good life with annelie maddock
Part of cultivating a good life means living in the moment and saying YES to the right things and NO when needed.
For almost a year now, I have been a stay-at-home mum. This came after having worked in the corporate world for many years, before and after having children. Most of you will know how hard that life can be. Juggling work, kids with all that entails, relationships with your other half, friends and extended family – it’s not an easy thing to get right.
For me it simply got too hard. I said yes to all the wrong things because I was desperate to be a good employee, a good mum and wife, and a great friend. What I came to realize was that to be all of those things, I needed to find time for ME first. I needed to figure out what I needed and what made ME happy. In some areas that still meant being there, saying yes to others, but in some areas it didn’t.
I was lucky enough to be able to change my situation. Not everyone has the choice to “live in the moment,” quit your job, and find yourself again. I am eternally grateful to my husband who, when he saw me fade away to a vague copy of myself, stepped up and said, “It’s time.” He knew I needed time for me before I even did.
In the beginning I had SO MUCH GUILT. I still felt like I had to prove something to everyone: my husband, my kids, and everyone who’d love to be in my position but couldn’t. My first Monday as unemployed I washed all my windows on the ground floor of my house. I cleaned the toilets and bathrooms more thoroughly than they had ever been cleaned before. I washed every single item of clothing in the house and went generally crazy in the housekeeping department. Because that’s what I felt I had to do. I started helping out at school. All the time. I had lunch with friends left, right, and centre. Put my hand up to help friends who run their own small businesses. Again, it’s what I felt I had to do because I had all this “free time.”
And then I decided it was enough. I had to slap myself out of it, remember that I was supposed to look after me, and run with this fantastic opportunity! So I did.
I started watching Netflix in the middle of the day. I auditioned for a musical – something I used to do a very long time ago, and I got a part! I said yes to a puppy after saying no for 9 years. I said no when I really didn’t want to do something or be a part of something. I sometimes left the dishes in the sink for more than a day. I stared at the ocean for hours. Took long walks. Simple everyday things that had been BIG things for years suddenly weren’t that big anymore. When someone said, “Let’s catch up,” I said no if I didn’t actually feel like it and yes when I did. I was doing things that made ME feel good. And I let go of the guilt.
After a few weeks I took stock of what my days looked like. And I changed some things. To this day, I am still changing. Learning. Knowing that sometimes we have to say yes to things we’d like to say no to. Maybe that is what “adulting” is all about.
I still have days when all I do is watch Netflix and don’t even take the dog for a walk. I have days when I am incredibly productive. I have great days and not so great days. I still feel guilty sometimes. But mostly I don’t. And because I am happier with my life, so is my family. Win-win I’d say!
Annelie Maddock is part of our Creative Team using physical product. She currently resides in New Zealand with her husband Kelly and two beautiful girls Tova (9) and Elsa (7).