I lost myself while raising my kids. How do I find me again?
Hey there Beautiful!
When you lose your car keys what’s the first thing you do?
Look up towards the ceiling, clench your teeth while your lips turn down into a scowl, shake your fist in frustration and swear like a sailor? Do you feel a rush of adrenaline complimented by a sprinkle of anxiety as you try and remember where you left them?
And if you can’t find them while you are running around the house checking all the places that they could be instead of right on top of the countertop where you ALWAYS put them when you come home each day after work, what are you going to do?
Can your spouse or friend from work swing by to pick you up and take you to work?
Can you get your still sleeping child to get their butt out of bed and hurry up enough to still make it to work on time?
And then you start thinking about the time and expense it will take to get new keys made while a new thought enters your brain about what if someone finds the keys and figures out where you live and then steals the car?
Or, what if that same person takes the keys and gets into the house to steal all of your belongings and hurt your family?
You didn't loose yourself like a set of car keys.
You’re working yourself up to stress level ten million with so many thoughts of what if this and what if that was to happen that you can’t think straight with your heart beating so fast. Then the moment your fingers touch the keys buried at the bottom of your purse it all stops.
Because you finally remember the chain of events that led you to panic about your missing keys.
When you came into the house last night after work, you had to carry in the mail, your purse, your lunch bag, your water bottle, the bag from the pharmacy containing your spouse’s allergy pills that they asked you to pick up on your way home, AND the jacket your son left in your car from the previous weekend, that you decided to just chuck your keys into your purse so you had your hands free to carry EVERYTHING else the house.
You made a decision the day before that you couldn't immediately remember that set a whole chain of events into motion.
But are you running around trying to find yourself like your set of car keys?
Is that how you feel about finding yourself again?
You lost yourself and are searching for yourself like your set of keys?
I see this come up a lot and if you’re feeling this way too, that is absolutely, positively okay.
Because it happens to everyone.
Some women recover quickly by taking action and some other women refuse to grow so they will stay stuck in place.
What does it mean to be truly lost?
The word “lost” is defined in the dictionary with the following meanings:
→ not made use of, won, or claimed
→ no longer possessed or known
→ ruined or destroyed physically or morally
→ taken away or beyond reach
→ unable to find the way
→ no longer visible
→ lacking assurance or self-confidence
→ not appreciated or understood
→ hopelessly unattainable
Don't look in the dictionary for the definition of "lost"! It's horrible!
That definition is depressing and horrible!
But you may be feeling that exact way sometimes. You are no longer visible because your kids don’t call, text, or keep you informed as much as you want them to.
You feel unappreciated and misunderstood since your spouse tells you to just get over however you’re feeling.
You may feel no longer able to find your way and that to find yourself again is beyond your reach. But I’m here to tell you that it is not impossible.
Hobbies will only get you so far.
Now some people who are trying to help will tell you to get a hobby or get a dog to help fill the void in your life. And that might help but that’s only going to help for so long.
You may also be angry at yourself for allowing yourself to get lost but taking it out on those around you. Because that’s what we do when we are angry at ourselves, we take it out on those we love because they are safe and readily available to lash out against.
You might even blame your spouse or your kids for not allowing you to get to do the things you wanted to do along the way.
Here's some examples of women struggling to find themselves.
Here are some posts that I’ve seen from women who feel that they have lost themselves:
“My kids are my life. Now I have to learn to date my husband again. I have a few hobbies, but, damn, no one really prepares you for this stage of life.”
“I dedicated the last 18 years of my life to my son. While I don’t regret a single second and I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat, I’m now realizing how much I’ve neglected myself. I rarely do anything just for ‘me.’ My health and fitness has declined and my life has revolved around only my son.”
“When you’ve been in full mommy mode for the last 20 years, it’s hard to adjust to anything else.”
“It’s been who I am for so long it’s hard to find myself.”
“In raising my kids it’s always been about them and my husband first and because of that I have really lost my identity beyond being a mom.”
“I lived my whole life for my four kids. Now I feel abandoned. I’ve been a mom for so long I don’t know who I am anymore. I need a life since my life has always been my kids.”
You can search Google and YouTube to try and figure it out yourself.
Yeah but . . .
But that will take months and months and there’s no guarantee at the end of that search that you’ve made any progress. You’re stuck in the fear of moving forward because you don’t want to make a mistake like you did by losing yourself for the past 20 years!
