parenthood

Is resiliency overrated?

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At my 9-5 gig, I was discussing ways to improve the morale in our local San Francisco office with our Chief People Officer (CPO, yep, that’s a thing. So cool, right?).

For several months, employees in a different department than my own had been working crazy OT and quickly diving head first into burning out. They were getting bitter over the lack of communication, that the end was most definitely NOT in sight, and the fatigue.

With a history in the Army, I’m not surprised our CPO mentioned resiliency.

Sure, life requires resiliency. To be able to recover quickly from difficulties takes a mental and sometimes physical toughness. To persevere despite hardships and bounce back is somewhat of a learned behavior.

But I question the general assumption that everyone has a similar threshold for resilience. Like any muscle, resiliency grows through flexing it while overcoming trials. But when is it too much?

We tabled the resiliency discussion, promising to pick it up later this summer. In the meantime, we’d keep paying OT, providing dinners and breakfasts for those that stayed late or came in early, and giving a day off here and there.

Moving on, his next question to me was, “Do you feel appreciated?”

Those words cut through me and I immediately blurted out, “No!,” followed by a downpour of tears.

I did not expect to break so easily.

I may not have been experiencing the stress and long hours of my coworkers, but I was experiencing burn out as a working, single parent, trying to juggle it all well.

Sometimes being the mom is being the most underappreciated person in the room, especially when trying to do it all.

Also, as women, I don’t think we think about it until the question is asked point blank.

We do a lot – mentally and physically – and we don’t give ourselves credit. We keep forging ahead, resilient. Possibly too strong for our own good, as we carry heavy emotions, and most certainly too busy to stop and reflect, to feel and understand. We just keep trucking because we think that if we stop, all that we’ve built will crash.

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This recent article from Motherly hit home for me.

“…85% of moms said that our society does not do a good job of supporting mothers.

Eighty-five percent.

Society is asking you to nurture in an environment that does not nurture you back.

 

Through my divorce, moving, sick kids, and remote days, my 9-5 gig has accommodated many of my requests. Yet my schedule and commute keep me a slave to the corporate world.

Can you relate?

I feel this when I tell my daughters they can’t sign-up for a gymnastics class because the only times are at 3:30pm  on weekdays when their mama is working.

I feel it when they’re sick at school and I ask them to wait because I’m nearly 30 miles away, dependent on a train schedule, and I’m the only one who can pick them up.

I feel it when I’m depleted from a long day and they sound more like the Peanuts mom, than my two hungry daughters.

Despite only needing and wanting love, compassion, trust, grace and an eager ear to listen about their unicorn art work, being a parent to young kids is exhausting.

Worth it, but the job is an all encompassing, 24/7, position


Yep, I’ve written about this before, but it begs repeating.

We don’t need to hide behind phrases such as, “I’m fine!” or identities of being “strong” or “resilient.”

We’re designed to have emotions and not be ok. To feel knocked down and discombobulated on occasion is part of the human condition.

However, we don’t need to wrestle through these emotions alone.

  • We need to speak up.

  • We need to ask for help.

  • We need to have conversations with our loved ones about the imbalance we feel.

  • We need to ask for raises.

  • We need to create better boundaries at work and at home to help us feel more sane.

  • We need to say no.

  • We need to rest.

  • We need to get outside.

  • We need to go on adventures.

  • We need to step away from the grind.

Two things I’d love for you to consider and put into practice this week:

1. Give yourself credit 

We’re always evolving and growing. Recognize how far you’ve come and how much closer you are to the goal you’ve been chasing or the habits you’ve wanted to create in your life. If you haven’t listened to this interview with Michelle Obama, I highly recommend it. The whole thing is stellar but the first 5 minutes about Becoming, is priceless.
 

2. Celebrate little victories


As noted above, when we aren’t giving ourselves credit, we aren’t celebrating the little victories. If we aren’t celebrating the little victories, we’re simply grinding. Head down, and grinding, all the damn time. Life is too short to not have fun and celebrate. I promise the celebration, even if it’s a short victory dance to your favorite song in your living room, will create more space for creativity, excitement and breakthrough.

 

What can you put into practice this week?

Where do you need to speak up in your life?


