I have made infinite mistakes as a mom, but have always gotten one thing right: I love hard and deep. I'm sure this is not unlike you. I mean, we don't care for these tiny humans day in and day out and not love them with every fiber in our bodies. But even with that I have felt this disconnection. This invisible thing that keeps me from them. From really serving them with my soul.
I have few regrets in life. This is a symptom of being a person that lives in the future versus the past, rather than someone who's given herself grace in her mistakes. But I live with one regret as a mom and it's that I stopped trusting and loving myself when my daughter was born. I know people try to prepare you but it is just downright impossible to prepare someone for what motherhood really feels like. I really didn't understand that when this tiny person came out she would immediately have her own preferences. And her preferences were very different from the plans I was making in utero. I like sleep. I read all of the sleep books. I planned that she would be a great sleeper. I thought that I could transition easily from mom to business as she played nicely on a rolled out blanket. I thought that I would immediately find my momma tribe and we would plan baby + me yoga and coffee dates. None of these things happened.
And I started to feel broken. I looked for answers outside of me. I begged for advice in mom groups. I envied the mom gangs. I resented portions of motherhood that kept me from building my business.
But the truth of all of this is that I stopped loving myself. Stopped trusting my ability to listen, even to the things I didn't necessarily want to hear. And has continued to ebb and flow in various stages of motherhood. While infancy with my son was different, part of this was second time around, part was an easier baby, part was the lesson of what not to do, I have still seen the same signs and symptoms rear their ugly head. Impatience. Frustration. Ok, losing my shit. While, I don't want this to turn into some falsehood of patron saint motherhood, I do want to bring attention to when this is them and when this is us.
Motherhood is hard. But it might be a little easier if we loved our selves more. Ok, life would be a little easier if we loved ourselves more.
So, yeah, that's step 1. You. Love you.
But then step 2. Find your breath. Your center of gravity. Your heart's calling. What is it saying to you about motherhood. About the kind of mom you want to be. Then we need to ask ourselves a critical question. A question that we reflect on often and yet never with motherhood:
What is your intention with mOtherhood? What do you want your outcome to be?
I ask this question in one shape or form in all areas of my life. What do I want my intention for the day to be? What are my goals for the year? What is my desired outcome with anything work related or with conversations I am having. And yet, I had never thought to ask myself the question, "What is my desired outcome for my children." Or maybe I have but haven't been brave enough to really consider the steps. The daily action. The intentionality that is really required.
One of the most important outcomes that I want for my children is that they feel rooted in this earth. That they are not like tree branches blowing in whatever direction social media is taking them. I want them to feel solid in who they are, which will not come from an impatient mom or a mom who is not solid in who she is. I want them to know true love so they don't just need attention. And everyday, I know that I need to breathe through my children. Find the rhythms. Feel the heartbeat of where they are developmentally and respond with intention.
This is motherhood from the inside out.
I remember when I first started dreaming about starting my own business. Business actually had nothing to do with it, as so many budding entrepreneur stories go. I knew I had an idea for how to serve people and if the job wasn't there, I was determined to create it. Remember this actually surprises me because I don't remember myself being bold, but I guess I have always had a little spice in me.
My first concept was to create a holistic wellness center. You know, like counseling, yoga, nutrition, maybe massage. Things that create peace and enlightenment from a mind/body/soul level. I tried piecing it together. I tried looking for partnerships. I even went on a rampage with the Pepsi Refresh competition and bombed a presentation in front of Angel Investors.
I had no idea how much money I was going to make or even how much money it would take to live the life I wanted to live. I didn't understand the kind of work that it would take and what that would look like alongside motherhood. I just knew that I couldn't work a job that didn't bring me great joy. My money story was all a mess. Little did I know then, that not being solid in the MONEY part of business would inevitably steal joy and also get my vision for how to serve really murky.
My husband on the other hand has always had the entrepreneurial mindset and vision of making a lot of money. Somewhere along the way of my visions of a wellness center and his vision of getting rich, we joined efforts and went into business together. I can confidently say now, that this was an incredible learning experience, though it didn't take either one of us to our end goal. Some would call this a failure. Others would call us quitters. But the truth is that we weren't happy. And the reason we weren't happy is because neither one of us were in alignment. My husband really wasn't that interested in helping people in the industry we were in, but he wanted to make a lot of money. I, on the other hand, just started to follow his passions and caught a money vision but lost my initial outcome of how to help people.
