nicole season 7 stratejoy Archives - Stratejoy



Here we are just past the middle of January. It’s a new year and so many people have new goals they are trying to tackle.

Many of you reading this likely have a theme for your year too. {If you do, share with me! I love to hear them!}

I’ve never been through the process of setting a theme and values for the year. I’ve set many resolutions, but I had no idea of the why behind them. Not surprisingly, they rarely stuck past the first couple of weeks of the year.

This year feels different.

Maybe it’s because I’ve declared the things I value this year and gave myself a powerful {to me} theme. Maybe it’s because I’ve let desires lead my goals.

I’ve chosen these things not because they are arbitrary goals, but because I expect they will make me feel the way I want to feel.

Even with all of the work I’ve done in preparation for the year, and all the excitement I have for the promise that 2013 holds for me, I’m worried about what will happen when the newness of the year starts wearing off.

I’m worried my old mindset will start creeping back in. 

It would be so easy to go back to what is comfortable. Pretty much all of my goals this year are pushing me outside of that comfort zone.

But this year, I want to grow. I want to improve my quality of life.

I want to be someone I can count on to get things done that are important to ME.

So I definitely don’t want to take the road that’s comfortable.

I’m so beyond thankful that just when I’m starting to worry about all the new goals and the draw of the comfort zone, I have Elevate coming.

I have 13 amazing women to inspire me, kick my ass into gear, and the lovely Molly to guide and support me – and to call me out on my bullshit when I need it. {Cue happy dance!}

I’m not at an official review point, but I stepped back this week to look at everything I’ve already accomplished. I’m still getting myself set up for the year, but I’m pretty impressed with everything I’ve done so far.

Because I’m obnoxiously Type A, I made myself a list of all the steps I’ve already taken towards those big, sexy goals on my list.

I’m sure there are more things I have done, but these are the big ones that came to mind right away. I’m pretty excited that I’ve accomplished this much in 2 or 3 weeks.

I can only imagine all the amazing things I can make happen this year with all the support and motivation I have.

I honestly believe this will be my best year yet!

Bring it on 2013!



Image credit: Flickr

p.s.  The 3rd Stratejoy Essay Contest is open for entries!  Ready to win the $500?  Be featured here at Stratejoy?  Yes!  The theme: “How has a transition revealed a more authentic you?”

p.p.s.  The next Book Club/Tribe Chat Fest is going to be about marriage and partners.  Juicy, juicy. We’re reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Committed: A Love Story and will be jamming about it on February 13.


Well Christmas has come and gone. New Year’s Eve and all the hype have passed. All the buildup for family time, presents, Santa, and the promise of the new year have all waned in importance. Most people are back to business as usual.

Here at my house, we have another day of winter break before school starts back up on Tuesday. My little person is missing her friends and can’t wait to get back to school.

I’m less enthusiastic than she is, but I know it is important for her to get back to her normal routine.

Even though we’re settling back into normalcy after the hustle of the holidays, I can already tell this year is different.

Since the Holiday Council started last month, it hasn’t been far from my mind. I tried hard to keep up with all the calls and worksheets, and was mostly successful for the first two weeks. When I got to the third week, I had some problems.

I’d let go of the things from 2012 that were no longer serving me. I thought hard about what kind of year I want to have in 2013 and came up with a theme and a vision board. I had values and was working on priorities and then it felt like I hit a roadblock.

When I tried to fit my goals for the year with my declared theme and values – it just didn’t work.

I felt overwhelmed and so much like the lost girl I was when I started writing for all of you.

Some of my problem was likely related to the virus I’ve been fighting off for the past month, but I really wanted to get my goals and action plans set before the new year actually started.

I took a short break for the holidays, then found some inspiration and support from my Elevate girls, and took another shot at the worksheets from week three. I wrote down all of the things I had in my head that I wanted to tackle in the new year {which turned out to be an insanely large list!}.

