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  • Meghan Smith

Quit Fetishizing Your "Time Off"



THIS ISN'T JUST FOR PARENTS


What I am about to riff on has the power to change the way you do work, life, relationship, etc.


This is not about motherhood or summers. This is about the power of relating to every moment of your life as precious and magical, whether you have kids or not, and whether it's going to plan or not.


WHO WOULDN'T WANT SUMMERS OFF...?


Recently I was speaking with my coach about designing my life to have summers off with my kids. In part because I’ve come to a point in my life where I truly believe I can create anything I want. 


In part because I still carry some deep belief that this is what a good mom should do. 


And, of course, in part because a favourite hobby of mine (read: self-sabotage technique) is to come up with things I don’t think I can have and then whine about all the reasons I can’t have them.


IT'S NOT ABOUT THE SUMMERS


So, I let my coach do what she does best. First, she let me whine for a minute about all the things that were in the way of taking summers off. How it’s so hard, poor me, boohoo. Then she reminded me that I am a powerhouse of possibility and a master of creation and, if I was willing, I could move mountains. Including the mountains in the way of this thing.


And then she did the thing that I really pay her the big bucks for. She invited me to consider how this desire was a reflection of how I was being about the rest of the year. And really how I was being about my life in general. And what I noticed is that I related to the rest of the year as “gotta work hard so I can play later”. And actually I related to every day this way.


Work is hard and we do it so we can then go “enjoy life” at a later date.


FETISHIZING TIME OFF ROBS YOU OF THE PRESENT MOMENT...


What would life be like if I stopped fetishizing certain times in the future? What I if brought that summer feeling into EVERYTHING I DO? I don’t have to wait to squeeze my life into 2 months of the year, weekends, that precious time between 5 pm and bedtime, or some time after this annoying, soul-sucking, all consuming thing--that I signed up for--is over. (For you lawyers out there, that last one may ring a bell).


I can create magic and fulfillment and connection in a 10-minute car ride to school in November. I can relate to that time as being just as valuable and meaningful as playing on the beach with my kids on a hot summer day.  


...AND IT'S A TRAP


AND guess what else? I can relate to the messy, human, and most impossible moments of parenthood and entrepreneurhood (go with it) as meaningful and valuable too, rather than just interruptions to what would otherwise be “my perfect life”.


Because the other thing about fetishizing “time off” is it puts a whole lot of pressure to have everything go “smoothly” when that time finally arrives. We work hard to get there, sacrifice, make ourselves miserable and now WE MUST MAKE THE MOST OF IT DAMMIT.


So no one is allowed to be messy or human or imperfect during this time. If they do, we’ve all somehow failed. It’s a classic lose-lose.


ARE YOU WILLING TO HAVE IT GO DIFFERENTLY?


Look, I’m not saying it’s wrong or bad to have it going this way. It’s just…not very satisfying or fulfilling. And I’m up to having it go differently – I'm up for creating a life where it's summer all the time - are you?


Is it easy creating life this way? It sure takes practice. Are there downsides to having life go this way? I don't really get to complain and I have to (get to) do scary things out of my comfort zone alot. Is it worth the payoff? Absolutely.


THE CHOICE IS MINE (AND YOURS)


So where does that leave me and my summers off? I am still deciding whether I will design my life that way. But if I do, it won’t be because that’s the only place to fit unadulterated joy and play and connection into my life. And, in the meantime, I’m practicing bringing that summer feeling to every moment of my life. And that includes forgiving myself when I forget! 


Because in the summer, life is still messy. And in the summer, we forgive…

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