You Don’t Have to Choose Between Success & Your Soul
It was 2014 and I was lying in bed in the middle of the afternoon in the same breast milk stained shirt I’d been wearing for two days. There were dirty diapers on the floors and dirty dishes filling my bedside table and on the bed. Marshall was starting to fuss and I could feel my anxiety starting to rise, wondering if this was going to be another 3 hour meltdown where I couldn’t decipher what was wrong or calm him down.
And then I got a text from a friend that just about broke me… “Babe I just wanted to let you know that some of us are going to Bali next week, and we just assumed you couldn’t come, but I wanted to let you know. We wish you could come!”
Was this what it was going to be like for the rest of my life? All my childless friends darting off to fabulous places while I quickly became a depressed, overweight, joyless, milk machine?
I was only 29 and I felt like my youth was stolen from me.
Marshall started crying harder, I cried with him. I just sobbed and sobbed. I grieved my life, I grieved that I resented my child. I grieved the body I had before the massive weight gain, stretch marks and saggy boobs. I grieved my marriage that was in shambles, I grieved my friends who seemed to have moved on.
I could see my future life in that moment…
Me: Grumpy, resentful, lifeless, devoted to my kids happiness but not my own … a body that is unhealthy and unloved…snappy, yells all the time and a total martyr … I could just see me yelling at my ungrateful teenager, “do you know what I gave up for you!!??” … jealous of my adult kids for having an adventurous, freedom filled life … jealous of my daughters bodies … jealous of my kids wealth and the businesses they grew.
My kids: Trying harder to fulfill my dreams than their own … tiptoeing around me afraid to set me off … guilty for being happy, for wanting to explore the world … trying to be good so I’ll be happy, but secretly binge drinking and cutting to blow off steam from their tense household.
My husband: Checked out and more like a visitor and less like a parent … no sense of responsibility or belonging in our family, how could he? I just take over and make him feel inferior … going to work at the hospital and feeling a sense of relief to be needed … noticing himself looking at the nurses more, wondering what it would be like … but just pushing the thought away, feeling the deep grief that he may never have sex again, as I have become completely shut down, maybe next lifetime.
I came back to myself on the bed with my baby…
Why do women choose to have kids? Why would we willingly walk into this jail of misery and servitude? Not only ruining our lives, but everyone else’s in the process – all because I really believed that a Good Mom stays put, stays small, stays frumpy, stays devoted to her children’s dreams and forgets her own.
Pause: this is important. What my hell looks like could be your idea of heaven. This is not about “staying at home” vs. “working mom”. That is an old false binary meant to pit women against each other. What I am talking about is our own internal “shoulds” vs what we WANT. Let’s continue…
I started to question it all, is this model working?
Women giving up their life for their kids?
Being expected to say “here, my life is yours.”
No. NO! I thought. My life is MINE!! IT’S FUCKING MINE!!
7 years later, I’m sitting here at the SoHo house in Miami on a spontaneous solo getaway. Jonathan just got back from a 5 day trip to climb Mount Whitney, the tallest peak in the US. He landed late Tuesday night, held space for me to have a massive meltdown, we had incredible sex and then I got on a 6am flight Wednesday morning.
I didn’t leave him a single note, list or meal. In fact I left the house a total mess and the fridge virtually empty. My nanny got the kids on the bus and is sending me photos of my 3 happy kids. They miss me, I miss them.
I’m staying at a fabulous hotel that I booked on points from my own business that is currently supporting over a thousand clients all over the world.
I’m the healthiest I’ve been since having my first baby, and I wore a super hot sequined mini dress to dinner last night with some girlfriends.
This morning I greeted the sun, danced in the sand and communed with Mama Ocean, feeling deeply connected to nature and the Great Mother.
My life is mine.
(Remember, there is no one definition of freedom. What I want has nothing to do with what you want. You may be on an airplane four days a week for work because you feel like you have to make money for your family, but secretly you wish you could be an artist and bake pies with your kids every day. Listen to that. There is no one way to have a life. There is only Your way to have a life, and I want you to start looking at why you think you can’t have it.)
I have created a life that is Mine. Not free of problems or pain, but it is mine. I have complete freedom. I feel sexy. I love my work. I love being a Mom and think my kids are the coolest humans on the planet. I’m obsessed with my husband. I have incredible friends who I fly to see all over the country.
And you know what?
It’s my experience that my kids feel complete freedom to be themselves and express their emotions freely (for better or worse). They dance to the beat of our own drum and fill our house with their inventions, plays and make believe games.
My husband is fulfilled, a true co-parent and chasing his own dreams. The kids go to him when they have skinned knees, he manages 87% of the household stuff, he worships the ground I walk on, and me his.
We are having the best sex of our lives. This is a very.big.deal.
Of course shit still goes wrong, and we have not “arrived” at any sort of made up milestone, but life is nothing like that waking nightmare I had 7 years ago.
Because I looked at the “rules” straight in the eyes and said, “no fucking way”. I will not hand over my life to others. My life is mine, and I’m going to live it.
And what’s amazing is that living my life has only allowed my children and my husband to fully live theirs.
They didn’t need me to give up my life for them to be happy. They needed me to be happy, to be happy.
I’m sharing this with you because I want you to see what’s possible for you.
I believe that you can have complete freedom to live your life and be a Mother.
Not only is it possible, I believe it is necessary for the well being of our children, our partners, our community and the planet.
So my love, is your life yours? Do you have the life you want? Are you living out all of your wildest dreams?
In Whole Woman we address the logistics, mindset & manifesting needed to reclaim your life after losing it to children, work or a relationship. Enrollment is open until October 25th and when you join now you get access to my new class “How to teach your kids about Magic”. Join at wholewoman.me.
Your Life is Yours.
I love you and I got you,
Simple actions to take your life back, know your worth & feel alive no matter how drained, overwhelmed and far gone you feel.