I've been going through a period lately where I feel like my brain has caught on fire. This is a good thing for me. I've written before about how I got pretty disengaged during my second maternity leave, and I wasn't sure if I was going to get past that. Since I've made more time for reading more, writing more and consuming less social media and trashy TV (Australian Survivor does not fall into this category) my productivity has significantly increased. Ideas and breakthroughs have been plentiful. Abundant even. But it hasn't been without consequence. There are some other things that I need to pay attention to outside of my work and my personal health. I'm talking about family and friends.
When you spend so much time in your head, it can be hard to get out of it at times. People throw around the phrase "being present" so much that it feels cliche, but I'm going to use it anyway because it's valid. Having two young kids and a husband means that I need to make an effort to be present with them and switch from work mode to family mode.
I think I manage to do this pretty well, because they kind of force me into it. It can be hard to think about stuff when there are two kids singing Lion King songs at the top of their lungs and dancing around the lounge room. They also force you to disconnect. Because if my nearly 2 year old son sees my phone then he wants my phone and he will do everything he can to take it from me. So I try to put my phone out of sight and out of reach for the majority of the time when he's around. This strategy is definitely benefiting my relationship with my immediate family, but not so much with my broader family and friends.
I should start by acknowledging that I'm not the best communicator at the best of times. I will avoid phone calls as much as I possibly can and I'm not the most reliable text message-er. But recently I've become terrible. Terrible. If I'm not able to respond to someone immediately, then my response time is appalling. It's like I somehow trick myself into believing that the reply I composed in my head was actually magically delivered to the other person, and then it completely falls off of my list of things to do. Sometimes it'll come back into my head at 3am or something, but other times it will disappear for good. This is obviously not a way to make your friends and family feel valued. I need to do better.
The other unintended consequence of being in my head, is my propensity to apply the things that I've been learning to family members. Again, more an issue with my parents and siblings than with my husband and kids. Here's the hot tip (not really, it's painfully obvious): no one, especially not family members wants to hear your unsolicited insights or opinions. I'm working on that too.