Vibrant Happy Women with Dr. Jen Riday | Letting Go of Mom Guilt (with Rachel Nielson)

Society puts a lot of pressure on us moms to be the “right” kind of mother. One that is always selfless, patient, and especially, present. But what if deep in your heart, you know staying at home with the kids full time isn’t fulfilling you? My guest and I have both experienced this feeling, as well as the tremendous mom guilt that follows.

Rachel Nielson is a mom of two and host of the 3 in 30 Podcast. After her journey with infertility and adoption, Rachel felt the pressure to conform to how society expects all mothers to be. But by allowing herself to be open, letting go of the shoulds, and thinking outside the box, she has created a vibrant and happy life for herself and her family.

Tune in today to hear from Rachel on her experience of mom guilt and the different ways it was showing up in her life. She experienced aspirational shame, like I’m sure many of you do, yet figured out a way to fulfill her purpose while continuing to be an awesome mom. I encourage you to listen to this episode with an open heart and follow what feels right for you, it will always take you to the right destination.

If you’re tired of not feeling good enough and letting anxiety and depression rule your life, you need to join us in the Vibrant Happy Women Club. The doors won't be open forever, and we have tons of new and exciting features inside. It’s time to make your own happiness a priority, and the Club is where you’ll learn how. I can’t wait to see you there!

 

What You’ll Learn:

  • Rachel’s experience with infertility and adoption.
  • How motherhood was harder than she thought it would be.
  • Why Rachel felt mom guilt and aspirational shame.
  • How Rachel learned that it was okay to pursue her own desires.
  • How to clean out your inner closet to know what’s right for you.
  • Why this pandemic is just a blip in your kids’ lives and nothing to feel guilt about.
  • How to deal with the pressure to conform to how society expects all mothers to be.

Listen to the Full Episode:

 

Featured on the Show:

 

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, episode number 266. We’re talking about letting go of the mom guilt. Stay tuned.

Hi, I'm Jen Riday. This podcast is for women who want to feel more vibrant, happy, aligned, and alive. You'll gain the emotional, physical, and spiritual tools you need to get your sparkle back and ensure that depression, anxiety, and struggle don't rule your life. Welcome to the Vibrant Happy Women Podcast.

Hey my friends it’s Jen. And I’m so glad you’re here listening, taking a little moment out of your day to think about the bigger picture. And I want you to know that I feel one of my primary roles in this podcast, in the work I do, is to create a safe space for you, to hold space or create a space for you to think, to step back, to come home to yourself, to get intuitive, to know what’s really going on in your heart and not just in your mind.

A lot of us on this planet live our entire lives from a place of survival and go, go, go. And everything’s in our head and we’re thinking, and doing, and planning. And I hope that the Vibrant Happy Women podcast gives you a place to pause and think, and drop into your heart to trust that inner wisdom. I’m so glad you’re here. I want to send you my love, my support. You’re doing hard things. You’re doing amazing things. You’re doing important things.

And take a moment now to pause and realize that and celebrate all that you do to make our planet a better place, to make your family better, to make your community better. And most of all just to live more authentically because as you do that you’re making the entire world better.

I really believe the more each of us lives in alignment to that true inner voice, to that true intuitive authentic place inside of us the more we all radiate a greater light, a greater love and ultimately heal our planet. Plus if you’re a mom like I am when you do that you give your kids permission to do that, to live authentically, joyfully and that’s a good thing. So I’m so glad you’re here.

Well, today I’m talking to a really cool person, Rachel Nielson. She is the host of the 3 in 30 Podcast. And we just decided to jump on the call and see where the conversation took us. Well, quickly we developed a theme which is mom guilt. How to live true to yourself in a way that is aligned for you, that might not match what society says you should ‘be doing’, but that fills you with joy. That feels right for you and to do it without the guilt.

Ultimately so much of that guilt comes from social norms and social pressures that have nothing to do with living in alignment, with following our hearts, with doing what’s right for ourselves. I want to challenge you and invite you to go into this conversation with your own heart open, to kind of questioning, thinking about what is the right path for you. What kind of mom do you want to be? What makes you a good mom? And that’s going to be different from every other mom around you and that’s not just okay, it’s actually beautiful.

