When You Give a Mom Advice But She Asked for Camaraderie

When You Give a Mom Advice But She Asked for Camaraderie

And while mom #1 didn't explicitly ask, "Can I ask you for a judgment-free space to express the human experience I'm having?" I heard the ask in her story.

I finally interrupted, "Hey, of course we know you love your kid and are doing what you think is best. Of course you're allowed to say that it feels hard and exhausting. Of course you get to feel those feels. We hear you. We've been there. This shit is hard sometimes. Sometimes I want to go to bed at 4pm and my girls are not even that wild. No judgment, girl."

Saying Goodbye to the Mommy Soul Tribe

Saying Goodbye to the Mommy Soul Tribe

Last night I wrote a goodbye post to the Mommy Soul Tribe Facebook group I’ve grown to 1,800 members over the past 3 years, mostly through referrals. It was bittersweet to string together words that could even come close to conveying what that safe virtual village has been for me AND for other mamas during that time. This decision had been on my heart for a while and I know, deep down, it closes a chapter in my business, but also in my personal evolution.

Sometimes I Forget Who I Am

Sometimes I forget who I am.

This forgetting is like an open trap door in the floor of a gorgeous, cheery, naturally lit home that I slip through when I get careless.

Careless with my thoughts.

Careless with my people.

Careless with my goals.

Careless with my self-care.

Careless with my sovereignty.

When I forget who I am, then I forget what I need to care about.

I forget what I’m capable of, along with the types of thoughts, people, and practices I am dedicated to in the quest to always be MORE myself. (NOT more other people’s expectations of me.)

It’s like an abrupt emotional crash followed by a hit of searing pain before I land with a familiar THUD on the cold basement cement and look around, startled.

“What the . . .AGAIN? REALLY!?” I silently scream to myself. Judging the fall and stomping to my feet.

My basement is filled with creepy crawly things created to scare me into believing I’m not _____________.

“You’re not enough.”

“You’re not worthy.”

“You’re not good.”

And the most sneaky: “You are responsible.”

Luckily I’ve been flexing this muscle of mental and emotional resilience since I was 18 and I walked into my first therapist’s office. Since that moment I’ve racked up thousands of hours and dollars in people, certifications, programs, mentors, practices and books to move me from painful basements back home. Back to myself. Back to my most empowered place. The place from which I affect the most change in my life and the lives of my people - my partner, my girls’, my family and friends, my clients and tribe.

The silver lining of racking up frequent flier miles in one’s own personal hell of a mental basement - is a mere bad day or negative thought no longer holds power over me. I am less afraid. Less anxious. Less panicked. Less likely to lose myself in the dark and more likely to find the dangling chain and snap the light back on.

I am an expert at turning on lights when I accidentally find myself in dimly lit spaces.

And what I’ve found there in my brightly lit basement? None of my fears are real. No one is my enemy. I’m more than okay, and I’ve simply forgotten who I am.

I am enough.

I am worthy.

I am good.

And I never have been and never will be responsible for the mental and emotional well-being of anyone but myself.

I switch on that light, take a deep breath and ground into the present moment.

I am no longer available for the fears, limiting beliefs and projections of my childhood.

I am responsible for my own thoughts, beliefs, actions and projections.

And so onward I adventure.

Back to the staircare.

Up and up.

Popping out the trap door, dusting myself off and taking a moment to focus inward. To anchor into my heart. My power source.

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any.” Alice Walker

“Silly, G,” I laugh to myself. “You forgot how powerful you are again! Oops.”

I resist the urge to give the fall any context.

I resist the temptation to make it MEAN something.

I allow my human-ness to exist without the judgment of it.

I take my power back as I remember who I am.

And then I’m back. Back in my own lane. Creating my life with every thought, belief and action to reflect on the outside exactly what I’ve made true on the inside.

And when I ask myself what feels true from that empowered place?

I remember I got this.

My Dad Felt Guilty About This for 30 Years

I call my dad “Papi” or “Pa,” which I swapped out for “Papa” somewhere in my twenties when I decided Papi was significantly less embarrassing to say in public. He is a handsome Colombian man with a thick accent, which my husband can still barely understand, and he appears much younger than his actual age (which I shall not disclose, lest he is horrified). Whoever coined the term “YOLO” was most definitely watching my dad at a tango festival one night working the room, if you know what I mean.

