I knew I had to share this episode as I heard more and more coaching clients tell me how much they appreciated hearing me say that I don’t always enjoy my kids, that I was a mom martyr, that pregnancy was hard. I keep hearing how much it matters to hear that they aren’t alone in these struggles of motherhood.
In this episode I am talking about:
- Feeling like you aren’t ‘normal’
- Welcoming the resistance you might feel to the idea that you aren’t alone
- What I have seen in coaching groups of women and moms
- The struggles I have in my own home, maybe you have them too
- Sibling rivalry
- Having compassion for ourselves allows us to have it for others
- Being honest about our struggles
- Allowing people in, and offering support to others
Stop by the Facebook community group or send me a message through Instagram.
View this post on Instagram
The list of links you might like/mentioned in this post:
Permission to grieve (having a parent with dementia)
My C-Section and the feelings I was ashamed to admit I had
The Baby That Always Cried (Our Story With Esophagitis)
When I realized I didn’t enjoy my kids
The Sibling Rivalry podcast episode that changed my whole mindset around parenting
Full Episode Transcript (unedited)
Hey friends, it’s Shawna, your nerdy girlfriend and life coach from simple purpose.ca. Welcome to the salon purpose podcast. If you are a regular listener, you may have noticed I did not have an episode out last week. And I just thank you for your graciousness in me taking that break.
If you are in the simple on purpose Facebook community group, you know why that I took that break, I had spent the weekend before at my parents house. And we were decluttering, this room in that house that was just stuffed full of boxes, and scrapbooking supplies and pictures and writings. And this isn’t unusual for my childhood home to have boxes of stuff, particularly a room of boxes of stuff. And this was just a process that we as a family had been planning on doing. Since my mother went into care in December with dementia, we knew that we wanted to start addressing these areas in the house that were built up that we could just kind of sort through it, see what’s there, start honoring what’s there and just makes use of the space a little bit better.
So I went with my siblings and my dad and we went through things box by box item by item, it was a lot of sorting, I would definitely put an emphasis on the ability to sort is key to good decluttering. But it was also hard. It was also healing, it was hard it brought us together, I think. And you know, that’s just something that I felt like I had a lot in my head a lot in my heart. And I just wanted to take last week off and give myself the space to unpack that on my own. Without adding more to my plate.
You might also know that I work a couple of days a week with the local health authority. And then I have coaching in school on top of that, that I also do. So my weeks do feel very full. I do feel like my simple slow life has definitely been up ended a little bit this year for a lot of very purposeful things that I want to be working on.
Anyways, if you want to message me privately, if you are wondering about decluttering if you’re wondering also about having a parent with dementia, and you have specific questions on that, I’m thinking about maybe doing an episode on that if people have questions. So just message me if you do, you can find me on Instagram at simple on purpose.ca. And if you’re on the simple Saturdays, email, just hit reply to any email. And it’ll come right back to me to send your message there.
Today I want to talk about an issue that I feel like is under the surface for a lot of us, but we maybe are unaware of it. And if we are aware of it, we’re not quite sure what to do with it. And that’s the issue of feeling like we’re really alone in things, especially in motherhood.
When I started my blog 10 years ago, I had just had my first son and it was an emergency C section. And I was looking for to talk to people about it. Like, I felt so many feelings about it. And I wanted to talk to someone who’d been there and I couldn’t really find anyone I was there wasn’t much in terms of support groups online, some Yahoo groups that you could sift through back in that time, but there wasn’t really anywhere where I was reading, and connecting with someone who I felt like they understood how I was feeling all of the feelings. And one of the public health nurses I was working with who work they work with mums in the community when someone has a baby. And she just recommended to me Why don’t you just write about it. So I wrote about it. And I posted it on the original blog, way back in the day.
And then about less than two years later, I was searching for stories about how to deal with reflux and colic because my second baby my daughter, born 16 months later had those issues and, and once again, I was looking for information on that. And then you know, as motherhood goes along, and all of the demands of children go along, I started looking for marriage advice. I started reading books, I started going to counseling, I just realized I was constantly looking for a place to get support.
