I will embrace the emotional labour.

This is interesting work for me.

I am an educator, a mother and wife, a daughter and sister, a leader and volunteer.  Currently, I am serving 3 separate organizations and hoping to move each forward, all for the sake of the children.  I’m not superhuman.  Yes, often I’m tired.  But, this week, in my meditation on interesting work, the notion of “embracing the emotional labour” inspired me!

Being with children, loving them, truly loving them, is emotional labour.

As educators or parents, we embrace that emotional labour.  It’s not easy for us, but it’s a whole lot more difficult for them!  No matter what the child is dishing out, we have to retain our empathy and compassion for what they’re going through as young people.

Here are several ideas I have about embracing that emotional labour:

1.  Celebrate Labourers Who Care for Themselves

Friends, sleep and sobriety are superpowers!  Selfcare begins with nutrition, sleep, and exercise.

In previous posts, I’ve chatted a ton about sleep, check out Design with Multipliers and Help! My Child’s Not Thriving.

Additionally, this week, I heard Brene Brown speaking with Tim Ferris on the podcast and describing her sobriety as a superpower.  Because I admire her so much, I listened.  Then, I also read from iMOM on pushing back on the Wine Mom Culture.  After my own dry January, I am finding I sleep better, rise with more energy, and am generally more equanimous.  Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed some delicious wine on my most recent date night, I just find myself reevaluating my relationship with alcohol.

What we put into our bodies is essential for being adaptable and thriving in this age of acceleration!

This week, I am celebrating if you chose to prioritize your sleep, nutrition, and health.  It’s not weakness, it’s wisdom!

2.  I’m Using it as a Mantra – “Embrace the Emotional Labour”

When my child is falling apart at the 5pm witching hour, or the little person at the coat hooks is being abrasive and saying foul things, or a Grade 5 student is blowing his stack…you know when this happens…

Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

Being with children who are immature is emotional.  It’s undeniable.  We need to feel our feelings and also be able to pivot and make values-based choices to continue caring for the child before us.  So, in that intense moment, I find a mantra or quick saying helpful:

Embrace the emotional labour.

I spoke with one wise and experienced mom this week and she shared her mantra and reminded me:

No matter how hard this is for you, it’s harder for the child.

What wise saying helps you keep on with the hard work of loving children?

3.  Keep Learning, Keep Trying

I’m an activator.  So, I leverage the emotional energy from the work to fuel my creative problem-solving.  Sometimes, when it’s too much, I rest, but I never give up.  I lean into team and colleagues, research and resources.  I keep wrestling to find answers and make peace with the long game.

Things rarely change overnight.

Often, I posture myself as a learner.  I see it through the lens of “interesting work.”  I ask questions about how the system can change, rather than blaming others.  Then, I slip up.  So, I try again.

4.  Pray

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

My spiritual practices, my faith community, our songs of hope, and the reminders of a Creator who is in the business of new creation…my faith bolsters me.  Whatever prayer is to you, don’t forget this secret.  Often in the silence and solitude, we are refreshed.  Our faith can help us embrace the emotional labour.

My word for this year is Surrender.  Sometimes surrender is the next right thing to do…

For the sake of the children,


PS  If you are interested in a FREE 30-minute coaching session, I’d love to chat with you and hear your heart about embracing the emotional labour or some other soulful inquiry.  Feel free to email me at karine@learnforward.ca to schedule.