He and my mother (“mama”) divorced when I was 20ish and I think most people breathed a huge sigh of relief for both of them. My childhood was quite charming with pockets of minimal trauma and our family’s sad unraveling in my late teenage years is a long story for another day. 

This weekend, Papi was sitting on my couch and laughing as our Maya, who turns 2 next week, pranced around in her standard uniform of a diaper, no clothes and some pirate tats, working the room for a laugh and some snacks, as the hubs and I rolled our eyes.

“It goes so so fast, you know,” pa said to us for what must only be the 976th time since we became parents.

“I remember you like this, running around in a diaper and then I’m here and it’s as if the time in between never happened. It’s incredible how fast it goes and soon she’ll be 12 years old running out the door.”

This is pretty standard wistful storytelling from papa. But this time he added a story that hurt my heart a little: 

“You just have to try to be so patient and try to enjoy every single second, because if not, you’ll regret it for the rest of your life. . . I remember your brother, Thomas, like it was yesterday. He was 1 or 2 years old and we were on a car trip, and he was hysterical, screaming for his milk. I lost my temper, pulled the van over, grabbed the bottle of milk and shoved it in his mouth. I can still see his eyes - he was so shocked. He wanted the milk, but I had just shoved the bottle in his mouth, and so of course then he started to cry. I replay it in my mind almost every time I think about him and I ask myself, ‘Why? Why did I do that? Why did I have to lose my temper like that?’ ”

There were tears in his eyes, and I could see how traumatic this memory was for him. This very classic human moment as a parent driving a minivan of screaming kids and losing it had somehow been burned into his mind for 30 years as an unforgivable mistake. To add a layer of pain to it all, Thomas died 11 years ago.

“Papi, you’ve been carrying that guilt around for a long time. Don’t you think it’s time to forgive yourself?” I asked him gently.

I then reflected to him something I had never quite articulated for myself. I told him that I have a few similar memories of him losing his temper with me, but the memory is a 3-part slideshow. 

Part 1: He turns around in the minivan and is about to yell, but doesn’t even have to because I know he’s super mad.
Part 2: A tide of emotion rises up and I burst into tears because it was pretty hard to make my dad that mad and I feel a combo of little girl shock and shame.
Part 3: Some time passes, and Papa very humbly and sincerely apologizes for his reaction and all is well.

My dad gave me one of the greatest gifts. He taught me that adults sometimes mess up, too. And that the memory doesn’t have to end there. My father’s humble choice to apologize (not for disciplining me, but for a level of discipline that felt inauthentic for him) gave me the example of what authentic parenting would look like for me. I apologize to my girls all the time and release the tide of big girl shame and guilt that rises each time I act out of alignment with my highest self. I forgive myself and heal the episode with love all around. We all feel it every time. (I mean, it just happened again last night at bedtime, for God’s sake.)

Ironically, Papi said he could NEVER remember his mother losing her temper (nor needing to apologize) and for that reason, he felt justified in the guilt. Which as you can imagine, has served ZERO purpose for the past 30 years except to cause him unnecessary pain, even after my brother’s death.

We teared up a little and I shared how I can’t imagine any human (including my daughters) going through life making zero choices they don’t have a tiny bit of regret about, and so I want to teach my girls to move through that instead of stockpile it for years of self-loathing and suffering in a futile attempt to live up to a standard that isn’t real for them. We talked about the power of self-forgiveness and how helpful his example of doing the hard thing and apologizing has been for me as an adult who has to apologize to somebody for something on the damn daily.

To truly heal ourselves, we must feel the things we defensively push down.
To truly forgive ourselves, we must look around and recognize we are ALL deserving of forgiveness.
To move through regrets, there’s usually some form of making amends.


I’m sharing this with you today, because maybe you have something you need to forgive yourself for, too.
Maybe you are stockpiling your guilt to compensate for not living up to someone else’s standards. 

And I want to remind you that in this tribe, we do real. We do messy. We make mistakes and we talk about them and heal them. We’re setting an example for the next generation of a real human, fighting the good fight, working on herself, every day, choice to choice, minivan crisis to minivan meltdown.

