old employer in Pontypridd whilst running the TIC, and the B&B. Or standing for County Councillor; or campaigning for fair representation. I could go on – there are so many opportunities, activities, initiatives and adventures to be had.
I’m sure the last time won’t end up being THE LAST TIME i overstretch myself and have my finger in too many tasty pies at the same time. I’m greedy , what can i say!
I do however hope and believe that each time I put myself in that position I have become more adept at recognising my predicament and managing it – not by myself but as part of a team with my wonderful partner, John, my son Jason and a deliciously tasty selection bucket full of great friends
When I had Jason I wanted to be a great mum and a great employee/career woman. I feel sure now that I managed a pretty reasonable job of both. However there were many times where I felt I was failing at both – leaving and missing moments with my son so I could work, missing work cos my son was sick or i couldn’t get childcare. Part time work is a real misnomer – basically you get paid for less hours and do more work. I had a 3 day a week contract but because my clients, colleagues and customers worked full time or different shift i would find myself working from home whilst on my off days – all the time. Its a juggling exercise I’m sure many women and those single dads out there are very familiar with. There is nowhere in any of the child raising manuals or in the preparation by midwives, antenatal specialists etc that warns you that born of childbirth is also a lifetime of guilt: am I doing too much/not enough; being to relaxed/too strict,; will my own personality weaknesses and hangups negatively effect my child; if I work will he/she realise the value of self reliance or hate me for not being there? Its a no win.
Until that is, assuming you are very lucky , you can come to the realisation that as long as you can say honestly ‘what I did I did with the best intention’. You have to really believe it AND you have to be gracious enough to yourself to realise that that is the only and best expectation and result you can expect from yourself, or, for that matter, from anyone else.
Be good to yourself, be real, be free.
…and here’s some photos of me in hats (tenuous link I know!)