Posts tagged #family

5 Steps Back To Self

Two years ago you wouldn’t have even had to ask me how I “balance being me with being a mum” – the answer was spelt out loud and clear in my unwashed hair, two year old maternity wear, and blank stare: “NOT VERY WELL”!  I was right smack bang in the middle of “Mama Pyjama Syndrome”, living each day just to get through to the next nap time.  I’d let myself go, forgotten my passions, and had made putting myself last an art form. 

Two years on, I still battle to keep the Mama Pyjama at bay some days, but I’ve worked really hard to rebuild my sense of self and ensure a better balance exists between my dedication to my family; and nurturing my own passions.  I thought I’d share the first five steps I’ve taken on my journey back to self…

Dreams

"You may say I'm a dreamer..."

"You may say I'm a dreamer..."

In the spirit of the New Year, I wanted to talk a little about dreams and goals and the journey of their pursuit.   A year or so ago I had very few aspirations (and by very few I mean like probably one – “to get through the day”.  That may be a little dramatic, but you get my point).  Today I have so many things I want to do, see, live, breathe, and experience.  I have big dreams, big desires and big passions.  But the fact is the logistics of my life haven’t changed at the same rate as my mindset.  I’m still working the same job, still paying the same mortgage, and I still have all the same commitments as before.  Sometimes it gets hard to see how I can make it work.  How I can hold onto these dreams, when I need both my hands to hold onto my family’s wellbeing, my home, my ‘career’…

I want so much to “throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in (my) sails”…but when you have a family, the decision to do so is no longer yours alone.  I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but it’s the reality.  I would love to quit my job – love to, but it’s not something I’m prepared to do without having a fairly solid idea of what I would do next. 

 “Great ideas need landing gear as well as wings.”  ~ C.D. Jackson

I’m not a patient person.  In most areas of my life I throw myself in head first and play by the motto of "sink or swim".  But in matters of the family, I am different.  Things need to be planned, considered, weighed up and secured before I will take a plunge.  I’ve had to remind myself that delaying a step along the journey towards my dreams, and taking the time to plan my next move doesn’t mean that I’m failing, it just means that I’m increasing the chances of successfully reaching my destination.

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”  ~ Antoine De Saint Exupery

Sometimes we hit hurdles along the way, and if you’re anything like me, impatience can get the better of us.  I know in my heart that I haven’t lost sight of my dreams and I know that I will get there, but I get frustrated with the time it takes.  I’ve set the wheels in motion, they are turning, but sometimes they just don’t seem to be turning fast enough!   It can be hard to accept that progress is still progress even if it is slow. 

“No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow you progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn't trying.”  ~ Tony Robbins

There will be moments along your journey when it all starts to seem too hard.  At times, pursuing your dreams can be somewhat underwhelming!  This can quickly result in a sense of defeat…and a question as to whether it’s even ‘worth’ doing anymore.  It’s super hard to keep going when the result isn’t six weeks into the future.  It is perhaps apt to remind ourselves at these points, that it is as much about the evolution and growth of your personal self along the journey to your dreams, as it is the actual realisation of the dream itself.  The strength, patience and wisdom that comes from rising: to meet our challenges; to step over those hurdles; and to continue to crawl when you can no longer walk, is just as valuable and life changing.

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”  ~ Zig Ziglar

It takes a real solid, committed effort to keep pushing forward.  It’s a daily battle to keep your sub-conscious mind in check.  You know, the one that tells you you’re wasting your time, you’re a dreamer, you haven’t got a hope in hell.   But you know what?  Sarah Ban Breathnach said it best when she said, “The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers.  But above all, the world needs dreamers who do.”  So keep fighting the fight, keep rising above the negative voices and keep pushing forward with your pursuit.  Write things down and read them over and over again.  Listen to things that inspire you, take in the daily quotes, focus on what made you start this journey in the first place.

And every morning when you wake, ask yourself this one question:

“How am I going to live today in order to create the tomorrow I'm committed to?”  ~Anthony Robbins

Amplified Emotions

Amplified Emotions Mama Pyjama

Yesterday on my way to work I drove past a funeral procession.  I’m a generally empathetic person, but there was something different about this moment.  As a passed I felt the air change, the energy got thick and dark and I felt swept into a great wave of grief.  Moments before I was relishing the sunshine thinking how much better I felt with the change of weather, and then bang - out of nowhere I was engulfed by an overwhelming sense of loss and pain.  I burst into tears, I felt an enormous lump in my throat and I all-but had to pull over.  It wasn’t my pain, it wasn’t my experience, it wasn’t my loss…but I felt it as real and as raw as if it were my own. 

