A lovely friend and fellow writer, Linda Gartz, read my last few posts and then, bless her heart, took the time to write me a heartfelt email. She offers advice I’ve been given (and offered to others) countless times — but needed to hear once again.
One of the things I absolutely love about being a woman is the ability to connect so deeply, so knowingly, and to be understood in a way that helps me be a better person.
Linda’s gentle tone comes through in this email, yet her message is strong: Life is short, and we must embrace the things that matter most. I asked her permission to share it here; I feel it might remind other readers that we don’t have to try to “do it all.”
Dear Christine, > I read your blogs about your sleep deprivation and the commitments you had made before taking on the Patch.com job. I, too, was a big volunteer for many school projects and activities -- once even writing multiple grants totaling$60,000 over several years and starting a tutoring program at Lincolnwood Schoolthat ended up teaching over 200 at-risk readers to read. It was very gratifying -- but on that one, I wasn't trying to meet the deadlines for a challenging new job which meant a lot for my future. > > I can tell you are the kind of person who will always do the very best jobpossible at whatever you have engaged in--and never want to let anyone down. I've been in your position. > > Just a thought - could you simply let something go? Get someone to take your place with deepest apologies? After all, if you had a very sick child or parent, you would have to bow out of something to make time for the most important. Wewomen, especially, never want to let anyone down. But in the process, you may be letting yourself down--your health, your ability to stay even-keeled in a sleep-deprived miasma. > > Give yourself a break. You have this wonderful opportunity with this blog--and from your writing, I gather this writing gig and your family are most important to you. Sorry if I'm sounding like a mother hen, but you are so talented and good-hearted -- I know you'll try to do it all -- and it will be so hard on you and your family. We can only go so long under than kind of pressure -- and no sleep. > > I remember when my high achieving attorney friend had to make the decision to quit the punishing law firm that had her working 16-18 hours a day while she had little children. She felt so guilty quitting -- that everyone would hate her and she was letting the other women down. I told her "You think this is normal because it's all you've done. It's not normal to live like this." She quit and found the other women cheered her on! And she had time and energy to give her kids the extra help they needed. > > Just some stories from the trenches. Don't want to be officious -- but I feel for your stress. You can give yourself permission to quit some things-- and no one will resent you for it. And if they do... well, so what? > > Been there. Done that. Need some sleep. > > XXXOOO and best wishes. You're doing great! > > Linda