It's a social norm. How are you? For the past two weeks it has been refreshing to answer: I am pushing pause. Sometimes boldly and sometimes sheepishly, but it feels authentic. People seem intrigued - tell me more. So here it goes:
About two weeks ago I hit a wall. I sat down one Friday afternoon and gave myself the pep talk I have given myself so many times before. I've always been the "show must go on girl" but this time, my hustle was gone. The elbow grease I was used to digging deep for just wasn't there. I physically couldn't rally. My tank was empty. The evening I had to dig deep for was a MSM panel on rebuilding your body post baby & I left recognizing I needed the majority of the experts on the panel to piece me back together. Pelvic Floor PT, check. Nutritionist, check. Strength Training, check. The next morning, our nanny gave notice.
I am a firm believer that my HP (12 step lingo for Higher Power) does for us what we can't always do for ourselves. What I could not do what admit that I needed to push pause. Because I owned a business (or two). Because I had a caregiver who relied on the income our family provided. Because my identity is that of an entrepreneur. The reality was that four and a half years into parenting and thirteen years into entrepreneurship, I had fallen out of love with myself. It all sounds so dramatic but I am embarking on Project Push Pause because I know I am not alone.
Pushing Pause means returning to basics. As a parent we are preached self care ad nauseam. It's not a one size fits all solution. The first part of pushing pause is to create a list of self care actions that you can hold yourself accountable to on a weekly basis. For me, this was :
- Returning to AA Meetings & seeking out a sponsor
- Eating three meals daily
- Working out twice a week
- Buying clothes that make me feel good & dressing myself daily
- Creating a skin care regiment that feels good (wash my face & apply sunscreen?)
- Spend time with my husband. Childless.
The above might seem incredibly elementary, but remember: I had hit a wall. I was running on bagels & coffee. Also remember: I know there are more of you out there. I can't be alone in this. I can't be the only one who felt emotionally estranged from those closest to me because I was just moving through the motions of life as quickly as I could. And the checklist was never getting shorter. My children weren't getting younger.
The second part of pushing pause is identifying women in your life who you admire and setting a coffee date calendar. This is a challenge : which means it might feel uncomfortable, lean into that. I am blessed to have worked with women who I respect and admire intimately over the past dozen years. I set an aggressive calendar of 40 coffees in 60 days. I emailed women - some of whom I knew well and some of whom I watched from afar - and I asked if they would have a coffee with me and talk about their journey through motherhood. What pulled on their heartstrings? How did they learn to be a partner in parenting and marriage? What worked for them and what didn't? How the fuck did they do this thing called motherhood because it's so fucking hard?
The third part of pushing pause is embracing the moments you weren't taking time to breathe into when your wheels were spinning. I often caution women on working alongside parenting - in the absence of childcare - as you will either resent your children or your work. When pushing pause, you can bring intention back to your parenting.
The fourth part of pushing pause is taking as much as you can financially afford to off your plate. This looks different for everyone. In my case, I am not wanting to stop working. However, I need space from my business to recharge my batteries. I am craving having enough space in my life to show up for friends. To wrap a present properly. To send hand written cards. Outside of work obligations and tasks you find personally fulfilling, you must exercise saying no when pushing pause. You are likely someone who everyone covets having as a part of their cause, but you'll need to kindly explain that you are currently pushing pause. This means that you can enjoy volunteering in a homeless shelter, but you can't sit on a committee currently. Serving others will serve you, but your cup needs to be refilled before you can pour again.
Finally, we will examine systems. We are likely in over our skis. Therefore, we can't hand over the reigns to someone else. I recently had a home organizer over for an analysis and I fully admitted the house was a disaster before she arrived. I don't know that she expected there to be no systems in place though. Having kids wreaks havoc on our cadence. We will navigate through systems for our home & family life to find a new - organized - normal.
Throughout May and June I will blog about my journey Project Push Pause. I invite you to sign up for my MSM Pushing Pause Newsletter. I will be sending a newsletter weekly chock full of interviews, conversations & workshops.
Here's to finding the light inside of you - and me! Namaste.