So much change is going on! Schedules are fluid and in uproars! Holidays are upon us and it is a PANDEMIC! There was an election — A.K.A. mass chaos! Kids are doing some version of virtual, hybrid learning-schooling. Hurricanes are brewing! Stock market is dancing a crazy tango! Wondering whether all travel for the holidays will be cancelled? Need I continue?
ShiFt is happening and it’s out of our control! And… a couple weeks ago it was my birthday.
In the midst of all this mayhem, I gave myself the best gift ever. I gave myself the gift of me. Most years on my birthday, I literally and figuratively put myself in a perfect box. Everything organized and pretty with me smiling and telling everyone I am fine. Me trying my best to #keepmyshiFttogether and manage everything and everyone else. You know, F.I.N.E. = F* up, Insecure, Neurotic, and Empty. This year I did the opposite! I took the perfect box, removed the pretty bow and left it open for things to fall out and did whatever was best for me. I said F* it!
I finally got it- what is best for me is what is best for everyone. You have heard the expression happy wife, happy life! I am adding, Happy mamma, NO drama!!
I have spent many sleepless nights in mommymartyrdom thinking I have to take care of everyone else and thinking my sense of worth comes from their happiness. I thought I would be perceived as selfish if I took time for myself. Or worse, what if the world survived without me? So, as long as I was enmeshed in everyone else's business then I had purpose, identity and self worth.
Newsflash… I couldn't keep doing this. Mommymartyrdom is not helping anyone. In fact, it is hurting everyone around me because they are only getting a half-assed version of me. Hell, I can’t love freely (or live freely) if I am keeping an internal scorecard tallying up whether I am doing things right and more so if others are doing things right. It’s exhausting and DUMB!
Conclusion- My team needs me to be the best version of MYSELF. They don’t need me turning into MOMZILLA because I have not nurtured my own soul or modeling that their needs do not matter. So- I kicked all thoughts about what I should and shouldn’t do to the curb. Then, I took some deep, cleansing breaths and breathed in every ounce of air effortlessly and freely like my life depended on it. I PUT THE OXYGEN MASK ON ME FIRST!
I hopped in my Jeep to go to the woods with the same attitude as I did when I was 17. When I first got to the woods, in a yurt, 300 miles away from home, tightness filled my chest and an overwhelming rush of homesickness flooded my core like I was lost and would never find my way back home. Thirty seconds later, in the next breath I felt liberated. I arrived home… to me. That 17 year old girl showed up more alive than ever. The years may have passed, but that girl has only gotten stronger. Now she gets to share space with me and all my years of wisdom and experience. In the time of stillness away from my family, there was enjoyment and disconnection. There was relief. I took a break from comparing my insides to other people’s outsides and being everyone’s everything! I got back to basics. I got back to me.
l like this me. I want her to stay. These are my gifts to myself for the sanity and greatness of my 45th year orbiting around the moon.
1 I will put my damn phone down from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. I will leave my phone off one day on the weekend. My kids deserve for me to be present. I deserve to be present and enjoy them. Nothing else is SO important.
2 I will go to bed to rest at 10 p.m.
3 I will modify my social media-ing. I would love to say I will never go on social media again- but, that is not realistic. No social media = no sharing what I write or when my book is done! I will set parameters and set time for me to post and scroll like someone that clocks into work.
4 I am committed to discovering greater levels of self love and balance with the idea of aging gracefully and being able to see the wisdom in my changing body and face. I recently read Release Your Obsession with Aging Heal from the Inside Out by Dr. Ortigara Crego (great read!!). I will live with freedom as my truest self, no longer imprisoned to morph and sculpt myself physically or emotionally.
5 I will prioritize filling my love cup with exercise, rest, healthful food, and a realistic schedule. I will top my love cup with monthly self- care (acupuncture, facial, massage…)
What will be your gifts this holiday season?
Your no bull-shiFt, advice giving, self-gifting, Mom, Psychologist and wife, Dr. Dara
Dara Bushman-DeLeon Psy.D.