Staying Focused on What Matters

25 June 2013
The Naturalist
27 September 2013

I have been planning to bring my little girl to watch the latest Smurfs movie at the cinema for weeks. The good thing about planning ahead is we got to get the best seats we wanted before they’re all sold out. And off we went yesterday to the cinema, hubby, Haley and I. This sequel to the 2011 movie was a lot more packed with drama & actions. So much so that my sensitive little girl find it a bit too overwhelming.

FYI, she absolutely hates cartoon characters arguing or fighting and will switch off the TV whenever she came to such scenes. Yes, Disney production cartoons. We do not let her watch the “more violent” cartoons such as sponge bobs, etc. So, as you can imagine, she was clinging onto me almost the entire show, especially the part when Smurfette was kidnapped and when the other smurfs were in trouble. Also, at her age, she kept asking a lot of questions in effort to try make some sense on each scene. The popcorn & chips didn’t really help this time either.

By the end of the movie, I was flustered. I was sweating & mentally exhausted trying to keep Haley as comfortable as possible throughout the show. She on the other hand had calmed down after watching the happy ending, so I thought all is good again. All this while, hubby was sitting next to us in the twin seat I’ve booked, enjoying the movie, oblivious to how I felt during that time.

Little H Growing Up

We left the cinema & on the way out, thinking that it might be a good time to capture a photo of Haley with the Smurf advertisement board so I enthusiastically asked her to pose next to one. Unfortunately, her reaction was totally out of my expectation. She refused to smile & had this reserved look. After a few coaxing, I decided to forget about the idea & told Haley to leave with us for dinner.

She didn’t take it very well then. And I was getting very agitated by then. She started crying insisting she wants a shot taken, but obviously she couldn’t smile for the camera by then. After a few attempts to try keep her happy, we managed a shot of her & daddy, and walked away, intending to head on for dinner. Her continuous whimpering finally got to me. I totally lost it by then.

For the first time ever, I felt like just running away from her and my husband. Just disappear into a black hole for all I care. I snapped at Haley and hubby retorted back cos he wasn’t happy with the way I reacted. Honestly at that point, I felt like I’m done with everything. Done with my family, done with my work, done with everything that is stressing me out of my breath.

We headed on for dinner elsewhere. It was the most disconnected dinner I’ve ever had or made out of my family life. I totally shut them out cos I was just so angry, so stressed out, so tired. After dinner, we headed home. And we slept.

I woke up this morning still with a heavy feeling inside me. It was a restless night, full of dreams which I couldn’t remember. Hubby and Haley were still sleeping when I woke up. I took my phone out & checked the time. Then decided to browse through Facebook for some updates. I came across a link of an article which was shared by two of my friends via the world wide web. The article was titled The Day I Stopped Saying “Hurry Up” by Rachel Macy Stafford. I didn’t expect much from the article but somehow I decided to click on it. And boy how timely the article was cos I broke down & cried halfway reading through it. Here are a few excerpts from the fated article:

When you’re living a distracted life, every minute must be accounted for. You feel like you must be checking something off the list, staring at a screen, or rushing off to the next destination. And no matter how many ways you divide your time and attention, no matter how many duties you try and multi-task, there’s never enough time in a day to ever catch up.

My thoughts and actions were controlled by electronic notifications, ring tones, and jam-packed agendas. And although every fiber of my inner drill sergeant wanted to be on time to every activity on my over-committed schedule, I wasn’t.

And although the words “hurry up” did little if nothing to increase my child’s speed, I said them anyway. Maybe even more than the words, “I love you.” The truth hurts, but the truth heals … and brings me closer to the parent I want to be.

“I am so sorry I have been making you hurry. I love that you take your time, and I want to be more like you.”

These were a few which really hit a mighty painful spot inside me. I cried & cried & cried. Like a little child who has just lost her favorite dolly. My baby woke up cos she must have heard my muffled cry in a towel. I immediately cuddled with her & apologized to her. I told her I’m really sorry for being angry at her last night. But in real truth, I’m really sorry that I nearly threw away what is the most important part of my life. She’s my life. My family is what made me who I am today. I was so shocked with myself.