I found this quote so it’s not mine and of course I forgot to write down where I found it. I think it’s attributed to Tony Robbins but it goes like this:
“There will be a moment that you decide the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.”
And that moment will give you the push to strive for something better. You have to find your moment. Is this it?
You have created the belief that you lost yourself.
But in fact you didn’t lose yourself.
She’s still right there inside.
You made decisions based on the information that you had at the time. You just decided to allow other things (spouse, children, job, friends, parents) to take precedence over your needs.
It wasn’t a wrong decision.
Again, it was a decision that you made based on the information that you had at the time.
You are now choosing to make a new decision.
You made this decision many years ago. Make a new decision now.
Just like making the decision to put your car keys in your purse to make it easier to carry everything from your car into the house. You made the decision and then couldn’t immediately remember where you left your car keys the very next day.
Compare this to you making the decision many, many years ago to take care of everyone else before you. You can’t now get frustrated with yourself for losing the you that you once knew and trying to immediately remember where or when that you lost yourself.
That’s totally unfair to YOU!
You are not the same person that you once were.
And of course, you are not the same person you were in your 20’s, 30’s or even 40’s. Even if you had never had kids, you may have still arrived at the exact same place as you are today, trying to figure out what to do now.
Opinions get rearranged or even thrown out.
You’ve changed enormously without even realizing it.
What words would you use to describe yourself?
If you get the chance, take a blank piece of paper and see if you can find positive words to describe yourself that have NOTHING to do with being a mom. I’m curious to know if this was difficult for you or easy.
I’m guessing that you wouldn’t be able to since all the qualities that make you a great mom are the same ones that make you a great person. It’s the qualities that your kids love you for even though they may say you drive them crazy. Heck, I know my kids love me but I know I can annoy them. But they also know it comes from my never ending love for them.
There’s anxiety and fear in finding yourself.
I 100% get that.
Do you know why?
Because you are going to change and all of us are scared to death of change.
Your brain has used fear to keep you safe and your heart says ENOUGH!
Your brain and your heart are not in agreement with each other which is causing the anxiety that you feel.
There will be a moment when you decide that you are tired of doing the same things and getting the same results.
Change your beliefs to achieve different results.
It all comes down to you and changing, rearranging, and updating the habits and beliefs that have brought you to today. These habits and beliefs have been created over the past 20 to 25 years, or even longer, and trust me when I say that, what got you to this moment, won’t get you to where you want to go.
These beliefs are the ones that start out with the phrase, “I can’t do it” or “I won’t be able to.”
It's been safe under your identity of mom.
You’ve lived in a safe bubble for a long while under the protection of your primary identity of being a mom. You don’t have to give up that identity but you need to add others.
It’s like when one parent introduces you for the first time to another parent at one of your child’s soccer practices and they say, “This is Jessica’s mom.”
Whenever that would happen to me I would burn up with annoyance and then reintroduce myself and say, “Hey, my name’s Alice” because I thought, that’s not my ONLY identity.
Yes, it’s a part of me but it doesn’t completely define and describe all of me.
You want to be able to improve all the relationships in your life, right?
Now once you uncover a couple of your beliefs that are keeping you from finding yourself again you will begin to see progress.
You will have a better relationship with your spouse or if you’re single, you will find the confidence to find love again with someone new.
You will improve your communication with your children.
You will find the job that you were put on this world to do.
And ultimately you will find happiness. Because it’s finding your happiness that will lead you to finding you again.
Be patient with trying to find yourself. It doesn't happen overnight.
So don’t run around trying to find yourself like you would trying to find your missing keys when you’re in a hurry to get somewhere.
Be patient with yourself since it’s not a race and there’s not a place that you have to be at a specific date and time.
You’ll figure it out.
I have confidence in you.
Is this your moment?
You will find the moment that you decide the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change. And that moment will give you the push to strive for something better. You have to find your moment.
Is this it?
Is this your moment when you decide that you are tired of doing the same things and getting the same results?
I hope so.
If you haven’t already done so go join my Facebook group, Kids Are Grown, NOW WHAT? Community to ask questions and get some additional support to help find yourself. Remember the doors to my monthly membership will open on April 27, 2020 so sign up for the waitlist and find out all the details first at The Next Step Society!
I’ll talk to you later Beautiful!