Hey Mom. I see you. Capably at the helm of your family as the glue that’s holding it all together. Making sure that everyone has what they need to do and be their best. And, I also see that you are overwhelmed, overextended, and, amazingly resilient.
I see you, because I am you. Whatever you are feeling as a mom, with whatever age little ones you have, you are not alone. There are other parents feeling the same. And if you’re working outside the home, particularly in a supervisory/management position, goodness, you have another set of “family” to worry about as well.
It took me 15+ years to realize that I do not have to be everything to everyone. That my husband is just as capable of running the show at home, although differently than I might (and that’s totally ok!), and that my kids (who are now teenagers) need more space, freedom and responsibility than I’d previously given them. If it looks like they need to make their own dinner one night because I am busy running my business, then they can figure it out (that was very hard for me to say to them, but dang it felt empowering; for me AND them!). Goodness….that’s hard to admit, total helicopter mom here. At least I was until two things happened:
1) I finally admitted I wasn’t fulfilled in the professional work I was doing. I had had this feeling deep down in my belly that, although I believed in the work of the organization and worked with an amazing group of women, it wasn’t what I was meant to be doing. How and why did I finally admit that I wanted more? See #2:
2) The year 2018 brought our family challenges and heartache. And, just when the year was coming to a close and I thought better times were ahead, the rug was pulled out from under us. My 15 year old son was diagnosed with depression after a very rough series of events. In an instant, our lives changed. The way we parented, the deeper appreciation for moments of laughter and joy, the value of time. The decision was made not to waste another second feeling unfulfilled.
Come 2019, we dove head first into all things supportive for our kids. Additionally, I was thinking about how to make myself a priority, because I knew if I didn’t care for myself, I couldn’t show up for my family the way they needed. As a result, I discovered coaching. This was a life changer for me. Using some self-coaching tools, I began to dig into what I really wanted. The more I dug, the more I began to realize, “this is it”. “This (coaching) is what I am meant to be doing”. It’s a natural fit with my 20+ years in the health and wellness field, and helped me see that if I am not fulfilled in what I am doing in my life, I am not my best self for my family and the people I serve.
****Moms, you have to come first. You do. You matter as much as any other member of your family or team.****
Okay, that was all heavy! Exhale (I just did!). Now, I bet you may be wondering: “how the heck do I make myself a priority when I feel like there’s not a moment to spare and I can’t even pee with the door closed at this point in my life?!” (Totally been there, my kids are not quite two years apart).
The answer lies in first, being kind to yourself, knowing that in this moment, you’re doing the best you can.
Next, recognize that you’re not doing exactly what you want. And that’s totally ok! It doesn’t mean you love your kids any less because you want more for yourself.
Accept that you deserve more. This is where the discussion arounds beliefs will arise. Really pay attention to the things you say to yourself over the next while. Might that include something like: “I would really love to get a part-time job, but I don’t have the skills for that.”, or “I would love to take an online course, but I’m a terrible student”. The messages we give ourselves come from our beliefs, and the more we reinforce those beliefs, the more deeply rooted and likely to sabotage our success they’ll be.
Now please note, that beliefs can be limiting (like those mentioned above) or empowering like: “I am going to figure out how to prioritize taking an online course. How? Well, I figure out daily how to care for this little human, so I can do anything!”
And beliefs can be changed. Once you’ve identified you have some limiting beliefs (we all do), see the first point above-be kind to yourself, you’re doing the best that you can.
Then decide that you are going to replace your limiting belief with something more powerful like “I don’t have the skills for the job I want, YET. I am smart and capable (see note above about keeping tiny human alive) and I can learn something new!”
Next, if you’re not sure what the “more” is that you’re wanting, create an inventory. An inventory of what your daily activities are. This doesn’t have to be fancy-use a pen and paper, or voice memos on your phone to just say what’s what.
Once you have an idea of what you do each day, connect an associated feeling about each item. What are the things that you are doing that you don’t want to be (laundry, dishes, diapers aside)? Are you volunteering at your kid’s school because you think you should, but you’d really rather have that time to yourself? Are you helping with a friend’s website for her small business and you LOVE that? There’s no judgement here. Analyze what sets your heart on fire vs. the things you “should” be doing.
Decide. What do you want to do now, with what you discovered from your inventory? Did you find you’d like to learn more about web design, or find that there is a commitment you need to let go? This is your “mothership”, and you have the right to decide where it goes.
As an aside, please let me say, I know there are times in our lives that changing careers or taking a course for example isn’t feasible. I totally get it. But I encourage you to continue finding out what you want. The day will come that all of a sudden, your kids are teenagers and you’ve got time on your hands. Keep a journal to track all of the things you want, and you’ll find a way. Moms are the most resourceful, creative people I know! You got this!!
Looking for some other ideas and support?
In health and kindness,
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