At the end of last year, I wrote the following cryptic message on Facebook: “I can drive!! Thank you to my friends Jack, Jill, Rainbow Dash, Husband, and Mom for all the rides #FeelsLike16.”
Due to a long-standing, non-life-threatening medical condition, I had been unable to drive for 90 days, and it was frustrating, debilitating, and downright painful. I had no control over the radio. I had to listen to my husband’s terrible country music. And on a more serious note, I had to relinquish my independence and a majority of my alone time. There were no midnight runs to Walmart without kids; there was no saying yes to last-minute party invitations; and there was no time alone, on the open road in my minivan, processing the week’s events. I had to coordinate every move I made with someone else. Even worse, I despise asking for help. Hate it. Haaaaate it!
As a certified Life Coach and Reiki II Practitioner, I have the tools to handle these kinds of setbacks and inconveniences. Did it make any easier this time? Nope. Not at all. I was quickly becoming a cranky, old, middle-aged Mother.
Reluctantly, I started looking for the lessons, otherwise I would have gone completely crazy. As my wise Reiki Master once told me, “When all else fails, look for the valuable lessons in the struggle.” So this is what I learned:
- I learned to ask for help (it was hard).
- I learned how to receive help (this was even harder).
- I learned that help comes from some of the most unlikely places (my Bootcamp instructor picked me up and took me to the gym).
- I learned I enjoy listening (with no distractions) to my Husband’s stories while driving to and from work (he is passionate about his work, but I never knew that because he leaves it at the door when he gets home).
- I learned that giving up control is actually stress-reducing (imagine that!).
Now that I can drive, the streets of Reno are not quite as safe. If you hear Katy Perry blaring way too loudly from a minivan with a fist-pumping from the driver’s side window, you know it’s me. Make sure to honk and wave.
Maybe your struggle right now isn’t about driving a minivan; perhaps it’s a soul-sucking job, frustrations with your spouse or a series of kid meltdowns that have gone on way too long. Here’s a tool for looking for lessons in the challenges and finding a healthy way to process it.
1. Write down on paper what you are struggling with, how it has affected you, and what you are feeling. If you need help starting, fill in the blanks:
I have no control over ________. This struggle has cost me/made me sacrifice____________. All this makes me feel _____________.
2. Make a list of people who can help you get through this. And maybe, just maybe, reach out to them. It really is okay to ask for help!
3. List the valuable lessons you are learning.
4. Finally, visualize your hard-won accomplishment – imagine it as a Facebook post, like I did.
If you feel like sharing, please send me your version. I would love to read about your life-as-mom and lessons learned!
Tabitha Carlisle, Reiki II, Certified Life Coach and Mother of two munchkins
Tabitha owns the Nahara Center in Reno, where she works with women in all stages of motherhood, from pre-conception to living with teenagers, to define their dreams and balance the chaos of motherhood. When she is not assisting others in finding their passions, Tabitha is running around after her four-year-old daughter and two-year-old son. If there is any time left over after that, she loves getting outside for a run or rolling out her yoga mat for a handstand.