Here it is friends… my famous coat analogy.
Years ago, I was talking to my husband about all of the things I was juggling (there may have been a little complaining too). I was hoping he’d help me to feel better about all of the things I’d taken on and validate that I would somehow be able to keep up with all the craziness. Instead, he started to get really angry. He said, “Do you want to know what it’s like – talking to you?” Then, he went to the closet and started frantically putting on one coat after another until he was about three times his normal size (a trick, since he’s kind of a big guy already). Then, in his best Laurieann-imitation-voice, he said, “Dave, I’m so hot… I’m just so hot… What should I do? Hey, is that a fireplace? I just love fireplaces.” And then he ran to our imaginary fireplace.
Any of you like this too? I love my coats but too many make life uncomfortable. If you have so much to do that you can’t do anything, you are wearing too many coats. Here are my current coats: mom, wife, business owner, home builder, volunteer, and teacher. What are your coats?
Coats are seasonal! If you have four kids under 5, your “mommy coat” should be getting a lot of use (four kids under five may even cause some fraying around the edges). If your daughter just had her first child, you just got a new “grandma coat” and your “mom” coat may be more of a pullover sweater. Think of the seasons… you need a different coat for each one and during the summer, you don’t need one at all. To have balance in life, you need moments when you can shed all of your coats and simply be you.
My no-coat season is once a year when I leave all of my responsibilities behind and go on a week-long camping trip with teenage girls and other volunteer leaders. I know this kind of camping would not be rejuvenating for everyone but for me, it’s when the coats come off. I can really be me, let my greasy, unwashed hair down, sing silly songs, and make a general fool of myself. It’s the kind of freedom that helps me get through the rest of the seasons.
When do you feel like you’re coat-less and how does it rejuvenate you? What are your coats? Do you have too many because you can’t say no or because you feel indispensable to too many people? What coats can you get rid of permanently and what ones can you put on only occasionally? Don’t be like me, so in love with the coats themselves that I didn’t see how they were hurting me and making me ineffectual.