Let me set the scene. This past weekend, I attended a continuing education course on body weight movement and strength training. I left the house bright and early both mornings, returning after 6pm both nights, leaving my husband to hang with our brood (Sierra 14, Jack 10 and Cooper 18 months).
It’s important to note that this is the longest single stretch that I had been away from Cooper since he was born, and that my husband gets a little flare of anxiety when left alone too long with what can only be described as an intensely energetic range of kiddos.
So, what’s the big secret?
- I could feel the guilt mounting in the days leading up to the weekend. Should I take the time for myself? Should I see if I could bring the kids for some of the action so that the husband could get a break? Was I being selfish...all self-imposed guilt I might add.
And, here’s the part I really wasn't expecting.
- When I rolled up at the end of my first day, exhausted and sweaty, I was shocked by my reaction. The day had been wonderful (for my family), filled with park time, successful nap time, and lots of ease. The house was even cleaner than I had left it that morning. So, why did I feel so damn sad? Instead of seeing this as a victory for all, I suddenly felt a panicky feeling in the pit of my stomach. I was no longer needed...my mom-life identity was being threatened.
We’ve all heard the term empty nest syndrome, but what about full nest syndrome?
All my kids are still under one roof, needy as ever, and I have longed for more free time to work on my business, health, life...But, once I had successfully taken this time, I found myself unable to appreciate the foundation of safety and security that we’ve established as a family.
The capable, awesome humans who can thrive without my constant presence hasn’t filled me with pride. It has instead left me with a huge feeling of emptiness.
Here’s what happened next. I let my younger self surface, throw a mini-temper tantrum (for my husband’s eyes only), made a few ridiculous comments about how I should just plan to go away every weekend, or move to Canada, cried a little, had a restless night of sleep, had my ah-ha moment and then started to get REALLY EXCITED.
Why I am subjecting you to this story? Because, that’s how it goes with a mom-life crisis. We have these opportunities to find our ah-ha moments no matter where we are on the journey. There will come a time when you will be confronted by your own identity. The Daughter, Mom, Wife, Lover, Entrepreneur...
We use these titles to help describe the people we are in the world, but they are not WHO WE ARE. This past weekend I thought I was a physician learning safe and effective movement strategies to enhance strength and mobility by day, and a mother and wife by night. But, after sitting in the uncomfortable muck of emotion that surfaced, and toning down my ego, I realized that I am a strong, capable woman who works hard every day to show up with integrity, who has the power to give life, kiss scraped knees, laugh, love and cry all in one day.
Take a step back and think about all the hats you wear, your different identities. Now think about the person underneath all of that, the one who had the will, stamina and fortitude to get you where you are today. That is who you are. That is the person who gets hidden, or lost when we start to pin ourselves to a single word.
It's about balancing the person you are with all the hats that you wear, and never being afraid to ask for help in accomplishing your goals. That means being willing to ask your community for what you really need, and being willing to invest resources into your own health and well-being - not spending everything you have on your kids and leaving yourself high and dry!
If you can relate to the idea of having a mom-life crisis, or you’ve ever found yourself floundering between what you think you should do, and what you know you want, I invite you to take a look at my One Page Wellness Consult over here. It’s my way of helping you find your footing. By taking simple, effective and efficient steps towards your health goals you become just a little more YOU.