Thursday, August 6, 2015

Meeting People Where They Are

Hashtag word vomit.
Hashtag no holds barred.
Hashtag hunker down. 

There seems to be a common theme in my life lately of meeting people where they are.

I know most people think of fake smiles, rule books, and people being fired when they think of HR, but that's so not what my job is about. Yes, there are still standards to follow, but "new school" HR is about developing people, recognition, and meeting people where they're at. I spend a lot of time coaching others on acknowledging progress and understanding that people come from different backgrounds and experiences. It's really easy to hastily judge someone for making a choice other than the one you would have made or to get frustrated with someone who "should have known" because it was "common sense." You'd be surprised how much more a person is willing to learn and work harder if you applaud improvement instead of pointing out everything that's wrong. Meet people where they are.

The past few weeks threw a few curve balls. Boone was hospitalized, and we're still trying to figure out his ailment. Our credit card information was stolen and used. We had to change our arrangements for Maui which dashed our plans of vacation time together. I dropped my MBA class, because I knew after one week that there was no way I could juggle everything and do it well. I tried not to feel too guilty, but honestly, I felt like a failure for admitting that I thought I'd struggle to balance school and work. I had to swallow my pride and accept that I was doing the best that I could.

After our Maui plans changed, we both felt more and more frustrated and spent a lot of nights talking it out quietly. Nothing makes you feel more like an adult that making the "smart" decisions and canceling plans when you actually want to kick and scream and find a way to make money and health grow on trees. I am one month into a quasi-new position at work, and I am so determined to kill it, guys. Seriously, I want to be so badass with these special projects and land the job I'm trying to prepare for. But the work on top of the curve balls on top of the things I never seem to complete (errands, calling friends back, baby books, blogging, etc.) on top of lack of sleep was like a rolling pin, and I was the dough. Being rolled so thin had me frustrated that I couldn't do everything I wanted to do in a day and worried that I was too distracted to be the mom my kid deserved at the end of the work day.

One night I ran an errand after Presley was asleep to buy T-shirts for S and mascara for me. I was down to my last ounce of energy, but I was determined to check the errand off my to-do list. When I got home, I asked, "Do you want me to remove the tags and put the shirts in the washing machine?" S looked at me like I was crazy and said, "No, don't do that. I can do it tomorrow. Take care of yourself." Generally, we manage ourselves just fine and trust that the other makes smart, rational decisions most of the time, so for him to say that out loud made me stop and listen. That moment required him to meet me where I was (and call me out when I was drilling myself into the ground).

Not that I'd ever want to be compared to a baby, but I have to think of it this way: Every one of Presley's milestones is celebrated, because she is growing and accomplishing new things. Holding a bottle and sitting up? Kid genius! It would be preposterous to expect her to solve calculus equations, because that's not where she is yet. So why am I getting down on myself for not being ten steps ahead of where I am? I'll get there. I'm doing a pretty good job so far.

Emotionally, I am in a quieter place today, remembering Matt and continuing to make peace with unsolved mysteries of life. I think a little piece of me will always be the me at age 16 who learned what it meant to be truly heartbroken but eventually capable of strength. Memories like these sort of taunt the soul. Today will be fine -- probably better than fine!

But that's where I am today, and today, that's good enough.


Jenn said...

This is brilliant and to me, it sounds like you're doing a great job. I think taking a step back to figure out where someone has been is more important than where they SHOULD be.

Alana Livingston said...

You definitely have a lot on your plate! You made the right decision in dropping your MBA class and you shouldn't feel disappointed in yourself for that. You have to focus on yourself at times, too!

Unknown said...

Oh I totally feel you sister. I often sit at work and think when I get home I am going to go for a run, do the laundry, and roast a chicken. And yeah, you can be sure that does NOT happen. I just don't have the energy. When you feel so passionately about your work and being a mom it is hard to accept our limitations.

Louise, Travel the Unbeaten Path said...

Phew, you are superwoman. A new baby, career and school is more than most people can handle, so just give yourself a break and a big pat on the back. I'm so happy we have great support system at home (and in our blogging community!), it makes a world of difference.

GS said...

Yes, priority #1, take care of yourself. You highlight what every one of us go through in life. You are not alone. Some don't even recognize the "imbalance". Yes, the MBA can wait. You are merely at a "rest stop" along the road to upward mobility. Reflect upon all the successes you've had along the way to becoming a 24-hour-a-day stellar mom and a full-time badass Human Resources professional! Oh, and, did we mention that you are that much closer to obtaining an MBA then you were two years ago? Rejoice! Round of applause, please!

Whitney H said...

I have to give you major applause for this post. You're a superwoman! I so look up to you, big sis!