Dear Stress, Let’s Break Up.

e9f8428a3ff2e8d1759062946e3b4804

I’ve hit a rough patch. No, that doesn’t quite describe it accurately. For those of you who live in my hometown of Worcester, you will understand this metaphor better. For the past few months I have been going back and forth, up and down, Plantation street, at rush hour, weaving in and around the ever active construction, and hitting just about every pothole in the road. Bumpy, to say the least.

Last year at the Caya Retreat, I met a mom who had 5 young children. She described the experience like this, “Imagine that you are drowning, and then someone hands you a baby.”

I’ve been wishing, hoping, praying, for someone to hand me a baby (my own, in my uterus) for months now. (More on that later) But lately, I’ve been feeling like I am drowning. In typical Jozie fashion, I have made too many changes, and taken on too much all at once. Why do I keep setting myself up to crash and burn? Why do I have this unrealistic idea that I am super woman and can handle IT ALL? Oh, because modern society likes to tell me that’s what I should be.

I had a wise teacher in massage school that used to say, “Quit shoulding on yourself.”

12038132_10100224151148087_4989648966911993540_n

The truth of the matter is, I am once again at a point in my life, where something has got to give. The beauty of this experience is that I have recognized it (from having seen it many times before) and I have a choice. By something has got to I give, I mean I have got to stop doing one of the things I am doing that is draining my energy. To some this may look like quitting. To others, who have an understanding of energy, priority, and healthy balance, this will look like a reasonable decision. In truth, it doesn’t matter what this looks like to anyone. What is important is how it feels to me.

Honestly it’s one of the best and worst feelings that I have the privilege of experiencing in this beautiful life. 

ceca458cd7cd8501c040faa1a01f29d1

The guilt of “giving up”, the resolve to stay truer to myself next time, the relief from exhaustion, and the realization that my choice always brings me back to what is truly most important to me, my family.

Every time I make a decision to leave something, to “give something up”, to stop doing, I decide that what is truly worth my time and effort is the ones I love. Nothing is more important to me than them.

Some will say I’m losing out on my goals and aspirations by putting my husband and child before myself. Some will say I should be able to do it all, work, parent, and go to school, because lots of people do it. But I say, my family IS me. By putting them first I am putting myself first. And I say, that I cannot do it all at the expense of my physical and mental health. Lots of people are sick and miserable in this country, because they push themselves too hard. I do not want to be one of them, not for any goal or aspiration.

And so to me, saying, “I Quit” or, “I Give Up” really means that I am saying, “I Choose Me” or, “I Choose Us”. I choose to keep myself healthy and happy, so that I can keep you healthy and happy. I choose to be with you, instead of running myself ragged in pursuit of “goals”. Yes this means I won’t achieve what I set out to achieve. Yes this means that I am accepting a path that is different from what it might have been. But in all honesty, I am OK with that. I am OK with being a mom who chooses to put my family first. This thing I am giving up on, really isn’t mine anyways. When the goal or the dream IS something that is truly my heart’s desire, I won’t give up, but it also won’t be as hard.

f61f195d9dbfb17d3a03e4df28c3ec51

 

And so, dear stress, dear self-induced exhaustion and overload, let’s break up. I don’t need you. What I need is the me that is calm, and happy, and in love with the world.

Settle In For the Season

family fox costume

The wind is fiercely dancing past my windows as I sit to write this. The trees are barren after their final showing of life and vibrance. The ground is hardening, and winter, she is coming.

November always brings with it a certain feeling of settling, at least for us New Englanders. It’s time to cozy up our dens, build a fire, and hunker down for what is likely to be a long winter. At this time of year, it’s possibly to feel ok with that, especially if we have soaked in plenty of summer sun, and autumn warmth. We know that winter is just a season, and in time she will pass.

I’m settling in in many ways right now. Yes, the heat is turned on, soup is on my stove almost everyday, and my big comfy sweaters have made their way back into my closet. I’m ready for the time of year. But I’m also settling into a time of life, a season in itself. I’m finally settling into motherhood in a way that feels good, and right.

Let me explain…

After last year’s whirlwind of birthing a baby, and opening a new business, then slowly realizing that it all was too much… I’m taking a gentler approach. I’m (trying) (very hard) to let go of my ego, my need to be, and do, and achieve more. I’m letting myself adopt the mantra of “good, is good enough”. And in very practical matters, since I am unable to massage right now, I am taking a part-time job, at a nursery school.

In some ways this feel like a hundred steps back. Like something I would have done when I was in college, or high school,  not now with a bachelor’s degree, hundreds of hours in specialized training, and the experience of successfully being my own boss. But in other ways, this feels like a huge step forward, and a perfect place to be right now. It’s a good job, and good is good enough.

Right now my attention, my time, and energy, is flowing in all directions towards my family, and my own self care. I know that these early years of making, growing, and caring for babies are unique. I know that many women jump right back into their normal lives after having a baby, but I also know that many women face crippling health issues from burn out and exhaustion. I have been on the verge of these health issues due to my own ambition and drive, but I have finally given myself permission, and the necessary support, to stop.

Settling in carries with it a certain sadness. In November we in the northern hemisphere mourn the loss of our daylight, our warmth. As mothers we may mourn the loss of our former selves. The selves that could work a 10-hour a day job, and still have energy to exercise, go out with friends, and keep up with all of life’s demands. However we all must remember that this is just a season. This winter, this time of life, it will pass. How we spend it is what is of most importance. How we choose to play in this life is what really matters.

I’m choosing warm slippers, and cozy blankets, fires built, and soups cooked lovingly. I’m choosing self-care, and simplicity, work that is satisfying but not overly demanding, and time with my babies. I’m settling in, to enjoy all that I am blessed with. I hope that whatever season you are in, you are able to do the same.

family fox costume