Starting a family changes you on a cellular level. Something that I did not anticipate when my son was born. I was sure I’d bounce right back to my usual speed of 90 MPH in no time. Just with a baby in tow – no big deal. It didn’t take me long to figure out that I wasn’t going to fit in the remodeling project and clean out my closets during my maternity leave as I’d originally planned! When my daughter was born three years later, I didn’t even make a ‘to do’ list for my time at home because at that point, a successful day consisted of taking a shower AND getting food on the table. Am I right??
While I loved most things about raising my children when they were young, I realized over time that I was ever-so-slowly starting to lose myself. Life had gone into reactive mode. I saw my friends less. I went to fewer yoga classes. I couldn’t tell you the last book I read! Guess what that all translated to? One crabby mom. And a crabby wife, if you ask my husband when I’m not looking.
On one of our rare cabin weekends when the kids were 2 and 5, I went on a kayak ride. It was another one of those things I loved doing pre-kids, but I barely had time for since. On this particular afternoon, I really needed to go somewhere where no one could bother me. The middle of a lake sounded like a safe spot. As I paddled out and found my meditative rhythm, I started thinking…something HAS to change! I was working full-time. Trying to be this “perfect” mom. Trying to maintain a “perfect” house. And it wasn’t working. I’d find myself on the weekends organizing and cleaning and then feeling guilty for not playing more with the kids. And that led to negative self-talk. It was an unhealthy cycle.
At this point, I had stopped paddling. I’d made it to the middle of the lake, and the sun had set. I noticed my husband waving me in from the dock, but I wasn’t ready to come in. I gave a quick wave of my paddle but didn’t move. As I watched him walk back in the cabin, probably to some hangry kids, I just sat in my kayak taking in the silent breeze and singing loons. What could I possibly do to break the cycle I was in? And then it hit me – I need help and support. I don’t have to figure out everything on my own. So simple, yet it profoundly changed my life.
Fast forward a month later, I had started attending a class that focused on self-compassion, protecting your energy and making choices to serve your highest good. I had also hired a high-schooler in need of some pocket cash to come over to the house four nights a week for one hour after dinner to put our food away, wash our dishes, sweep, vacuum…whatever I needed her to do, so that after the kids were in bed, and my husband and I could fall onto the couch and catch up on Netflix! By finding the support I needed and focusing on my mental and spiritual health, my kids had a much calmer and happier mom.
Here are a few benefits of my self-care journey:
· Practicing self-care and being loving and gentle toward ourselves helps us to be more present and calm, so we can respond wisely, intuitively and effectively to a variety of circumstances.
· Nurturing ourselves makes us naturally feel more loving, which makes us better friends, partners, parents and more fun to be around!
· By filling our cups first, we tend to feel more generous and can avoid building resentments toward others who demand our energy and time.
I’ll be facilitating a Personal Renewal Workshop at Blooma, a two-hour group life-coaching program for women at all stages of life. Topics will include the transformative power of self-care, managing your energy, saying “no,” and asking for help. It will provide the opportunity to connect, relate and learn from other women, plus give you the time and space to connect with yourself and access your own inner wisdom through soul-searching journaling exercises. The goal of the workshop is to have you leave feeling renewed and motivated to use self-care techniques to cultivate your own practice at home.
Shoma Hokanson is a certified life coach and Renée Trudeau & Associates-Trained Personal Renewal Group Facilitator. She recently opened Solera Self-Care to bring experiences and events focused on self-care to others who are ready to cultivate a practice or simply take a break from the daily grind.
Visit her website at www.soleraselfcare.com and follow her on Facebook at Solera Self-Care and Instagram @soleraselfcare.