Updated: Dec 11, 2020
Sitting round a dinner table with some icebreakers, the question was raised: What would you do if you knew you couldn’t #fail? We had various answers, some being big hairy audacious goals (including mine). Then we digressed: Do you think you have to have something significant happen in your life, to want something so big. This question came as a surprise as I had never looked at it this way before, I have always been optimistic and consider a glass half full. Although this made me think and I instantly reflected to my childhood, as I believe your upbringing can have a huge impact on what or who you become. I was very fortunate to have parents who guided me through to adulthood (and still do). The subject changed and the conversation continued.
This question still lingered weeks later, and made me wonder - does one have to endure things such as trauma, tragedy, a life-threatening illness, divorce or losing someone close to make us live life to the fullest? It made me want to discover the answer. Personally, I have always been driven, so was curious if it could be something deeper that played a part. I reflected on some difficult emotional stages of my life which isn’t something I tend to do as it serves no purpose. Although I am an open book, wear my heart on my sleeve and by doing so, hope to keep it real.
The younger years (be prepared for some oversharing) ... Being a girl takes its toll! Started menstruating at the age of ten, had to use the teachers toilets in primary school, was bullied in secondary school, still remember the heartache of splitting up from my first love, immigrated to Australia from the UK when I was 22, leaving my family (being a family girl through and through, this was one of the hardest decisions). Recent years… Suffered a miscarriage, diagnosed with hypothyroidism and hashimotos disease (constantly feeling like you have been hit by a truck), getting divorced, living with a uterine and bladder prolapse. Father fighting cancer while being a gazillion miles away. The truth is, everyone is dealing with their own shit, throw Motherhood into the mix and that’s a whole new ball game. No one knows what is going on behind closed doors, no one knows what you have encountered to get to where you are now. Yet often, we get up, show up and suffer in silence. I recall seeing Pink on Ellen chatting about getting inspiration for her songs - who joked if she was truly happy, she’d be useless, ‘What would my songs be about?’ This made me laugh at the time, although as they chatted more it made sense, followed by Ellen saying, ‘inspiration comes from pain, it is our creativity that gets us out of painful situations, trying to fill a void’.
(Catch the video here for any Ellen or Pink fans out there - it’s a goodie). I know I am always searching for this feeling of ‘happiness’ and wanting more. I have been told ‘I am never happy or satisfied with what I have’, which is true to a certain extent. Being torn between being content yet wanting more. (My poor partner). Half of me believes that when you are content you run the risk of not wanting more, you stop striving, you stop growing and you settle. Then the other half wants to settle. Do we ever have it figured out? All I know is I want my daughter to be proud of me.
Some of the greatest achievements and stories have come into fruition due to hardship, heartache or pain. However big or small the situation is, I believe it is how we react to it that has the flow on affect to our overall happiness and what you want to achieve. It is a state of mind, and very much a practice that we can all attempt.
One of our core values at Mamas Journeys is happiness and we believe if you are happy then it will change your family’s dynamic. It is easy to say ‘happiness is a choice’ although sometimes we don’t know what the options are. When you become a mum, your life gets flipped upside down and it can take a long time to adapt, losing a sense of identity. Sometimes we search for happiness from external things, which can bring us joy, even love, although true happiness comes from within and from self-care. Once we alter our perception on happiness, not comparing ourselves to others (remember the grass isn’t always greener), or even comparing life before becoming a mum, and instead live in the moment, focusing on ourselves, we can begin to practice some simple and effective strategies:
Sleep! I know this is something that becomes elusive when you are a mum, yet we must get our rest. No one gains from a tired, grumpy Mama. Go to bed early, switch off that phone. (This is a work in progress and directed at me)!
Exercise - make the commitment to an exercise program (we are more likely to go if we have financially committed), make it part of your routine and you will feel a million dollars after from the endorphins. (Group classes are great for the social aspect and your mental health too).
Meditate (another practise that can be hard to master - the calm app is a good one).
Live in a meditative state (not going to lie I struggle with this) - do not react - observe your reaction to react which will flow on in your life. You will not sweat the small stuff.
Learn to say NO - don’t over commit, ensure your values align with how you are spending your time and filling up your cup.
We are all living different lives, sharing similar triumphs and tragedies. I’d like to think a fellow Mama has your back, with no judgement or criticism and you shouldn’t make yourself smaller to fit in. Instead do what truly makes you happy, go on the search to find your new normal and experiment. There is no reason why we can’t be happy and still aim for the sky. So, Mama, what would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?