And in these past 10 years that I’ve essentially been online in some way. I’ve had so many emails from moms of all ages and all stages, who send me messages that are like thank you thank you for writing this because I deal with it too. And I have friendships with a lot of moms. I have coached many moms from all over the world. And if there’s one thing I want to just like blast out to everybody is that I want you to know, even if you don’t believe it, just hear me out that you aren’t alone.
You aren’t alone in what you’re going through. You You weren’t alone if you are yelling at your kid and then feeling bad about it, or if you wonder if you’re doing it wrong and you feel stressed every day. If you wonder if your kids are normal because they have tantrums and struggles if you’re wondering if you are normal for just constantly being Low key angry at your husband for well breathing and on one hand I want to say like what is even normal, because this is your life and this is happening. So this is what is your normal, this is what is real, this is what you have to work with. Secondly, I don’t know, maybe you have some depression that needs attention. Maybe you do have a kid with special needs or a neurodiverse. Kid, maybe you are in need of putting healing into your marriage, I don’t know, maybe.
But what matters even more, is the one thing I want you to know. Because I know it’s true from seeing the insides of women’s lives. What matters more is that you know that you aren’t alone. And if we can maybe entertain that this is a possibility that you are not the only one who has gone through this and will go through it.
And I do not say this to belittle what you’re going through. Because your suffering is real. It is real. But I say it to help you take off that blanket of shame you might feel where you really think you are alone. Because we have a lot of shame and embarrassment, over what we tell ourselves shouldn’t be happening. We’ve built up this big mental drama about how other people have figured it out. Their life is so much easier, their life is better. I must be doing it wrong. And it’s all so heavy. And it is shame and shame makes us hide. So when we hide, and we try to just manage it, it keeps us isolated. And that keeps us reinforcing that we are alone. Do you see that it’s a cycle. We believe we’re alone, we withdraw, we isolate, we stay alone.
And for some of us, there’s two things going on. One is that feeling like I just want someone to talk to I just want some support on that inside. But the outside is a full time job of maintaining that image that we think we need to maintain that okay, things are fine, yet things are fine. The kids are fine, the marriage is fine, I’m fine, it’s fine, we’re fine. We’re all fine. We’re not fine, guys.
And I think the more that we can say that to one another, the more we can be that voice that says You aren’t alone, you aren’t alone.
You know, I drafted this whole episode. And I wasn’t even going to share this episode, I got in my head about it. I was doubting it from every angle possible. Because I know what I’m saying what I will say is going to take some of you off, some of you do not like hearing that you aren’t alone. Some of you have a lot of resistance to hearing me say that. And I want you to know I hold space for that for you feeling that way. And I respect you for hearing me out as I impact this and just staying open to it a little bit.
For the year of 2020, I had a group program where I coached women from all over the world every week. And if you are listening, and you were one of my ladies, he lope a friend. And I got to know them and the names of their kids and what their kids were like, and I got to know their hearts and I loved it so much. And as I was coaching, something was happening, something like warm and magical. There was this camaraderie forming. Because even though these were women at different stages and parenting in different countries in different cultures, and here they are getting coaching on things like how they hate when their house is dirty, or how they struggle with one high needs kid or how they struggle with perfectionism and an inner critic.
And along those conversations, what’s happening in the chat? Is this conversation of me too. Or I hear you, or I’m so glad I’m not alone. So glad I’m not the only one or I went through that too when my kids were smaller, and even issues not related to children just like yeah, me too.
And I think if you’re on Instagram, if you’re on social media, seeing these comments can almost feel canned. They can almost feel insincere. And I think it’s really disappointing, that that’s what it’s become like you aren’t alone, girl. I’m with you on that. I feel you on that. But when you’re in it, and you are listening to another mom, woman share her story and her heart. I believe those comments are the truest extension of sisterhood of solidarity that there is.
This is why I believe we need to be more honest, we need to be more open about what our struggles are so that we can allow that that situation to happen where someone else gets to say, you weren’t alone.
