October’s #MonthlyMessage dovetails off a recent post in one of my other blog series, ArtistMotherWife. Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about productivity. As I wrote in the other post, the dance world is fueled by over-productive people whose genuine passion for their work leads them to accomplish a Herculean list of feats on a daily basis. I’m used to this dance-related pressure to do the most, and in a strange way I (like many others) have thrived on it. But as a relatively new mom, I’m being exposed to productivity pressure of different kinds.
There’s laundry that never ends, dishes that seem to self-replicate hourly in the kitchen, and toys that jump out of their storage containers every time I turn my back on them. When I was single, a messy living space never really bothered me – I was too busy running from work to rehearsal to class to bed at night. Now that I spend most of my day working from home and tending to my babe, the housework haunts me. I go to bed wondering if this will be the night that dust bunnies finally stage a coup d’état.
The pressure to be a competent homemaker has plagued women for ages, but with the dawn of the internet came a new set of expectations. Now, we are encouraged to strive for a Pinterest-worthy motherhood. I, personally, am surrounded by my failure to live up to this new standard: My son’s enchantment with the neighbors whose Halloween decor puts Disney’s Haunted Mansion to shame as I hastily slap a few half-priced pumpkin lights on the garage; the dog-eared cookbooks with recipes yet to be tried; the craft supplies relegated to the back of the closet; the backyard garden overrun with weeds; the 21 Day Fix containers that are most often used to store non-21 Day Fix approved leftovers. I don’t even want to be “Pinterest Mom”, but there is still a subtle sense of failure when your car is one of the few not decked out to the nines at the church Trunk-Or-Treat.
This month, I’m here to remind you – and myself – that our self-worth is not determined by how much stuff we do. In the studio or in our personal lives, it is far better to do a few things – the things that are most important for our well-being, the things that most excite our passions, the things that matter the most to our families – and to do them really well. It’s tempting, at the end of the day, to be frustrated with what didn’t get done – to worry about the classes unplanned, the music not yet cut, the choreography unfinished as well as the laundry, the dishes, and the dust bunnies. But instead, let’s focus living our lives in the moment, taking pride in our work, enjoying what we are able to do, and letting go of our obsession with productivity. Let’s go to bed satisfied with ourselves and content with our accomplishments. Whose with me?
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