I knew immediately how to answer the first question:
I know that every little first world problem that I carried around would fall by the wayside. FOMO and Instagram and stuff would lose all meaning and I would immediately plug into my family. I would want to gobble up as much time with my children as possible. I would turn off social media because I wouldn't want to miss the little nuances of their play or the opportunity to respond to yet another request. I would want to travel, sure, but only to turn down the immediate noise and distractions of my life.
Personal ambitions would suddenly become irrelevant. This, of course, is what had me wrestle with question number 2.
Because if I am to live a long life, I have so much that I want to do and see. So many places, people, food I want to experience. So many things that I want to show my children. A beautiful dream home just living inside of heart to host my favorite people. Things that come with a price tag and no lack of ambition inside of me to earn the means to achieve it.
How do you live a life of intention while going after personal ambition?
The answer is the sweet spot. It's the harmony between mind and spirit, head and heart. This is where I knew that I was meant to live. This would help me find my true happiness. Because as much as I love my children and want to be present for them fully, if I have more time with them, if there is space for me to continue to develop me, if I am not indeed, dying, then I need to grow. We all do. I need to contribute. My ambition is every bit a part of me as my connection.
Here is how I have started my journey to interweaving these two fundamental questions:
1. I am far more present with my children. They are young but getting older every day. Their dependency on me decreases a little bit more and when it is gone, it's gone. I cannot force my 5 year old to rock with me without some serious eye rolls or drama that I am squeezing her too tight. I turn my phone upside down during critical times of the day, like breakfast, getting home from school and homework time, and bedtime. They get a lot of my undivided attention. But, I am also far more intentional with the times that I am working around them and they are learning respect and patience for mom building a business along side them. They learn boundaries around interrupting me when I am sending a text message (just as I was not allowed to interrupt my mom when she was on the phone connected to the wall with her girlfriends). I am very much imperfect with this but I am aware and I am trying.
2. I am forcing nothing but always looking forward. I am not rushing my ambitions and visions of what I want to create in the future. But I am also not shelving them either. They live with me and the kids. I connect with them during naptime or a changing season. Action is absolutely necessary, no matter how small the steps are, I must be moving forward. Without action, then I am literally living on a hamster wheel. I am thinking the same thoughts over and over and going nowhere, because purpose lives with you. It doesn't go away. Instead it just gets corroded with frustration or disdain. They also will never actualize with just meditation. I cannot will them into existence. I have to live the human experience and take real chances.
3. I have put more effort into my home. Not necessarily buying all the things. Just taking more care and more time. I make sure that my bed is made with the top comforter pulled down. I fluff the living room pillows. And I drop the resentment of sweeping my floors at a minimum of 3 times per day. I invite people over. I don't want to meet at some informal coffee shop. I put on a pot and keep creamers stocked. I also keep a tub of cookie dough in the fridge to accompany our coffee, even though I they aren't gluten-free. I want to connect with my friends. Because if I was dying tomorrow, I wouldn't want our friendships to be surface. If I was leaving my legacy, I want you to remember that you could laugh too loud or cry with your real struggles or breathe a sigh of relief because you don't have to apologize for being a mom, knowing that it's ok if they run or spill something, or open a cabinet.
4. I have fallen in love with two simple things: Writing and my shampoo business. I felt disconnected with online programs and overcommitted with 1:1 coaching. A podcast, while probably the first item on expanding, also gave me commitment issues. But a traditional job isn't for me either. I have no desire to work for someone else. Factor in the cost and time of childcare and current income in my little business comes out even, financially and abundantly in time freedom. Overcommitting is the number one thing that makes me want to flee and run away. Overwhelm and overstimulation gets me short on patience and high on a need for escape. This cocktail is what keeps me from connecting from my children or anyone, really. So for now, I love being able to write when I am inspired. I love being able to post a live video to help a budding entrepreneur. And I love being able to help other women love their hair. It's simple. It doesn't take a lot of time. It doesn't make me feel overwhelmed. It builds organically. And it does allow me to unplug from the things that don't matter and plug in to all the things that do.
5. I am grounded in the now. I am open to the future. And I am always dreaming. I have so many open-ended questions. Do I want to homeschool because I believe it will increase my daughter's self-esteem and confidence or is this a by-product of wanting to unplug from the bigger world and plug into my children? And then how will this impact my personal ambition?
Do I want more children? Or have I hit our sweet spot for our family?
Will I just continue to write and build my shampoo business for more freedom or will I turn around and reinvest this into the next business and opportunity for helping women? I don't know.
These are just some of the questions that swirl around in my head? I used to have a sense of urgency with all of these big questions. A need for an answer to establish a sense of control in my life. But now? Now I am open to these questions. They don't scare me. I don't need to answer them right away. I feel really good sitting with them, just like I feel really good sitting in various rooms of my house, carefully deciding what new piece of furniture or wall hanging should go there as my story unfolds. Feeling confident that I will know how to take action.