I arrived to work to be greeted by the tragic news of the baby boy that had died in his father’s car.  My grief compounded.  I felt sick to my stomach.  I cannot fathom the pain, the shock, the grief, the regret, the horror that those people must be experiencing right now. 

I don’t know if it’s a parent thing, a growth thing, or just an evolution of awareness…but the intensity of my emotions seems so much greater at this point in my life. 

Perhaps a big part of it is tied up in having children…I recall a moment shortly after the birth of my first child.  I was watching TV and "Law and Order – SVU" came on.  It was a show I had once watched regularly, but this time about three minutes in I had to shut it off.  It’s amazing how in an instant our perspective of the world can change completely.  All of a sudden shows like these, the news, even commercials, could have me in a crumpled mess on the couch, tears streaming, sick to my stomach.

As they say, every action has an equal and opposite reaction.  With great love comes great fear.  Fear of loss, fear of hurt…the fear that is borne from the realisation of just how vulnerable we all really are.  Yesterday was an all-consuming reminder. 

But my love for my children transcends everything - even the fear that it brings forth.  There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for them.  Nothing.  So I’ll embrace the intensity of yesterday as it is a reflection of the depth of love I feel for my family, and the compassion I hold for those who are suffering.  And I’ll tell you all again how grateful I am to have the blessing of my children. 

Parenting is hard - really, really hard.  It’s a rollercoaster of emotions – anxiety, love, fear, guilt, pride, panic, doubt, joy…but there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t thank the universe for my place in it and for the family that surrounds me.  My heart bleeds for those whose children have passed on before them.  I cannot begin to imagine the world of sorrow and despair that must engulf them.  I hope that some light survives the darkness of their days and that they can somehow find a way to let their love outshine the grief that they will no doubt carry in their hearts forever.   

Identity Crisis

"I just remembered who I am!"

"I just remembered who I am!"

I remember doing a personality course and struggling to define myself.  I was asked "well what are your hobbies?”.  When I went to respond (to such a seemingly simple question) no words formed.  I stared blankly at the trainer.  “You must have a hobby!  There must be something you like to do?!”  Well apparently trawling facebook pages and ‘catching up with my friends’ do not constitute as hobbies!  I couldn’t even say “music” as I hadn’t picked up an instrument in over five years or even actively sort out new bands to listen to. 

So what DID I enjoy doing??  I didn’t enjoy much of anything to be honest.  I was just trying to get through each day.  The closest thing I had to a hobby was tackling the dinner dilemma every night. 

I remember feeling so embarrassed as I sat there listening to everybody else talking about all the things that made them happy, all the things that defined who they were.  I felt like a taco without the stuffing.  No substance.  Nothing that was just ‘me’.

What made the feeling even worse was that when posed with a further question “well, what would you like to do, if you could do anything?” I had no answer.  Not only had I lost my sense of ‘self’, I’d lost sight altogether of the person I wanted to be. 

Unfortunately, in that moment I didn’t grab hold of the reins and set about making changes.  I felt so defeated and lacked the motivation (and energy) to step up and face it. 

Besides, I had too many other things to think about and do just to keep my family functioning and my house running.  Sound familiar?

I realise now that knowing who you are (outside of your family and friends ), and making time to do some things for yourself, to follow your passions, to stand as a person in your own right, is just as important to your family as being there for them when they need you.  If you don’t follow your own dreams and feed your own passions, how can you possibly be the mother and role model you want to be?  You end up like I was…a shadow.  Sure, I was doing everything I could to ensure that my family was cared for, but what was I teaching them about happiness?  About desire?  About charging ahead in life and grabbing hold of as many opportunities as possible?  What was I teaching them about fun?

When people ask my children who I am, I don’t want them just to say “My Mum”.  I want them to say “My Mum, the best trampoline jumper in the world, a musician, a really really bad lion, a writer, a worker, really good at colouring inside the lines, a faster runner than me, fun…”