It’s tough being a mom and having so many other people pulling at you and wanting and needing your time. Your children need you and because they are learning life during each minute of their young existence you have to attend to their needs immediately. Your spouse needs you and often times his demands seem overwhelming and you have to tip toe around him for fear he’ll explode. Your boss needs you and it seems like he/she changes their mind almost daily causing you to have to just react and learn your job all over again at each new demand.
You know what you’d like to do for yourself but seem stuck in the quicksand and if you don’t react to these demands will sink and get swallowed up.
Many people have offered different solutions to this situation. Most of the solutions say do it this way, or do it that way. Here are some popular solutions all of which are good but are not the root problem:
- Get a day planner and practice time management (How do you tell a child “No, I can’t heal your hurt right now!” because you’ve scheduled time to get the oil changed in your car?)
- Get away to a bliss retreat for six days and gain awareness (You do great at the event, feel peace and invigorated because all the things that are pulling at you are gone and you are finally doing what you want to do)
- Remove the causes of what is pulling at you (How do you get rid of your kids? You can’t quit your job because you have a mortgage and kids need braces. While at times you’d like to get rid of your spouse but you actually love him and need him.)
There are many more solutions and maybe you’ve tried to implement one or more of these or others. I actually think all three of them are worthy to consider but until you solve what I believe is the root problem, implementing any strategy will be short lived. It’s like walking in a pair of shoes that are to small and your feet hurt. If you change to another pair of small shoes your feet will still hurt. The problem isn’t the shoe, it’s the shoe size.
One of my wise mentors had a saying that fits what I’m explaining.
The problem is never the problem. The problem is that people don’t think clearly and confidently about the problem. The solution is never the solution. The solution is thinking clearly and confidently about the problem.
Where Breakthroughs Start
Breakthroughs are started by eliminating poor thought patterns and replacing them with thought patterns leading you to the truth. I’ve discovered that moms have breakthroughs in personal growth when they begin to believe they are enough. What do I mean by thinking you are enough?
Brene’ Brown, Ph.D is a research professional at the University of Houston. She has catalogued the stories of thousands of people and have classified them into two broad categories. There are those who suffer from some sort of shame in their life and don’t believe they are worthy of love and belonging as they are. They have a false belief that they need to be different for every person they associate with so they will be accepted. This causes them act in one or more of the three P’s:
- Pleaser (they feel a need to have to please others)
- Performer (they feel that they need to perform for others)
- Perfectionist (they feel a need to have to be perfect in everything they do)
Then there are those in the second category that she calls “Wholehearted.” Those that are wholehearted have only one different attribute that sets them apart; they feel worthy of love and belonging. Those who live wholehearted practice being authentic. Brene’ Brown defines being authentic as, “The daily practice of letting go of who you think you should be and embrace who you really are.”
The Solution is Wholehearted Living
A big part of being in the pulling quicksand of life is not living authentically. Much of the pulling that is taking you away from self growth is born out of the pleasing, performing or perfectionist behavior.
I was working with a mother to overcome some challenges in her life. On the surface one might have thought that she was able to obtain self growth. She was reading good material and had a good habit of working out daily. She had her kids in many different activities like soccer, ballet and piano. But she repeatedly would share with me that she felt “pulled” and “unfulfilled” yet to everyone around her lead this inspiring life. What she discovered was the source of her actions that appeared to others as a super mom was only so others, and her own mom, would accept her. She was being a perfectionist. She had issues with her mom growing up. She felt she always let her mom down and could never please her to her mother’s standards. Deep down she didn’t feel she was enough.
When this mother finally discovered the source of her shame that lead her away from really being herself, she was able to release the pulling feeling. She no longer put stress upon her children to excel. She changed the way she worked out. She quit the very stressful cross fit training and began to just walk and take hikes with her children. During this time her peace increased substantially. She owned a stay at home business that actually grew substantially in a short period of time. She was actually able to better inspire people because she could connect with her team on a much deeper and authentic level.
As you begin a daily practice of being authentic the pulling feeling will diminish. You’ll then start to implement new strategies to gain self growth and they may even include some I mentioned earlier.
If you have symptoms of being a pleaser, performer or perfectionist, or seek to control all aspects of your life, there is a good chance you’re not living authentically or wholeheartedly. If so, I might suggest three books from Brene’ Brown and to read them in the order she wrote them:
- The Gifts of Imperfection; Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are
- DARING GREATLY How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
- Rising Strong; The Reckoning. The Rumble. The Revolution. If we are brave enough, often enough, we will fall. This book is about what it takes to get back up.
One of the joys of my own life was overcoming my own perfectionist traits. I, like so many other people, never felt like I was enough. I pretended to be this awesome person but deep down I was suffering. I discovered the source of my shame and began a daily practice of being authentic. My own pulling feeling is a distant memory now and after about a year of really practicing being who I am really am finally enjoy a great deal of peace and face my challenges much better.
I hope this helps. Drop me a line and let me know how you’re doing!