A New Year’s Resolution: Lightening the Bag

It is the beginning of a new year. And as part of my preparation to head back to work, I cleaned out my “big work bag”. Many of us have them. It is the heavy bag that we carry back on forth to work each day. It is the bag that holds life’s essentials and is symbolic of working motherhood.

The outside of my bag is fairly generic, purchased a few years back at Staples. But its contents are uniquely mine. I have actually become such a working mom minimalist, that I rarely carry a purse…too much trouble. I simply carry my big work bag.

The most constant item in my bag is my computer, my life line to work. As a working mother, I carry my computer back and forth in case of a child’s unexpected sick day. But even without a sick day, my computer often comes out at night and on weekends to catch up on work that was not completed during normal working hours. Then there is everything else…a pack of crayons, a few hair bows, a coaching file for my daughter’s hockey team, a stray action figure, a beautiful picture drawn by my 4 year old, a little lipstick and some gum. The contents vary, depending on the day.

There are days when the “big bag” feels like a burden. But as I cleaned it out, I realized that it holds the unique complexity of my life and that I am pretty grateful to have the chance to do all the things that I do. So going into 2012, “clean out your bag”. Take a few minutes to appreciate all the elements that make your crazy, complicated life uniquely yours. Create a goal to feel less burdened and more bolstered by your big bag.
1. Always work in a capacity that brings fulfillment, even when there are tough, tiresome days.
2. Resolve to leave work at work whenever possible to force balance.
3. Commit to always have one non-work folder in your bag, something that you do because makes you happy.
4. Always have a smattering of toys, pictures, and letters from your kids. Because being their mother is one of life’s great joys.
5. Promise to clean out your bag more than once a year to keep it light.

Happy New Year!