My precious "excuses"
My holiday trip to North Dakota was a heavenly combination of laziness, indulgence, and being loved and cared for by my family. I checked out and unplugged, enjoyed watching my parents spoil my children, ate way too much, and caught up on sleep. It was a much-needed break after a crazy November and December with the launch of my first book, One Hot Mama. When I returned to my real life after the holiday -- and to my disheveled house that had been neglected for the previous weeks, stacks of books needing to be shipped to reviewers, piles of laundry, and a to-do list a few pages long -- I broke down under the pressure.
I had an underlying sense of discontent the entire fall during the busy book launch time, when I should have felt accomplished and overjoyed. I was feeling like a failure in every area of my life. I was anxious that I wasn't doing enough to promote my book, but I was also feeling guilty because my family wasn't getting the best me either. I started blaming being a mom to three little ones for my stress, subconsciously believing that I couldn't do everything to the best of my abilities because I was spread too thin. What mom doesn't suffer from guilt and feeling overwhelmed from time to time?
I adore my precious children, and never overtly blamed them, but internally, I did, and often used them as an excuse. After my post-holiday melt down, I took the time to reevaluate my life, and realized that I really was putting my kids and husband first and I was just going to have to accept that my family is my priority. If that results in slower professional success, then I have decided to accept it wholeheartedly.
Life has seasons, and I know unequivocally that everything happens in divine timing. Now that I have fully embraced this fact, I am better able to compartmentalize my life. When I am at work, I am fully focused on my work. At the end of my workday, I set it completely aside and put on my "awesome mom" and "sexy wife" hat. This tiny change in perspective has made all the difference.
Why am I sharing such a personal story that will reveal my weakness? I want to share my insight so we can all move forward with greater self-love and compassion.
Everything happens at the perfectly divine right time. I achieved quick success with getting my book published, but hadn't had the time build my business as the strong foundation. I was trying to start this brand new business and launch a book with a newborn baby. It was much tougher than I had imagined and everything seemed to be happening more slowly than I had hoped. Now that I have reconnected with God on this matter, I am completely certain that the perfect things will happen at the exact right time. What a beautiful relief!
My priority is my family, and it always will be. Over the past year, I experienced a lot of distress and inner conflict about this. Because I wanted to always put them first, I was always putting my business second... which led me to experience a constant underlying feeling of failure that I wasn't doing enough, and my book was going to bomb because of it. I stressed that I was squandering the best opportunity of my life. I now know with absolute confidence that I made the right decision. This is a precious time in my children's lives, and I want to be there for it. If it stunts my success on some level, I am completely okay with it. Everything will turn out exactly how it should, and I'll always know in my heart that I have kept my priorities properly aligned.
You can only do so much. Like I mentioned, I've felt overwhelmingly like I could always be doing more work. And I could have! I did fail on many levels because I set myself up for failure. Accepting my limitations and priorities has helped me set more realistic goals and to-do lists.
We all need help. Successful women often feel like they are lone ships forging ahead, just going, going, and going to make it happen. In the past year, I haven't felt "worthy" of hiring help since I wasn't making a substantial income. I hate asking for help in general, because a part of me feels weak or like a failure if I can't do it all on my own.
We cannot do it alone.It was an internal shift that got me straightened out. I am not a failure and neither are you. We are busy moms doing the best we can in each moment.
I realized that I needed to re-commit to doing all the things I coach others to do. It's funny how sometimes you have to hit some kind of bottom before launching to your greatest success.
So, here's to a 2013 where I keep my priorities exactly where they should be. I will stop using motherhood as an excuse. I vow to ask for help and get enough rest so I can keep my internal light blindingly bright so I can lift up others and achieve whatever success God has in store for me with grace, kindness, and ease. I wish all these things for you... and more!