I know that terrible feeling you're experiencing….for me it was like sinking into quicksand.
You never get the sleep you need. Your body aches. It seems you can never get anything done, because something – or someone – always interrupts you.
And you think, “How can I, as a mother, have the right to say no?”
I know that’s how I often felt, which, triggered feelings of fear, nervousness and anxiety, and a deep, unbearable sense of inadequacy.
Even if the words you would use to describe it are different, it’s what I hear over and over from moms.
I’m here to give you some hope. When I was dealing with two newborns and an 18-month-old toddler, I felt lost. And then, my personal friend and teacher Jerry Colonna – coach to some of the world’s most successful CEOs and entrepreneurs – shared with me one magically simple concept that saved my life!
He told me to utter the words, “I wish I could, but I can’t.”
It helped me accept the fact that I simply had to say no to things: the friend who wants to come visit, a relative who wants to travel from far away to see the new babies. Expectations and pressures that surrounded and suffocated me from the outside… and worse, from the inside. My expectations about always being a “good” mother were my own worst enemy.
At some point in our lives, we learn that it’s not safe to be who we are, that there are pieces of us we shouldn’t bring into the world, for fear of being disliked, rejected or of losing the love of the people we care about most.
Motherhood is such a profound, radical transformation that it forces us to confront our beliefs. It shows what masks we are wearing everyday in the world, and with ourselves, for fear of being who we truly are.
But by learning to say, “I wish I could, but I can’t” and by confronting the fear of breaking free of the expectations and pressure we put upon ourselves, we are then able to open up to the full experience of motherhood. It helps us to find new meaning in our lives as connected, less divided humans.
By doing that, we serve the people that we want to serve – our children and loved ones – so much better. The parent who is fully present as a real person is connecting deeply with kids, because kids find that parent safe.
Would you like to learn about my journey to mindfulness, as a working mom of three and how you too can gain your mental wellbeing back? Check my story and 5-step Guide to Becoming a Mindful Mom here!