Encouragement for Working Moms
by: Ana Tampanna
How many of us decide to shoot for the stars, then beat ourselves up when we find that the process of building the necessary equipment to reach that high is not easy?
We cry in frustration and deem ourselves failures for not reaching our business goals. Meanwhile we are raising children, nurturing an active marriage, supporting aging parents, volunteering in church, PTA and Scouts, working hard to enhance our own health, and maintaining a full workload.
Many of us do all these things as single parents. We share a need to be considered somebody of worth, to feel validated in what we do, and to achieve financial freedom.
We often feel that there just isn’t time to do much beyond getting food on the table and the kids tucked in bed. The bottom line is that we are emotionally drained from our everyday lives, and don’t need another pound of guilt added to our shoulders, self imposed or otherwise.
By acknowledging the small signs of progress each day, you confirm the baby steps you are taking toward your goal. No success is too small to count. Then, when you look over the page of past achievements, you will clearly see the overall progress you are making. Here are some other daily practices that have made a difference for me:
Keep a gratitude list. This helps me to let go of the “not enough syndrome.” For example, I tend to feel fat when I focus on my stomach in the mirror. So I add to my gratitude list,” My abdomen has carried two wonderful babies,” “My husband loves it’s feminine softness,” “True women never have fat bellies, and a constant source of gratitude, “my body is cancer free.”
Set boundaries with your time. This is a hard one. A therapist can help with the process. Assess gains and losses your choices represent. For example, writing a book resulted in losing income because I was not working. The gain, however, came as I was more accessible to my family. The process of writing also contributed to the satisfaction of supporting the magnificent women I coach and care about.
Spend time in solitude . When can mothers do this? Remember that it is when we meditate that we are able to feel waves of gratitude and inspiration that can fill our hearts with enough positive energy to last us all day. Walking my dog at five thirty in the morning is part of my solitude time.
Exercise with other women. Focus on fitness as a personal journey; The camaraderie, energy, and stress release you can experience with other women who are equally committed to becoming fit and healthy are invaluable. Find a walking buddy. Even when it rains, you can walk the perimeter of a large Walmart.
Read books by other women. Ann Morrow Lindburg writes beautifully about balance and a woman’s need for solitude. Maya Angelou writes about sexuality and pride in an inspiring way that could change the way you feel about yourself. Try the exercises in Julie Cameron’s The Artist’ Way, or lose track of time in Anita Diamant’s The Red Tent, Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees, or Azar Nafisi’s Reading Lolita in Tehran.
Write down your frustrations and your prayers. On the days when the alligators of frustration seem to consume you, list them. It is much easier to conquer a known enemy than one that has no name. Then, write a prayer asking for the inner quality you need to do battle with those alligators, whether it is strength, courage, patience, perseverance, or humor.
Ask for reassurance, a sign that you are on the right track, or a signal that all will be well in due time. Be sure to date the prayer and keep it in a safe place.
Never forget to pray for a sense of humor.
Have parties where women tell their stories. To get them started, write topics on slips of paers and put them in a basket. After each story, ask if another woman has a story about the same topic. This is inspiring, entertaining, and insightful to everyone.
Look for opportunities to acknowledge other women. Be sure to acknowledge the women in your past y remembering their stories, passing them down to your daughters (and sons!) The more you do this, the more you validate yourself.
Leave situations or people who hurt your Spirit. You don’t need those people, but it is sometimes hard to imagine life without them. I have never regretted leaving a husband, boss, partner, or client if he or she were abusive to my sprit of my body. Instead, surround yourself with positive people whose infectious energy will uplift your Spirit.
Participate in workshops where you practice communication skills. You will be empowered to deal with unpleasant, negative people and awkward situations.
Remember the stages of Birthing. During the transition stage of natural childbirth, the mother sometimes wants to give up and stop pushing. At that very moment, the baby’s head crowns and the baby pops out. When you feel like quitting, your masterpiece or breakthrough may be around the corner.
Finally, delegate more to others. We tend to do a lot of the tasks that our children could do in the act of learning responsibility. Often we simply don’t ask for help.
These are all baby steps, and it’s the baby steps that add up to reaching one’s goals in life, no matter how lofty.
About The Author
Ana Tampanna, “The Alligator Queen” is author of “The Womanly Art of Alligator Wrestling: Inspirational Stories for Outrageous Women Who Survive by their Wisdom and Wit.” To learn about her speaking and coaching services and to sign up for her FREE ezine with power communication tools, life management tips, and special events, visit her website at http://www.alligatorqueen.com
NOTE: You’re welcome to “reprint” this article online as long as it remains complete and unaltered (including the “about the author” info at the end), and you send a copy of your reprint to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was posted on March 04, 2005