When my business was my primary focus in life, I could use my monthly stats, weekly client sessions, and the amount of money I made to see how I was successful. I measured a lot of my self-worth against those numbers and client feedback. Since being pregnant and becoming a mother, my business has fallen to the 2nd position.
I had been beating myself up because I couldn’t get my once thriving business back on track and all I could think was “Fail”. Every night that my son was up for the 6th time, all I could think was “Fail”. When he is yelling “No” at me for the 55,000 time since he got out of bed, all I could think was “Fail”. All I could see was failure until one day when my therapist said to me “There is no scale to measure motherhood on. There is an epic amount of expectations we can set for ourselves and ideas we have about how it will all be, but those aren’t scales to measure against. Those are things to reality test.”
I left the session feeling a bit relieved, a lot exhausted, and a tad curious. I asked my husband if he feels successful in life right now and he replied, “Sometimes at work I do. I don’t look at parenting the same way though. I take what Brene Brown says about parenting and use that… I know I am an engaged father. That’s good enough for me.”
I went to bed pondering this. What if my experience of motherhood isn’t about succeeding or failing? What if it is about engaging? Could I be considered an engaged mom in every moment just because I am willing to be there with whatever is happening?
I have played around with being engaged and staying out of tallying my successes and failures. I have tried to stay present in my body and with my emotions. The tougher moments brought out the little Failure Gremlin and it tried to tell me I was failing when things weren’t going well or I was losing my patience. I told it “I am engaging.” It didn’t run away as quickly as I had hoped for but it didn’t stick around repeating itself either.
I can’t tell you it has been is easy to choose engagement over saying “Success” or “Fail” but it has shifted how I am feeling. I am not clenching my jaw or walking around with super tense muscles. I question my choices less and have even felt confident in many of them.
It has helped me to be gentler and more compassionate with myself and what we can give ourselves we can share with our children and everyone else in our life.