Business works well when your vision for impact is in alignment with your vision for your earnings.
In order to have a business that I would deem a success, meaning it brings you great personal fulfillment and brings money into your pocket in the amounts that you desire to live your best life, while also giving you the freedom to live that life.
So, here I was, years later. I am not making the income that I wanted to at this stage in my life and so much has changed with becoming a mom and lessons that I have learned and the evolving internet that I started to feel kind of lost. Who was I and who was I meant to serve? What is my money story? How much do I want to make and what feels honest in terms of earnings? Because while I love woo-woo stuff, I don't actually believe that money is just going to fall out of the sky.
So bit by bit I started to put the pieces together. I started to learn who I was. I started to remember my true voice and distinguish that from being a parrot. I started to embrace the stage of life that I am in right now, today. Not the stage that I anticipate being in.
I learned that I love to write. Like really love it. I learned that a one-size-fits-all is bullshit. With everything. Diets, relationships, parenting, business. There might be some commonalities, some systems that work for more than one person but there is nothing that's tried and true for everyone. And I learned that I REALLY liked to talk about that because that and only that is what will help women get to where they want to be.
And now to put all of this together, right? And monetize it. Because as I told a friend of mine recently, who asked if I needed to make money writing, YES! I LIKE TO MAKE MONEY. I do! I think it's fun. I love when money hits the bank account. I love pouring myself into the things I love and knowing that all of my financials are taken care of and abundant. I love being generous. I love traveling. I love exploring. And I absolutely love not having money problems. I love how the energy that once went to stress and anxiety and worry, that used to be a source of tension in my marriage, is gone. I love that. I want more of that. I want others to have more of that. Can you imagine? Imagine if everyone who had money problems could suddenly free up those emotions and put them to good.
So, Yes, girlfriend. I have to make money. i want to make money. i love making money.
But as the story started, money, to me is in proportion to my worth. And my worth is connected to my truth. So if I want to make money, I best get connected to what is connected to my heart. And sister, if you want to make some serious money, I suggest you do the same.
Joy. Definitely not a word that I would use to describe myself. Something I might experience on occasion, for a moment or too. But joy is rare. Laughing continues to get replaced with stoicism. Peace and stillness are often as close as I get, because true joy, the lose yourself in the moment joy, deep belly laugh joy, time stands still joy, heart bursting joy... well that just seems too far away.
But, dear friend, this is about creating a life you LOVE, not a life that you kind of feel peace with.
So in my effort to create more joy, I am going to start with this sweet reminder of the things that bring me joy.
1) A good book, curled up with a soft throw, and a warm cup of tea.
2) Al fresco dining on a warm Spring day. A crisp glass of sauvignon blanc and meal that makes you moan out loud.
3) Moaning out loud (did I really just write that).
5) Outdoor concerts. Singing every word and dancing because you just can't not.
6) Girlfriends. When your inhibitions are lowered enough to laugh til you cry and cry til you laugh.
7) Writing. The way words feel like a waterfall from my brain to my mouth and into the key board
8) Naps. The Spa. And lounging poolside. Just laying there. Breathing. Taking in the peace.
9) Long walks as a family.
10) Nourishing my body. Eating a meal that I know is pure fuel and medicine.
11) Creating a room in my home that is complete and exudes love, nourishment, and peace.
12) Catching up with an old friend. I am always looking forward, so when I can catch up with a friend or family member to collect memories or learn a bit of family history, it fuels my soul.
13) True connections with like-minded people.
14) Growing. I don't know if there is anything more exciting than knowing I've crossed another hurtle and am that much closer to living out my soul's calling.
15) Going for a drive with my husband and just dreaming.
For those that don't know, in Spring of 2018, my hubs and I got a bug up our butt and decided to put our house on the market, drastically downsize and travel the control in an RV with our two young kids. You can only imagine the hiccups along the way and during the process, we decided to re-evaluate. But that process was everything.
Just getting prepared and in the mindset opened my eyes to a whole different world of simplicity. Where does one start when they want to do said adventure. With the google of course... and then Instagram. Y'all. I found so many families doing this and loved watching their triumphs and hiccups. I loved learning how this process transformed their marriages, relationships with their children, relationships with their stuff, pretty much all relationships. I marveled at the spirituality in it all. I mean one must have God if you are going to take a cold, 5 minute shower in a teeny bathroom that you share with several other people... and this was before I started using Monat and dry shampoo.
