Business Travel · My Year of Happiness · Work Life Integration · Work/Life Tips

It Takes More Than a Village

Since my last post, I was in a minor car accident, everyone except for the baby got strep throat, the baby had a massive ear infection, the stomach flu ran rampant through our Thanksgiving vacation, my oldest has been in a bajillion nutcracker performances, the election consumed too much of my brainpower, we’ve had some childcare snafus, we’re doing a mini remodel of our kitchen, it’s been crazy at work and I’ve been traveling like a migrating goose.  Through all of that, I didn’t take the time to write.  And I’m mad at myself because of it. I committed to writing more regularly.  I made it a priority.  And I let that priority slip.  I am sorry.  I will do better.

“Busyness” has taken over my life.  I have been overwhelmed and consumed with the “stuff” going on in my life and have had trouble coming up for air.  I am a work in progress and one of my biggest flaws is simply my inability to ask for help.  Maybe it’s vanity, maybe it’s insanity, but whatever it is, it prevents me from exposing the chinks in my armor and makes it really difficult to ask for help.  Heck, I think I like people thinking I can do it all.  As a lifelong Catholic, I have always dreaded going to confession because I don’t even like our priest hearing my flaws!  True story: At my very first confession when I was seven years old, I panicked and didn’t want to tell the priest my sins so I made sins up.  I confessed sins I had never committed!  I cried when I got in the car with my mother and when she asked me what was wrong, I admitted what I had done and she sent me right back in to the church to confess again.  “Forgive me father, for I have sinned.  It has been approximately 3 minutes since my last confession!” Ugh. Maybe THAT’S why I don’t like confession!  Anyway, I think I’m fueled by keeping up the appearance of perfection.  But that’s just it. It’s the appearance of perfection. My reality is not perfect and things came to a head this past month.

I had always heard the expression “It takes a village”, and it would actually make me mad.  I didn’t feel like I had this mysterious village.  I don’t have sisters (and c’mon, while brothers are lovely, they’re not going to jump on a plane to come to my aid in a childcare pinch), my parents live in Australia, I don’t have any family in state, I don’t have an expansive network of “people” and as a Nashville newbie, I don’t have lifelong relationships to lean on.  So when our nanny gets sick, or an emergency happens when either my husband or I are out of town, I go into full on panic mode. I call all of our former nannies, I rearrange meetings, I change flight plans and I somehow manage to cobble together a childcare plan, a carpool plan and arrange for dinner to be on the table.  My girlfriends have constantly volunteered to help, have extended the invitation to be a baby cuddler for a day when Matthew or I get stuck, but they have lives and I’ve never felt comfortable asking.  I don’t want to inconvenience my friends and I certainly don’t want them to feel inconvenienced.  And so, I’ve never asked.  Until last Tuesday.

Last Tuesday began as a fairly typical day.  My husband was out of town, the girls had school and the baby was scheduled to be home all day with our nanny.  The phone rang at 6:30 am and it was our nanny.  She had taken a fall and couldn’t come in.  Okay, panic mode begins.  I had a meeting I couldn’t miss and my husband was in D.C. with no ability to get home quickly.  I began my round of calls and none of our former nannies or regular babysitters were available. Time is ticking and I have to get the girls to school and figure out what I was going to do with our 8 month old.  I’m crying, I’m panicking, I’m screaming at my kids and I’m out of ideas.  And so I picked up the phone and called my friend Gretchen.

She could tell immediately that I was upset and was at my house in minutes.  No questions asked, she kept my sweet 8 month old baby all day.  I went to the office and didn’t worry about him once.  I didn’t worry because I trust and love this person and I know that she loves my children.  When I tried to thank her for her amazing help, she actually stopped me and thanked ME instead.  She told me that she “needed a day like today” and that she really, truly enjoyed it.  And I believe her.  I cried that night but for a different reason.  I realized that maybe I did have a village after all.  Maybe my village had been there all along.  And, in fact, maybe my village was actually a friggin’ globe.

Here’s what I’ve learned – the people who love you WANT to help you.  They aren’t “just saying it.”  They really, truly want to help.  Ask for help.  When you need it, ask for it.  Don’t let your pride or your vanity stand in the way.  Asking for help is not easy for me. And I’m sure it will continue to be something I struggle with, but I’m learning and I’m grateful to have such people in my life. And with Christmas less than two weeks away, I’m gonna get a little mushy on all of you.

So to my darling friends in Nashville – thank you.  Your support and kindness are not going unnoticed by this overextended crazy person.  My amazing next door neighbors, my friends who have found their way into my heart because of my daughters’ schools, my former nannies who have become dear friends and to the colleagues who are gracious when I’m overwhelmed.  THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU.  And to my mother in Australia – thank you.  You wouldn’t know the distance was so great from the support I feel.  Thank you for the encouragement, the love and willingness to jump on a plane just because.  To my family in France – thank you.  Your text and calls are the sunshine in my day.  Seeing my new niece reminds me of why I do what I do.  I work hard so that one day I can bounce back and forth between my two countries seeing the people I love so dearly.  And to my friends all over the world – thank you.  The calls, texts, social media messages, etc. to remind me that I am doing a good job mean the world to me.

I am lucky.  I have more than a village.  I have the whole entire globe to call upon.  And for that, I am grateful.

Work/Life Tip: Ask for help.  It’s okay for people to see your imperfections.  It’s not easy, but it’s what solid friendships and relationships are built upon.


Things that made me happy today:

  • A flight that boarded early out of Philly!!!!!  It’s a miracle!!!!
  • I wore a WWE wrestling belt during a class that I taught today. True story.
  • Christmas Radio on Pandora
  • That I’m headed home from my last business trip of 2016!
  • A chocolate covered pretzel
  • The fact that my parents are moving back to this continent IN A FEW SHORT WEEKS!
  • That my kids are happy, healthy and thriving. I sometimes take this for granted.  Not everyone is so lucky.
  • That I have first world problems that include a missing piece of granite on my countertops that will not be installed until after the Xmas party I am hosting on Friday. J

2 thoughts on “It Takes More Than a Village

  1. I stand by my previous text! Also just finished listening to a talk recently where they claimed vulnerability is essential to find true joy. Looks like you found that out! I am the same way not wanting to ask for help but it is essential and you are right your friends do love you and I am sure are excited for the opportunity to help superwoman!!

    Liked by 1 person

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