There are so many expectations of us out there that we must fulfill every day, yet when we fall short, we sometimes feel shame.
This year I have been on a journey to learn more about myself. Although I do believe that we can love something or someone whom we don’t understand, having that deeper connection with oneself can be incredibly powerful.
The start of 2023 was difficult for me. The weather was cold, kids got sick A LOT, then I got sick and long story short, by the time mid-February came around, I just wanted to make it all stop. I was in desperate search for the remote that controls my life, so that I could hit the pause button.
The last couple of years have been unpredictable to say the least. I had no idea that the world would shut down, I would become a business owner and mom of two, all at the same time. My husband likes to say that I only “run on one speed – GO”. He is not wrong. I struggle to make time to take breaks. I struggle to ask for time by myself and for myself. I knew that I had hit my breaking point yet all I could feel was shame! I felt shame because that must mean that I am not good enough as a mother, wife, boss, person. I also felt that there was no more “go” left in me.
I am lucky to be surrounded by many great people who are driven and hard working. Their energy is contagious and can usually help bring me back down from whatever cloud I am on, but this time was different. It was as if I was driving a car on cruise control but didn’t even have enough energy to check whether it was safe, whether it had enough gas to keep moving forward or whether the car was going in the right direction. The car was still in motion, and I was desperate to find a way out of the moving car.
The world has always had this expectation that I achieve, I accomplish, I deliver. There hasn’t been much room for disappointment because I won’t let it be. But this was it. I was feeling so much shame and desperation. I didn’t know how to ask for help or who could even help me. All I knew is that I needed a break, and I needed it now.
My husband suggested I take time away from everything and go on a trip. I believe he made that suggestion and not even 10 days later, I was on a plane ride to Mexico. I decided to make this trip by myself. No friends, no family. Just me, the sand, the waves. The beach IS my happy place. It’s also beautiful how it teaches us so many lessons. As I watched the peaceful waves come in and out, I realized that life is like the ocean. Sometimes the tide is high, sometimes low, and there is beauty to both.
I was able to reflect on how lucky I am to have two healthy boys and a husband who loves me more than words can say. I worthy. I am worthy of happiness. I am worthy of joy. I am worthy of achieving what I set out to do and celebrating it when I get there. I also learned the power of letting go of shame. By the time I returned, I realized the power of traveling to another country where I knew no one on my own. It was liberating and oh so peaceful. I let go of the shame and started to embrace what this trip taught me.
This month I have had many conversations with clients who are very successful mothers of small children who carry so much shame. They are often embarrassed about having to reach out to a Professional Organizer. Most conversations start with “I promise I am an organized person; I just don’t have time.”
Here is my message to the overwhelmed momma who hasn’t reached out for help:
You don’t have to do it all! Your mental health is part of your well-being. You are trying your best and that is nothing to carry shame for. Your babies love you and will always love you. Call in the reinforcements, reach out for help! Whether it’s a family member or friend, if she’s a momma, she will understand! Don’t be ashamed to ask for help, heroes need backup sometimes.
I encourage you to reach out to that friend or family member with small kids. They likely feel alone, overwhelmed and sometimes even inadequate. Give them your love and support. Ask if there’s anything you can do to help. Go visit them even if they say there’s no sitter in sight! Go the extra mile for her, because she may not have anyone else by her side who gets it like you do. Let’s help each other remove the shameful feeling of asking for help.