What I kept getting hung up on was the priorities vs values in the worksheets. I felt like choosing 20 things to do this year was too limiting for me. Not because I want to be a major over-achiever or something, but I have a number of smaller changes I want to make, in addition to a few larger changes. And I have more than 5 categories that I want to address.

The Holiday Council was tremendously helpful for me, but I was pressuring myself to fit my goals and aspirations into the exact system Molly has developed.

Once I allowed myself to do what worked best for me, things fell into place much more naturally.

When I looked over my list of goals for the year, it was pretty obvious what my theme for 2013 should be.

2012 was a year of awakening for me. I feel like I woke up and realized that I wasn’t living an authentic life. I’ve been saying that I want things to change, and I’ve written and analyzed my situation to death.

Now is the time for action.

I’ve said time and again that I want 2013 to be the year that I take action on all these things I’ve been dreaming up. And so my 2013 theme was born.

Take Action as a theme works for me because I can use it to keep myself on track, and push myself to accomplish my {seemingly} massive list of goals. I can’t think of a better time to tackle all of this than the year when I have Elevate to keep me accountable and empower me to take on the world.

Since I settled on my new theme for the year, I’ve felt peaceful. I’ve felt sure of myself and what I’m going to accomplish instead of feeling uncertain.

I’ve never started a year like this – I’m almost giddy from the excitement and anticipation. But also from the calmness that comes with having a plan and knowing my life is going to change for the better.

Maybe I won’t accomplish everything on my list in one year, but I plan to take full advantage of all the support I have. This is my year, and I’m going to rock it!

Happy New Year, soul sisters!

NicoleBioBadgeImage via: ME! {compiled from the wonderful goodness that is pinterest}

Well my “ah ha” moment has come and gone. My life hasn’t suddenly turned into a magical wonderland, and I’m still feeling lost much of the time.

I take some comfort in the fact that I have a general idea of where I’m headed because that is way more than I had when I started this journey.

But I want more.

I’m facing some major changes in my life and I don’t like feeling this uncertain.

I wish I was the kind of person who didn’t fear change. I wish I didn’t have a massive fear of failure. I wish I was at the point where I trusted myself enough to make the right decisions. I’m really trying to be that person, I’m just not there yet.

I’m terrified that I’m going to make the wrong decision. I’ve already wasted time and money pursuing a career that turned out to be wrong for me. Then I did it again. What if I’m destined to be the girl who constantly changes her mind? What if I change my whole life to pursue yet another goal and then discover I got it wrong – again? I’m not sure how I would even handle that.

On one hand, I feel like I know myself better now than I ever have. I’m more in touch with my desires, my hopes and dreams, my strengths and even my weaknesses. But what if I’m wrong? What if I’m just so desperate to find myself that I’m inflating my interests into passions?

All of these questions have been rattling around in my head since my public declaration a few weeks ago. I’ve been trying to work through them, but I just haven’t reconciled all of it yet.

What I have done is explore a few options that could lead me to a career with a wellness focus. I applied to a graduate program in kinesiology, and was accepted for the Spring semester. I’ve researched a couple of certificates that I could obtain if I decide that graduate school isn’t my best option.

If I do decide to pursue another degree, there are still some hurdles to jump over. While the program is a great fit for my goals, isn’t exactly perfect for my life. My previous program was completely online so it was easy to fit into my schedule.

The new program would require me to attend class a couple of nights a week – and the campus is a little over an hour from my house. As much as I like the program, that is a big deal {and potentially a deal-breaker} for me.

I don’t mind driving to the campus, but it is far more complicated when I have a little person at home. I don’t know how she would cope with me being gone a couple of nights a week. Also, I don’t want to continue to work on the weekends and miss even more time with her so I’d have to find a part-time job during daytime hours that would work around my school schedule.

There are just so many details that need to be worked out that it starts to feel a little overwhelming. Somehow my “ah ha” moment has turned into a continual spiral of questions that I can’t seem to get a handle on.

