An Open Letter to Moms Who’ve Been in the Trenches for a While
I see you. You’re exhausted. You’re trying so hard to “have it all together” like other moms seem to. You know, the “cute moms” who manage to stay fit and wear adorable clothes and whose kids are so well behaved.
And then there’s us. In the trenches, fighting the good fight against the chaos, which threatens to envelop our worlds if we don’t keep getting out of bed and engaging in the struggle just one more day.
I’m right there with you. My 6 kids seem to bounce instead of walk. Bouncing off walls and each other like pool balls, mostly destroying everything they touch.
And the noise. The NOISE. It’s enough to make a person feel ill sometimes.
But we keep plugging forward, right? One foot in front of the other.
Even if we mostly feel empty and depleted.
But there’s HOPE.
But let me give you the bad news first: you’re never going to be happy as long as your life is mainly a reaction to the chaos around you – as long as you’re playing defense instead of offense.
You heard me. This means you’ve got to grab the ball – despite the chaos – and start playing offense. TODAY.
Think for a moment about what you LOVE to do. The things that energize you. The things you’re passionate about.
I know, I know. It’s been awhile. Do you dare to dream that you can dust off those things you used to love doing? Perhaps it’s an instrument, or painting, or a business idea you thought about for a while. It could be a home decorating project, starting a book club or going running again.
You know exactly what it is, because the minute I mentioned it, you felt that age-old longing flare up. You remembered for a moment what it’s like to be feel like a person again and not just the mother of your children.
I'm curious: what's stopping you from doing something you LOVE – that makes you feel like a PERSON – right now?
But I’m swamped and have a mountain of laundry and I work outside of the home and my kids are in a bazillion activities. No way!
Nope. I reject that line of thinking.
It’s time to pull yourself out of that trench, stop playing defense, and start doing at least one thing you LOVE.
Doing something you love is so healing for your soul. It’s like an injection of joy. It’s like turning the light on after spending way too much time in a dark room.
You owe it to yourself to find out what's been missing and what can fill up that hollow feeling you've had inside.
And it only takes a few hours each week – just enough time to ensure you’re taking your “medicine” regularly and keeping the light in your soul burning brightly.
Before I learned the art of spending more time on things I love, I tried way to hard to be the “perfect mom.” I sacrificed all my time for my kids… baking homemade bread because that's what “good moms” do, spending too much time on household tasks and errands, sleeping too little, and feeling generally miserable.
I forgot to play offense. To recharge and refuel and to fill my soul with joy.
And that’s why I’m writing this post now. It's my life's mission to help all moms find greater meaning and balance and to do something they LOVE to do regularly. We need to refuel or we just run on empty. We need to get our sparkle back and keep it there!
By the way, I want you to know something important during this process of creating more time for what you love: YOUR KIDS WON'T SUFFER. They won’t feel neglected. In fact, they’ll develop some much-needed independence and personal creativity in the process.
They'll also notice more light in your eyes, more spring in your step. They’ll know they have a mom who respects and values herself, who has needs, desires, and boundaries. And when you build healthy boundaries and value yourself, your kids will have healthy boundaries and value themselves, too.
Moms, you can’t give your kids what you don’t have.
I repeat: you can’t give your kids what you don’t have.
You've tried to teach them the art of happiness and loving life, but do YOU really know the art of happiness and loving life? Really?
You only get one shot at life. And one shot at being a mom.
So make it amazing! And make sure you love it. And that your kids see you loving it!
Refuel and recharge by regularly doing one thing you LOVE. Get your sparkle back. Your mojo. Find that greater purpose and meaning. You were born to SHINE.
Today is the first day of the rest of your life. And I'd love to hear that you spent time TODAY doing something you absolutely love. It’s time to let go of perfectionism, and the “shoulds” and instead start doing what feels good to you.
This doesn’t mean you abandon your house to the chaos. It simply means you master the art of managing your time instead of allowing that chaos to manage you.
You decide exactly when you’re going to do the things that are important and the things you’re passionate about. And you put those things FIRST so you can make sure they happen. This is your sparkle we’re talking about – your inner light. It has to be your #1 priority.
And you know what? Your kids will thank you. The most important thing I learned when I hit that low point years ago is that the greatest gift you can give your family is your own happiness.
Start today. Do one thing you love. And keep doing it for the rest of your life.
With much love,
Dr. Jen Riday is a Women's Happiness Expert, mom of 6 and host of the Vibrant Happy Women Podcast and lives in the woods just outside of Madison, Wisconsin with her family. Join Jen for a free webinar which will teach you the art of creating 10 more hours of free time every week (and bonus: how to get your spouse and kids to do more at home!)
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Jen Riday is a mom of 6 and life coach who loves to help women experience massive happiness as they let go of stress, sadness or other chronic emotions of negativity.
Lost track of what makes you happy? This free video training will teach you how to implement the boundaries you need so you can feel happier.
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