WHO ARE YOUR CHEERLEADERS?
Do your children really know what mommy is feeling and what makes you tick? In particular, what makes “Mommy’s Soul on Fire?” Stick with me here for a second. First, think about this. We live in a day and age where, arguably, everything seems to be about our kids. Are they getting enough sleep, nutrition, Vitamin D, milk, exercise? In addition, is this too much screen time, are they stimulated enough, will they be bullied, do they have friends, are they being a friend? And we haven’t even started in on the millions of pieces of advice from every Pam, Sue, and Karen (versus Tom, Dick and Harry) who give unsolicited and typically pointless advice!!
Now, let’s move back to you. Do your children really know what gives you the feels?
To clarify, I’m not necessarily talking about the feeling you get when your children are unloading the dishwasher without being asked. To be honest, my initial feeling on this kind act? Dread. Too often, even though I am a positive person in general, my mind goes to dread.
As in, they are unloading the dishwasher without being told because the ball they were throwing smacked the tv and cracked the screen. This seemingly “kind act” is to lighten the mood before we notice.
Maybe it is anxiety over the fact I have not looked at their behavior chart from school today, so what really happened before recess?
Conversely, it is just a butter up technique to schedule yet another social event with their twenty closest friends on a night you have 47 other things planned. I know… I know… there maybe needs to be an intervention to get me out of negative town.
However, even if this is truly just a kind gesture from a sweet child giving you all the feels, it’s not ALL the feels. A soaring sense of pride? Yes. A check in moment with yourself that you ARE in fact doing something right, even when it might not feel like it in the daily throes of motherhood defeat? Sure.
I’m actually talking about the moment you do something for yourself and you know it’s exactly where you are supposed to be. You know the moment…. the one where you know it’s exactly what you should be doing.
IN MY SOUL
What is this moment for you?
Is it writing? Going for a run and hitting a personal record you have been trying to hit for years? Walking out of a meeting which confirms your non-profit is finally getting off the ground? Seeing your name on the screen as the speaker for a conference? A well-deserved promotion at work? Your great idea being put into action at your job? An encouraging conversation with a fellow mom in the Target line where you know you made a difference? Landing the deal your predecessor could not and you swooped in and nailed it?
There are billions of things women are doing to make their hearts beat a little faster. Their smile spread a little wider. Maybe, let’s be honest, a little smugger (HELL YEAH GIRL!). Even a click in their heels in a jump of excitement over an accomplishment. Hello?!?!?! Mommy’s Soul on Fire!! Picture what that moment feels like for you right now. Do it. Right now. What is it? Say it out loud.
And guess what? It doesn’t have to involve our children. There I said it. Shock, awe, horror, and blasphemy fills the room!!! I’m a mother, and yes, I, for the most part, enjoy the title. I tend to think I’m a pretty decent one at times, a mediocre one some, and even suck periodically.
But here’s the thing. Your life cannot revolve entirely around the human you brought into this world or who has been placed into your care. Of course, they are a HUGE part of it. Let’s not downplay this responsibility or joy. If you are, then you’re missing my point. But are they your ONLY life? No. At the age of eighteen (or somewhere near there), I hope your expectation is you have prepared them for their own life. Afterward, what happens to you?
PURPOSE- THE FIRE
I struggled for years to find what lit my soul on fire after having children. Truth be told, running through the motions of day-to-day was fine for a while. I felt accomplished in both career and child-rearing. To be fair, maybe Mommy’s Soul WAS on Fire. But then at some point, I started to question who I was any more. Generally, I do not know anyone who has not hit this point somewhere on their journey. It was not and is not a unique feeling, yet it can be very lonely and maybe even a bit bleak. Correct, you aren’t crazy. Even surrounded by tiny humans, life can feel lonely. #weird
There will likely be moments in life where you do not have the hit-me-in-the-face, mommy’s soul on fire, personal passion. For clarity, I’m not saying you are not passionate about your children, their lives, and your life as a spouse or partner. However, in the daily throes of the kids as babies, then toddlers, eventually elementary kids, intermediary school adolescents, and finally high school hormonal beings, I can assure you…. losing yourself at least once, likely multiple times throughout, will be inevitable.