The further I delve into my psyche, the looser my grasp on that ever elusive balance is. Instead of clarity I have confusion and fear.

I know I can’t let fear rule my life. At some point I have to choose to jump into the unknown or remain in the same stagnant place I’ve been. I’m trying hard to work up the courage to jump because I really don’t want to be in the same place when November 2013 rolls around.

Image via: Flickr

I’ve noticed something since my little person started kindergarten. At first I was emotionally overwhelmed. I couldn’t stand the fact that she was going to be away from me for the better part of the day. I’m used to being with her pretty much all the time.

Once I got over the initial OHMYGOD, MY BABY IS IN KINDERGARTEN shock, I’ve settled into a more relaxed acceptance of the whole situation. I think all the time we were spending together was making us both a little crazy. {Well me, for sure!}

I have a tendency to be overly emotional, I have impossibly high standards and I know I expect too much from others. When my expectations aren’t met, I can be kind of a pain in the ass.

I work really hard to remain calm and fair with the little person, but that is exhausting! I didn’t realize how much energy it was using up to control my natural tendencies.

Now that we have less time to spend together, I’m enjoying it so much more!

I know that sounds terrible, and before you start judging me – just hear me out. I love my little person more than I could ever articulate to you. I love to see her discovering all about the world – she’s so full of pure joy and delight.

But {yes, BUT!} we had gotten to the point where we weren’t filling our days with joy and delight. I was having all these feelings about what my life was missing and how that could affect her or my parenting. I would worry and berate myself for being selfish and then spiral down into general ickiness.

Mixing an overly sensitive, anxious momma who fears she is royally screwing up her child with a little person who is opinionated, independent and learning to push the limits to the very edge can make for some really difficult days.

Add in the long, cold days of winter or the long, hot days of summer and we spent quite a bit of time in the house. Together. Alone.

We got stir crazy. We got bored, We got sick of each other. And then I felt guilty for feeling like I needed a break from her.

Aren’t moms supposed to be wonderful, nurturing caretakers who always find joy in attending to the needs of their children? I can assure you that not every day looked like that at my house.

Since we’ve settled into the school routine, we’ve rediscovered that joy and relaxed play time that we had been struggling with the past year or so. I have less anxiety about her being away from me all day and I’m less worried about making sure she knows enough to start school.

Her teacher tells me she is right on target for her grade level and I’ve noticed her language, writing and drawing have accelerated dramatically since she started school.

I can’t help but feel a little sad and sentimental when I can see my baby growing up right before my eyes, but I’m so proud of the sweet, enthusiastic little person she is.

I have to admit that I’ve felt guilty for not talking about her more in my posts. I was chosen for Season 7, at least in part, because I was transitioning from full-time momma to the next phase. Naturally, that should include talking about said little person some of the time.

But I crave things that are mine alone. I don’t want being a mom to completely define me. I want to figure myself out so I can be the focused, passionate, fun-loving momma she deserves. {Hopefully you don’t think I’m rude for making this more about me!}

When I was thinking about how much Kaitlyn has grown up in such a short time, it struck me that I’ve had a transformation of my own. I’m nowhere near done with my journey of self-discovery, but having time apart seems to have benefitted us both immensely.

I can’t even express how excited I am about all my recent discoveries. I really hope I can continue on this path because I finally feel like I’m on the right one. Such a great feeling!

I’m still working on losing the guilt. I don’t know how I got to this place where I feel guilty about the way I behave. I’m a good momma to the little person. She is well taken care of, she knows she is loved. Maybe it’s the perfectionist in me or maybe I’m letting perceived societal pressure get to me – whatever the reason, I really want to stop with the guilt already.

I would much rather set an example of a strong woman who boldly chased her dreams instead of hiding my authentic self away in favor of being a stepford mom.

Image via: ME!

I have some great news. Like life-changing news. I’m kind of surprised and giddy – and definitely ecstatic as I’m writing this.

