Some days are just some days … Life just seems out of balance on such days. And then, either I accept or I fight. I either keep the balance or let it all go and see where I land.
So was today. Nothing remarkable, but it just turned out to be an extremely remarkable day.
Our house cleaning maids declared yesterday that they’d be off from work starting today, for the next three days. I was like, ‘whoa! how am I going to clean and wash the house in the middle of managing a baby, work and simultaneously doing all the new things I have started doing – cardio exercise, playing guitar, writing, reading and participating in online groups.’
And then today was doomed right from yesterday. Amal woke up at 2 AM and it felt like it was daytime for her. She started crawling on the bed, babbling, sitting up and she wouldn’t sleep. After nearly one and a half hours, I figured that she needed a change of clothes since the clothes she was wearing were too warm for her. Once we changed her into new clothes, she slept in less than 20 mins. It was 4 AM by then and I was like ‘shucks, this day is ruined for sure.’
I woke up at 7:30 AM and there was no exercise because I was washing utensils and putting out clothes in the machine. Amal was awake by then. I was attending to her needs. There was to be no cardio exercise this morning. Ok, so I accepted that that’s how the day may be and it is ok if I didn’t get to exercise. I won’t be hard on myself. The whole point of finding time for myself is to ensure that I don’t fill up the time and space with activities and more activities.
The day started passing by. Surprisingly, I was feeling very calm despite the constant disruptions and interruptions in my attention and concentration. I wondered what caused this perception change. That’s when I thought back to an event that took place yesterday.
Cut to yesterday …
I was visiting a mom to a 10 month old baby. She mentioned how she was starting to get back to work. But the frustrations she experienced in the midst of trying to focus on her work and getting things done, were often taken out on her child. That’s when she decided to stop working and put all the attention to her daughter.
Cut to today …
For quite sometime, I have been wanting to give up work and be a full-time mom with Amal. I have often found the exhaustion of managing home, work and baby too much to handle, and that has been causing burnout and depression. When I heard the other mom’s story yesterday, something switched in my mind when I was interacting with Amal today. If Amal were to be at the centre of all that I was doing, will I be able to experience more peace and accept that the time spent with her is the time I really spent with her? In any case, I have three hours of help on working days when the caretaker comes in in the afternoons to look after her. So I’ll have the three hours today as well. The fact of putting Amal at the focus of everything else actually helped me to achieve better focus. I was no longer fighting with time or with myself. I was against no one.
We spent a good 1.5 hours, with her playing with the paratha she was eating, learning to drink water from a glass, and smearing her new play mat with yoghurt while she also learned to crawl and mess around.
Cut to this afternoon …
I was better off at work this afternoon despite the lack of sleep and the tiredness beginning to wear on me.
One of the things that did put me off this morning was someone thanking various parties and entities for putting together the DevOps event I had organized on Saturday. My name was clearly missing in the mention. I had worked for over three months to make this event happen, including the content and theme, and I was still completely invisible. This thought has often made me feel upset and has led me to question why I am even participating in tech communities when I clearly don’t belong here. Why put in energies for a cause when there is no attribution?
This lingering thought from morning and then a bunch of meetings this afternoon, including a near bad snap from my partner, and I just wanted to leave everything and walk away.
This afternoon’s meeting was important to clear communication and be transparent. And here I was experiencing tremendous amount of negativity. I wanted the meeting to end soon.
As soon as the meeting ended, something came over me and I decided that even if the meeting was not transparent, nothing prevented me from being transparent with the concerned person. I found myself becoming much more capable then. I held a brief meeting with the concerned person, expressed my sincere desire to be transparent in communication, expressed both my excitement and my concerns about working in partnerships, and I suddenly found the world to be a different place.
Thereafter, I had a pretty enjoyable evening with my daughter and while I am dead tired in my bones right now, this day has turned out to be an extremely remarkable one.
What’s the purpose in wasting so many words to say that I exercised patience today?
I think perspective change – just like the mental and physical switches that happen in babies where one day they seem unable to do something and the next day they have a developmental leap – is what shapes our reactions and communication. While at Hillhacks and since my return from the event, I have found myself more and more committed to improving communication because communication is what ultimately helps to make and build strong organizations, relationships and foundations. Communication in groups and within organizations is even more critical. The amount of character that we as individuals can show towards being honest, transparent and clear in communication is what eventually makes good things happen.
While I have been running technology conferences at HasGeek for nearly three years (and fret about people not recognizing the passion I have in learning things, and therefore the passion I bring in putting events together), it is only now that I have started thinking very carefully about communities and communication. It is turning out to be a tremendously interesting and rewarding experience unlearning how to organize conferences and rethink how to facilitate communications and spaces for discussion.
And so it was the perspective change that got me through today. I did not do cardio exercise. I did not practice the guitar for 15 minutes as promised. I could not manage to read a single page of the book that I have been meaning to finish. But then, I exercised patience. And it’s gotten me until here.
– dedicated to myself