I’ve had it with Sheryl Sandberg and her Lean In philosophy (No offense Sheryl, I’ve been your biggest follower, but truly, I never imagined Leaning in was this hard!) And hard it is… during the past year I’ve had hundreds of moments when I don’t know which way to go. I’m not going to say I’m divided between raising kids or having a career, that would be ridiculous; being a working woman doesn’t mean I’m not a mom… In other words, I’m a mom whether I stay at home or not. But I’ve had hundreds of moments when I’m exhausted, a mixture of sleep deprivation, an over active mind that wants to create constantly, and the big weight of responsibilities both from home and my job. In those hundreds of moments, all I want to do is cry and give up my job. I’m not going to lie, I’ve given up a thousand times, but I persist…
One of those moments was the day Naomi got taken from me at the Mall’s panic (read what happened here) After that day I questioned everything about my life. I thought it might be a good idea to close the stores, I blamed myself for working and a month later I had a burnout (a real burnout not a figure of speech). On the one hand I have a store which needs as much as attention as a baby, on the other I have 2 babies that need everything from me, but who also are the most important pieces of my life. A man is never going to have to think about these things, but a woman on the other hand, we need to make constant choices about our decisions. Why? A woman’s biological clock goes against our professional clock and what’s more depressing: 43% of women leave the workforce when they have children (taken from Sheryls’ book) Probably, they experience what I’ve been living during the last 3 years, and no wonder why they leave: It’s simply too much work. After that awful burnout I’m slowly coming back, and these are my 5 tips to Lean In when you think you can’t go on anymore. By the way, you don’t have to be a mom, or a woman to follow these tips, so this post is for all of us.
- Rest A Little: After that awful experience with Naomi, I decided I was going to take it easy. No going to the store on the weekends. And back to respecting Shabbat. Shabbat turns out to be the perfect formula, it’s our sacred space as a family. I also gave more responsibilities to my employees, trusting them with all the things I simply couldn’t do. I cut my days at the store from 7 to 2. It might seem extreme, but going less to the stores allowed me to focus on all the things I had neglected: My house, the online store, my health, etc. Truth is, I’m leaving a lot of growing opportunity on the table, but it’s only temporary, I can grow again when Frida goes to school and I have more time.
- Routine: Having routines is very very hard for someone like me. I’m someone with zero structure. For years I had woken up and walked where the wind had taken me, had cake for breakfast, and zero rules; But now, with kids, the store, and everyday more and more work and responsibilities, not having structure is a catalyst for getting burnout.
- Write it down: With all the things I need to handle at the same time, it can be very easy to forget appointments, get lost on what’s really important, and make wrong decisions. What helps me the most these days is to write down everything as I think about it and cross down the completed tasks. From groceries to specific work projects, writing down helps me keep everything organized.
- Relax: Knowing when to leave things undone and when to relax is really important. Sometimes I let the kids make a mess, sometimes I leave things undone and are sincere with people when I can’t complete something. It feels liberating to just care a little less and enjoy a little more, it also feels a lot like that me who has no routines, see #2 (it’s important to be yourself LOL)
- Love life: It’s hard to find a balance and enjoy the simple things when you are tired, over-worked and stressed. But I must tell you that the day that Naomi was taken from me in the midst of that chaos, all I craved for during those 2 hours was to have my family together again. I wanted to hug them, smell them, and have them all safe in our home. Suddenly our little bedtime routine that sometimes overwhelming and chaotic, was all we were craving for. Enjoying music, your coffee, your loved ones, all those things keep us grounded and remind us that work and all those responsibilities are meaningless.
I hope that if you are a working mom like me, you take these tips and lean in a little more, you might be surprised of your potential! I, for now, have decided i’m not quitting! So leave me your encouraging stories below! I want to be inspired by your tips too!
I’m wearing our laced dress by Jamie King for For Love And Lemons, and Vintage booties. Photos by Simply Lively.