A month ago, a client walked into my office for her scheduled session, and said that she was done with Therapy.
As soon as she walked in the door, I noticed something different about her – she looked lighter somehow.
Apparently, after our last session, she decided to give herself some quality self-time before returning home. She said that giving herself that time suddenly seemed like the most logical thing to do.
She couldn’t believe she had never done it before. Instead she would rush back to her kids – feeling guilty for taking the time for the appointment.
“I drove down to the beach, and plopped down on the sand”, she said.
“I was staring up, when all of the sudden the sky opened up”.
I wasn’t sure how to react. “Tell me more”, I said.
“Well, you know how overwhelmed I have been by everyone always expecting things from me? Everything felt like a chore, even the (supposedly) fun stuff”
“So, when I was staring at that huge sky, it suddenly occurred to me – how stuck my mind has been. I made a choice then, to be done with wasting my life feeling resentful, but not doing anything to change my situation. As soon as I made that decision, it was like the blinders came off, and I swear to God – it looked like the sky opened up. It was awesome!”.
Enter – Goosebumps (the ones I always get when a client has a powerful moment of awareness).
And this certainly was a one of those times. But it wasn’t the first time I’d heard this same sort of thing (not quite expressed in this way though).
After all, this was exactly what we had been working toward.
You see, when this client approached me a couple of months before, she was completely depleted. She was burned-out, stressed-out, and resentful.
When I asked her “When was the last time you felt truly happy?” she looked at me as if she didn’t understand the question.
Then, her eyes welled up.
She hated losing her temper with her kids, and having no energy left for her husband.
She was anxious about the message she was sending to her 7 year-old daughter most of all. She didn’t want her daughter to grow up seeing her at such a low emotional state – dissatisfied, un-creative, and dull.
So she did the only thing she knew how – counter the guilt that she felt with doing more for her family, and neglecting herself even more.
And guess what happened…yep!
She grew even more resentful. Only now she also felt hopeless, and alone.
When she first called me, she was still hesitant to get help for herself.
Her mom friends seemed to be able to handle it, so why couldn’t she? She had heard about the work that I had been doing with Depleted Moms and she was wondering if I could help her, even though she wasn’t ‘technically depressed’.
Also, her husband had suggested that maybe she could benefit from talking to someone. Her first reaction was Anger. Then shame. And finally – reluctant acceptance.
Together we explored the root cause of her difficulty.
Why was she so uncomfortable with the idea of ‘not doing enough’?
What was the gut- message she was trying to avoid the most?
Why was it so easy for her to let herself down, but so difficult to do the same to others?
We gave her the tools to manage the difficult moments, and also, to make the good moments count.
We made her stronger, more confident, calmer, and happier. We even made her relationship better (and we didn’t even do any Couple Therapy).
Don’t get me wrong, she still had loads of laundry to fold, dishes to wash, kids to raise, and a relationship to negotiate.
She was STILL a mom after all! But slowly, things became different.
Until one day – something just clicked.
Finally, she gave herself the PERMISSION and the TOOLS to take control of her life, and of her own HAPPINESS.
Now, she could finally get off the treadmill of trying to be the mom she THOUGHT she should be (and feeling like she wasn’t doing enough).
She began to understand that by taking care of HERSELF – making herself a priority, she was giving her children, and her partner the best gift she could possibly give.
A HAPPY MOM!
Well, that experience inspired me in more ways that I could count.
As a mother of two, I used to be EXACTLY where my client was. I was tired, unhappy, and so far away from living my life’s potential that I couldn’t even entertain that idea.
“When the kids are older”, I would say. “Then it would be my turn again”.
But then my body started to complain – nothing huge thankfully. Just headaches, acne, rashes, and a sore…everything. My relationship began to suffer in a way that I became concerned about whether it would even last the kids getting older.
And I began to think about the kind of mom that I was being while living on autopilot – zoned out, resentful, and unhappy.
I decided to use the tools that I have been teaching my clients for years, on myself!
Slowly, I became aware of the fears and beliefs that were causing me to ignore my own needs.
With more awareness, and gentleness toward myself, I was ready for my own transformation. Then one day, I had it – my very own Aha moment.
In The Depleted Mother’s Guide to Wellness and Balance (available Nov. 2014), I share with you many of the powerful tools that have changed my life, and the lives of many other Depleted Moms.
I hope to see you there.
Lots of love.