Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony. ~Thomas Merton
Three weeks ago I started an internship (or as Tom affectionately calls it my "volunteer position") thus re-baptizing myself into the world of working mom. To say it has been an adjustment would only scratch the surface...
The most interesting thing about heading into a new work situation is that [usually] no one really knows who you are. At the treatment facility I work in I am not Tom's wife or Mia's mom or Jenny's daughter...I am just Kim Muench. Which is kinda cool 'cuz it allows me to explore who I really am outside of my usual day-to-day roles. I am enjoying the autonomy and the realization of a career path I chose to begin in 2009 coming to fruition, along with the knowledge that it is absolutely the right niche for me. Although I have a great deal to learn about treatment for addiction, I know I possess two of the most important qualities which cannot be taught in any classroom: an ability to listen with compassion and a sincere desire to help those people who want to live life free of drugs and alcohol.
The most stressful aspect to working outside our home is handling the constraints of time. Now, for me, there is less of it which makes what I have even more precious. I have been blessed with the ultimate in backup...my mom. She has always been there to help facilitate my dreams and aspirations, and this time is no different. Four days a week she puts on the chauffeur cap, the tutor hat, and the chef's apron so that I can pursue my goals. I could not do it without her assistance, I realize most people in the same situation do not have this kind of amazing resource. The phrase eternally grateful comes to mind, yet fails to adequately describe my level of appreciation for her presence in our lives.
For whatever reason I prefer the word harmony to the word balance. Harmony seems more continuous to me, and that is the way I have been attempting to live my life for the past few weeks. What is helping me maintain my sanity is to focus on the here and now. When I feel myself looking back to things I wish I would have done differently or ahead to everything that has to take place in just one day's time, I stop and mentally refocus to the present moment. For I realize I cannot change anything I have already said, done or been through. And, if (God-forbid) I start to worry about where I'm going to get the time or energy to get through the next week's events, I would likely get completely overwhelmed and become useless to myself and my family.
There is another aspect of this job that is a catalyst for my personal growth...I have no choice but to face my reluctance to speak in front of a group of people. One of my biggest fears (right up there with riding roller coasters), there is no way around this dilemma when leading group sessions. I have analyzed this fear of mine to a point of deciding it is because I perceive myself inadequate. I don't know where that came from exactly, but it is there. No matter though, I have concluded my fear of public speaking can either paralyze or motivate me. I have met with bigger demons and therefore have chosen to face it head on...my desire to help others in this field is bigger than my fear of feeling inadequate leading a group.
I know there are so many people trying to achieve harmony between their work and home lives. Outside of trying to make the most of the time I have to myself, saying no when things are just too much and staying present, what other things can I be doing to maximize my continued transition and optimizing this new phase in my life?
Would love to hear your thoughts and experiences...