We are all meant to be different, that’s why there’s thousands and tens of thousands, I don’t even know, hundreds of thousands, millions of plants, and animals, and creatures on this planet, all unique, all different. Diversity, and difference, and uniqueness is beautiful just like each unique piece of art that you might see in an art gallery. And your life are you making it the piece of art that you would like it to be? So go into this episode with that in mind. And without further ado let’s jump into this conversation. It’s an important one.

Jen: Hey everyone. I’m talking with Rachel Nielson today. And she is the host of 3 in 30 Podcast. She’s a mom of two from Idaho. She lives in the mountains. And we’re just going to talk about her journey of infertility and having kids, starting her podcast, kind of her journey. We all have a journey so excited to talk about yours today. Welcome, Rachel.

Rachel: Thank you so much for having me. I love your work.

Jen: Thank you. I love yours. Everyone go subscribe to the 3 in 30 Podcast if you want awesome tips on being a mom, raising kids, very, very good stuff. Okay, so Rachel, let’s just hear your story. You used to be an English teacher there in Idaho. And you were struggling with infertility, just tell us how that journey has been, there’s some interesting twists and turns in there.

Rachel: Yeah. So I was an English teacher not in Idaho. I did a year in Utah and then I did four years in New York when my husband was in dental school in Buffalo, New York. And I just have always felt like I was kind of born to teach. Like some people are afraid and I just love it. But there’s so much grating when you’re a high school English teacher. And so I knew that when my kids were born I was sure then that I would not want to work anymore because I was just going to love every minute of motherhood and soak it all in.

And then I got these miracle babies after working really hard for them and lo and behold motherhood, particularly stay at home motherhood is a lot harder than I had thought that it was going to be. And so I found that I was missing teaching and really missing using my gifts in that part of myself. And so a few years into motherhood decided to start 3 in 30 as a way that I can teach from home and I have just loved it.

Jen: That’s so cool. And how long ago did you start it?

Rachel: So I started 3 in 30 three and a half years ago. And my son is nine and a half so it took me a long time, I mean six years pretty much to accept that it was okay for me to want something else, for me to want to work, for me to want to use my gifts because for those first six years of motherhood I just felt a lot of shame, aspirational shame, and guilt that I didn’t love motherhood as much as I thought that I would. And I thought that there was something wrong with me, that it just wasn’t – it didn’t fulfill me in the same way that my work had. It’s very fulfilling in different ways.

But finally after all those years of being pretty unhappy, I just thought I’ve had enough. I’m starting something of my own and I put my daughter in a pretty much full day preschool so that I could do it. And I am so much happier and therefore my kids are happier. And I am a better mom because I’m utilizing my gifts and feeling really fulfilled.

Jen: That’s so good. And so back us up though. You went through that entire infertility journey. So I’m assuming that gave you so much more guilt to go back to work because you finally had your daughter, a girl and a boy, right?

Rachel: Yeah, a boy first, but yeah.

Jen: You finally adopted your son and then had your daughter through IVF. And then you want to go back to work. So let’s talk a little bit about – well, tell us first about your journey of having your kids and then we’ll talk about that mom guilt.

Rachel: Yeah. I started adoption and infertility treatments at the same time because we already knew that it was going to be a struggle for me. And I just was like whatever happens first happens. And I never wanted an adopted child to feel like a plan B. I didn’t want them to feel like mom and dad tried, and tried, and tried forever and then they gave up and got me.

And so right from the beginning when we started fertility treatments we also started the adoption process which looking back was a lot to take on emotionally. And I don’t know if I would really recommend that to other people. Yeah, after about a year of doing fertility and waiting with different adoption opportunities we had a lot of disappointments before Noah was placed with us, where birth parents would choose us and then change their mind. And so it was just a really tough couple of years.

And then we adopted Noah and have an open adoption with his birth parents. And it has been the experience that has taught me more about love, and patience, and all of the important things in life, adoption is the most formative experience that I’ve had in my entire life. And I would not trade it, as corny as that sounds, for everything that I’ve learned from it.

Jen: So tell us more, how is that one the one thing that makes you learn the most about love and patience?

