We’ve all been there. At some point pursuing our endeavors, whether its balancing work and motherhood, starting your own business, or being a stay at home mom; you’ll start to wonder if you’ll be able to keep all your marbles!
I recently came back from a 2 week trip to Hong Kong (summary to come!) and suffered a week long period of jet lag. I’d be up – unable to sleep every night, which would make for pretty unproductive days as I would be sleeping through them. When I was awake during the day, my energy was further depleted by a needy toddler who recently began to take advantage of our
shared misery time together to have hysterical screaming/crying rages. The jet lag also gave me ample opportunity to obsess over things as I lay awake at night unable to sleep. And as trite as they may sound, a lot of minor things can add up. It was very revealing at the same time. It was a good time to check-in with myself to see if jet lag was all that was bothering me.
I thought I’d take the time to share what I discovered and some things we can do as busy, over whelmed women, to re-invigorate ourselves before reaching burn-out. Going back to self-care!
When I came back, I found myself checking emails, Instagram and Facebook compulsively to avoid feeling like I was falling behind and ultimately becoming irrelevant. I wasn’t producing any new content on my blog and the pressure to get to it wasn’t helping. It made me realize how much the blog itself was turning into a source of stress, and ironically gave me the idea for writing this post. Even things that had once given us joy can become quite the opposite if we don’t keep our priorities in check. Work, motherhood, hobbies, and even our spouses can often leave us drained as much as we love them.
I decided to ask other working moms and stay at home moms, to share “what keeps them going”. Many of whom I don’t know personally. We just all happened to be moms and belong to networks that I’m so grateful to be a part of (a great source of support for new moms). I asked in part because I was reaching my own limits that week and was looking for some inspiration. Amazingly, I got an overwhelming response from many of them. The responses reflected each of their personalities, strength, insight, empathy, creativity and sheer determination.
“What keeps me going….the thought of all the women who do it also, the ones who make it look easy, the fact that tomorrow is another day to make it look easy, the want to ensure my boys know what it’s like to have an independent woman in their life, the desire to ensure they know that not all moms stay home, the satisfaction of knowing I can provide for my family, the desire to help my husband pay the bills, college, future weddings, my own personal wants…
The determination to not fail at this working mom thing. Because who likes to fail? It all crosses my mind every time I think I can’t do this.” – Heather
“What keeps me going… When my 1 year old super busy son squeezes my head and puts his cheek against mine it doesn’t matter to me all the crap I have to do or have done. And when my daughter tells me she misses me after school or when she tells me how much she loves me. Those two who rely on me for so much keep me going when then show me how much they love me.” – Jessie
“Prayer…I need more of it these days….but prayer and church keep me going…” – Jessica
“Seeing my kids learn, laugh.” – Amy
“Zumba.” – Lara
This post is another ode to motherhood and all the badass, amazing women out there. The greatest thing about being a mom is that we can totally get what another mom might be going through even if we don’t know them personally. We all know what it’s like to try to survive a meal at a restaurant, driving that coffee fueled commute to work, or tackling that grocery trip with several kids in tow! On some level, we know the extent of certain battles we all have to face. Not all, but some. And collectively we can all be empowering for one another.
On a practical level, I’ve gotten a wealth of ideas to help me ‘start-over’ and ‘re-charge’. A few of them I already put into practice, especially to help me deal with the jet lag and on a minor level – the blog. Someone suggested deleting Facebook off their phone and while I’m not ready to cut the cord completely, I decided to spend less time on my phone (especially at night) to be more present. Another mom said she uses essential oils (sniff, massage, diffused or added to a bath) when it’s time to relax. I happened to have some hand-made body scrubs and butter containing essential oils from a fellow mommy blogger – JustMeOMaya.com ! So I busted them out last night for a quick treat during my shower. I’ll be doing a special shoutout to Maya for these awesome treats. And finally my friend Pauline (also a mom), maker at Bird & Bauble, shared some wise words that resonated with me:
“I think the main thing I need to keep coming back to is doing what I love. I only do the un fun stuff just enough to enable me to do the stuff I love. I think also, letting go of unnecessary expectations on myself helps.”
I spent a night thinking through my expectations and aspirations. It didn’t take much introspection to realize that the biggest problem of course lay within myself. I turned blogging into work and with it came unreasonably high expectations. What’s interesting is that every job i’ve had, has led me close to burn out. Only this time, I have the opportunity to learn without fear of many repercussions. This blog had given me joy and inspiration, I just needed to go back to that. I have to let go of my fears/insecurities and just do it for the pleasure of it.
Note: A HUGE Thank you to all the women on The Working Motherhood Community and Working Mom’s Blogger Network for sharing ‘What Keeps You Going’.
Now let me ask you! What keeps you going?