Wife. Mom. Boss. Exhausted.
Have you ever seen sassy, empowered, THE-FUTURE-IS-FEMALE-AND-EVERYONE-ELSE-CAN-SUCK-IT-vibe shirts donned in public by a madam you just know wears matching underwear (THE GOLD STANDARD OF SUCCESS FOR TIRED MOMS EVERYWHERE) and wondered how she makes ALL of that happen? And then feel an overwhelming sense of guilt because you are lagging in the worst of ways?
Her child has five after-school activities, and you can barely manage your own sleep schedule. She manages to score cum laude marks towards attaining her Masters’ Degree and you struggle to figure out how your washing machine works. Her and her husband take amazing holidays together, sans kids, and you have to schedule a standing appointment to…uhm… “connect”… in your digital calendars. Your competition at work comes up with a brilliant idea bound to get her promoted, while you were fantasising about a minute alone in the bathroom without your toddler barging in to share what her imaginary friend has done.
Sigh. Mom/Wife/Boss guilt and exhaustion keep piling on.
How does she do it….?
The National Lockdown of 2020 tested me in many ways – career-wise, financially, physically, emotionally, psychologically, and educationally (?). I was registered for two subjects and super excited about it as well, not knowing that I would need to juggle my work, back-to-back meetings, studies, homeschooling, and the stresses of married life. I developed high blood pressure, lost weight (because I didn’t always make time to eat and was quite depressed), couldn’t sleep so I had to take medication for that on top of antidepressants, and generally drove my husband up the wall. How was this not happening to every person I know….? ‘They can’t be that good at hiding their drama’, I would think. To a certain extent, I felt relieved when I heard someone else had a similar experience. Misery loves company, they say. And boy, did I want company (but also desperately wanted to be alone).
What has changed since then…? I can honestly say, a lot.
But it all changed in me. I sought help. I asked for a different dosage of antidepressant and when that was ineffective, I went on completely different medication altogether. I began to meditate every day. I started spending 15 minutes, just 1%, of my day on myself. It felt like an easy way to get something done.
Positive visualising, affirmations, prayer, and just learning (or re-learning!) to BREATHE is the commitment and investment in YOU that no-one else can make happen. Commit to yourself and invest in your relationship with yourself. It is the best decision you can ever make. If there are deeper issues or any trauma you need to deal with, visit a social worker, pay a psychologist for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, go for Rapid Transformational Therapy, do “cry dates” with yourself (make a point to deal with emotions you might be suppressing by recreating the thoughts, feelings, physiological experience your body experienced when you went through an incident and CRY IT OUT, or watch a drama to inspire the waterworks), write out what you’re feeling and why (important note: burn these notes when you’re done!). Do any of these, so long as you FIND A WAY TO DO THE WORK.
I analysed, re-centered and fell in love with my purpose again: why I get up every day, what excites me, what drives me, what inspires me, why I keep going when I feel like I am spent. You cannot give what you don’t have. If you are not feeling love and respect and kindness for yourself, you will struggle to give it to someone else. Spending time alone, envisioning your bright future, recognising that you are love because you come from the Biggest Source of Love, and, very importantly, dealing with the tough stuff – letting go of past hurts, anger, pain, guilt, and everything else that hold you back – are vital in moving you forward.
Looking back on 2020, I realise that every bit of effort you put into changing the direction you are going in results in the life you live. You can show how much you appreciate your loved ones and use every opportunity to express passion and commitment for what you do, in tiny ways every day. Just like you do not recall a specific day you gave a plant tastier water than on another occasion, our relationships, love for ourselves and our children grow with every bit of work we do. Be certain of your “WHY”, your reason for being, and parade it proudly every day. Come from a place of love and the world will love you back. Start small so all the changes are not overwhelming for you. I KNOW YOU CAN DO IT.
Emotional work is challenging, and often draining, but knowing you can grow in ways that no-one can take away from you is absolutely liberating and truly empowering. You can still buy that “Mom. Wife. Boss.” shirt, but you can own it in an even more transformational way if you commit to embracing, loving, and growing yourself.