Rachel: Yeah. Well, kind of they’re somewhat separate, love and patience although they’re very related. But it was the first time in my life that I couldn’t just work really hard for something and make it happen. And so I really had to trust the timing. I believe in God and I had to believe in his timing. I had to trust myself in that I was resilient enough to handle this and that it was going to work out in the end somehow.

And I also had to learn to love really openly these different women that came into our life, some of them just for a short time. And to recognize that this was their journey, this was their baby. I had no ownership over, even after they chose us, it was not my baby. And that was a really big lesson in love and how that love isn’t possessive. And especially with open adoption, I’ve just learned that the more people in my son’s life who love him the better. And people often will look at our – because they come for his birthday, they came to his baptism that we had.

And people will look at that and think wow, how do you share him? And I’m like, “It’s not about that, it’s about more people to love him.” And that nothing – I almost feel like there’s not an experience in life that – a circumstance that really teaches that in the same way that adoption does.

Jen: Yeah, it sounds like part of learning to love is not needing to control, letting go of control.

Rachel: And that it’s not about me. That it’s about him. And it was a struggle in the beginning learning how to navigate that relationship with his birth parents. And of course there were times when I felt possessive, or defensive, or what is, you know, and I just had to realize this isn’t about me. If I really love them and if I really love him then I don’t need to make this about me.

Jen: Yeah, it’s about him. I love that. Getting what he needs, becoming his own person, yes.

Rachel: Yeah, having those relationships that will bless him. And I don’t need to be seen as the foremost authority in his life or it’s a sense of surrendering somewhat to the fact that his life is his own and I’m just a player in it.

Jen: He’s going to have such a great, you know, his teenage years will be amazing because you’ve learned it so much earlier than most parents do that he actually is his own person. And that control, it sounds like you’ve already given up so much of it.

Rachel: Yeah. It also helps that he’s incredibly strong willed. And so he’s smashed my delusions of control from the first week. I’m like, “My baby will sleep. And my baby will do all these things.” And then he was really colicky and just forever more just been very strong willed. And I’ve realized he is his own person. And my parenting isn’t going to save him or destroy him. And all I can do is love him and that’s all I’m supposed to do. That’s all I’ve been asked to do, love, and teach, and guide and then let him have his own life.

Jen: Yeah, boundaries really, in the end it’s a healthy boundary, recognizing he’s not you and you’re not him.

Rachel: Yes, absolutely.

Jen: So he was adopted and then your daughter was born.

Rachel: She was born after that, several years later, well, they’re three years apart. So a couple of years later when we knew we were ready to try again I skipped all of the fertility. I had done 11 months of IUI inseminations before he was born and they hadn’t worked. And so when we were ready again, I am not doing that again, that didn’t work for my body. So we went directly to IVF the second time. And we’re really fortunate that I was able to get pregnant with her on the first round which is unusual and I’m very, very blessed.

And so then we got our miracle with her and I would love to have more children but that’s complicated for me. So we will just see. It’s another lesson in surrendering control. And we will just see what happens.

Jen: That’s perfect. So you had these kids, we know where the story’s heading. You did the mom thing and you’re not feeling fulfilled. Tell us more about that and how you decided to go back and do something for yourself.

Rachel: Yeah. I think as you alluded to, I felt a lot of guilt around the fact that I had gone through infertility and people would say to me, “I’m sure you’re loving every minute of this.” And in my heart I’d think I am not. What’s wrong with me? I should be loving this. I also felt really indebted to Katie, to his birth mom that I should be loving every minute of this for her. And that she had given this up and why wasn’t I appreciating it more? So I had all that.

And then on top of that I was raised in a religious culture where motherhood was really revered, particularly stay at home motherhood. And pretty much I had been taught that good mothers stay home with their children. And it’s more of a cultural thing than a doctrinal thing but I had internalized it. And so I also had a lot of shame around if this is my divine calling why don’t I love it more? And why am I not ‘better at it’? And so that was a lot to sort through.

And I went to a lot of therapy to help me. And it made a tremendous difference going to therapy and counseling, and figuring out who I was and what I valued. And that who I was, was okay. And my gifts, and my desires, and the pulse that I felt in my heart were from God. And that he made me this way for a reason and it was okay to pursue my own desires.

Jen: Yeah. I love that. So I know a lot of women listening are asking that exact question. Who am I? And I think part of the work I do is to hold space for people to discover and feel safe finding that out. So let me ask you, Rachel, who are you? Who are you right now at least, the version of you you’ve discovered so far?

