There has been a theme coming up this entire month- in my current Mindful Living and Stress Management group program, in my ongoing Mindful Parenthood Journey membership group, with my one-on-one clients, and even in my friend circles.
This lingering, heavy sense of guilt for not doing enough, not doing things fast enough, not accomplishing enough, not being enough. And in all of these conversations parents, moms, and dads are sharing this sense that they feel like they should be constantly on the go- producing, doing, achieving- whether it's as a parent, managing a household, at work, or with friends and family. This sense that they are never doing enough, good enough.
And to pull back and provide a little context, it's not completely surprising that many of us feel this way. To have such a strong underlying (programmed, even) urge to go, do, produce. And the accompanying nagging sense of guilt or "laziness" when we aren't. Most of us have been brought up at the height (and perhaps invisible death;) of expansion capitalism at its max. In Chinese medicine capitalism, as an economic system, would be characterized as super Yang - expansion, activity, movement, fire, consumption. We as people and as a society, forget that it is important and necessary to have both sides of the coin to sustain, maintain and thrive.
We forget that we have permission (and a survival need!) to rest, to contract, to go inward, to rejuvenate and replenish. We forget that it is okay and necessary to have seasons for both. Which has me thinking a lot about the importance of seasons and the different types of "seasons" or rhythms that may be helpful for us to tune into and nurture. We have them on every level! Daily circadian rhythms fueled by daylight and our internal neurotransmitters and hormones (cortisol, specifically). As women, we have monthly cycles with estrogen fueling the active, expansion half of the month and progesterone facilitating the slower, sleepier half. Seasons of the year, of course, when historically we'd be snuggling in with community around a warm hearth with lots of rest time in the winter and fueled by longer days and sunlight in the summer. And there are also seasons of life. Some where you are energized and ready to take on the world (hello, all nighters in my 20's). And some where you are moved to hunker down and focus your energy and attention in a few specific areas of your life.
My clients and I talk a lot about remembering that early parenthood is a season of life. It can be a heavy lift season of life. One where your sense of identity is "thrown in a blender" (to quote a friend), where you suddenly have way less time and energy than ever before, and seemingly unending things you "have to" do.
My invitation to you today is to remember that you can always go back to the basics. You always have permission to hit the reset button and return to the basics of what you need to feel good, to feel grounded. Whether that means making sure you getting enough rest and sleep, making sure you are drinking enough water to be hydrated (man, this can make more of a difference than one would think!), making an effort to feel connected in community, or flexing your "scaling back/saying no to things" muscle.
You have permission in any season- day, monthly, yearly, or in your life- to slow it down, give yourself what you need, and go back to the basics.
If you find yourself in need of that permission today, consider it granted.
If you'd like to stay in community where you can feel held, seen and supported to listen to yourself, trust yourself, and give yourself what you need as a person and as a parent, join us!
>>> You can download two free guided therapeutic meditations to refill your cup and reset your nervous system here: https://www.kendallheaton.com/free-meditation
>>> You can sign up to for my monthly sharings and updates here: https://www.kendallheaton.com/subscribe
>>> You can join the soon-to-launch free Mindful Parenthood Community on Facebook HERE.
And if you find yourself interested in getting an even deeper level of support, let's set up a time for a free discovery session where you can share what is currently causing the most stress in your life, what shifts you'd like to see, and we can see if we would be a good fit to work together. I currently have 1-2 openings for new one-on-one clients, and my next group session will begin in late March.
Sending you love, light, and solidarity wherever you are on your journey.
Kendall Heaton, MSW