In your corner always,
G

 My siblings and I about 25 years ago. Thomas is second from left.

My siblings and I about 25 years ago. Thomas is second from left.

PS: Have you heard about The Champagne Society? It's where we give mamas CEOs permission + training to build their empires with more freedom, flow and FUN. To celebrate the launch, you can join us for a $1 trial til August 1st! We do real, messy mamapreneur life in there.

Mommy Soul Tribe Diaries: Lindsay's Postpartum Depression

I was blissfully ignorant on what to expect when my son arrived- I had always been a control freak, effortlessly sliding into the many new changes that had occurred during the few years prior to us getting pregnant. Obviously I could handle a baby, no problem (LOL). My delivery was pretty quick - my water broke around 3am and after a failed epidural and some intense back labor, Thomas was vacuumed out and arrived at 11:17am on 11.5.16. The first few days at home were okay - then began the emotional roller coaster. My postpartum was VERY up and down. I had a good amount of happy moments sprinkled into my days, which is the argument I used against myself to "show" I wasn't truly suffering.

Looking back at my behavior, I can now see where I began sinking deeper into PPD. For instance, the immense sense of dread and loneliness I'd feel around 4pm when the sun would go down. The walks I would take by myself (even if it was raining) to escape my growing suffocation. I was having insomnia and became OBSESSED with sleep; it was all I could talk and think about. I started taking melatonin and drinking endless cups of "sleepy time" teas to knock me out. Nothing worked. Most days I had a painful, heavy knot in my stomach. I was losing weight and having anxiety attacks. I was becoming scared of going to stores, changing diapers and taking showers.

I think I cried for 72 hours straight when I finally called the emergency line for my OBGYN. It was a Sunday night around 11pm- luckily the doctor who delivered my son was on call and told me to come in the next morning.

I started Zoloft and began therapy shortly after. My husband had to take a week off of work to stay home with me while I adjusted to the medication and calmed my frazzled nerves. I was diagnosed with postpartum depression, anxiety and an adjustment disorder. I struggled for a while accepting that I needed professional help. It made me feel weak and unfit to be someone's mother.

I'm so happy I pushed through and committed to getting better. While it still hurts to look back and remember what I was feeling during the first few months of my sons life, I'm in a really good place today and have learned a lot about myself!

 

*Thank you to our brave and real mama from the Mommy Soul Tribe, Lindsay Showmaker, for sharing her diary entry with us here on the blog. To join this honest conversation and countless others over in the free soul tribe, join us HEREWe are always looking for diary entries from members of our tribe on the following topics:

Postpartum Depression, Miscarriage, #MeToo, Rainbow Babies, Choosing to go back to work, Choosing to be a SAHM, Breastfeeding, Pumping, Starting a business, and God knows what else.

If you have a story you are generously willing to share, please email it to us at hello@shinyhappyhuman.com.

Trying to be the "Right Kind" of Mother

“Look at me. Please.”

She’s only four, and yet I hear myself saying these words to my eldest daughter daily. Imploring and even begging her to see me standing here trying to connect amidst the frustration of a “human moment” where her will and boundary testing is far more powerful than my patience.

 

In these moments, I find myself in a constant state of “trying.”

Trying to be the right kind of mother for this kind of daughter.

Trying to say the thing that will teach her manners and self-responsibility, but not shame her.

Trying to lead with love and connection over the traditional parenting paradigms valuing control and discipline.

Trying to be the best version of me in moments that are often mirroring back to me my least favorite human traits.

 

My daughter is excruciatingly sensitive.

So am I.

My daughter is unreasonable (and a bit terrifying) when hungry.

So am I.

My daughter wants love and connection, even when she’s at at the peak of emotional rage.

So do I.

My daughter is cautious and self-aware, making it nearly impossible to force her into something before she’s ready. And when she is, the shift in perception and attitude is swift and palpable.

Samesies.

 

So I lean heavily on all that self-awareness when I’m asking her to look at me and she won’t. I stare straight into the mirror she holds up when she’s sobbing uncontrollably because I’ve drawn a line in the sand and said it’s this or that, and she can’t have the in-between.