I did a massive clutter overall and before the internet lost their mind over Marie Condo, I had learned her sacred principle: Does it bring you joy? As I was preparing for our community yard sale, this led the pack in my easy decision making to move it into the sale. If the answer was no, then it was out. I mean, I was going to have to do some ridiculous down-sizing so lets at least start there. I learned very quickly how many items I had just purchased in my meager attempt to take a Pinterest room and recreate it on a dime budget. So many items that brought zero joy. Just this process alone had me take great inventory in my purchasing and how emotions drive our purchases. Buy something for the quick fix, because you think it's going to fill a need (or really, want) just to bring it home and create more angst. Instead, if I would get really intentional with what I want and have a little patience, I can find pieces that truly bring significant joy instead of just Prime delivery speed.
So as the story goes, we decided not to move, not to sell our home, and luckily, not sell all of our late furniture. And as we stayed, I still found myself daydreaming of a simpler existence. Moving into the country with more land to let the children play free. Moving to Bali where lifestyle is insanely affordable. Moving to a tiny lake cottage where I can always see the water.
Since we are staying put, for now, I have started to ask myself a very important question:
How can I satisfy what's missing in my life by staying exactly where I am??
Isn't this, indeed, what mediation is all about. The knowing that we have everything we need right in this very moment. And well, if we don't, then what are the steps to cultivate it?
Here are a few ways in which I fantasized simplicity, intentionality, and most importantly, JOY and how I am creating them now. You know, kind of like Cheryl Strayed in Wild, or Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray Love, but far more Gretchen Rubin's Happiness Project without the monthly rules.
And there is still so much more work to be done. I still want to create more joy, have a deeper love in my marriage, be more present with my children, make a lot of money, and build a bigger community of women who want to create a life they love.
It might be a slight change in verbiage but it was a big change in really creating a life by design. For years, I have been talking about the morning routine. I have been championing the early morning riser squad. It has been like this badge of honor. How early do you get up? 5:30, How early do you get up? 5am! I win.
I would have to get up before my children. if they were waking up at 6, I would get up at 5. If they were waking up at 5, I would begrudgingly try to crawl out of bed even earlier. I would slam my caffeine on an empty stomach. Open my personal development book, hoping to absorb the information before my brain was fully on. If that didn't work, definitely more caffeine was the answer. Morning workout? Sure!
I kid on most of this. It was beneficial in many ways. I loved being ahead of the curve before the kids woke up and had a million requests. I loved a feeling of accomplishment so early in the morning. I loved that I was usually in a good mood to greet them. All of these opportunities for checking boxes was also a major rush for an achiever personality. I could boast, even inwardly that I accomplished more before 8am than some people accomplish all day. Woohoo! Look at me world!
But here's the truth to my morning mutiny:
1) it was built around someone else's perfect morning. Everything that I was doing was because someone else said to do it. And that someone else had successes I wanted so therefore, I thought this is what I had to do in order to gain that same success. If I wasn't achieving it, I was sure that there was something off in my daily habits. While everything I was doing was well and good, its not everything I always needed and my refusal to find a rhythm kept me locked into a militant routine that is so opposite of what my soul longs for.
2) I was tired. So tired. I slept great. 8 hours has always been something I wouldn't compromise on (especially after seeing my sleep-deprived delirium with newborns), but I would be so tired by noon. I gave all of my reserves to my early morning hours and I had very little left for the rest of my day. My family would get the worst parts of me instead of the best parts.
So what did I do??
I slept. I turned the alarm clock off. I let my body wake up when it wanted to wake up. And you know what time that was? 6ish, maybe 6:30. On somedays, even 7. I slept the delicious hour. I slept when I knew that meant my kids could wake me up and that if they did, I would be behind the eight ball. I slept knowing that they could, indeed, be my alarm clock. And I woke with gratitude when they were, " thank you God, for these beautiful beings that bless my world."
Yes, that meant that breakfast wasn't ready when they woke up. Yes that meant sometimes I still had a little sleepy head when they were level ten. But, yes, I did grow more patient. I did embrace their early morning energy. I tuned into them. I let them be my morning dose of positivity.