I saw this quote from Arnold Schwarzenegger:

“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” 

Quotes like this on failure, especially coming from a man sometimes rub me the wrong way. However, I want to dissect it for a minute,

Our struggles are our story to share and to build bridges into the worlds of others. Hardships don’t have to translate into mustering up all of our strength to fight to the very end alone and barely get by.

Sometimes not surrendering equates to asking for help so that you don’t surrender to the darkness, to the loneliness, or pain.

Surrendering can mean surrendering your tendencies to hide and instead choosing vulnerability, allowing people to step into your life, to help light up the way, and to give you a purpose again.

I’ll say it again,

Remain patient,

Give yourself grace.

Ask for help.

Write down your goals where you can see them everyday and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Baby steps, my friend! You’ve got this mama!


If you want in on this conversation on a more consistent basis – bi-monthly to be more specific - join my mailing list here.

WEDNESDAY WISDOM: Step One.


Now this is the story all about how
My life got flipped, turned upside down
And I'd like to take a minute just sit right there
I'll tell you how I became the paleo queen of my home affairs


Long story, not-so-short:

Like a lot of people, I first got into nutrition by healing my own body. You can read more about it on my website.

Around the same time, I married into a CrossFit gym, and was introduced to what seemed like the wacky world of paleo. I was already gluten free but this was no doubt taking it up a notch. I turned into the friend who made raw brownies (aka larabar bites since desserts were off limits), made every meat dish under the sun, used my crockpot to make the spiciest adobo ever, and basically spent all of my time looking up recipes. Sadly, it was the early 2000's and Pinterest was not a thing back then! Shocking, I know!

And by the way, I was not a good cook….yet!

Most of the time I got the evil eye because I turned into that friend who made social gatherings awkward when it came to food.

Ultimately my fascination with paleo and continuing my journey of healing my body through food, included my vision to step up my involvement at the gym by creating create a nutrition program to coincide with the intense training of these beasts. I also wanted to become a better chef. These interwoven aspirations spurred my pursuit of going back to school for nutritional studies, or naturopathy, or Chinese medicine, or holistic cooking.

Side note, sometimes I can be really indecisive!

While I knew a fair bit from my own studies, my intention and dream was to go to Bastyr. After attending an info night, going on a tour, and sitting on the shores of Lake Washington to pray about it, I felt certain this was the road to take. I truly felt like the world was my oyster.

And yes, I’m a total nerd and LOVE school.

After a quarter of prerequisites in the books, I got pregnant with my first daughter. Working full-time, going to school part-time, and being pregnant, was interesting. When the fatigue hit and I’d fall asleep mid-sentence of a conversation, I decided something had to give, and my dream got derailed….for a bit.

Funny how life throws you curve balls once you think you’ve figured it all out!

Then one day, now with babe in arms, I picked up a little book called Practical Paleo at Costco.  Or perhaps I ordered it from Prime, charging it to the business! At this point mom brain has set in and the timeline gets a little fuzzy!

This not so little book, in case you’re not familiar with it, is essentially the Paleo gospel. Every ailment is addressed, from adrenal health to thyroid health – with a meal plan; to how to live a paleo lifestyle – from getting started to eating out to getting your friends on board; to healing digestion to managing stress. The 470 page book truly covers it all.

I was a quick fan.

Since Practical Paleo was such an inspiration to me, I later, nearly a year post-partum after my second daughter, decided to try my first 21-Day Sugar Detox (21DSD).  Although I only did Level 1 (Elleno’s guava greek yogurt was too hard to give up, and I may have slipped in a bag of popcorn along the way), I was amazed when I noticed my abs making an appearance.

Please believe me when I say it’s not about the aesthetics of my body, but the sheer excitement of how simple shifts (um, wasn’t I already eating clean paleo?), made such a difference.

Needless to say, Diane Sanfilippo became my kitchen buddy and guru.

When she launched her 21-Day Sugar Detox beta coaching group, I was naturally curious. I was a SAHM, now with two daughters, and it was nearly 4 years between when I took the first step toward my nutrition education, with nothing to prove for it.

At this point there were so many more options to choose between. NTA was just starting, IIN was big, Bastyr was still there, FDN was gaining traction, and on and on. I felt overwhelmed with the different avenues, time and financial commitments. Did I already mention I was indecisive?

