This is a tricky topic to write about. When you have kids it can be so hard to be honest about some of the feelings and thoughts that are less than positive. But a recent realisation has forced me to face those negative feelings. Here goes.
I’ve committed myself to live my best life. I know how bloody cheesy that sounds but there it is. For so long I’ve focussed on doing the right thing, being sensible, having a decent career, having the hallmarks of a good life. So much so that I forgot to ask myself if it felt like a good life.
There are too many times where the overriding feeling I have been carrying is resentment. Resentment of my employer for keeping me away from my kids, for not appreciating the work I put in, for not seeing the hours behind a screen in the evening and weekend. Resentment of my husband, for doing a job he loves, for getting to go out spontaneously because he doesn’t do pick up, for not having to justify his decision to be a working parent, for his career not being affected by being a working parent. Resentment of my kids for not giving me any space, ever, for not listening, for needing to be entertained, for robbing me of my freedom.
It’s hard to hear isn’t it. It’s even harder to feel. No wonder that overwhelming sense of resentment was accompanied by a deep sense of guilt and shame. No way for anyone to lead their best life.
So when I set up my own business, it was an opportunity to reset. Would I fall in to old habits or could I change? What would it take to change? Well, hard as it was to recognise this at the time, the only way I was going to shift anything was by stopping and thinking about what I needed. What would make me happy? It can be so incredibly hard to put ourselves at the top of the list. To say, “I am the priority right now”. But I knew, deep down that if I didn’t figure this out I was going slide back to old ways, miss this golden opportunity and stay stuck in the quagmire of resentment and guilt.
So, I read a few books, and spent a lot of time reflecting. I worked with a coach and I stopped. I stopped working, stopped doing, stopped setting ridiculous expectations of myself. And I started feeling, listening, being. Taking the summer of 2017 off was the best thing I could have done at this stage in my life. I let go of so much and I reconnected with what was important to me. And it was all the things that I had been feeling resentment towards. My work, my husband and my kids. I knew that I loved the latter two with all my heart but I couldn’t say the same about the first. It was then that I realised that joy in my work would unlock joy in all areas of my life.
Figuring out what I love most about my work, what I’m really good at, the stuff that gives me a real buzz was transformational. And because I am operating in the place where I’m at my best, the work is flowing, my clients are happy and I am experiencing true joy in my work. That joy is allowing me to be present at home in a way I haven’t been before. It is allowing me to be light and fun and, well, joyful. It has removed the stress and frustration and chaos that was too often present.
And a couple of weeks ago while I was reading a brilliant book in a noisy soft play centre while my kids were having the time of their lives I realised that I’d let it all go. All that resentment had gone. Tears sprung to my eyes and I had to take some very deep breaths not to sob all over the Formica table. A huge grin spread across my face as I realised that this was the great gift my new life had given me and my family.
More than anything that has come before it in this incredible journey, that realisation made me feel truly free.
And so yes, right now, I feel like I am living my best life. Hate me if you must 😉