So far in my newsletters, I’ve shared a lot of what works in my family life in the hopes that you’ll find something helpful for your own life. Today I’m doing the opposite – hoping that you’ll learn from my mistakes!
Sometime in mid-August, I found myself at my wit’s end, screaming at my two kids, who had been arguing for what felt like the 1000th time of the summer. I’ll spare you the ugly details, but suffice to say, it wasn’t my best moment. What’s worse is that it didn’t help the situation. It certainly didn’t calm down my kids and it made me feel much worse than I already did.
After 12 years of parenting, I know that yelling is never the answer. Usually, I’m able to call upon my go-to parenting strategies and control my own emotions. I know I feel triggered when my kids fight, so I have a host of tools to help me through those times. But that day, none of my knowledge and practices mattered.
In the aftermath of the storm, I asked myself what had happened. Why was I unable to stay calm instead of engaging in the chaos? What was different about this time? That’s when I realized one of my biggest mistakes.
At that point in the summer, I had lost all sense of balance and had given in to the temptations of summer. I had been staying up too late and hadn’t gotten enough sleep; I hadn’t been feeding myself the healthy foods I know it needs; I hadn’t exercised in weeks; I hadn’t spent time with my friends; I couldn’t remember the last time I had meditated; I hadn’t taken the time to nurture my relationship with my husband. At the time I started screaming, I was tired, full of junk food, out of shape, lonely for my friends, missing time with my husband and disconnected from my best self. At that moment, I felt depleted and even resentful for all that I had “sacrificed” for my kids.
I had done this for only a few weeks and felt terrible. It dawned on me that some women do this for a lifetime. A lifetime of putting others’ needs before their own and self-sacrificing in the name of love. And it’s not just the moms! You don’t have to have kids to find yourself in this pattern. Many women do the same for their friends, their husbands and their jobs – working, pushing, striving for everything else before taking time for themselves.
I know it was a mistake to lose it with my kids, and I wish I could have that moment back to do over again. But I believe my bigger mistake was allowing myself to get depleted – physically, emotionally and spiritually.
What I know to be true is that this is not the way to peaceful parenting or a peaceful life.
I’m my best self when I take care of myself. When I nurture myself physically, emotionally and spiritually, I feel full and happy, and I can bring that happiness to my relationships with my family. When I’m in that state, I can weather the storms in my life with much more steadiness, grace and peace. When my needs are met, I’m able to give to my family from a place of generosity and love. When I’m at peace, I’m a much more creative and patient problem-solver!
As always, something good comes from every experience. Thanks to my melt-down, I’m now resolved to commit to a life schedule that allows me to nurture myself with healthy habits as well as fun, pleasure and play. And I’m determined to help other women do the same. I’ve created a 6-week workshop for women to be held in my home starting Tuesday, September 19, in which we will explore how to cultivate calm and eliminate chaos in our lives.
Click here for more information.
As you move into the coming weeks, I invite you to take a look at your own life. What fills you up and gives you energy? What practices can you add to your life that will increase your own happiness? I bet that you’ll find that when you fill yourself up first, everyone in your life will benefit. Give it a try and let me know!
Love and light,
Of course, my love and support are with the victims of Hurricane Harvey. If you are in a position to contribute, here’s how you can help.
Where to Donate for Harvey Victims