I have mixed feelings about Valentine’s Day.
On the one hand it is an opportunity to really dive in and explore LOVE. It is a chance to celebrate connection, intimacy and romance. And, as a romantic at heart, I appreciate it.
On a less romantic and more practical note, Valentine’s Day feels like a pain in the ass. Like a whole lot of unnecessary pressure. Pressure to have/ get this whole love and romance thing right (irrespective of the lack of sleep, piled up dishes and – let’s be honest – on-going frustration with partner who doesn’t do such dishes!).
For the busy Mama who barely has time to shower or have a non-logistical conversation with her partner (let alone shop for lingerie!?) this February heart talk gets annoying REAL FAST.
I mean seriously, how can we think about romance when our energy is dwindling and we don’t even have time to shave our legs!?
I know that love is what makes the world go ‘round. I get it.
But there are seasons in life when even date nights feel like too much.
Ever been on one that went completely sour because you had nothing to say? Or what you had to say was about boring logistics, or worse, nagging and complaining?
I know. Seriously, I’ve been there. Not good. )-:
The annoyance, frustration, and built-up resentment IS REAL and it gets in the way.
It’s all too common to find ourselves too busy or too tired to look these feelings of annoyance, frustration and/ or resentment in the eye, listen to what they are telling us, and find the energy and courage to have that conversation about them with our loved ones.
And from this place, it sure isn’t easy to have the clarity and energy to advocate what needs changing in order to re-connect with ourSELF and our other half.
In other words, it isn’t easy to know, communicate and honor the boundaries that we need (and deserve) to be and feel the love that lies under the emotional mess of it all.
But guess what? Doing exactly this IS LOVE in practice.Knowing, communicating and honoring YOUR boundaries IS LOVE IN PRACTICE. Click To Tweet
And as with everything I teach, this practice is a journey. A hard, messy and sometimes self-healing journey.
So, if you are feeling alone and isolated, and are ready to reconnect with yourSELF and your partner in an authentic way that builds for sustainable lovin’ I have a few baby step ideas that may help you to LOVE MAMA UP.
Step 1. Reflect & Journal
Sit for a moment and simply reflect on two things:
1. What you need to help you open yourself up to love. Is it more energy? Is it more headspace? Is it more “me” time? Is it a sense of appreciation or acknowledgment? Journal what comes up for you.
2. What has made you feel LOVED UP in the past? Is it a hand held? A hug? A good laugh? Journal what comes up for you.
Step 2. Reaffirm
Write and say aloud: I need and deserve both of the above.
Step 3. Plan
Plan two events: a gift to yourself followed by a conversation with your significant other.
Step 4. Implement
GIFT TO SELF. The gift for yourself might be a yoga class, a warm bath or a walk in the woods. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does have to leave you feeling yourSELF – vibrant, worthy and self-loved. This is how you want to feel when you talk with your significant other.
COURAGEOUS CONVERSATION. You are speaking with your significant other to share your needs and boundaries with them. You are showing up as your best self, here. No blaming or shaming. Rather, use “I statements” that explain how you feel and what you need.
“When the babies cries in the middle of the night and you sleep through it, I feel very much alone in this parenting struggle. I feel exhausted by the lack of sleep, too. Can we brainstorm together? I know that if I were more rested and less alone in my mind, I would be a better partner to you.”
“When I get home from work after you, and see a messy kitchen and you on the couch, I feel downtrodden and frustrated. The idea of cleaning-up puts me in a horrible mood. Can we think of a way to avoid this from happening? I know that if I didn’t come home from the office to a second shift of work, I would be a better partner to you.”
“When I ask you to research the dentist in January, and ask again in March and it hasn’t been done, I feel annoyed and disregarded. My mind feels overwhelmed by all the things I need to remember to manage the family. Can we find a way to help you remember these jobs that make such a difference to me? I know if I didn’t need to remember and remind, I would be a better partner to you.
And then LISTEN. Take deep breaths if you have to, but stay quiet and listen.
This may go smoothly. And it may not.
What if it goes all wrong?
Breathe – deeply and slowly. I urge you not to react in the moment, if you can. Notice what comes up for you. Feel the feelings. Listen to the self-talk.
Your ideal response: “Wow. I really feel shocked/ surprised/ angry/ irritated when I hear you say that. I think I need to go away and have a think.”
This may be enough to instigate change. It may not. Either way, I urge you to walk away. Acknowledge your feelings. Acknowledge your part. Journal. Talk to someone. Cry. And know, that if you can’t (which is often the case with me) that’s ok. We’re all human. Simply give it time and try again.
And remember: this is a journey. A hard, messy journey that, for many of us, involves a lot of healing and self-discovery. As I’ve recently discovered myself, this is where the real deep scars open and the shit comes up.
Finding love in a relationship with another, requires knowing your own truth and loving yourSELF.
Being kind and patient with yourself wherever you are on that journey, THAT IS TRUE LOVE.Finding love in a relationship with another, requires knowing your own truth and loving yourSELF. Being kind and patient with yourself wherever you are on that journey, THAT IS TRUE LOVE. Click To Tweet
Finding love in a relationship with another, requires knowing your own truth and loving yourSELF. Being kind and patient with yourself wherever you are on that journey, THAT IS TRUE LOVE.
Please share your insights and challenges with this LOVE MAMA UP process in the Stress Less | Love More private Facebook group. I would LOVE to hear what comes up for you. The Stress Less | Love More Facebook group is a place where Mamas come together to get real and be honest about the motherhood journey – it’s celebrations AND its challenges. If you haven’t already, join this community of like-minded, open hearted Mamas, excellent resources and live Q&A sessions with me. Click here to become a member (it’s free).
Oh! And if you are amongst the lucky Mamas whose feelings don’t get in the way of lovin’, and it’s more a matter of energy and time, I have some great news for you!
It won’t always be this way! Love will manifest in different degrees and in different ways depending on where you are on your motherhood journey.
If your a Mama with a newborn or a baby on your breast, then this space of connection may be 1 minute long. It may include a look across a messy room. A squeeze on the arm. Or a short (non-logistical) text. As the children get older and your world expands a little, the look can extend into a deeper conversation, the squeeze can turn into an extended hug, and the text into a date night.
So stay true. Stay patient. Persevere. And keep loving yourSELF!
Happy Valentines’ Day! May today be the beginning of a whole lot of lovin’ for you!
P.S. All Mamas need some good lovin’ so don’t keep this to yourself. Share this blog by tweeting, clicking the image below or clicking on any of the social media buttons on this page.