Rachel: Yeah. I am a teacher. I am a very deep thinker and feeler. And I care deeply about people and marginalized communities and vulnerable communities, which sometimes means that I think that I feel more deeply and have more questions about systems than other people do. And that’s something that again I’ve sometimes tried to squash down. And I’ve just realized that it’s a gift.

In recent years I’ve started to really struggle with questions about my faith and my religion. And sometimes I feel a lot of shame about that. But then I realize I think that my questions are coming from the best parts of me. They’re not coming from being lazy or anything else. They’re coming from deep feelings and pain I have and ability, like I said, to really empathize with other people. And so I don’t need to squash that or feel ashamed of it. I can just kind of explore it and get curious about it and journal. I am a journaler, that is for sure.

And allow myself to grow and change and not hold myself to a previous version of who I thought I was or what I believed or compare myself to that version. But just allow myself to continue growing and developing as I get older.

Jen: So how does that work out? I think that’s beautiful by the way, teacher, thinker, feeler, questioner, I’m hearing that, empathic. I’m very similar to you by the way. So how have different people in your life handled this changing questioning version of you and how do you handle their responses to it?

Rachel: Yeah. I’m really fortunate that I’ve had really solid examples of people in my life that love me for me and allow me to change and be who I am. And my parents were very much that way. My husband is that way, where I’m able to talk through and express how I’m feeling. And they are supportive of that.

I think in some ways it goes back to what I was saying about realizing that my son’s journey is separate from mine, that I’ve had people in my life that have modeled that for me and have not made my stuff a reflection on them. And so that’s meant that they can better love and support me when I’m struggling because their identity isn’t tied up in what I do as much. I mean we all struggle with boundaries to some extent. And we’re going to feel certain emotions when our loved ones disappoint us, or change, or have a different take on the world than we do or than we thought that they would.

But I think having the ability to sort of stay separate and have a really centered sense of who you are separate from that is powerful. And I’m really lucky that I have people in my life that are able to do that because I know not everybody has that.

Jen: Yeah. Where do you think your parents learned such awesome boundaries?

Rachel: I don’t know. They had really great parents too. I come from a long generation of people that have had this which I think goes to show that parenting really matters. In fact my dad’s father is 92 years old. And I recently gave a talk in our church and it was the first time that I had publicly talked about some of my questions and doubts and the way I was feeling. And I sent the Zoom link because a lot of church meetings are broadcast right now because of coronavirus. And I had sent it to my dad and my sisters who have kind of been in on my journey.

And I didn’t realize that my dad was going to forward it to my grandpa. And so afterwards my dad said, “I sent the link to grandpa.” And I don’t know if he watched but he did have it. And I thought, I don’t know if I wanted grandpa to know about this part of myself and the way that I’m changing, and growing, and learning. And later that day my grandpa called me and the first thing that he said was, “I’ve been proud of you my whole life but never more so than today.”

Jen: Oh my goodness that is – man, that makes me cry.

Rachel: I know. Tears in my eyes and just immediately when he said that, I mean you don’t realize how much the validation of your parents, and grandparents, and the people you love matters to you until in that moment when he gave me that unconditional love and that validation. My heart just leapt and tears came to my eyes. And just the comfort I felt of I’m okay. I’m okay just how I am.

Jen: That’s beautiful.

Rachel: Yeah. And so where they learned it or how, I don’t know. But I’m sure grateful that they modeled it for me and now I’m doing my very best to try to do the same for my kids.

Jen: I wouldn’t say I grew up with the same thing but I’m working to change the generational patterns. So one of my – I kind of have a mantra. I don’t know if I’ve formed it fully into words but I’m trying with my own kids to let them become the full expression of themselves, whatever that is. It just feels like Truth with a capital T. And for those of us in religions, it can be tricky because Truth with a capital T comes from within the religion, that’s what we’re taught. How do you handle that part, finding your Truth with your capital T?

Rachel: Yeah. I mean I think that there’s so many different factors that inform who we become and our sense of truth. And they’re all valuable I mean when they’re healthy. But that doesn’t mean that we need to take everything. So different factors might be your religion, your family of origin, your culture like your nationality and culture that way, or your culture of the city you were raised in. There’s so many different factors. And you can take the best of those things. You can, as an adult, what’s awesome is as an adult you can look at all of that stuff and analyze it.

