I am Ukrainian and for the last 45 days, I have been through things I would not wish on anyone.
I have felt guilty for being safe and not sitting in the bomb shelter with my brother and friends.
On top of my regularly raising questions of whether “I am a good mom, partner, daughter,” this guilt led to an overwhelm and levels of stress I haven’t experienced firsthand. I have been to the depth of despair and back since the beginning of the war in Ukraine. Professional therapy helped in addition to practicing self-awareness and slowing down to listen to what my body is asking for.
Needing to Step Away.
I realized that I needed to step away from my full-time job (even if for a day or two) and the business I created to pause and breathe. I gave myself space and grace to take care of myself first and foremost.
I stopped doing things. I tried to find meaning in being alive while so many are dying.
I allowed myself to see that the hustle of busy days is not fulfilling me and hasn’t for a very long time.
I asked myself: If tomorrow is my last day, did I enjoy my life? Have I done things worth remembering? And while my answer to those two questions is “YES,” a huge BUT came up in my head.
I saw roads untaken that spark joy for me, which I have avoided by telling myself lies about my abilities or the number of certifications needed to prove that I am capable of so much more.
An amazing person, Dr. Edith Eva Eger, in her book “The Choice” said that “we act as our own jailors” when in our heads we choose not to see the choices available. I realized that I was holding myself in a certain thought pattern that is influenced by the outside more than my inside.
I have grown up thinking I needed validation from others to make me happy and fulfilled in my life. I gave power and continuously reinforced the belief that other people know better what is good for me, my baby, and my life purpose. Somehow their opinion became more important than what I knew deep inside me to be true.
Let me be honest.
It is a much better place to believe that I am the best mom for my child and know it to be true.
“Awakening” and setting myself free is hard work. It does not happen overnight or by simply reading a book or an affirmation. It requires taking responsibility for the choices I make and thoughts I allow to show up and stay. It is a daily intentional focus to build the unused muscle of trusting myself and tuning out the “external unsolicited board.” Practicing new skills takes time, support, and accountability. Understanding where to find such support is vital.
As a result of my journey of discovery, I finally stepped into my purpose the way I see it now, and I felt the weight of so many expectations drop off.
What a relief.
For years I have been shying away from helping mothers like myself rediscover the joy of putting themselves first. Leaving those of you who are looking to be fully present for your kids without a guide on how to sustainably build your “rest muscle” and integrate guilt-free rest and self-care into your routines.
Now I support those who want to change how they approach rest and the examples they set for their kids. I provide coaching, “gentle” guidance, and weekly accountability/venting space as moms experiment with tiny changes that can shift the mountains one small stone at a time.
When was the last time you did something just for you?
Today I went to a pool for a swim and a movie afterwards. My kid and my husband were told it is mommy’s day off to be a human with interests outside of toys and playgrounds. I am excited to come back and be with them recharged for more of the non-stop drive that my 3-year-old brings to our lives.
Small kids get to nap. We usually skip it. While we all need rest, it is a necessity that we often put aside in favor of hustle.
Let me know in the comments what do you do to recharge? Or what challenges do you have doing something just for you?