In this space, you have to have a mindset of bringing yourself back to you. Not…
CARPOOL MOM YOU
NEGOTIATOR MOM YOU
MEAL IN MINUTES MOM YOU
The soul on fire YOU who has a passion for something outside of your family. Particularly, an identity which is truly your own.
MOMMY’S SOUL ON FIRE
For the most part, I absolutely believe we all know this. But here’s the kicker. We have to hear it often to tell ourselves it is okay to BELIEVE it. What?!?! Yep. Too often, our self-doubt or the outside forces of guilt on what motherhood should be influence what we allow ourselves to believe we can do. Allow that to sink in for a minute. And repeat: Too often, our self-doubt or the outside forces of guilt on what motherhood should be influence what we allow ourselves to believe we can do.
What are some of the beliefs surrounding you which are not allowing you to live out your purpose? It can feel selfish, for instance, to want something for ourselves outside of family needs. This is especially true if you were raised in an environment to think family needs are fully a woman’s responsibility. (Girl, don’t get me started!) Or maybe you were raised in a more cohesive team environment where parents split the duties of a household, but you now have moms surrounding you, who completely disagree with this thought process. (Can I get a witness?!?!?) These are two examples of A MILLION different scenarios we find ourselves in as mothers.
Accordingly, if we surround ourselves with people who also believe in the importance of bringing yourself back to YOU, we have powerful teammates in the daily struggle. Who’s on your team? Who’s in your huddle? Similarly, what if you gave yourself the grace to believe it was okay to be a mother AND have a purpose? (this is where I would normally put a mind-blown emoji in a text, for the record!!)
CHEERLEADERS FOR MOMMY’S SOUL ON FIRE
Let’s look at this another way. Tell your kids what your passion is. While that statement may have been a bit like ripping off the proverbial bandaid, stick with me here.
When your child has a wonderful day and cannot wait to tell you the amazing story of how they were picked first on the playground for freeze tag, are you not happy for them? Your child makes the seventh-grade basketball team after an intense elimination process, you tell them how proud you are of their accomplishment. The countless artistic masterpieces on your fridge? You have made them feel like a young Picasso with your compliments. Success on the SAT test? Hello Ruth’s Chris, celebratory dinner out!
On the other hand, why do we not expect this same encouragement and cheerleading from our own children to ourselves? What are we teaching them about following their dreams and life’s mission if, firsthand, we are not being an example?
Do your kids know what lights Mommy’s Soul on Fire? Are you sharing when you have wins and losses in your life’s work? If you answered no, please for a moment, flip the script.
Instead of continuously wearing the hat of provider for your children, think of the uninhibited passion, curiosity, and unlimited potential of a child’s thinking. We could all use a little more of this type of encouragement in our lives. As in, those tiny humans hanging on you one minute while seemingly the next wanting you to drop them off a block away to not embarrass them? YES, those are the ones I’m referring to. They can or dare I say should be your biggest advocates. Subsequently, the cheerleaders you didn’t know you needed just yesterday. However, it begins by letting them in on your secret. Your dream. Your passion. What lights Mommy’s Soul on Fire and gives you a sense of purpose.
I told my sons recently I wanted to start writing. Not journal writing or notes for school writing. But rather, writing to light my own soul on fire. Writing for a purpose to share my own thoughts which I think will help people, specifically other working moms. Consequently, my sons went to school the next day and told their teachers, “Mom is now an author and writing a book.” So guess what? I now have to be an author. First off, because it DOES light my soul on fire. More importantly, because my kids said so of course!
To summarize, go be the best version of yourself today. Furthermore, let your kids know why you are shining so bright this evening! I believe in you, and so do they.
[Motherhood is] the biggest gamble in the world. It is the glorious life force. It’s huge and scary- it’s an act of infinite optimism. –Gilda Radner