You know how we’ve all been searching for purpose – spending our time journaling, blogging, reading and thinking about these big transitions in our lives?

Some of us have put it into words and others have just implied it, but we’re all searching for an “ah-ha” moment – the kind where we see a light shining through the fog of uncertainty. Where choirs of angels sing hallelujah and we suddenly have a whole life plan planted in our brains by some divine intervention.

Well that may be a tad dramatic, but hey if you didn’t already know this about me – I kind of have a flair for the dramatic. {Don’t judge me!}

Anywho, I’ve very recently had one of those coveted “ah-ha” moments. And now that I’m past it, I can’t even believe I didn’t see this sooner.

I’m not sure I would have gotten here if it weren’t for doing all the wrong things leading up to it. So now I can celebrate those things instead of regretting mistakes and missteps in my path thus far. I can’t tell you what that does for my sanity.

I feel lighter. I feel happier. I feel a little less lost in the big world with no idea where to go.

I’d been feeling like I was on the verge of this since I’d started blogging here at Stratejoy – I even told Molly so when we were discussing Elevate. It was so close I could almost taste it, but then it simultaneously seemed like I was never going to get there.

And then I did. And no choirs sang or lights shone. No secret life plan magically appeared. But with this clarity came peace.

Leading up to this, I’d spent a ton of time thinking about things that make me light up. The things I really enjoy doing that I could possibly turn into a career. It ended up being a decent sized list, but many of them aren’t things I actually want to pursue for one reason or another.

Next I made a list of the things I want out of life – I know I want to travel, have flexible work hours, possibly work for myself at some point, and I want to feel like I’m helping others. I want to empower someone else to improve their own life, especially women and young girls.

I feel really strongly about this particular demographic because I grew up with low self-esteem. I know what it feels like to feel bad about yourself, how hard it is to change when you don’t have a positive female role model who you really relate to.

Even into adulthood I’ve struggled with knowing who I am, what I want and how to love myself even when I don’t know the answers to these things.

I’ve longed to be a woman who felt she belonged in the world and had some positive contribution to the world. I want to change lives – and not because I want some glory or admiration for myself. This isn’t about me.

I want to show young girls and other women that their lives matter. That being comfortable in their own skin and taking good care of themselves is far better than chasing the latest trend and trying to be someone else.

I want to be a model of a woman who loves herself, who finds joy in ordinary places, who celebrates her individuality – and I want to pay it forward.

So what exactly was this “ah-ha” moment, you ask? Because I know I’ve been leading you on a little bit. And that is somewhat intentional and somewhat not. I’m not holding back for dramatic effect, but rather I’m indulging my natural tendency for storytelling.

I never realized this about myself until I was writing on a fairly regular basis. I’m not usually someone who can write informally and just pour out my thoughts. I’m a storyteller. I can see it when I look back over my posts thus far on Stratejoy, and on my personal blog. So this post will be no different.

I remember being in nursing school and absolutely hating it. I am completely enthralled with the human body and all that it is capable of. I could read for hours about the intricacies of each system and how they are all so interconnected. The problem, for me, arises when the focus turns to treating disease in the human body.

After I finished my bachelor’s in nursing, I thought that public health would be a good fit for me. It was less focused on the patient lying in the bed and more on the population as a whole. Public health focuses on preventing disease or restoring health after disease, but again it is on a broad scale – focusing on improving the health of the population.

This was better than nursing for me, but it still didn’t feel quite right.

After all this soul searching, talking to close friends, sharing with all of you and journaling my little rear end off – it clicked.

I’m passionate about wellness. I want to help individuals prevent diseases caused by poor diet, lack of exercise and high stress levels. I want to help young girls make health a priority and develop habits that will carry into adulthood.

I’m never more impassioned that when I’m discussing my latest workout regimen, sharing how to eat a cleaner diet, or thinking up ways to alleviate stress.

I haven’t settled on a specific job yet, but I have a ton of ideas.

