- Life sucks sometimes, but there are ways to counteract and power through.
- Relationships are key.
- Self- care is essential to motherhood.
Life is fantastic. But sometimes, life sucks.
I often think about how much resilience it takes to be a parent – mom or dad. Truth be told, I’ve had to practice a lot of resilience lately. I had a tough season filled with uncertainty and heartache in what seemed like every avenue of my life.
I especially admire resilience in other people. Recently, I was hanging out with my parents, family, and a friend. We were sitting outside talking when a very personal subject came up in the conversation. My sister represented one side of an experience while our friend represented the exact opposite experience. There was no argument or conflict as both women spoke about their different stories. But listening to each of them describe their struggles proved one point to me: neither of these ladies let their trials and tribulations define them. Did they have moments where they lost it? Yes, they sure did! Did they overcome the loathing feelings of inadequacy? Absolutely! They both credited their resilience with the love that their parents instilled. (This is so powerful, friends – to know that our example of powering through tough times is being observed and recorded by our children.) Had my parents allowed my sister to set up camp in her negative space, she may have had a very different outlook on her life.
Watching and listening to my sister struck a tender chord in my heart. I remembered how she went through one particular struggle when we were kids. How I’ve witnessed her strength and her grit! Just to give you some sense of what I mean, here’s a great story about her:
My sister hated high school. She wanted to transfer, so she tried to fail out. Our father made her a deal: if she got straight A’s, she could transfer. In one marking period, my sister went from failing to excelling in three months. This is what I call remarkable resilience. My sister relied on herself to make a change while never putting “stock” into what people thought of her. She continues to thrive today, even at work, where she’s in a very male-dominated field – and she holds her ground. I am her biggest fan, and I cannot wait to see what my sister does next!
This remarkable resilience – what I saw my sister develop in high school and through her struggles – is what I hope that my daughter will have one day. It is grasping inevitable challenges with grit and a sense of self.
When I look back, there are two things I saw my sister do to get through those pain points in her life, and how she cared for herself through challenging moments. I practice these in my own life as well:
1 – Ladies, you need a squad
Finding your squad,’ while definitely a Taylor Swift reference, are one of the tools I use to find resilience in tough seasons. Go ahead – find people who will cheer you on through tough times. Seek friends, family, colleagues – a strong group who will just let you talk; who will pull you out from your black cloud; and who will rejoice in you — no matter the season.
We tend to isolate ourselves when we start to see the horizon of a calamity heading our way. It’s our human nature to want to separate and try to conquer trials all on our own. But this urge to isolate ourselves is harmful. As moms, we need a safe place – a community – where we can be accountable to each other, find encouragement, and seek counsel through each other’s nuggets of experiences.
2 – And you also need a break.
We all work ourselves a little too hard, but we need balance. We need an outlet. That is whatever you want it to be. Take a minute for yourself…truly for yourself. You earned it, and you deserve it! For me, I workout. It makes me feel strong, and I like to know that no one could do for my body what a workout can do for it. Working out also gives my brain a break. Simply put, changing your physical state often leads to changing your emotional state.
Giving myself breaks taught me to honor my time. This is the biggest value. If that means a five-minute walk to the corner and back while focusing on breathing… DO IT. Leave the dishes for the morning or ask someone to do them for you. Don’t worry about the laundry – it can wait. That looming email in your inbox? Leave it alone. Leave all of it – even the guilt – behind. Take care of you…you can’t give from an empty vessel.
Finding your squad and honoring your time seems simple, but it’s easier said than done. We’ve seen too many times our bodies, our mental health, our emotions, and our spirit get broken down because we refuse to engage in the simplicity of doing what matters. I can tell you now – relationships matter. As parents, and especially as mothers, we must find people to connect and relate to if only to lift the burden of our souls for a little time. And honoring our time and taking much-needed breaks gives our hearts breathing room to live and find joy in the micro-moments of our lives.
I hope these two tools will help you find that joy and peace we all yearn for and need. Leave me a comment and let me know how you have overcome challenges and the tools you’ve used to jumpstart your resilience! I would love to hear from you!