I agreed to care for my three nephews over a long weekend. Now, I’m on a train and filled with fear about this adventure. How did I get here? It’s epic. This is part 1.
Here’s the scoop: This was supposed to be one of those “quick” posts. I’ve been feeling this coming on and was waiting to get on the train to write it. But this is deep work. And it got quite long, as deep work tends to do.
I know that YOU, dear friend, have the capacity to go deep with me for a few thousand words. But not everyone wants so much depth at once. And this is deep work that serves. Beyond just you and me.
So I’ve broken it up, to make it more digestible.
Part 1 (below!) is an exploration of what I was thinking and where my doubts originated.
Part 2 dives deep into the reasons for my fear.
Part 3 uncovers the truth of what really matters.
Read them all at once or get up to stretch in between.
Got it? I know you do! Here we go.
Sowing the Seeds of Doubt and Fear
I’m sitting on an Amtrak train heading from NYC to Washington, D.C. My brother moved his family there over the summer, and I’m heading down to care for my three nephews – ages 8, 6, and 1 – while he and my sister-in-law take a long-weekend vacation. I’ll have some assistance from Debbie, the boys’ nanny, but she will mostly be caring for the baby. Other than Debbie, it is just me. I’m in charge.
Suddenly, I’m quite nervous. I’m starting to wonder: what was I thinking?
As the train chugs along, I feel my hips start to burn. I’m feeling my chest grip a little. My Energy & the Subtle Body training and years of learning to notice what’s happening in my body tells me that this is fear.
Why I’m feeling this fear? Why am I so nervous?
I’m no stranger to pushing myself beyond my perceived limits. I just completed my eighth firewalk earlier this month at Unleash the Power Within. I’ve jumped out of airplanes. My hobby and passion is flying trapeze. Plus, I love my nephews. How can I be afraid? This doesn’t make sense.
Yet here I am. So it’s time to explore. And share.
I’m going to share this because I think it will be helpful on many levels:
We don’t talk about doubts and fear enough in our culture, unless the topic is “embracing” fear and “pushing” out of our comfort zone. There is a false assumption that all it takes is some love to get over our fears. We often read a 500-word blog post that doesn’t really dig in deep to the type of exploratory work that is necessary to uncover what is really going on. And this is deep work. I want to give it its due.
What Was I Thinking?
Let’s start here: what, exactly, was I thinking when I said yes to this request?
My mom asked me this the other day, and it’s a good question.
The truth is, I wasn’t thinking much.
At the time Allyson asked me if I was willing to watch the kids, I was in Miami for the Leading Real Estate Companies of the World conference. I knew that after returning from Miami I was committed to attend my mentor Margaret Nichols’ full-immersion Divine Femme weekend in New York, immediately followed by a week serving on the event team at Tony Robbins’ Unleash the Power Within (UPW) event in West Palm Beach.
In that context, my brain processed this request as
Can you commit to another full-immersion event for four days at the end of March?
and not as
Can you watch the boys for four days on your own?
Trust me when I say: there is a massive difference.
In my mind, this was just like a UPW, even down to the timing and the days of the week. Adam and Allyson were leaving on Thursday morning and would be returning on Monday afternoon. I would arrive on Wednesday afternoon to get oriented, and I could leave on Monday after the boys went off to school next page. Debbie would be home with the baby. So it would be four days with the kids. And two of those days are weekdays, so they would have school. And they’re in bed by 8 pm, so I would have evenings to myself to write and get some work done. That’s something I don’t get at UPW.
Plus, did I mention that this would be quality time with my nephews? I was down, of course.
With the other events on my schedule, plus the catch-up and focus on my business between my travels, I didn’t think much of the babysitting weekend until I returned from West Palm Beach.
Seeds of Doubt Begin to Sprout
Still riding my post-UPW high, I spoke with Allyson, to discuss the plans in more detail. She told me that the boys did not have school on Thursday and Friday – that definitely threw me for a loop. I would need to plan activities for the older boys for those two days. A little daunting, but I can handle it.
At one point I mentioned to my parents that I would be watching the boys. My mom commented that she was surprised I would agree to take on this big commitment.
I heard faint echoes from September, when my sister went away and I helped my parents watch her 3.5-year-old twins for a long weekend. I recall being confident that I could handle the girls on my own, and how my mom and grandmother both cautioned how hard it would be.
Then, and now, I felt myself steel in protest:
I’m 40 years old, Most of my friends have kids. Certainly I’m capable of taking care of kids for a few days.
Here we were again, those seeds of doubt re-watered and ripe for sprouting into plants. I started to wonder: had I gotten in over my head? Was I capable of doing this?
I mentioned to Allyson that I was getting nervous. I asked her: Are you sure I’ll be ok?
In retrospect, I realized that this is probably not something you want to admit to the mother of the children you will be watching. But she is awesome and she took it in stride. She reminded me that Debbie, the boys’ nanny, would be there to help.
“You’ll be fine,” she assured me.
I did my best to suppress my fear. I focused on how much I love playing with my nephews. I started thinking about how I could create an amazing weekend experience for them.Maybe I would take them to Trapeze School’s branch in D.C. to try flying trapeze! We could go to a trampoline park! I would cook dinner for them! This will be fun!
So why, then, am I feeling fear now?
I get into that in Part 2.