Maybe I’ll work in corporate wellness – designing programs to encourage wellness behaviors and working with individual employees to achieve them. Maybe I’ll open my own gym or wellness center in the future. Maybe I’ll start a running group in my city. Maybe I’ll found a non-profit that focuses on the health of younger girls and gets them moving.

Who knows. But I’m excited to explore all these options, set some goals and get started.

Cue the angels, please!

Image via: Flickr

I was so excited to be chosen for Season 7 here at Stratejoy. I was surprised and could barely form a coherent sentence when Molly called me because I was so giddy.

As soon as I got the email with information about our first few posts, I got to work. I was excited to be writing, and had so many ideas and thoughts pouring out of me. Sometimes more ideas than I could fit into 500-1000 words.

As luck would have it, the universe decided to throw me a curveball after I wrote my third post. I’d just outlined my focus for the next few months and I was ready to get started on the things I’d challenged myself to do.

Then my sweet little boxer, Emma, got sick. Really sick. I’ve been dreading the day for many years because I knew it would be overwhelmingly painful for me. She has been my companion for eight precious years. But I couldn’t let her suffer so I sent her off to doggie heaven {as I told the little person}.

Naturally I was very emotional for the next few days. I didn’t venture out of the house. I ignored everyone’s calls and just let myself be sad.

I went to work that weekend and tried to get on with life. In the back of my mind, I was starting to get nervous. I’d been avoiding journaling because I wasn’t ready to write the story yet. I was avoiding writing my next post because everything I could come up with seemed trivial and uninspired. I was getting behind on my posts and it was stressing me out.

I started my usual spiral of negative self-talk. I told myself that I was going to fail at this. That I said all I have to say in the first few posts. That I was fooling myself by thinking I could write anything of value.

Sometimes it’s really ugly in my head. I don’t know how any of us can get to the point where we treat ourselves so horribly. I would never talk to one of my friends the way I talk to myself. Yet I continue to treat myself this way.

As the days slipped by and I still couldn’t write anything, I turned to my journal for inspriation. Maybe I’d find something in there that I could expand on. I reread a few entries and stumbled on one talking about my inner critic.

And there was Molly’s voice in my head telling me not to blindly believe the critic. To voice the bad thoughts so I would understand they aren’t the truth – and then move forward with the actual truth.

The truth is my inner critic was twisting my fears into factual statements. I am afraid to fail at this, but I don’t believe I have yet. I believe I’ll continue to rise to the challenge. I believe continuing to learn and grow is the purpose of blogging here – and I’m doing just that. One baby step at a time.

I watched a video recently of the lovely Nicole Antoinette speaking at WDS 2012. Her overall topic was running, but she discussed how big sexy goals are accomplished one tiny unsexy step at a time. {Obviously this applies to areas outside of running, as well}. Talk about the perfect time to stumble upon the video!

I didn’t take any giant leaps this week on my journey, but I did take one tiny unsexy step. I was able to recognize the negativity running rampant in my head and stop the cycle.

I know, life isn’t always going to go perfectly. In fact, it will likely be filled with many unexpected challenges. My hope is that I can get to a point where those challenges don’t set off a negative mental spiral. A point where I can treat myself with the love and forgiveness that I would show to others.

I definitely have a ways to go before I accomplish that goal, but I plan to continue on with all the baby steps. One foot in front of the other until one day I realize I’m living the life I’ve been striving for.

Photo credit: ME


Since I found out I’d be writing for all of you each week, I’ve spent quite a bit of time thinking about myself, my life and what the hell I want to do with it.

Sometimes I’m filled with grand visions that I can do something amazing. Change the world. Make a real difference.

Other times I’m so gripped with fear and self-doubt that I tell myself I’m not enough. I’m afraid I don’t have anything to share with the world that someone else hasn’t already put out there.

I’ve found myself easily slipping into the notion that my happiness and fulfillment rest on carrying out one of those grand visions.