And this is why I believe so strongly that it takes a village in motherhood. Because even if my mom friends don’t have the carbon copy experience of what I have in my home, they have some very similar situation situations, they can relate. They can tell me it gets better. They can tell me what’s worked for them. And you know, if that’s not possible, they can just remind me to stay hopeful to keep coming back to love. They can laugh with me and cry with me and I can do that for them too.
So in solidarity with you, women you moms today, I’m going to tell you about some of the things that happen in my home. So you know at the very least you’re not alone. This is what I go through too.
First thing, my kids fight and they fight every day. But then they also laugh and play. And you know, sometimes it’s just so confusing to watch like these frenemies. And that’s probably one of my most stressful things in motherhood, our sibling fights, and I really don’t know, the best way to deal with it. I feel like I’m making it up as I go and changing constantly.
Another area I want you to know you’re not alone is his marriage is the struggle of marriage. And on the surface, a lot of people compliment my marriage and, and compliment my husband. And I think that’s nice, that’s fine. But it hasn’t always been like that. And it’s not always like that, you see one side of the picture. And I will say we have worked really hard, like, humility, humility, humility, at figuring out how to handle conflict, how to work together, how to communicate. And we still get into fights, usually about stupid little miscommunications. And I know there’s always those kind of bigger issues in the background that feel like they’re always going to be there. And yes, I still get defensive over the most ridiculous things. Because we’ve kind of memorized that in our marriage, the situations that feel like a threat. So it takes a lot of work for me to not show up with that gut reaction every time. But all that being said, if marriage sometimes feels really hard, and like a struggle, you aren’t alone,
you aren’t alone if your house is messy, because, well, everybody’s house gets messy. They live in it, right? Like we live here. And if you stopped by my house, there’s probably projects all over the kitchen, laundry and books in the living room, blankets and pillows that like melt off the furniture and live forever on the floor. Because no one knows how to pick them up. And you know, there was even years of my life where I didn’t fold laundry unless it was a t shirt, and I didn’t want it to wrinkle. Everything else got thrown into a drawer. Also, toothpaste. Toothpaste is everywhere in my bathroom, maybe the kids paint with it. I can’t be too sure it’s possible. But who knows what you’re going to get. If you come to my house, you might be like, girl, you got it going on. And you might be like, how many projects are you doing today? So my house gets messy too. We live in it. I do work hard at putting in routines to clean it a lot faster. And decluttering is made a huge difference.
Here’s another thing that I don’t know if you do, but I never order my kids school photos. I have the proof sheet that they gave us. Sorry, kids, I’ve never ordered your photos. I’m not going to start now. That’s what the iPhone is for. I take photos of you all the time. I don’t know. Maybe I’ll regret it hard to say at this point.
You aren’t alone. If the baby stage was hard for you. I know some moms just love it. It was a magical time. For me. It was probably a little bit traumatic. I would not choose it again willingly. As much as I love my kids. I felt so overwhelmed by that stage, I felt so helpless. I felt just totally in over my head. And the baby stage kind of freaks me out.
And then when it comes to stress, you wonder if you’re alone, when you feel stressed, you feel stressed all the time. And I teach a lot on stress. And still, I get stressed because it is just inherent in living life. I do think I’ve gotten better at handling it. But it doesn’t just finish. Stress is part of my life too. I feel helpless somedays, I spin in those stories, I can catch on sooner, but there are days that I’d swallow that I have no clue how to parent, I’ll never figure it out. It’s all or nothing.
I have anxiety, you aren’t alone if you have anxiety. In college, I went on medication for anxiety for a while. And it was something that I’ve been learning to live alongside with. People tell me that I’m calm. And I just kind of look at Connor and smile, because I know that he hears the real narrative in my head. And I know that he knows that I just live with anxiety throughout the day, specifically around parenting and my kids in keeping them safe.
I think we also assume that other people’s kids are better behaved than ours. So my kids are not angels. They don’t always sit and eat dinner. They have messy rooms. They don’t ever want to take showers or baths. They get mad at me over rules that I give them. I’ve really been learning to tolerate that and not always mirror back to them, but make space for that. But sometimes I judge my kids, sometimes I’m resentful of them. Sometimes I don’t enjoy them. And I think man it would just be easier if I could just go to work today and not have to parent and then when I’m in those moments, I know I need to have compassion for those parts of me that struggle with motherhood.
