How did I know it was time for something new?
Why I started This Cherished Life
It was nearly two years ago when I realized it was time for a change.
2 years ago, I was happy. I was ambitious.
I was working for myself and making a good income – a mom’s dream – enjoying a significant volunteering role at my son’s school, and proudly raising my three little ones. I was keeping it all up and enjoying what I was capable of.
I had the perfect work/life balance. Or so I thought.
Then, my husband said to me one day, “you don’t seem happy.”
Surely he was confused, I initially thought. I was happy, after all. But after some serious thought, I began to understand the depth of his observation.
I was happy when I was working, playing with the kids, doing volunteer work, socializing with friends, or on family outings… but when I was home – the one place we should be most at ease – indeed I didn’t seem happy.
Instead of enjoying my spare time at home, I was focused on attending to my third, ongoing, never-ending job as mom of three kids and housekeeper. I was in, what I call, “work mode.”
If you spend all your spare moments focusing on your work as mom and housekeeper, you miss out on many of the simple joys of life.
This was a life-changing realization. Because, for most of us busy moms, we don’t feel like we have a choice. Someone’s got to make sure the kids are cared for, pick up the endless clutter, attend to the family calendar, do the laundry, clean the house … the list goes on and on. And chances are, that someone is mom. While my husband and I have constantly worked on this balance, I always seem to find more to do. My husband would say, “why don’t you just stop and relax on the sofa once in a while?”
To that, I would scoff and say how impossible that was and get frustrated with his advice.
But, you know what? He was right.
Because there is always more to do.
There’s a scene in the movie Frequency that I have always loved. The husband walks in after a day at work, the mom is cooking, their son is playing nearby, and the two embrace. It’s the epitome of happily married parents, living a simple, easy, joyful life. It took an effort for me to learn how to turn off my ‘mom-duty’ self and focus on enjoying this simple moments.
I realized I needed to learn to focus on my true priorities, and enjoy life at home even when work, house chores and to-do lists were piling up.
How I turned off ‘mom-duty’
As a busy mom with three young children, who were ages 2, 4 & 7 at the time, I wasn’t sure exactly how or what to do next. But as synchronicity would have it, a workshop on setting goals was being offered locally at the exact same time that I began looking for new inspiration.
Connecting with other women and getting guidance from others has been key to helping me find my way. Books, blogs, mentors, friends, conferences, and workshops have all contributed to a major mindset shift.
I’ve discovered many things about myself, my interests and my dreams as a result of my new outlook these past two years. Some of my realizations were that old dreams aren’t necessarily still dreams, and I needed to clear them out to make way for new dreams.
One of my most significant discoveries was realizing that volunteer work alone was not a sustainable way for me to fulfill my sense of purpose. As much as I enjoyed it, it was taking too much time from my family and business. I realized that I needed to merge what I did for a living with the sense of purpose I got from volunteering to keep all aspects of my life in balance.
A new chapter
It took a lot of self-reflection to let go of the sense of duty that was plaguing my waking thoughts, and to rediscover my passions and sense of adventure. It took some major work to find just exactly what my new sense of purpose was, and how to get from point A to point B.
With the help of many others who have forged a path doing work they love, I have found my sense of purpose lies in helping other working moms who either want to achieve a happier work/life balance or start a business doing meaningful work. I have been there. I have trampled through the jungle (literally) and found my way out.
The crazy thing after all the changes I’ve made?
Life really is simple now.
The changes I’ve made in the past two years have been beyond just finding a sense of purpose. I’ve learned to put myself first, enjoy my own interests, cherish time with my kids and use more of my flexibility with my own business to spend quality time with them, and prioritize the things that matter most to me.
I’ve found 15 more hours in my week that I didn’t know I had by being more efficient and intentional with my time. I now use it to do more of what I love, and work towards building my new business endeavors.
I find myself constantly taking in the magic of this beautiful life, whereas before I was too busy to enjoy the simple moments.
Now, I can help other women who are struggling with the ‘what do I do next?’ and ‘how do I do it?’ because I have been there.
Finding a sense of purpose
This desire to have purpose, to possibly do something that will help the world, even perhaps leave it a better place than when we arrived, drives all of us.
But it can be especially elusive. We may think of it like we think of finding a soul mate – that’s there’s only one thing that we can do, that matches our interests, skill set, and demand in the world.
The truth is, there are many things we each can do to fulfill our need for purpose.
I’ve found that identifying what’s missing and listening to your heart is key. What do you know you’d love to do? Try it out one weekend. What feels like it’s missing? What do people always say you are good at? Creating a regular routine for self-reflection through journaling, exercise or meditation is a good way to start examining what your heart is telling you. Kelly Rae Roberts calls these “heart whispers” and writes very eloquently on the subject. Another great book that I recommend is The Artists Way by Julia Cameron.
“There is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost.” — Martha Graham