As a child you don’t really even know that those things are affecting you, but as an adult you can look at it all and say, “That’s where that came from. I can see now that this value that I’ve always had comes from this factor and do I want to keep that or do I want to let that go? Does it fit me and my needs, and my desires, and my personality? Or is it something that I can let go of?”

I sometimes compare this to a similar thing to de-cluttering a closet where you’re de-cluttering like your inner closet. And you kind of pull things out and think where did this come from? Why is this in here? And do I want to keep it? Marie Kondo, like does this spark joy for me? Or do I want to thank it and pass it along and say, “No, I don’t need that in my closet anymore?” And it doesn’t mean I have to hate it, or disrespect it, or say that, “I wish I’d never been exposed to that.”

I can just say, “That’s interesting that that’s in my closet. It no longer fits me. It’s not my style anymore” or whatever it might be. And I can graciously move on to something different in my life, and that goes to all sorts of different cultural factors that inform who we are.

Jen: I love that, sparking joy for culture, for traditions. And how has that worked for you with mom guilt? I know that’s a theme you’ve been thinking about lately.

Rachel: Yeah. I think there are a lot of things that as moms we think we should do. And that’s what causes our mom guilt a lot of times. And I think getting really clear with ourselves about why do I think that I should do this? Where does this come from? Is it coming from an outside societal expectation or something that I’ve heard or read about what good moms do? Or is it coming from within me? And releasing some of those shoulds that we realize actually that doesn’t really fit me and I don’t want to do that. And that can release a lot of guilt.

I have a sister-in-law who admitted to me that she really does not like reading to her kids. And she’s like, “Somewhere along the way I had internalized that good moms read to their kids. And so I felt so much guilt around the fact that I really don’t like to read to my kids. Once I finally owned up to that and released my guilt around that, I can still, like my husband can read to them. They can listen to audio books. I can do it on occasion when I’m feeling like it but I don’t need to feel this immense guilt every day that I’m not doing this thing that society says I should be doing.”

And so once you get a little more clear on what you actually want, what your values actually are and release the rest that can release a lot of mom guilt I think. But also I think sometimes we can’t meet what we truly want to be doing as moms because of outside factors. So we may really want to do motherhood a certain way but we have a chronic illness and we’re in bed all of the time. Or there’s a global pandemic and we have to try to work from home. We don’t want our kids watching tons of TV but we’re working from home and it’s a pandemic and they have to watch more TV.

And it’s sort of getting honest with yourself about not lowering your own expectations but accepting a variation or a version of what your ideal would be and recognizing that it’s okay if you can’t always reach the ideal because you’re a human and you have to work with human circumstances.

Jen: Exactly. It’s okay to be human, let the guilt go, yeah, for sure. So you mentioned during a pandemic the kids need more TV. I have had an interesting – well, I don’t know if I want to take it here. But okay in the news we’ve read, I’m sure all of us have read, that hundreds of thousands of women have stopped working. And it kind of breaks my heart. As a gender, women stereotypically squashed their dreams to take care of everyone else. And it feels like oh no, it’s all coming back. So I do this podcast, my husband also works.

And it’s so fascinating, I consider us pretty liberal in our thinking. I mean he’s cool with me. Whenever I want to do anything on the weekends he’ll handle the kids. Yet when it comes down to that nine to five it’s so ingrained in his identity, he really has a hard time taking the one day off a week so I can go in and record my podcast like with you today. Have you faced any of that and do you feel like the pandemic is eye opening? Is it sending a – I don’t even know how, what to think about all of this.

Rachel: Yeah. I mean I feel like we’ve been really fortunate with the pandemic that my work is from home and so I haven’t had to quit my job. Where people have two people working outside the home, and they have to make a difficult decision there about what they’re going to do. And unfortunately I don’t know why it is that more women are quitting. But I know it’s a huge privilege that that’s not my situation that I have to face. But I do think that women in general need to be vocal about what they need.