Because all of this is part of my motherhood experience. It isn’t always easy. It isn’t always bliss. It doesn’t always feel like it’s working. Sometimes it just feels defeating and bigger than me and I feel like I mess it up. And sometimes I feel like everyone does it better. Have a knee. And then it’s so weird because sometimes it feels perfect. Like this is all happening for the best reason. Like I was made to be the mum for my kids, and they’re gonna be okay. And I know I want to hold on to those thoughts because those ones are the most empowering.
I really wanted to share this topic today because I had been hearing on recent coaching calls, how much it has meant to other moms who hear me saying things like I was that mom, martyr, I didn’t always enjoy my kids. Pregnancy was hard delivery was hard. Having a baby was hard toddlers who Jesus take the wheel that, that I do still struggle, and my kids are not perfect little angels who love having a life coach for a mom, they are sick of talking about feelings.
And then I really knew I was gonna share this when I saw an Instagram that Kristen Bell had shared, and she shared something about her daughter’s fighting, like all the time, and I was just flooded with some relief like Thank you. Thank you for normalizing the reality that siblings argue in squabble. A side note, if you want help making peace with this, a podcast that has changed my whole view on sibling rivalry is episode 50. From the synergetic play therapy Institute, I’ll make sure to link that in the show notes. Side side note, if you can’t find the show notes, head to symbol on purpose.ca. Click listen, you will find all of the podcasts and all of the show notes there for you.
I really think we need to hear it from other moms from the mom sitting in the front pew at church, from the cashier at the grocery store, from the famous actress on Instagram, that we are not alone in our struggles. Even if that situation isn’t the exact same. Don’t use that as another reason to build up a wall between you or you and others and keep you isolated.
And I hope you don’t hear me saying that this is just defeating naturally, that it’s all hard and kids are hard. I see this to help you step into acceptance that yes, it is hard. Yes, this is my reality. And I can do only what I can do to change it. But most importantly, I do not need to feel shame or isolation over it. Because once we get there, once we kind of take off that isolation and shame and feeling like we’re alone in all this, then we can move on to the next step. The now what.
the now that I’m coming at this from a clearer mind and more compassionate heart. Now, what do I want to do? What do I want to try in my marriage? What do I want to make more room for in my motherhood? What do I need more of or less of, because your experience matters. This is your motherhood, your marriage, your life and it matters because you matter. I want to really encourage us all to take off the shame, to step into acceptance of what feels hard, and offer solidarity and support to one another. Let’s offer compassion to ourselves and drop the judgment we feel for ourselves. Because that always seeps into others. So we need to drop that for ourselves. So we can start to offer that to others as well.
If you want to share something that you have felt alone, and I encourage you to stop by the Facebook, simple on purpose community and share it there. This is your place to come and ask questions to post things you think are helpful. And to just generate the conversation with other like minded women who are also listening to this podcast and who want to make their lives more simple on purpose, I’ll make sure to have a link to that Facebook group in the show notes.
Alright, friends, you aren’t alone. And I do want to honor the fact that it might feel safer to be alone, you might not have had great supports in your life. You might feel angry or embarrassed or proud that you don’t want to need other people or rely on other people or turned to other people for support. And I just want to nudge you a very little that it is possible that there is someone who can hold space for you and offer you support to let you know that you aren’t alone. You might have to search a little, you might need to go out of your comfort zone, you might need to say yes to the people who are constantly offering you some support, you might have to do those things. But when you do that, and you let people in, you get some more compassion for yourself, and you get some support. And ideally, you offer that to someone else down the road.
Because as much as I don’t understand suffering this world I do understand that we can use what we’ve been through what was hard for us to be a support to other people who are going through this. So let this come full circle. Make space for that to happen in your life.
All right, friends. Thanks so much for being a podcast listeners today. I hope you will stop by either on Instagram at simple on purpose dossier or in the Facebook group and share your thoughts about this episode. Have a great week.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai