Right now I’m in the thick of parenthood. I have a 2 year old and a 3 month old and my 2.5 year old business baby. I feel like I’m constantly juggling the needs of all three, all the time, while also tending to my own needs in order to be the best mother possible. It seems that once I have a great rhythm going and I’m able to maintain a sense of homeostasis, that one variable changes (or another ball is added into the juggle) and I/we have to find a new rhythm. After 2 years of parenting, I think I’ve finally realized that this is the norm and I must learn to be flexible and go with the current of flow rather than paddle against it. Instead of finding comfort in the familiarity of sameness, I need to adjust and appreciate the familiarity of constant change. I suppose this is how life has always been, but I have definitely experienced this characteristic magnified since becoming a mother. I believe that parenthood is taking areas that I’ve always needed to grow and be more adaptable and placing them under a magnifying glass for deeper examination. Areas that I’ve felt that I’ve mastered and are no longer a challenge for me are brought to the surface for another layer of healing and growth. There are some things I have found that have really helped me thus far on the journey of motherhood.
5 Strategies To Handle Change As A Mama
- Prioritizing my own self-care in order to stay grounded and feel peace in the midst of chaos. When working with coaching clients, I often use the example of the instructions given on an airplane to always put on your own oxygen mask before helping others. If you do not take care of yourself first, nobody will, and you will be useless to help others. As parents, and especially as mothers, we are ingrained with the sense that we must take care of everyone else’s needs first and that not doing this is selfish. This is totally backwards. We must take care of ourselves first so that we can have more to give to others. If I’m stressed and ungrounded because I haven’t been taking care of myself, it will have a ripple effect on everyone around me. It is my job to be the sturdy anchor for my babies so that they’ll feel my sense of peace and grounding when they are struggling to maintain it on their own.
- Determining what my non-negotiables are and having firm boundaries around them. There are certain things that are non-negotiable for me to be healthy and vital. Some of my non-negotiables are a minimum of 8 hours of sleep, eating a healthy whole food diet 80% of the time, daily movement activities (my favorites are running and yoga), daily time outside, and time every day for stillness/mindfulness whether that be meditation, drinking my coffee outside alone, journaling, or another activity that allows me to connect with God and my intuition. I must prioritize these to be healthy and happy.
- Establishing routines wherever and whenever possible to act as an anchor to the ever-flowing current of life. Surrendering my sense of control is a lesson I continually go through deeper and deeper levels and I believe I still am at the tip of the iceberg. Having set routines and rituals such as morning, bedtime, and mealtime routines to anchor myself and my family significantly eases my (and my children’s) anxiety and gives familiarity to the flow of our days. This is not always an easy practice but I believe it is vital for all aspects of health. Establishing these routines for my children will help them now and as they become adults in maintaining their own routines.
- Realizing that this moment and phase my family and I are in is fleeting and to do my very best to be present in it, rather than longing for past phases or trying to project us into the future (this one is especially hard for me). I struggle to be present and stay in the moment, despite years of focus on meditation and other mindfulness activities. I have come a very long way but it is still extremely challenging for me. It helps me to remember that God has put me exactly where I am for a reason and His timing is perfect. I do not need to understand why or for what purpose, but it usually reveals itself in the end and makes perfect sense. I must stop, take a breath, and feel gratitude for exactly where I am in the moment knowing that this moment is the only one I have.
- Understanding that if I do not feel a sense of peace in my life, I am doing too much and need to re-calibrate. If I am feeling stressed or overwhelmed, it’s because I have taken on too much and/or I need to delegate or obtain more support. As a chronic over-doer, I struggle a lot with this. I will feel a sense of peace and then get greedy, thinking I can add one more thing but it quickly escalates. Many lessons have been learned regarding asking for help and realizing that I cannot fully devote myself to the many roles I’ve held. If I’m trying to do more with my business, that means less time for my kids. There will always be one role that I will be devoting more time and energy to than others, and I need to recognize that I am not failing when I cannot rock every one of them all the time. There is a season for everything and trying to stay anchored in the one I’m in and be grateful for it is essential.