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How a Bedtime Story Triggered My Burnout

It wasn't a proud parenting moment, but it changed everything for me.

You Can Never Run Out of Love.

I remember buying that book from Scholastic for my preschool son, Oliver, around Valentines Day, 

While picturing the fun we’d have at bedtime reading it.

I pictured us giggling and have curious conversations.

Bedtime is my favourite time with our son, because the

“Mom, can I tell you something..”

And what’s next is always priceless.

We must have read that book 100x and I loved it every time.

But one night, I found myself annoyed after I’d already read a few books, and Oliver requested You Can Never Run Out of Love.

“But please mommy. Please this book.”

His imagination fluttering.

“Absolutely NOT! Mom is TIRED! Go to bed!” I snapped.

And I could just see the disappointment wash over his face.

As parents, we’re quick to use those words,

“I’m not mad at you, but I’m disappointed with your choice.”

But what about when we do that to our kids (or someone who’s important in our life?)

It wasn’t just, I had a bad day, and I’m tired, and we’re on our 4th story.

The last 3 YEARS burnt me out.

My burnout was a roadblock to our connection that night and afterwards,

I FELT HORRIBLE.

As I lay in bed, with my husband snoring beside me, I fought back the tears.

“I’m failing as a mom. I’m failing as a business owner, I’m a crappy friend, and I’m totally going to screw up my kid.”

Then came the waterfall.

I was tired. But it wasn’t from all of my to-do’s.

I was tired because my relentless striving for perfection burnt me out.

The constant never feeling enough set me up to work harder, and harder, and harder.

And only to focus on what I DIDN’T get done vs. who I am and what I’ve done.

Burnout is rarely about To Do’s, and more about how we feel inside.

My road to recovery after burnout was more than just slowing down.

It was a lot of self care, connection, and mindset work.

It made me realize that my son just wants connection, not to live in a perfect home, or take the perfect trips, or do the perfect crafts.

This relentless need to make myself feel enough was disconnecting me from the very thing I wanted.

And it was deeper.

As a kid, I learned that when you did for others, you were valued.

If I really wanted to feel a sense of peace and connection, I needed to make some changes.

1. Self Care

What comes to mind when you think of self care? Exercise, meditation, eating well, sleep, drinking water, shopping, hobbies?

That’s what I used to think, but that all requires DOING.

My self care was the opposite.

I needed to do NOTHING. 

I set a routine for the week, and then Saturdays and Sundays I have no expectation. I do what I want as it comes up.

And sometimes like this past weekend, it’s an Indiana Jones Movie Marathon Sunday, cuddling on the couch as a family.

2. Connection

I was the classic, “Yeah, un huh, OK” nodding head, with my phone in hand, trying to get things done, while my husband was talking to me.

Or worse I’d be doing an activity with my son, but THINKING about all the things I needed to get done or get ahead of in my schedule!

That’s not true connection.

Now when my husband talks to me, I either put down my phone immediately or I tell him “I’m in the middle of something important, can you give me 10 minutes (or however long I need) and then you’ll have my full attention.”

That’s the blessing and curse of being two entrepreneurs in the same household, we just walk into each others space and start talking.

With my son, I block the time. Specific blocks in my calendar JUST for connection with him, so I know exactly where my focus needs to be.

I block work, and household chores, and our activities.

But I also allow myself the flexibility to go out of those blocks.

Does this blog really need to be written RIGHT NOW? Or can it wait a few hours while I take my dude to the park.

3. Mindset Work

This is the one I continue to struggle with. I don’t think its fair to say that 30+ years of conditioning is going to be fixed in a short amount of time.

I still look in the mirror and pick out all the things I am not.

I still lack confidence sometimes in new situations when it comes to speaking or writing.

I still have doubts.

But what’s changed for me is the sense of urgency.

I tell myself that I have my whole LIFE to live healthy and well. So I just need to stay consistent in my health and fitness routine.

I’ve stopped expecting to see a certain number on the scale at a certain time frame.

I tell myself “This is the best of what I’ve got right now.” And I show up in all of me in my business.

I will continue to speak, and write, and coach because that’s what I do best, regardless of anyone championing me or criticizing me.

What do you need most in your life?

Self care, connection, or mindset work?

I’d love to walk the walk with you.

It’s funny how we can be such excellent coaches to others, yet we lack for ourselves.

2019 is all about giving back to me.

But if I can help YOU in the process, then that’s what I love to do.

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