Like I need to be wildly successful in my professional life or change the world somehow so that my life will mean something.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with dreaming big or reaching for the stars – and I may, very well, change the world in the future. But I want to focus on a few small improvements that can help me enjoy my life more RIGHT NOW, and maybe serve as the foundation for bigger goals in the future.

BE PRESENT – I regularly fail at giving my undivided attention to the person in front of me. It’s totally unfair and I’m positive I’m missing opportunities to connect on a deeper level with my loved ones. I want to challenge myself to put my phone away and focus on the moment I’m in.

BECOME A SELF-CARE ROCKSTAR – I’ve made some headway in this area, but I haven’t turned the practices into habits yet. I’d really like to be more consistent in taking care of myself because then I’m able to offer my best self to the rest of the world. {If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy, right?}

PUT PEN TO PAPER – The written word inspires me. I want to challenge myself to write something every day – a journal entry, a blog post or even a letter to a loved one. I just want to let the words pour out and see where they take me.

GET MY REAR IN MOTION – I want to move my body more and stress less about the number on the scale. Ideally, my weekly workouts will consistently incorporate weights, yoga, running, and dancing around the house with my little person {that totally counts as cardio, right?}

BE ADVENTUROUS – I need to get the hell out of my comfort zone and try something new each week – a new restaurant, a new activity, a different kind of movie, a new workout class, a weekend getaway to a new city – whatever it is, I need to shake things up a bit. Hopefully this will help get me out of the rut I’ve been in!

If I had to choose one word to encompass my goals for the next few months, it would be intention. I want to actively choose what I’m spending my time on because it makes me happy or moves me forward. And I definitely want to stop falling into things simply because I didn’t have a plan.

As a side note – In writing this post, I found myself pretty overwhelmed with the task of goal-setting. I feel so out of touch with myself that it’s hard to articulate any specific goals that I want to pursue.

During the time I spent thinking and researching about goal-setting, I came across something that Marie Forleo said, “Clarity comes from engagement, not thought.”

Talk about a great reminder for me to get out of my head and TAKE ACTION. All the time spent thinking and researching won’t help if I don’t actually try some things on for size.

Here’s to discovering something amazing about myself!

Image via Flickr

I’ve always been a pretty private person. As I’ve matured and gained some confidence, I’ve become less of the shy introvert of my childhood.

Many people in my life would be surprised to learn that I still consider myself a private person. I will readily talk about myself in the company of others, sometimes to the point of over sharing.

But I’m selective about the things I share.

Many of my innermost thoughts have never been voiced. To anyone. 

I’ve held back because I’m terrified of failure and rejection. I don’t want to be viewed as different, or display my weaknesses to others. I don’t think anyone will relate to my issues. I don’t want to burden others with my problems.

At some point, I have to choose between continuing to let my fears rule my life, or taking a risk that other people will accept me and all my self-percieved flaws.

Since I’ve found myself at a major transition point in my life, I think now is as good a time as any to take that risk.

I have the opportunity to reinvent myself – to shed the layers of my thought process that haven’t been working for me and find what does work for me.

Maybe it’s the benefit {or burden} of maturity, maybe it’s my aging parents and my increased awareness of our mortality -whatever it is, I’m more concerned about living a life that I’m proud of than I’ve ever been.

I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I’ve spent all my precious time trying to make everyone else happy while neglecting myself. Surely I can find a better balance between the two.

I want to create a life that honors my authentic self. 

I’m so thankful to have found Molly and Stratejoy. Each time I visit the site, I find myself immersed in a culture of positivity, courage and unconditional support.

You wonderful women of the tribe are so brave – many of you working to overcome much larger obstacles than I am – yet you share your struggles freely and help to build each other up.

I am in awe of you. I’m honored to be able to share my journey with you.

I cannot put into words the relief I feel knowing that I’m not the only person to have felt this lost. Seeing that other women have faced these same fears head on and found a way to overcome them gives me hope that I can too.

