Artwork: Awakening Truth, by Jeanette MacDonald
Hear this working moms: unrealistic, unhealthy expectations of what you should be able to accomplish will slowly and surely burn you out, run you into the ground and make you hate your life. If your expectation is that you must work harder and do more to get what you want, you will have to work harder and do more, which will lead to burn out.
There's a physical, mental, spiritual and energetic toll taken from you when you work, birth and raise children, and then work and run a family afterward. The toll is huge -- for each one of these things alone. Combine them and you have a sure-fire recipe for burn out or illness.
No matter what anyone else says to you, no matter what you've been raised to believe you should do or are supposed to accomplish to make you worthy in the world, if you are tired, sick or just plain can't stand what is happening in your life, it's time to make a change.
I did it all, literally. I went from finishing grad school to being hired for my first full time job, to running marathons, getting married, buying a house and getting pregnant, to having two gorgeous children, to getting immediately back to full time work after my allotted eight weeks of leave, to running again, and then managing my own business. I ended up being completely exhausted, sick all the time and wondering how I was going to get out of the physical mess I had made of my body.
I did everything I was supposed to do; made a shit ton of money in my job, managed to raise my kids to be fairly decent individuals, maxed out my IRA, excelled at my profession and avoided a divorce. I spent many of those years sick with a cold or upper respiratory infection every few months. I never allowed myself the rest or restoration I needed to keep it all up. My body had to stop me by getting sick, and I still didn't get it, until now.
Now I know that the expectations I put on myself, the beliefs I was raised with and the ideas of what a life, marriage and family were supposed to look like were unrealistic. They were a recipe for illness and unhappiness. I'm reshaping my thoughts, beliefs and actions to create health, happiness, harmony and joy for myself and my family. I know I can have it all, but I can have it all and stay healthy and happy too.
Here are five things I think are most important when it comes to being a working mom and living a healthy, joyful life.
1. Listen to your body. If you are tired, run down, a little achy, stiff or sore, or feel like you need a vacation -- you do. Take it. Take the time to rest, nap, and care for yourself. This isn't a should, it's a must. You may need more self care time than you think.
2. Get help. If you are working 40 or more hours a week and still doing everything else when it comes to the household chores and kids, it's time to get some help. It's difficult to ask for help but this isn't a should, it's a must. Start building your network of people and invest in upgrades to your life that will save you time, money, energy, and in the end, your health.
3. Communicate with your partner. Depending on your situation, good regular communication with your spouse is a must. The expectations you both had going into the relationship may have been unrealistic. Say so. It's okay to change your mind and ask for what you need moving forward. It's okay to admit you can't do it like you used to.
4. Use awareness to help you heal. The most powerful tool we have for taking stock of our lives and making needed changes is awareness. You might be realizing what worked ten years ago is not working anymore. Reflect on the current feelings, sensations, thoughts and emotions you are having and from that awareness you can choose the thoughts, beliefs and actions that serve the new goal you have for your health and happiness.
5. Go for the big dreams. If you aren't working and living in a way that nourishes your body and soul, it's time to regroup and go for your bigger, badder dreams. You'll have to be brave and ready for the resistance from people around you. You'll have to think about what you really want. You'll have to heal the shit that gets in your way. But the journey will be well worth the risk and effort.
Maybe we're supposed to learn these lessons by going through them and sorting it out for ourselves when things become unbearable, but I believe it wasn't meant to be so hard. Believing that life is hard and that you have to work harder if you want more is a self-fulfilling belief, like any other belief you choose. What about the options?
I've found that when I align with what my soul is calling for things become easy. Situations fall into place, events get organized and I find myself believing in the ideas of positive thinking and the law of attraction. Why do so many people talk about that? Because it works. You get what you expect.
Expect things can come easily, joyfully, healthily... and you won't even have to rub the genie's lamp this time. Expect the miracles.
Let me know in the comments how you are balancing your work and mom lives. What's working? What's not? Sign up for my newsletter at www.LauraProbert.com and I'll help you wake up, be brave, heal your shit and do more of what you love.