I spent this summer reflecting on why I was resisting moving forward with my career as a Life Coach. Did I doubt my ability to help people? No. Was I mistaken in thinking this was my passion? No. So what then??
I realized I was having an internal fight with my MOM identity. This has been how I have identified for the past 20+ years. I have great confidence in my abilities as a mom. I have four wonderful, well rounded, happy children who rely on me but are also developing great independent skills.
But I was still struggling with the idea of moving forward with a career when I have dedicated my life to raising my children! They mean everything to me…yet there was this gnawing need in me to create a new path. I was definitely grapplingwith mom guilt in a big way! This was self-imposed guilt and I had to figure out how to truly let it go.
I needed to accept that I could begin identifying as BOTH a mom and a life coach/ business woman. I needed to redefine my identity so there was space for me to authentically enjoy the feeling ofhaving a new purpose in my life. I needed to accept that these changes were not harmful to my children and I needed to believe that I had the right to change. Here’s what I have learned and am doing to make those needs come to fruition…
Good riddance to the Supermom Cape!!
Moms in our society often feel the pressure of the Supermom stereotype. We live in a world where we are judged as either a “good” mom or “bad” mom. The perceptions are that good moms are those who sacrifice EVERYTHING for their family and bad ones are those who selfishly do less than for theirs. This black or white dichotomy is both ridiculous and wildly untrue. But I, admittedly, bought into this hook, line and sinker!
I now recognize that I have been using this belief as a “legitimate” way to avoid giving myself to the pursuit of my career in any genuine way. I have continually fallen back on my need to “put my family first”. I believed on some level that if I selfishly took care of my needs I was somehow neglecting my “real” responsibilities! If I am being honest, I have considered my career almost like a hobby to my actual job as mother. Well, now I am ready to be a “good-enough” mother and pour myself into successfully fulfilling my calling as a life coach!
Giving 85% instead of 110% isn’t going to kill my children!
So what does a “good-enough” mom look like? Well, my apartment is definitely a little messier and more disorganized! Dishes and laundry pile up, my children have more chores (which don’t always get done), and we’ve had a lot more sandwiches than ever before. In other words, I have let go of the air of perfection. I know this letting go of control was critical!
I take time for my work now. My chore list has to be shorter than my work list. I shut myself away from my family’s questions, requests and needs. I insist on continuing my work, when I have scheduled time for it, until it’s completion. And in the process I think my children are developing some great independent and creative skills as they are encouraged to find solutions to challenges I would have solved for them in the past.
Another big part of being a Supermom is the illusion that multitasking is our superpower! I have been known to fold laundry, while cooking dinner, while helping with math homework, while texting, while listening to teenaged relationship woes and answering with the appropriate “uh-huh’s” all while silently creating my to-do list for tomorrow! How exhausting! And I know I am not alone in this.
But, I argue that in fact multitasking is a mom’s nemesisnot her super power. The quieter and more mindful I have become, the more I realize that spending time on any one thing, whether it be washing dishes or listening to how the school day went, or finding time to write, is where all the power and happiness is. Being present allows us to be truly focused on a person, task or situation.
So I have learned the power of trueattention. With my family and friends this translates into true connection. The time I give them now is so much more meaningful. In a short time our relationships have strengthened deeply. And with tasks this translates into a deeper and more fulfilling experience for me. I am able to concentrate better and give my all to that one job.
I cannot love others if I don’t take care of me first!
And most importantly, I have come to understand that if I am not following my path and doing what I love I am of no use to anyone else in my family, in the long run. Eventually that gnawing feeling would catch up to me and cloud everything I was doing with resentment and anger. My dreams have to matter to me. If I believe they are important then I am accepting just how important I am. By choosing to follow my passion I am choosing to love myself.
And if there is one lesson I have learned on my journey it’s that I cannot love others until I first love myself.
So, for this reason alone I was compelled to throw down my cape, roll up my sleeves (in my dirt-filled home) and start creating this life I have imagined for myself since I was a little girl. It was time to trust that everyone who I care about would be okay if I do the work I felt I was meant to do. I am happy to report that so far my children are okay with “good enough” mom.