And if they don’t want to quit and they’re not ready to quit then they shouldn’t have to. Or if there’s some way – I think sometimes we need to think outside the box and think okay, our family has increased needs right now because of the pandemic or whatever situation is happening. And my kids need more childcare, how can we make that work in a way that’s maybe not what’s traditionally in the box?

So my husband is a dentist so he has the flexibility to set his own schedule somewhat. When he’s working he has to be there and he has to see the patients and there’s no flexibility there. But he does have some flexibility to decide how many days per week his office is going to be open. And a few years ago we made the decision that I wanted to work more. And that his office would be open three days a week so that I could work full-time on those two days a week. And it’s interesting how people have opinions about that.

And people are like, “You only work three days a week?” And they judge it or act like he’s lazy or whatever. And it’s like, well, that’s because our family has made a different arrangement that works. He’s like, “I work three days a week and my wife is working the other days a week and I’m with my kids doing this and that.” Or people will always say, “You’re trying to grow your office, you’re trying to add more days?” And he’s like, “No, I’m not trying to grow my office. This is what works for our family.”

Jen: That’s so sweet.

Rachel: And there is just some external markers of success that I think some people are like, “But surely you want to have this thriving business or this many”, you know, we all have external markers that we think of. When really sometimes we have to renegotiate with ourselves and with our partner and other people in our life what that could look like so that we’re thriving in all areas of our life, including the emotional and mental health piece.

Even if the woman isn’t making as much money and so technically, yeah, if my husband worked more days we would be making more money, but my work matters, too. And so we’ve made that decision as a family.

Jen: So the factor and the decision is not just who makes more, they get to work more hours. But how happy is our family? How happy is everybody? And I love that so much.

Rachel: Yes. And that’s a shift especially when you’ve been raised in certain cultures that hasn’t been modeled. So you’ve just got to figure out what works for your family.

Jen: Wow, that’s really beautiful, way to go. Rachel, you’re leading the way. You’re showing women they can have a dream, they can pursue their dream. And they can still have a happy family.

Rachel: Yeah, they can have a happier family.

Jen: Yeah. And your husband is showing men they don’t have to work five days a week, Monday through Friday.

Rachel: A million, trillion hours, I know. And that is something that I had to ask for. I had to say to him, “This is what I would like. Are you open to it? Can we work this out? Is this a possibility?” So I had to be willing to envision something and then also have the courage to bring it up and say, “This is what I want. And this is what I envision.” And sometimes that’s hard. It’s vulnerable to say, “This is what I want”, and be really honest about it.

Jen: And how did he respond? Did it take time? Was he resistant at first? I mean we know he’s there now so we won’t think badly of him.

Rachel: Yeah. I think in that case no he wasn’t resistant. But he maybe was thinking along the lines of what’s culturally acceptable and what his friends who are dentists do. And so he wasn’t resistant to the idea, he was open to it. But it was just kind of like well, that’s different. And also it kind of adds some level of complication with it’s going to be harder to find staff for his office who only want to work three days a week. And so that’s complicated and we’re going to have to figure that out. But he was open to the idea and it’s not like I came to him with that idea and then the next week we did it.

It was a year that we kind of worked towards getting things set up in our life so that we could make that switch happen. And it’s really worked for our family and we may have to renegotiate and depending on what happens in the future. But just thinking outside the box can be really powerful.

Jen: I love that. And how has thinking out of the box made both you and your husband a better parent? You mentioned good mom, what it means to be a good mom, now bringing it full circle again, how are you an even better mom? Because you allowed yourself to want and believed you deserved to have this joy and have something out of the box.

Rachel: Yeah, I love that you said that, believe that I deserved it because yes, it’s huge to be able to say, “I deserve to be happy.” And my kids deserve to have a happy mom. And I wasn’t happy before. And I had to kind of own up to that and say, “Why am I trying to fit into this box that society says makes a good mom when I’m not being a good mom because I’m not happy?” If that makes sense, I can redefine what a good mom looks like so that they can actually have a mom who’s happy and fulfilled. So I just think that I’m, you know, when I’m with them I am all in with them.

And also I have learned so much from doing my podcast that has benefitted my parenting. Not everybody’s work is going to be directly connected to learning parenting concepts and things like that. But I will say that I think that for a lot of women whatever work, or hobby, or dream that you choose to pursue, and not all women have to work, by any means, to be good and happy moms.

