Have you ever felt completely overwhelmed thinking about all the things you think you should be doing in your life that you’re not? Keeping the house organized, making more money, being more involved at church, working out, teaching your kids how to be more self-sufficient, writing a book, cooking healthy meals (these are some of mine)… The list can go on and on.
A few weeks ago, I hit a breaking point. I was in Las Vegas at a speaking conference, eating lunch with a couple of women who were also attending. The topic of parenting came up, which happened to be a sensitive topic for me at the time. I was really struggling to create consistent boundaries with my daughter, which resulted in some serious tantrums right before I left on my trip. The two ladies were giving me some great parenting advice on creating boundaries with my daughter and I was starting to feel safe enough to open up to them. I told them my daughter recently yelled she hated me and I was dumb while slamming the door to her room during a time-out. Thinking it was a safe space to share this and hoping to get some encouragement back, one of the ladies replied, “My daughter’s never said those things to me.”
Feeling embarrassed and ashamed for sharing my experience, I turned my back to her as she got up from the table to go get dessert. As I faced the other lady, I couldn’t help myself as the floodgates erupted from the depths of my soul. I apologized profusely to this other kind woman as I covered my face full of tears. She comforted me and put me at ease as she shared how it wasn’t easy being a parent. She said it was the hardest, yet most rewarding role. I told her how overwhelmed I felt at trying to do it all, like I should be doing it all better, and how, over time, the stress and pressure of it all has gotten to me. Honestly, I had no idea where all of that emotion came from or that it was even there. It must have built up little by little over time and my body couldn’t hold it in any longer.
My mom, who invited me to the speaking conference, came over to the table and saw me crying. Because of the look of concern on her face, I filled her in on what was going on. She began telling me to start reading or listening to Parenting With Love and Logic books because as mommies, we want to fix our children’s pain. In that moment, while I knew she was offering solid advice, I wanted permission to be sad and to be able to admit I was having a challenging time figuring it all out. I told my mom I was going to our room to collect myself for a bit and that I would meet up with her later. I needed a time-out. So I went up to the room and I gave myself permission to feel, cry, relax, pray, process, write, and be alone with myself. I knew given enough time and space I would be given the guidance and peace I needed to take the next best step.
A little bit later, my mom came to the room to check on me. I told her while I appreciated her advice, I didn’t want her to fix it. I only wanted her to be there for me. She understood and we took a break from some of the conference to spend some quality time together.
Since being home, I’ve implemented boundaries with Ellie and, so far, I’ve been staying consistent with them. To be frank, it’s not easy, but neither is anything worth doing. The results have been life-changing for our little family! I feel a weight lifted because, for me, if things aren’t right with my family, nothing else matters. It’s a constant work in progress, but such is life.
I would love to know…
What area of your life has caused you stress and what action did you take to improve it?
You can count on this place to be free from judgment and filled with encouragement because we are all doing the best we can to try to figure out this thing called life. Looking forward to learning from your experience.
Thank you for spending time with me today! Onward, Upward, and Blessings!
PS – Calling all group leaders and members— I’m fired up to come speak to you! If you’re looking to inspire, challenge, and encourage a group, company, or church you’re a part of, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Excited to hear from you!
PPS- Looking forward to speaking at the Preston Rd. Church of Christ MOPS on Friday, Head for the Cure’s Survivor lunch on Saturday and LifeMom’s at LifeAustin Church on Monday!
PPPS- Special thanks to Allison for the photograph http://www.photographybyalison.com/