When I started in motherhood, I entered a foreign land. I was without language, without skills and footing. I had to quickly adapt and learn to juggle my new role and all that it entailed.
I became a whole different person overnight. I did not know how to ask for help, nor did I know what to ask help for. The year was 2003. Smartphones didn't exist. I didn't own a computer. I quite literally was unplugged.
I didn't start motherhood the conventional way. I did not own a house, have a mortgage, all the typical things a family sets out to do before kids arrive. I was the firstborn giving birth to a first child, a first grandchild, to a first-generation Canadian home having just finished our first year of marriage, in the first year of a new city. I did not appreciate the many firsts I had entered into. I was a "fish out of water", 25 years of age, a new mom starting a family. It was as if I was in a dimly lit room, I could not make out where I was and what I was doing.
I took some time to get comfortable in my role as a new mother, with a lot of trial and error and overwhelm.
Those too were the days that my value and worth were defined by how well others saw me. If I could not see or experience my value by way of others, I would feel insecure.
In these early years young adults are establishing themselves and their identities. We perform so people can see we are capable; we want to be seen as competent. We work hard to show our capacity.
The year that my daughter turned 10, I remember a significant internal shift took place. She moved to a new school that required her to catch the bus for 7:30 am. She was entering middle school. She went from the top of the pack in elementary school to the bottom of the pack in middle school. The awareness of the increasing expectation on her had arrived, and she was stressed out and on edge.
I realized at that moment, it wasn't just about me anymore, but I needed to be present and at my best for the family who depended on me. No more doing life from the vantage point of "do people see my value?" Am I doing enough to matter?
This transition took me down a path of analyzing who I needed to be for this season of my life; Things were feeling off-kilter in my heart. My outward focus of needing significance and value was driving and enforcing false thinking that I was only secure if other people confirmed it. Others determined my worth. I completely overlooked myself, not recognizing my significance. If I weren't keeping up, I would self-compare, I would have a dysfunctional way of seeing myself. It set me on a path of disliking myself, and it put a lousy lens on many aspects of my life. Of course, this would not bring out the best in me; rather, it hurt me.
I've learned a lot since that day. How you see yourself has a lot to do with the beliefs you've adopted; the story you run through your mind that isn't always accurate. This turning point caused me to self evaluate how I was viewing myself. Was I able to self recognize who I was and all the good that is in me? I wasn't. I was spending more energy trying to be better, looking outside of myself, proving my value and all the while overlooking the sacred value that was already there.
I had always been a pursuer of information. I enjoyed reading and learning about personal development. When I became clear on who I was, I began to push back on some of the stories I was unconsciously spinning in my head. This small step of action, challenging my thoughts, was a huge step forward in my progress. I eventually went on to enrol in a coaching program that studied personal health and wellbeing and how coaching facilitates progress and accelerates learning. I gained tools to support people as they integrate health, wellness and personal development into their own lives. In school, I learned that the first step towards change was first recognizing and acknowledging it; becoming more fully and mindfully aware of it.
This journey of becoming more present with our thoughts requires a safe space and margin to do so. If you are ready to delve into this Subscribe here. I will continue to write about making space for our progress, so we can serve and care for our loved ones well. I also upload care-keeping tools for subscribers. These are helpful resources, exercises and insights for a mother's soul keeping.
Your journey is important. Raising a family or caring for others begins with raising up yourself. Let's partner together and commit to doing the work to so we can do this well. Subscribe here.