I have lived in survival mode for most of the last decade, since the recession came and swept away my pride and savings, and the death toll began to rise in my life. But, a few months ago, I decided to change everything about the way I think and live in the world.
Following the powerful success principles of Brendon Burchard and his book High Performance Habits (among other things), I have finally emerged from the cocoon PTSD sent me to hide in. It’s taken massive action and force on my part, to thrust the wheel of my life in a completely opposite direction, against the pull of the Universe, in spite of old habits. But, taking huge leaps occasionally, and small steps daily, I feel the effort has paid off 1000%.
How do I know I’m succeeding in my mission to move from survive to thrive? Because this week, I made dinner three times, took my kids swimming, folded six loads of laundry, took the kids for hikes almost every day after school, woke up at 5:30 a.m. every morning to write, gained 250 more followers on Twitter, took my kids to the dentist, the doctor and the dentist again, attended a school meeting, and started HIIT training. It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? Like the life of a typical Mom? For me, it’s a life I’ve coveted for years now, as I’ve looked on at other Moms going about their normal (mostly) tragedy-free lives. I’ve wished for energy or desire to bake cupcakes for a school bake sale or birthday party, or to just take them to a playground. I’ve stared at my four beautiful kids and wondered, “When will I get to be their Mom again?”
It’s amazing how we humans adapt so quickly, and never even realize that our normal is someone else’s crazy. I didn’t even realize my life was unusual, until I found normal again this week. Before this week, I didn’t cook, the babysitters did. I didn’t do laundry, the babysitters and Kory did. I didn’t take my kids anywhere but home after school…to the sitters.
I’ve had full-time babysitters here every weekend and every summer since my 3-year-old was 6 weeks old because of I had severe postpartum depression, then seizures. This weekend, both of my usual sitters were unavailable. It was my one of the first times I’ve been alone with my own kids for an entire weekend in longer than I can remember. The old me would have dreaded it, but, now I try really hard to piggyback my thoughts from what I don’t want to what I do want. I set intentions going into every situation. With my kids, I want to be “present, loving, and joyful;” I want to engage with them genuinely, and give them my full attention. Somehow, just starting to set that intention a couple weeks ago – just the awareness – has completely shifted my relationship with my kids from burden to buddies! (Sorry, I couldn’t resist the play on words, I can’t help myself!).
I was standing in the family bathroom at the Rec Center half naked, trying to dress three of my four dripping wet, shivering children, when it hit me…”I’m doing NORMAL. This is it!” I’d gotten up that morning and I’d been ENGAGED with my kids since 5 a.m. I hadn’t dreaded my time with them because I felt afraid I couldn’t keep up, or I worried I’d need to lay down and take a nap or five. Thanks to my exercise program, a powerfully motivating morning routine, and passionate writing time each day, I have been generating more ENERGY than ever, and it is making ALL of this possible.
For three years now, I feel like I’ve been watching my life, and my kids lives pass me by, as if I were sitting on the center of a merry-go-round, always spinning, but never going anywhere. I wanted to jump back in somehow, but chronic fatigue and seizures kept me from being able to engage.
But, the greatest part for me, is finally being able to get off the merry-go-round, hit the ground and start pushing it, with my kids on board, watching them squeal as they spin.
I finally feel like I get to be the Mom I want to be again, and just that, right there, makes me want to cry. I am so incredibly grateful.