6. I am not here for you. I am here for me. My soul came to this earth for a human experience. And that human experience is unique to me. You won't always get my desire to live more minimally or exploration of plant-based foods. You may not understand my thoughts on homeschooling. You may think I am a little hokey for talking about souls and angels. But, yet, somewhere you know that I speak the truth. That you are valid in everything you want and desire and stand for, as am I.
The more I continue to get grounded in me, by unplugging from social media, going to church and connecting with spiritual leaders, the more I open my home instead of setting up a playdate in a public place. The more I check inside before purchasing over looking outside at what you bought, the more I do this over and over and over again, the more I am in love with this human experience I am living.
Everyday, I see different women who are trying to answer these very questions in their own way. Every woman is looking for how to be unapologetically her. Find her ebb and flow or yin and yang. This is mine. How do I create a space and presence that is nurturing for my closest people while also impacting women of the greater whole. My goal in 2019 is going to see how much closer I can get to answer this question.
What is it for you?
I've been doing a whole lotta thinking lately. The kind of thinking that wakes you up because you keep seeing the same signs. Signs to be more generous.
Every snow storm it seems that Chuck and I turn into the people we really long to be. The people we are called to be. He takes his shovel and in recent years, his partner in crime (aka Lyla) and they go out and clear as many driveways and sidewalks as they can before becoming numb from the cold. As someone who has spent most of his life in the snow between upstate NY and Vail, Colorado, he thrives on hopping in his truck for a drive to check out the road conditions and see if there is a Southerner that may need a little roadside assistance. I support this fully. I don't roll my eyes that he's leaving me alone with the small child madness. I don't huff and puff when it all takes him longer than I want it to. I join him in his servant's heart. I stay home with offerings of our time and resources, filling up our space with meals and warmth. I am patient and creative with the kids. I have perfectly temperatured hot chocolate waiting. Stress and anxiety are no longer symptoms of my everyday life.
Chuck and I would romanticize before kids on being the parents that open our home and let all the neighborhood kids over. We would talk about coaching sports and volunteering in classrooms. But the truth is, that's not who we are in this moment. We have let the chaos and stress of parenting be the focus of our lives. We have let guilt be at the forefront of our communication style, keeping us locked into the chaos, adding misery and frustration to this parenting life. We are begging for rest and reprieve and the thought of adding in more chaos of taking on someone else's burden when we can barely carry our own, well, it all just feels too much.
I thrive off of a good daily routine but can see how routine forsaking friendship, love, generosity, and yes, the loud sound of children running from room to room... I mean children playing... is not how I want to live this life. I really don't want to reflect back after the kids have grown and said that I was the parent that perfected the daily routine and left nothing memorable in it's wake. We don't feel routine. Routine creates ease. While helpful, ease is very rarely memorable.
This desire for routine comes from a desire for control. The need to feel that some things in my life are stable and manageable when everything outside feels too much. When the calendar is exploding, when the house is a mess, and when the money runs out before the end of the month, at least we have routine. At least we haven't lost control of it all. Lies we tell ourselves to feel better.
But is it working? Of course not.
I love a snow day for what it is. That it is this sweet time that allows you to pause and reflect. Where you day to day responsibilities fall by the wayside and you get to let your heart lead the way. But I don't want to live this way just on snow days. I want to live this way everyday. I want to lead with compassion and grace and generosity. I want to open up my resources of time and love to others. I want to be the person that is so intentional with my life that there is no need for the daily stress, because these are my decisions and not the decisions that I just allow my self to get swirled up in and then sit back wondering how the hell did I get here. And why am i so tired? I don't want to be the person who is just constantly overburdened by my own life that I don't have any generosity left for you.
So here we grow.
I may shoot you a text message when I am headed to Trader Joes to see if you need anything.
I may offer to take the girls off your hand when you're so tired and expecting your third.
I may open up my home for coffee more often.
I may help you get your sweet girl snacks and toys and pour you a glass of wine so you can rest.
I may give more, because I am always provided for.
I may adopt.
I may show up with lunch just because.
I may pray for you.
I may check on you more often.
I may pick up your tab.
You know you are going through some things when the people close to you say comments like,
"When they say when it rains, it pours, they're referring to you."
Or this one.
"They say bad things come in threes but you're more like the 300s."
Yeah. It's been rough. I talk a lot about taking a pause. Getting still. Feeling my way through all of this. I am grateful for this space and this platform for being able to process all of these feels and to connect with you. Because you know what I discovered recently. I went to blog several times over the last few weeks with the things on my heart. And guess what.
They were all the same things. Nearly the exact same blogs. The exact same messages.
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.