I've sent this letter to numerous friends of mine over the years. It came up during a conversation with a client last night, and I decided to share it again.
This motherhood thing is far from easy.
What is easy is resorting to martyrdom.
Telling yourself things like 'I'm putting the kids first', or 'I'll take care of myself when they are gone'.
You matter, your passions, your desires, your dreams. They didn't die when you had kids. They don't deserve to sit on a shelf and get dusted. Make big moves! Dream HUGE dreams that are so expansive they make you a little uncomfortable! If you had told me three years ago that I would be the co-owner of a doula agency with four independent contractors I would never have believed you. The possibilities I see now in front of me are endless. I am not going to be waiting, my life is now, and my kids are not the only part of my life that matters.
ok, my talk is over... here is the letter
Lara asked me to write a letter to myself at a particular point in time, twenty five years ago (really, how can that be!). I was 35, with three young children (aged 6 – 11), and I was about to start a very intense two-year (no summers off) Master’s Degree program in a city 1.5 hours away (gulp). For all you moms who are doing something BIG for yourself…here goes… my letter to myself…
“I’m SO proud of you. The passion you have for your career, the way you balanced staying at home with the babes for eleven years and doing your undergrad at the same time…both were wise investments that will pay off. This IS the right path for you. Don’t ever doubt that. You can do it…you will do it and it will lead to amazing things. You can’t do this halfway. Jump in w
ith both feet.
I know you’re SCARED. You fear failure, and you think you should always be the BEST at everything (lol). And here it is… you WILL fail, in ways that feel SO BIG when they happen, but these failures are really very SMALL (in the big picture), and SO necessary for growth. Eventually, you will figure out how to accept, how to lean into and move with these inevitable growth moments.
You will miss your KIDS. This will be the most painful part of the next few years…aching for those little faces and embracing arms when you sleep in a different family’s home once a week because of the commute (yes, good mothers can do this). It will be so hard to close your office door because you have to study, to not put them on the bus in the mornings, cook them meals or take them to activities. You will feel guilty because they can have NO extra activities for two years and they will eat a LOT of restaurant meals. But… your daughter Lara will build such strength and leadership through parenting her brothers, the three of them will build an important lifelong bond, and they will have more time with their dad.
This will CHANGE you. Profoundly, slowly…it will change the way you see yourself, and others, and the world.
Some BIG things about your life won’t fit with this new you.
It will happen like a stream that starts small, flows more strongly and then there’s a GIGANTIC waterfall and there’s no turning back from who you are becoming. It will be a very painful process as you make decisions that hurt others because it changes their life too. This will test your ability to not have to make everything OKAY for everyone (because sometimes you have thought this was what you were supposed to do…to not upset people).
You cannot stop yourself from growing, and other people can manage even if you don’t protect them from life’s pain.
Go forward with GUSTO, trusting yourself in this adventure that is your life.