My business and my third child were born at the same time.
The little human (now 6) obviously took priority, but it was the coaching practice that kept me sane and thriving as a human being during those first years of his life.
When #3 was born, I didn’t want to go back to living the crazy hamster wheel automatic lifestyle that had become characteristic of my first and second children’s infancies. Instead, I chose to build up my practice part-time, around the children’s schedule. (Yes, I know how fortunate I am to have had this choice!)
So for the last 6 ½ years, being the lead parent to 3 little littles combined with an international move and then my mother’s journey with cancer meant I didn’t focus as much as I might have liked to on my coaching practice.
My focus, energy and love were swept in other very important directions.
In my mind, after the grieving of my mother, I woke up with a strong understanding that this super care-giving-centered phase of my life was over. I believed that it was my time – a time to take my business, my passion to a whole new level.
The kids were all at school. My mother had passed and I had found peace with that.
Life was opening up to me. I was excited.
But as it happens, life had other ideas.
Because only a few months into this “new phase” my eldest was diagnosed with a disorder that affects both her behaviour and her learning. The news took time to settle. I think it only hit home when one of the many specialists we saw during this period said to me: you have a Special Needs child.
What? It couldn’t be.
But indeed it was. In addition to the usual tasks at hand, there were now specialist appointments to be made, books to read, meetings with the school to attend, extra homework support (torturous for an impatient hot head like me!).
And the side-effects: younger siblings feeling neglected, having muddled messages around what is acceptable and what is not, arguments with my husband about it all!
The independent, reliable, self-sufficient twelve year old that I had subconsciously yearned for (who I had been) would not be. However beautiful, creative, dynamic, clever, warm and loving she was, this child would need me more than I wanted to be needed.
So it was. So it is.
It took quite a while to fully reconcile myself with this new reality. I was able to go through all the necessary motions (and more!) but to accept it lovingly, without resentment…well that took its merry old time.
But I got there…towards the end of last year, I finally got there.
Breathe in. Breathe out. And Sigh.
I could do this. We could do this. It would be alright…maybe even better than alright…
My positive demeanor poked its head out.
However…life hadn’t finished offering me its gifts.
Because just around that time, my youngest boy began to experience emotional regulation challenges. I will not go into detail out of respect to him (he is a very private child). But suffice it to say it was off the scales of what we considered healthy. We decided finally to seek help. And sure enough, we came to the conclusion that he too needed special parenting support.
He too, would need me more than I wanted to be needed.
So, there it was. I had, over the course of one year – the year that should have been my year, my time – discovered that I had two special needs children and a middle child in between.
The red carpet of freedom (or a little more freedom, anyway) was not being rolled open for me. I would not be able to put more energy and time into the business I was so passionate about the way I’d envisioned.
I was needed. I was needed to be there for them (more than anticipated and more than I wanted to be).
Well, truth be told, I didn’t really need to be there. But if I was going to be honest with myself; if I was going to stay aligned and true to my priorities and values, I would choose to be there.
And so I did.
Life doesn’t usually go the way we anticipate. The way we think it should go.
We can choose to ignore what is happening around us and pretend that it is.
Or we can go the hard road and embrace the truth.
From a Buddhist perspective, my suffering has been related to my resisting to accept a truth that is not aligned with the way I think my life should be right now. That nasty shoulditis almost got the better of me…argh!
But I stopped it in its tracks thanks to a visit from a wise old friend: Acceptance.
Acceptance dragged in patience. They made space for Opportunity to grow and learn. And together they attracted one of my favorite dears: Gratitude.
May you be blessed with these gifts more than anything else. Because with them, you can. And you will do just about anything.
Circled by this bunch, life is feeling lighter and I’m feeling more energized. I’m ready to start Spring with a fresh new vibe and want to invite you along.
First easy step is to ditch overwhelm, create clarity and get our lives sorted.
On April 10th, I will rebirth my Clear Mind | Present Mama Challenge under the new name: The Stress Less | Love More Challenge. While much of the content will remain the same, new material and focus will help challengers to stress less and yell less. If you want to learn more or sign up, you can click here.
To warm up for the Challenge, I’m going on Facebook Live on Wednesday 29 at noon (EST) to talk about how we can make working motherhood work for us and our families. We’ll address guilt, making the best use of our time, practicing presence and much more! You can join the Stress Less | Love More Facebook group by clicking right here. If you can’t make it live, be sure to ask any questions you have beforehand (in comments or a post). That way I can address your question and you can watch the video at your convenience on the Facebook group anytime afterwards.