The 21-Day Sugar Detox Coaches group felt like a happy medium – and an easier commitment for my little family to swallow. It was a platform in which I could get my feet wet, have the structure and support I needed, while shedding the fears and doubts of starting a business from the ground up.

Since I was already helping other mamas sort out what the heck to feed their kids, meal prep, and navigate their grocery store outings, I jumped into the 21DSD beta group.

Now let me get one thing straight - I’m not one for doing one thing at a time. Once I decided to join the beta group, I also started studying with Precision Nutrition (which I’m now certified in) and continued cooking for the frozen paleo meal service I started for some clients at the gym. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention I started that a few months prior when a coach persuaded me to help his client dial in his food. Eeek!

It was a slow start but I have fond memories studying my Precision Nutrition, the more science heavy chapters, and listening to the 21DSD coaching calls at the South lake Union Whole Foods, or while slurping up pho on wet PNW nights, and while drinking chai at Uptown Espresso in Belltown.

I have visceral memories of these Wednesday nights, which was my “night off” as a mom and wife. As I pursued these things that fed my mind and future, they quickly became my favorite evenings around town.

And of course during all of this, I was raising two babies, battling infidelity in my marriage, and trying to figure out what the hell to do with my life!

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, there’s NEVER a perfect time for anything.

There’s no doubt about it, with what you have at any given moment, make the wisest decision you can. But remember, you have the power to course correct at any time. Life is about constant change; and life rarely unfolds as well as you expect or plan for.

Now, nearly four years later (if you haven’t noticed TIME FLIES!):

  • I’m divorced.
  • I’m living in the Bay Area.
  • I’m Precision Nutrition Certified.
  • I’m still a 21DSD coach.
  • I have a nutrition coaching business.
  • I'm a Beautycounter Educator and mentor
  • I also have a FT marketing job.
  • I solo parent – making all the lunches, doing all of the laundry, meal prepping, and cleaning all of the toilets!

And somehow, I make it work. Even on the days when too many people comment, “I don’t know how you do it all,” and I want to slap them in the face - seriously, this comment is not helpful and really, what kind of answer are you trying to elicit? – we survive.

This not the end game.

Sure, everything takes longer than I expect. I’m tired. I don’t get to read as much as I desire. My house never stays clean as long as I’d want it to. Nor do I don’t exercise as long or hard as I’d like to.

But hope remains!

I know this is only a season.

Somedays it’s easier than others to crank out the gratitude, yet I'm always thankful and grateful for:

  • Podcasts, audible, and the kindle app for the long BART rides (does this count as my tribe?);
  • Unique chances to learn
  • For trial and error
  • For pushing myself out of my comfort zone
  • For new opportunists to create healthy streams of income
  • For fresh starts every morning
  • For cuddles
  • For the little sleep I do get
  • For my body, living room, and kettlebell allowing me to creatively break out into a sweat session.

I don’t wear any of this as a badge, but rather to thoughtfully share with you that this is the messy life I live right now. And that if I can pursue dreams and goals, so can you.

At this point in time, I get to connect with and help men and women, mamas and grandpas, across the country connect the dots between their health and nutrition.

For me, this is a stepping stone toward creating a platform for busy, career parents, in the throes of raising young kids, to find confidence, balance, and happiness in their kitchen, skin, and life.

What is it for you?

Have you forgotten that you’re stronger, more powerful, and more creative than you think?

Your beautiful mind is waiting for you to crack it open and try something new. To break free from the mold you think you’re supposed to fit into and shine brighter than you have before.

It’s about taking the first step. Putting one foot in front of the other until you get enough momentum.

I can’t say you ever gain enough confidence to never fear, even a little bit, but it’s getting up and getting in the race that will get you closer to your goal.

So again, what is it for you?

  • If it’s nutrition, call me!
  • If it’s writing more, write your 500 words today.
  • If it’s that guy over there that gives you butterflies just looking at him, go talk to him.
  • If it’s going back to school, enroll.
  • If it’s joining a gym, get your membership tomorrow.

Just please, don’t wait. Don’t sit on the sidelines waiting for the right moment.

One way or another, the time will pass. Embrace it because in a year, or five or ten years, I want you to have a really good story tell!