I stopped going to the gym, too. I enjoy the gym. I do. But I was hustling in the morning to sit in morning traffic, get a high intensity workout in with my aching autoimmune body, and again, exhausted by noon. Luca and I would have very little quality time before it was time for lunch and a nap. My workouts have seasons. I may very likely return to high intensity soon, but for now, my body and mind crave yoga and running. So I do that.
I set my intention for my day. I use the Danielle Laporte, Desire Map and get in tune with what I want to do and achieve. I sit with my true feelings for the day. Sometimes that means extra nurturing, sometimes it's extra creating. Sometimes my focus is all about my health and I spend most of the day in the kitchen or meal planning. And sometimes its all on my family and I research homeschooling and designing spaces. Because my task list is more around how I want to feel, I am far more productive because I am not fighting my flow of energy. I have accomplished tasks that have sat on that list for years! (Did you see my dresser makeover?!)
Here's the point:
So often, we want to know what to do. It's like just give me the items to check off and I will do them. Give me the how-to's. Yet, the trouble with that is that everyone's how-to's are different and when we just teach the how'o's we are missing the point. We are not about just achieving goals and checking boxes. As humans, we are after emotions. We all want to feel a certain way. Some of us achieve that feeling through a certain set of steps, but just because you do the steps, doesn't guarantee you will arrive at the same feeling. Finding the feeling, is finding the heartbeat, the rhythm, ga-gung.
I love Brene Brown. I literally cropped myself into a picture of her and Oprah under one of Oprah's giant oak trees. The first book I listened to was Daring Greatly. I could tell immediately that this book was for me and as she continued to reference The Gifts of Imperfection, I paused my audible and downloaded Gifts, thinking I had to read the prequel first. I inhaled that book in a few days and then completed my listen of Daring Greatly. Braving the Wilderness has to be one of the most important books of our time and my current read is Dare to Lead. Just love her. And her work guides so much of who I am and how I want to show up in this world.
When I was thinking about writing this blog, I was initially going to take you through my own personal journey of the message I received in a recent Sunday service. The message was simple: Jesus loves you. Ok, great. But the magic was in the delivery and how we learn to truly love ourselves. How we learn to voice our own shame and accept the love. You see, for many years I have been hustling for my worth through career, business, money, and prestige. First it was a matter of racking up degrees, then it was being a successful entrepreneur, and then it was money. The shame was created when we continued to live outside of our means and were always broke. And when I finally broke through that shame barrier and opened up to some friends this past year, the most magnificent thing happened: Love. It is magic.
But that's not what this blog is about. Not entirely anyway. This blog is about something more important. It's about the struggle that we endure as women. The constant struggle for our worthiness. The never-ending feelings of not being good enough: pretty enough, smart enough, good enough moms, successful enough entrepreneurs. The shame cycle that so many of us carry with us daily that keeps the love out.
Today I was having coffee with some moms from church. And if I am really honest, the anxiety started as a pulled up to the house. I am still the new girl. And there it was: that brief, yet present feeling of driving my older car in this beautiful neighborhood. Mind you, I am not a car person. I don't care what I drive and yet the thought still popped in my head.
Hustle and Unworthiness breed insecurity.
I relaxed quickly as I have been practicing new self talk for some time. I have been clear on saying no to where I don't want to be and yes to the places I want to build relationships. This is a yes. This is a space to show up as the real me, to love her, and to let others get to know her. This is a spot where I want to cheer others on. There is simply no room for my wall of defense in this situation.
Kindergarten was a big topic of the day as 3 of the moms were starting their tours and process for enrolling their children for the Fall and school has been heavy on my heart. Many moms asked how kindergarten was going for us. "Great! She excels. Makes lots of friends. But I am considering homeschool." This is a weird answer, I know. I struggle with it daily. Probably because homeschool is a little weird, too. I don't know? Is it still? It was when I was growing up.
As I watched my thoughts waver in my head and again the struggle of if I am just overcomplicating things, overthinking, making too big of a deal out of it. Not wanting to feel like the odd ball. Because odd is unworthy? Collective is better? But then the answer became clear as day as Sunday's message drifted into the conversation. Every single one of us are still wrestling with so much doubt and worthiness. This. This is it. Peace returning to my heart. Strength in my soul. Love and confidence for who I am.
I am strongly considering homeschool because I am strongly considering my priorities. The priorities of self esteem, confidence, and worthiness above math and science. The priority of, like all moms, to have my child start on the most solid ground possible and that ground is within her. Everywhere you look, women are rising and as they rise, they find themselves battling the demons. The doubts planted in them in grade school. The sexual harassment in high school and college. The body image. The mom guilt. The "who do you think you are"...
