Yesterday Ryan posted about creating a blended life. His post makes me think a lot about my own set up. I am pretty sure people would say I have a blended life:
1. I work from 8-1pm and 8pm to 12pm seven days a week. Except when I don’t, because my two young sons need something.
2. I take care of my kids from 1pm to 8pm. Except when I don’t because some inflexible business partner needs something.
3. My husband takes care of the kids in the morning, and sometimes in the afternoon, if I have a lot of work. And sometimes I do a whole day of kids when he needs to have more alone time.
This is not a perfect arrangement. For example, I feel guilt when I travel to New York City to promote my book — which I’ve done a couple of times in the past few months. And my husband doesn’t have a career he loves.
But what I want to say is that the hardest part of this blended life for me is not the kids or the career decisions or the marital decisions, but transitioning between the everything.
For example, it’s so hard to be with the kids and not think about work. If nothing else, work is just plain easier to deal with. A blended life is great, but focus on the moment is important, as well. Moving fluidly between such totally different worlds often makes it hard for me to keep my mind in one place when it needs to be.
Last night, at my aunt’s house, there were thirty people around a table all focused on telling the story of Passover. For those of you who don’t know, Passover celebrates when the slavery of the Jews in Egypt ended — thousands of years ago. Who knows how much of the story is true? I’m not sure. But we tell it every year, and it’s a very organized meal, and the point is to teach the story to the kids in an organized way. And last night the only kids there were mine. For much of the story, they were actually paying attention. After all, when does a kid get 30 adults telling a story for your benefit?
What I noticed is that I was so happy to be doing the Passover story and meal with my kids that I stopped worrying about work. Stopped thinking about my blog posts and my book sales and all the other things that hum in my mind most moments of the day.
A lot of times it takes doing something out of the ordinary for you to see what you need to be doing now. Passover did this for me. I realized that even though I’m going through the motions of separating from work each day, I’m not making the mental transition as effectively as I could. I hike with the kids, I go to the gym, do the things you’d think would allow me to stop thinking about work. But I’m not always successful.
Passover was so nice because I had a great ability to focus on stuff that wasn’t work. I want to get that more, in my blended life.