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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Lessons Learned from a Stressed Out Mommy

I've had it. The smile has disappeared from my face and I am in a twisty-twirly spiral of self-doubt and the words echo through my brain like a mantra I know too well.

I can't do it all....

Those aren't the words of the Mommy I show the rest of the world.  To the rest of the world, I am a rockA pillar.  A foundation.  But inside, I am crumbling.  The dozens of masks I put on... complete parent to my children, loving partner to my spouse, absolute provider to my family, dedicated employee to my job, willing volunteer to the schools and clubs, kind and thoughtful neighbor, generous and loving daughter, giving and supportive friend... I'm exhausted and I'm sick of constantly sacrificing myself. I have to be these things- all of these things- and I don't know which one to let go of ( or even if I can let go of) without feeling like I've disappointed everyone.  And in my mind, I spin.

...But I have to do it all.

This is where I have been.  Tied up in knots.  Caught in a race with myself.  Unable to feel any satisfaction because everything I did, even if it was good, was never good enough. And the path out of my Stressed-Out Mommy Syndrome was simple.  I just wanted someone else who understood it all.

There is a relief that comes with having someone who tells you that you are not alone.  The reason is that within struggle lies a feeling of solitude..and not  the good kind of solitude I can get when the kids are in bed and I can have a moment of peace.  The bad solitude... the lonely solitude.  People, by nature, long for connection, especially in times of struggle.  And during those times, the best connection is made by simply acknowledging that my struggle is hard.  And that I am not alone in thinking that.

What lessons have I learned?  Three simple things:

- Admit the struggle.   Every time you think the world is depending on you, stop telling yourself that you can't show that to the rest of the world.  Stop thinking that you don't deserve support, because you do.  We all do.





- Don't underestimate the power of connection.  Connecting with other people is key, and finding a place where you can let down the masks, and what you get back is that you are not alone.  It's vital to overcoming struggle that you not feel like you are walking the path by yourself.



You only get what you are willing to give.  When we connect, we cannot simply expect to take and never give.  Connection is about exchange.... others being there when we need them, and showing up when others need us.  With this, we create our own safe space. Our own community of people we can turn to.


This is what we do at The Mommies Network.  When we started, we didn't do it to get the latest slow-cooker recipe or to debate about the whether we return shopping carts or not.  We did it because we recognized that connections matter, and that women ( and especially mothers!) find it difficult to connect in a meaningful way unless we have a place to be honest about our struggles.  And nobody can understand the struggle of a mother like another mother.  When I talk about the twisty-twirly spiral of self-doubt, that is a place that almost every other mother recognizes.  When I say I can't do it all but I have to do it all, millions of other mothers know this feeling... because they feel it too.


We Get It
We've Been There


This month, The Mommies Network is launching in annual May is for Mothers campaign focused on one idea... the letting go of the Mommy Myth.  The Mommy Myth is simply that we don't need help and support.  What we do is give you a safe space to let go of your Mommy Myths.  A place to come with your struggles and have a community of moms who understand why it's so hard who can rally around you and say the thing you need to hear... that you are not alone.
We are YOUR Community
We are asking for a donation- whatever you can afford- so that we can continue to keep "the lights on and the doors open", for you and for every other moms in our communities.  If you have received support, or watched other moms benefit from simply having a place where they can be honest about their struggles, please make even a small donation.  We want to keep doing this year after year, but we can't do it without your help.

Click on a mom YOU identify with to help us keep doing what we love.... supporting you!
http://themommiesnetwork.causevox.com


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