Each and every time you promise one more thing to your child, partner, the school PTA, you push yourself to a place where you don’t even know if you exist. As weeks, months, years go by you realize you no longer feel acknowledged by your name. Instead, you are called “Susie’s mom, “Joe’s wife”, the “chair of the cookie fundraiser.” You pass by the mirror each day staring at the reflection in front of you not knowing if you want to hug or kidnap her for a weekend of nothing which would be her everything.
When We Live Life According To The Societal Belief Moms “Should” Do Everything It Affects Our Lives In Numerous Ways
Inside, you tell yourself, even promise you want a home that is peaceful, structured, warm and inviting. Instead, your exhaustion and stress shatter that promise in ways your heart hurts. This intense frustration and at times feelings of doing it all “alone” bring out parts of you you’re afraid to admit existed even to yourself. Living life with the focus of taking on everything affects us when we start to question ourselves “Am I good enough?” or perhaps even when we may start comparing ourselves to other moms.
Perhaps for you it plays out in your life like this. You go to bed Sunday night after running the upcoming week in your head including the list of carpools, kid practices, work meetings and deadlines, crockpot recipes, and the 186 loads of laundry that will pile up. At the time it might have felt like you would have ROCKED the week ahead. Unfortunately, all this does is set the stage up for no room to breathe as a person, as a woman, as an individual. You thought of everyone else.
Eventually you wind up in a place where you are grateful Whole Foods finally opened in Fort Myers so you can run in and grab something for dinner (for the third night) while hoping no one you know sees you as you feel like a hot mess.
But the truth is, it’s normal to feel this way. Lots of moms have been in my office over the years with a similar story of survival. Its true overstressed moms are exhausted and lost at times. However, if we can learn to express healthy boundaries we can start to breathe more easily and enjoy life. When we make our needs known it is entirely possible to exist in our busy life.
Keep reading for 4 tips so you can start exhaling today
The biggest downside of not overcoming this life pattern is that the dream of peace and calm becomes buried so deep with frustration, anger, and loneliness you start thinking that dream may have been a fantasy. The picture of how you imagined your part in raising a family now feels unrealistic. Perhaps it was just something seen in a movie. You still know you want life to be healthy, but you are doubting if you are a woman capable of creating it. At the least, you find yourself going through the motions. Week after week you drive 568 miles to various stores and events, you answer the emails as they come in, you purchase the cupcakes your child signed you up for. You do the work. But the spark, the one you wanted to shine so bright and have a positive impact on the loved ones you share a home one with is dimming out with each of these weeks. Living this way is exhausting and unsatisfying.
Committing To Include You On The List Shines Your Life Like This
Right now you’re struggling with being overwhelmed with life and a deep sadness it is so far off from how you imagined it would be. Listen up sweet momma, you have the potential to change it. Go back to the mirror. An expert in change is looking back at you. Listen to her. When your child said, “Mom, I’m ready to take the training wheels off” you watched and held you breathe. They were so brave. Remember the one spill? Their knee was scraped. The tears rolled down their small cheek. They looked at you and said, “I can’t do it.” You ran over to them, wiped their tears and kissed their head. Remember you said, “buddy, I know you will get on the bike again.” With the crying over they looked in your eyes and said, “maybe.” The following week you had a 2-wheel bike rider! You helped create change!
When you choose to create change in yourself you’ll be able to keep giving and it no longer will drain you. Remember what pilots say to passengers before takeoff, “Always place the mask on yourself before assisting others.”
Moms, I Hear You
You all want the same thing. Your kids want you to be there for them. From the school play to the organizer of their birthday party. I know you want to show up and be there for them.
Taking care of yourself is taking care of them. Scream that from the rooftop. “Taking care of ME is taking care of them.” Make it your screensaver. Write it daily in your gratitude journal. Need more accountability? Scream it in my office. I’ll listen and repeat it back to you.
Feel the calmness you’re creating inside. Breathe that calmness in. Exhale slowly. Feel your shoulders go down and your stomach relax. Right now, yes, RIGHT now you’re creating mom life history. Here is the opportunity to create that dream life and truly be in it. Those days of feeling like an empty gas tank will now feel full. When you couldn’t wait to be in the car alone to be in silence you now hear yourself singing out loud to your favorite jams. Rather than sprinting in late to every appointment you are now killing it being two minutes early. You are breathing, and smiling
Take A Look At These 4 Education Points To See How You Can Achieve Balance And Calmness In Motherhood:
PLACE YOU ON THE CALENDAR
One of the reasons you struggle with feeling left out in your own life is that perhaps you are incredibly good at forgetting to place yourself on the weekly calendar. When you do this, it makes complete sense to feel alone and overlooked. When I work with overwhelmed moms, we talk about penciling “me” time on the family calendar and then practice how to communicate this need to our partners and family in a family meeting. When you do this, you give yourself space to exist. You are starting to take care of yourself while modeling this incredibly important skill to your children.
COMMIT TO NOT LETTING GUILT PARALYZE YOU
One of the reasons you struggle with taking time for yourself is that you worry about how it will impact the others in the home. You may even feel guilty leaving the house to get your nails done, walk with a girlfriend, go to Target to yes, get a latte and look at Joanna Gaines new spring line without going to the Lego, formula, or the baby doll aisle. Moms in my office start with creating a list of activities, big or small that would bring a smile on their face. That joy list is cut into strips and placed in a jar. You got it…. we grab one out per week and commit to making it happen. The smile is invited, and that guilt never even gets to RSVP.
TALK ABOUT IT WITH OTHER MOMS
Let’s just put this out there. If we filled a conference room with moms and asked them at some point in this roller coaster stage of parenting have you felt exhausted. So tired that looking at the shower and turning it on almost seems too much that you wonder if the dry shampoo and latest spray from Bath and Body Works will get you to pull it off to go to the grocery store and then the 8th practice of the week. Just about every mom will scream out, “yes, been there and at times still there.” It makes complete sense you wonder if you’re the only one feeling this way. I am a cheerleader to the moms I see in the office to go out, meet, interview other moms. Create that network of like-minded moms who totally get you. We will talk about it and check-in how’s it going. Coming across any barriers? Don’t worry we talk those through too.
PRACTICE THIS NEW MANTRA “I AM IMPORTANT TOO”
Before starting out into the world of motherhood you may have believed this. Hopefully, it beamed from you in a way all felt good inside and others felt it for you. But here you are going day in and out trying to put your best self forward to create a happy life for these little humans you brought into the world making as few mistakes as possible. I know you checked the diaper bag fifteen times and thought about every possible thing you needed from the unexpected blow out to the hand sanitizer. You spent the summer looking on Pinterest for breakfast and dinner ideas for the upcoming school days. But, wait about you? Do you have your snacks so hunger doesn’t grab you so hard you feel you could devour anything put in front of you if you ever sit down? What about the items you need to pack for yourself for an upcoming trip? I bet you made and double checked and crossed off items on the kids list. In the office I strongly encourage moms to say out loud or write out on sticky notes “I am important.” I get, it may feel silly. The thing is, the more you expose yourself to this much needed mantra the more you likely you will treat yourself like you are important.
Parenting is stressful. It can also be rewarding. I know it’s overwhelming when your to do list is bigger than a mountain and the needs of everyone feels mounds more than the laundry you did last week. It is incredibly easy to give up doing for yourself. It is one last thing on the list, right? When you DO commit to place and keep yourself on the list those feelings of drowning, loneliness, and frustration shift to a sense of balance and joy in parenting.