 

I, personally, love the in-between. I dive into the spaces between two opposing truths and I make myself a nest. Not willing to fall into the trap of believing my life’s choices are black and white or that my thoughts or actions can be good or bad.

 

I’m not sure she understands there’s an in between at all, but in these moments of parenting, it makes sense to me that my daughter is resistant to staying in the corner I’ve backed her into. If I’m honest, I can see parallels of me behaving the same way yesterday, last week, two decades ago.

 

So in my BEST mothering moments—the ones when I lead with self-awareness, love and empathy, instead of ultimatums and exhaustion—I get curious, and I ask myself WHY.

 

Why have I drawn this line in the sand and what does it say about ME that I’m drawing it right now? When did my mood bend from upbeat to beat down and did my daughter have anything to do with it or am I imposing my mood on her will?

 

And I understand that there really is no right or wrong. And my mother was doing the best she could with the information she had, and so am I. And every encounter can bring us closer together or farther apart, and even if I mess up this moment, I can choose again in 5 minutes and invite her eyes to find mine. And when she’s finally ready to look at me, she’ll see a mama who’s only positive about the following: “I love you. I care. I’m trying. I’m human. I’m learning. Let’s keep doing this together. Forever and always.”

 

Stop Being the Mom Who "Can't"

"To have what you want in life, you must first give up being the person who doesn't have it."

I stumbled upon that quote a couple years ago, and it called. me. out. I wanted to make more money, and it kept slipping through my fingers. I couldn't figure it out! I was thisclose to a sustainable career, but suspected I had some old money beliefs that were blocking me.

Here's how they came up: I JUDGED PEOPLE WITH MONEY. I was totally subconsciously attached to being the person who DIDN'T have money.

"Oh - you took a vacation to Ibiza?!" (To myself: MUST BE NICE.) "You always look amazing. I love your clothes." (To myself: MUST BE NICE TO SHOP SO MUCH.) "Oh your kid goes to THAT SCHOOL?" (To myself: We will never be able to afford that.)

My identity was so entrenched in being the girl who was NOT rolling in dough, it's a wonder I held onto ANY dollars that year. This is called "scarcity mindset" and it's gross and makes you small and insecure and resentful and whiny, and I highly recommend you "do the work" on these thoughts, if you have them. (Note: I can help you via private coaching.)

"To have what you want in life, you must first give up being the person who doesn't have it."

This subconscious limiting of ourselves does NOT just apply to money, by the way. As moms, we do it with our self-care, freedom, alone time, girl time, you name it. Someone posted in the Mommy Soul Tribe recently about feeling resentment creeping in because her husband was taking a long guys' trip and she "wouldn't be able to take a long vacation without her kids for 20 years."

Have you ever felt this way? I know I was on the brink of this mommy martyrdom 3 years ago, and I'm so grateful I did "the work" around those thoughts. I pushed through the resistance of attending my first women's retreat solo, and that life-changing experience proved to be pivotal in almost every single thing that has followed. Literally...

It would feel ridiculous for a mother with the above belief system to even consider the definite possibility that she could take a girls' trip, because her identity is tied to being the parent who "doesn't have that luxury." Guess what? Once it's a luxury, it feels irresponsible and like something a "respectable" mother would never.

Is this you? Are you accidentally making yourself the person who CAN'T? Consider this an invitation for you to break that old pattern and evolve into the woman who most definitely CAN have it all. Feeling unsure where to start? A coaching+self-care tropical vacay with an intimate group of like-minded mamas would probably do the trick.

Translation: Cut. That. Shit. Out.

Get curious about the things you might be accidentally holding yourself back from only because YOU'VE DECIDED you can't. What might be possible if you started changing your story and creating a well-rounded identity that had you feeling the way you wanted to?

You know what I think now when tribe members who are wealthy AF tell me about their family vacations?

"That sounds effing amazing!" (To myself: Love that I'm surrounded by so many women who are ABUNDANT AF. More permission for me to create what I desire! Can't wait to take our family's perfect-for-us vacay. Maybe we'll go there!)

Can't wait to help you feel abundant AF every damn day.

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