Recently, I’ve worked my way through Fierce Love, and would highly recommend it to anyone who needs to kick their self-love into gear. I’ve learned amazing things about myself through the weekly challenges and felt so empowered by Molly’s genuine compassion and unfailing encouragement. {I heart you, Molly!}

I’m still struggling to regularly practice self-love because it doesn’t come naturally to me. It’s really hard to overcome 32 years of bad habits and negative self-thinking – but I’m going to do it! I deserve to treat myself better than I’ve been doing pretty much my whole life.

I still don’t know what shape my dreams will take in my life, but that’s ok. I’ve taken a huge step by giving myself permission to discover what makes me thrive. I’m confident the manifestations will come in time.

Image via flickr


“I’ve done most things the hard way.”


I’m not one of those people who feels like she did everything right.

In fact, I’ve done most things the hard way.

I chose a college based on proximity to my {then} boyfriend, dropped out after the first year {again to be with the aforementioned boyfriend}, accrued unnecessary debt, got married too young {to a different boyfriend} because I was desperate to be grown up, and chose a career based on the intense need to garner my father’s approval.

Clearly sound logic wasn’t in my repertoire.

Looking back on my life, I feel sad. I drifted through without much forethought into what I was doing. I had no plan, no ultimate goal, spent no time soul searching on how to find fulfillment. There was no hint of living with intention.

I now realize that my entire life has been spent either trying to please others {namely my divorced parents}, or reacting to the curveballs we are all thrown in life. While I know I’m not alone in this type of approach to life, I know it, damn well, isn’t the recipe for living a life of passion and authenticity – which is what I crave more than anything!

Since I became a mom, I’ve found my approach to life has altered, but not in a positive direction. When you stay at home with a child on a full-time basis, your life can easily be consumed by said little person. At first it’s the natural response to being a parent, but I believe it can become detrimental to your sanity as the “all little person, all the time” mentality continues.

As I began to feel increasingly unsatisfied with my life, I also had immense guilt for having those feelings. I mean, on the outside my life looked pretty good. Husband, daughter, friends, college degree, health insurance, house, car, disposable income – check mark for each category. How could I possibly be unhappy when I had so many of the things people strive for?

The shame I felt was almost unbearable.

When I finally found the courage to voice these feelings, a wise friend pointed out that I was pinning all my self-esteem and happiness on my role as a mother. While being a parent is very rewarding, everyone needs balance in their lives. Our children cannot be everything to us.

I wasn’t sure I believed that, but gave me a glimmer of hope that I might not be as bad a mother as I feared. Maybe, just maybe, I didn’t need to feel guilty for taking care of myself sometimes. I wish I could say that conversation with my friend was an “ah ha” moment and that everything has fallen into place since then.

But it hasn’t.

At all. 

What did happen is I started to notice things about my behavior or thinking that needed to change. I did things for myself – with less guilt. These, for me, were monumental steps.

Fast forward a couple years, and I’m still wading through what I now know is a quarterlife crisis – at 32 years old. As I’m writing this, I’ve just returned from taking my baby to kindergarten the first time. I cried. I worried. I hoped she was having fun. I contemplated going to peek in her classroom window {because apparently I’m THAT mom}.

Thankfully common sense won out, and I didn’t stalk her at school.

Today marked the end of an era in my life. My little person is growing up, and I’m nearly overcome with the realization that our time together these last five years has ended. But I’m also excited for the prospect of having time to reflect, to be introspective, and to unearth the best version of myself.

This is my chance to write the story of my life – a life filled with the passion and authenticity that I crave.

I know I have the capacity for self-acceptance and fierce self-love {thanks to the Fierce Love course here at Stratejoy!}. I’m committed to doing the work and finding joy and passion in my life.

The icing on the cake {and, man, do I love icing!} is that my journey – my struggles and the courage to overcome them – will set a powerful example for my daughter, both as a woman and a mother.