The Paradox of a Mother’s Happiness

After watching this interview from Jada Pinkett Smith and her daughter, Willow, I was moved to share my similar Journey to Personal Happiness.  Some key moments in this video are at the 4:00 mark.

For over 13 years, I have wondered how to put into words the severe guilt I felt in my heart for wanting more in my life outside of motherhood and being a wife.  The frustrating guilt from the world’s standards that said I should be COMPLETELY fulfilled by motherhood.  I questioned myself daily, wondering what was wrong with me, why couldn’t I just be happy with what I had and the awesome family I had created with Michael?  Why did I still feel a hole, an ache in my heart for something more?

In my 20’s, the world told me that I should have been completely fulfilled by my HR consulting career and my budding romance and eventual engagement and marriage to my husband Michael.  Then, a year later when Leah, my oldest daughter, came into our lives, I thought “This is it!  This is all I’ve ever wanted in my life.  Being a mother is totally fulfilling to me!”  But, that feeling began to fade as I saw pieces of myself starting to slip away.  Going to the gym, spending time alone with friends, shaving my legs and styling my hair regularly, or having a cup of coffee and reading the newspaper for an hour just wasn’t a priority.  “Me time” made me feel selfish, and the questionable comments about my time away from Leah or my other two children, Lauren and Jackson, years later created a dark cloud over my head that made me feel self-centered for wanting time by myself.  I was questioned as to why I needed time away…was the family not enough for me?  Why isn’t 2-4 hours a month to go thrift shopping enough to refill my happiness cup so that I could give everything to my kids and husband?

It wasn’t until 3 years ago that I knew it was time to re-establish some things in my life.  Feeling the worst physically I had felt in years, and thinking that I might need to look at anti-depressants not too much further down the road, I was at a breaking point.  I had to find that something to re-fill my heart.  And, as much as I absolutely loved my family, I was aching inside.

I started improving my personal nutrition (as selfish as that sounds by not thinking of my children first), and I began to come out of the fog that had clouded my ability to focus, think clearly and feel happier.  I stayed very committed to improving my health, and guess what?  My family began to see a happier Eva. Mommy was happier and she wanted to play more with the kids.  She danced in the kitchen while making dinner which soon created family dance parties at Club Rumble!  We began to grow closer as a family.  Heck, Mommy and Daddy even kissed in front of the kids at times.  I then focused on making my family healthier, too.

Once I fell in love with how the Shaklee products made me feel, I began transitioning to being a Shaklee business owner, something I had never really done before.  The time I was taking to start my business plus making more time to workout consistently because I had more energy and motivation, reading books that filled my soul, dedicating time to go to weekly Bible study, to even occasionally spending time with friends (which I had not done in years and had lost some connections)…well, let’s just say it was rough on everyone getting used to this change.  But, I knew the importance of finding myself again.

All of these changes were moving me in a very good direction.  But, for me, the most significant filling of my soul came when I surrendered my life to Jesus.  He has made my life so complete and He continues to bless me daily.  Where Jada talks to “the powers above,” I call on my Heavenly Father when I wake up, throughout my day, and before I lay my head down at night and I am sure to thank Him and praise Him for all experiences as He is molding me and helping me live the life of purpose that He intended for me to live.

Our histories are never wasted.  I reflect on my Journey to Personal Happiness daily and what the Lord has placed in my heart as I speak to women (and their husbands) about finding their purpose and feeling their best and making their health a PRIORITY, so that they too can take care of others and still feel appreciated, valued and worthy.

I firmly believe that God made EACH of us for a purpose.  Motherhood is part of my purpose.  Being a wife is part of my purpose.  They are my highest priorities.  However, I innately want to do something that gives me a personal purpose, one that makes me feel appreciated and valued outside of my family. That does not mean that I don’t love my family.  It does NOT mean that I am trying to create distance from them.  It is simply finding something that fuels my soul.  Something that allows my true person/personality to shine through.  To use the skills, blessings and talents that God gave me.  I am happiest when I have my own “thing” whether it was creating hand decorated cookies, teaching Sunday school and being a professional volunteer at school, church and in the community, or now building a thriving nutrition business that gives me so much joy!

Like Jada said in her interview, mothers today need “re-messaging”, to “re-align how to care for [ourselves] to even have the capacity to care for others.” We need to create new messaging that says WE are priorities, just like our families are, and accept the fact that it is OK to have something outside of our families and children that fulfills us.  What mothers think will make their families unhappy (taking time for themselves and finding personal purpose) is actually really fulfilling to their families.  The happier mothers are, the better it works for the family.  As the old saying goes, “If Mama ain’t happy, nobody’s happy.” 🙂

Also, women supporting women is so much more powerful than women breaking each other down. That’s why I love working with the team that I am on that is so supportive of one another and uplifts each other and shares best practices/tools, and we are genuinely happy for each others’ successes.  Interestingly enough, I am attracting those kinds of people to my business team as well!

If you have personal experiences that you would like to share, please comment below.  I would love to learn from you!

Be Well and GetBZLiving!

In His Grip,

Eva

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2 thoughts on “The Paradox of a Mother’s Happiness

  1. I whole-heartedly agree with everything you stated Eva! I actually do these events called “Real Talk” at my house and they’re for adult women only. The focus is for us to focus on us for a change. We talk about the importance of making ourselves the “priority” so that we can adequately take care of others. It’s a hard concept for some to grasp. But, as we move thru the event, they soon get it and feel refreshed and rejuvenated as a result. We also talk about “what makes us sick” and what we can do to feel better. So, whereas Shaklee is the “before thought,” it is defintely the “after thought” of the event. But, good for you that you got yourself out of that funk and got busy living!!! Awesome insight…

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