Even as I get confident in my footing, knowing the answers in my core, I second guess myself all the time. Just like this. In this very case right here. I beat myself up before I have even made my move. I put all of the pressure to make the "right" decision and hustle for my worthiness because "right" is defined by who? And why is "right" static? Why isn't it ok to try things out, embrace mistakes, and look at them as getting you closer to truth. I can guarantee that I am always going to get it wrong if I am looking for right outside of me.
No wonder we are drowning in self-doubt.
So this is why I look at homeschool, because maybe I want her to have a more solid foundation in her ability to trust her inner voice than to perform math facts.
But this post isn't about home school either, dear friend. It's about me + you and our ability to learn to love ourselves so that we can embrace each other's individual decisions, because when we brave the wilderness, we still need a tribe that has our back.
Need some Brene Brown books in your life? Visit my bookstore
Such a beautiful title, isn't it. I mean I was going to name it how to have a Spiritual Breakthrough. That's so much more positive and affirming and fun. The enlightenment is what we all want, what we are all searching for. But the truth is, that the only way to have a spiritual breakthrough is to have a spiritual breakdown. And yet, the breakdown is where we resist. Where we kick and scream and fight against nature. Where we think we surrender, but we still haven't.
I remember driving in my car and turning on Oprah on Youtube several years back. I remember hearing her story of surrender and in the car praying to God of my surrender. But the truth was that I didn't surrender at all. I desperately wanted to, but really I was just hoping that God would finally give me what I wanted, begging for answers I would need to get the outcome I was desiring. Does this sound familiar? This is bargaining, though, not surrender.
True surrender is not bargaining using your head and what you think you want. Surrender is finally letting the whisper in your heart lead the way when it's against everything in your head. Surrendering is going in faith. It's literally walking through the fog with a blindfold on and letting every other sense of awareness heighten: finding the rhythm of your breath, reaching out to feel your way, asking for help, listening for all of the nuances. Surrendering is getting kicked down in the fog and having to stand back up alone. Surrendering is losing people along the way. Surrendering is showing up when you have no idea when the fog will lift. Surrendering is one of the most scary and lonely and painful times. It hurts everyday to know you are on the right path, without proof, and you have no idea when the proof will show up.
But you have no choice.
Because you have been back there. You know with complete certainty that the past isn't your future. Because as you continue to wander in the dark, the voice of clarity gets louder.
This is a spiritual breakdown.
You keep going. The fear starts to get a little less because you trust you a little more. You don't need your sight to gauge if you are living your life right, because as you trust, you start showing up as you a little more. The real you. Not the crafted version of yourself that you think you are supposed to be because your mom thought that's who you were or because of the achievements and recognition you've received, or even because you told everyone that's who you are. You couldn't be trusted then. You weren't the real you.
But now you are. And the more you go this route, the more people will see and feel the real you. You are magnetic because what everyone is really longing for is the courage to find their true north. This is where the love comes in. You become a pillar and inspiration because you learned how to love yourself and stand up to the world in spite of what messages society was spewing at you.
The fog starts to lift a little and you can feel that life isn't so heavy anymore. The air isn't so thick. The pain is starting to subside and taking the steps are just a little bit easier. You know now that even with an uncertain outcome, you absolutely took the right path.
And finally, the blindfold comes off and what is in front of you is your life. The life you were always supposed to live. And guess what? It's exactly as you pictured it to be. The colors are brighter and songs bring more joy. You suddenly don't find yourself needing a glass of wine every night and don't need to scroll endlessly. Love and relationships and health and success, it just all starts to come a little more naturally and the results show up a little quicker. Life begins to appear effortless and those that were not on this journey with you will wonder how in the world you are able to do all the things. How you got handed the lucky card.
When the real truth, of course, is that you took the brave route of letting life completely unravel instead of bargaining. You let it fall apart and picked up all of the tiny pieces, one by one.
You had a spiritual breakthrough.
I'm a messy hair lovin' - soulful book junkie - mompreneur who's totally addicted to helping women design a life they lovI'm here, simply, to share my truth so that it inspires you to live yours! To be your boldest, most authentic self, to find your tribe that supports your soul, and to go after success in every area of your life. e.