Millennium Mom

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Finding the time for one another

I once went to a training on work life effectiveness given by one of our brilliant GM's Jim Lafferty. Jim is a terrific business person but even better people person. He has lived outside the US for over a decade and it shines through in how he deals with people. He is very passionate and accepting to all.

One of the big things Jim stressed in his training was "you can only have 5 roles in life" at any given time. Your roles can change over time, but he found if you do more than 5 you get in trouble. His for reference were Husband, Dad, Fitness (guru), P&G manager and Coach (of track). He was very humble in saying son and brother were not roles for him. His parents had passed away and he had lived so far from his siblings (he came from a very large family) that that role had diminished for him.

I think often about my roles. I personally believe I can handle six at any given time. If you made me choose five at this time it would be Wife, Mom, Daughter, P&G Manager and Author. I think for me Daughter and Sister are the same, as my entire family is in the same town, and they are all phone conversations to stay in touch. My parents are young so I haven't gotten into the caregiver role, likewise for my husband's parents. I have found my roles changed over time. Volunteer or Athlete used to be past roles, but as my children came my priorities shifted (and body :).

The important thing to do when you decide your roles is to make time for each of them. I find the role I "sacrifice" too much is actually wife. It is so easy to take for granted your significant other. When I step back and think, it is the most cherished role, as I wouldn't even have some of the others like mom and author without it, but on a day-to-day basis when work and the kids demand of you, you can often forget this. While I thank God for Arnie each week in Mass, often I don't thank him enough personally.

We have created an annual tradition for ourselves, to refresh our relationship as partners. Each President's day we go away without the kids. We didn't take our first trip without kids until after Sarah was born. When she was 9 months, and for the first time in 4.5 years I was not pregnant or breast-feeding, we went to Jamaica for 5 nights. It was glorious...and then a year and a half went by. Thankfully my beautiful friend Silvia was married in Ixtapa, Mexico last year and we used it as an excuse to get away. It has now become a tradition.

So on Valentine's day we are driving down to Ashville, NC to stay at the Grove Park Inn. We can't wait, a beautiful setting, good massages and good food await, what a better way to say I love you.


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