Obviously Haley was a lot more flustered than I was after the movie. She was reserved after seeing the movie poster advert because she was remembering the terrifying parts of the movie. She has got such a gentle soul, sensitive feelings, that her reaction was totally expected after watching the movie. And all I did was getting angry at her & nearly disown her & my family! I should really burn in hell for letting her go through that last night.

Little H Growing Up

My baby loves her comfort pillow

After making peace with my little girl, I realized it’s time I do something about my stress level. First is to acknowledge it. Second is to accept that my current situation (especially this month of August) will require my entire dedication & concentration to make it through successfully. I have one TV Show to complete, one photography workshop to conduct, and one charity bazaar photo-booth to manage. All within three weeks. On top of that, I have photo edits which are due since as far back as March this year. And thirdly, I need to find a solution to help me out.

I got overwhelmed with constant last minute changes throughout this year, which affected my work schedule on a constant basis. I got overwhelmed trying to please everyone the best I can. I got overwhelmed juggling between work & my family’s needs. I lost focus. I lost control of my planned schedule. It kept changing, and I keep finding myself out of breath catching up with all these changes.

I HATE BEING LATE. Late in my deliveries, which is just so much more often this year even though I have part time help and a fulltime PA. How is that so, I asked myself?

Little H Growing Up

After months of classes & coaxing, my little girl finally overcame her fear & started swimming on her own! One of the proudest moment in my life as a mother.

Then I realized two major things which I have overlooked. My child is growing, and along with that, her needs have grown. Especially her needs for attention & personal guidance. I was trying to be the best mother I could to her. I’m a Stay-at-Home-Mother.

I’m also a business owner, to a fast growing photography business. I didn’t realized that my business has indeed grown much more since the last I remembered. It also requires more attention & guidance from me. Even with my existing paid help, I can’t seem to be able to manage it as smooth as I used to be able to! Cos I think I’m juggling one too much things in my bowl. And all is important & crucial towards the goals of my family’s & business growth.

I need help. And in order to find more help, I need time & money to do that. Thinking about it all is already overwhelming. But I realized that I need to start somewhere. For now, my mind is too jumbled up with my current Must-Do-List, so I cannot seem to master up a plan yet.

But soon I will have to make time for that. Otherwise I know I’ll be drowned into all this messiness and I will definitely drag the people I love with me, hurting them along the way. No I do not want that to happen. I do not want to start hating my life, my family, my work, my friends.

So for the next few weeks, I’m going to try my very best to complete the tasks I’ve taken responsibility for BUT I must keep reminding myself to stop pushing my baby away when she needs me most. I have to stop saying, “Faster baby! Mummy don’t have much time today. Mummy has to work” to her.

To my existing clients who are waiting for their much anticipated images, I am very sorry for the long delay. Only God knows how much guilt I am keeping inside me for keeping you waiting. I can’t promise that you’ll get your images by tomorrow, but I can promise that I’ll have them done & ready as soon as I can, and making sure I do the best job I can on the images for your eternity keepsake.

I’m not sure if this sharing today will affect my business in the near future, or the trust my clients have given me so far, but I just have to make a choice now & take one step at a time to figure out what’s within myself again. I screwed up and I have to make up to it. I won’t let go of everything I have nurtured & built, but I do have to take a step back & re-arrange my steps to ensure a smoother journey.
Little H Growing Up
This, I will need everyone’s help & guidance. Everyone’s patience & trust in me. This I ask from you, my family, my clients, my friends. Prayers to God to help this humble servant of His. Help me make it right for you. And for myself. So I do not lost it again.

Thank you for reading & trying to understand me. Thank you for the constant love & support you’ve given to me, even when I can seem to be unappreciative at times. Thank you from the bottom of my healing heart.