But whatever it is that you decide to sort of invest in because you love it, you will gain lessons from that that will benefit and bless your parenting even if it has nothing to do with actual child rearing skills. You may learn at work about communication, about forgiveness, about teamwork, about whatever it is that you’re going to take home and it will bless your family and make you a more full and richer person. And so I would just say don’t be afraid to sort of follow that.

Like I said in the beginning, I do feel like my desires and the pulse of my heart are there for a reason. And so instead of resisting them, leaning into them, and trusting if I follow this I’m going to be an even better version of myself. And that’s only going to bless my whole family.

Jen: Totally. And I think often if my daughters grew up and felt miserable because they weren’t choosing to get out of the box and pursue their passions, I’ve got to show them how it’s done. I’ve got to show them so they won’t be stuck in the same place.

Rachel: Yes, absolutely.

Jen: This is so great. Well, Rachel, anything else on your mind that you want to share? I feel like you’ve one more nugget for us. I don’t know what it is.

Rachel: I don’t know. I just, the last few days I’ve been thinking about mom guilt in connection with the pandemic. And one thing that came to my mind that may help a mom out there is that this is really a blip in our kids’ lives this year, this, however long this is going to be. To us it’s like, “Oh my gosh, this whole year they’ve been watching so much TV or they’ve..”, whatever it might be. And I just sometimes think life is long and when they look back they’re not going to be like, “I was destroyed by that one year.”

And if anything, they’re going to look back and they’re going to think, “That was the best year of my life!” It’s like sort of reframing it and seeing from a kid’s perspective some of these things. I have a friend who has a chronic health condition and she’s been very depressed the last year, on top of everything else. She’s like, “I’ve basically just been in bed.” But she brought a couch into her bedroom and she just has her five kids hang out with her. They watch shows and they watch YouTube videos at night and they laugh.

And she’s kind of reframed it as this is going to be a really special time that they remember, instead of – I mean she still struggles with mom guilt sometimes. But she tries not to struggle with the mom guilt about what this is ‘doing to them’. And instead sees what are the blessings and the memories that they’re going to have from this time that are really unique, that they may treasure later. And so just kind of reframing and choosing a different story based on the circumstance you’re in I think can be really powerful to let go of mom guilt.

Jen: Yeah. And why not choose a different story? They’re all just stories anyway.

Rachel: Yes, it’s true.

Jen: Choose the one that makes you happy. This is great. Well, Rachel, I have loved this. I’m going to be thinking about it all day. Thank you for being true to yourself in the end, that’s really what we all need, to listen to our hearts and honor those feelings because they’re there for a reason like you said.

Rachel: Yes. Well, thank you. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk about it.

Jen: And if people want to follow you, where do they go?

Rachel: 3 in 30 Takeaways for Moms is my podcast. Each podcast episode is three takeaways in 30 minutes, hence 3 in 30. And I’m also on Instagram at 3 in 30 Podcast.

Jen: Cool, go follow her, she’s amazing. Thank you so much, Rachel.

So my friends I hope that during that conversation you had a few little intuitive whispers of something you might like to do with your life that brings you joy, that feels meaningful and fulfilling. And not just pursuing the roles that family, or your community, or your congregation, or whatever else expects of you. To have the courage to listen to your heart, to have your own communication with a higher power, with God, the universe, whatever you believe in, and to find your unique and beautiful path, to create your own piece of artwork out of your life, unique in all its elements.

That is beautiful, and when you do that imagine if your kids grow up to be the fullest expression of themselves. Or your friends, by watching you, decide to step into doing more of what they love, more of what feels true to them. The world can get really beautiful as we all let go of these shoulds. That’s my challenge to you today. Spend some time every day, several moments a day just asking, “How does this feel to me? How does this feel? How does this feel?” And if you follow it feels good. You’re going to get to the right destination.

I want to thank you for listening. I want to send you all my love. I’m holding space for you to discover the right path for you. And I will see you again next week. Until then, follow your heart my friends. Take care.

If you enjoy this podcast, you have to check out the Vibrant Happy Women Club. It’s my monthly group coaching program where we take all this material to the next level and to get you the results that will blow your mind. Join me in the Vibrant Happy Women Club at jenriday.com/join.

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