Do you ever feel like you're losing yours?

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This weekend I lost my sh*t and the truth is that we all lose it from time to time as mothers.

Mine was caused by working late, being over tired, trying to do work on a weekend when the children were around and not being able to focus.  Technology issues that I couldn’t resolve despite my complete determination. And to top it off my broadband stopped working right in the middle of the struggle.

Your losing your sh*t will look different to mine – everyone’s triggers and responses are different but the theme will be the same.

That sense that you’ve reached your limit.  That you’re at your breaking point. You’re ability to self-regulate goes out the window.  And you don’t feel resilient to deal with the stressors that are triggering you.

The irony is that before I became a mum I taught resilience to leaders in organisations around the world!  So I thought I was in a good place to handle the challenges that motherhood might throw at me. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at how unprepared I was looking back.  It turns out that motherhood has been a journey of testing my resilience to the core.

  • The sleep deprivation
  • The lack of control over my time
  • The responsibility of caring for another human being
  • The worry of the million and one things that could harm my precious baby
  • The messy house
  • The feeling like I never get to complete anything – my cup of coffee, my lunch, my to-do-list even my own thought process
  • The mental load
  • The resistance to the chaos of motherhood.

Each one on their own not enough to tip me completely off balance.  But the accumulation of them being like death by a thousand papercuts.  Can you relate?

Motherhood seems to be a perfect storm for testing our resilience.  At a time when we can feel at our most vulnerable, we also have the biggest responsibility of our lives.   Add work and our careers into this mix and being a working mum can feel like one big lesson in resilience.

So this weekend, despite losing my shit and shouting, it was a great reminder of the reality of motherhood.  That it’s sometimes messy. Always imperfect. 

One thing I know for sure is that motherhood – especially working motherhood – will test our resilience at times.  But it’s useful to know that resilience is a skill set. Something we can learn and develop even if we don’t feel naturally resilient. It enables us to respond to life’s challenges  – all the pressure, stressors and the little (metaphorical) paper cuts along the way.

Part of the work I do with my clients is help them to understand their own natural resilience response based on the four C’s.  So I thought I’d share these with you to help you reflect on your own resilience:

  1. Challenge – how do you respond to challenge – especially unexpected and unplanned challenge?  
  2. Commitment – how able are you to stay focussed on your desired outcome when things don’t go to plan?  Do you get distracted or procrastinate when things get tough?
  3. Control – how much do you feel like you’re able to take control in life, particularly when things don’t go to plan?  How does your self-control get impacted when you face a challenging situation?
  4. Confidence – how much self-belief do you have? How does your self-belief get impacted when you hit a bump in the road?  How self-critical do you become?

This weekend I didn’t feel able to deal with the unexpected challenges that I faced mainly because I was sleep deprived.  

I was able to stay committed and focussed but became overly focussed and wouldn’t allow myself a break that would have helped.  My single mindedness and determination actually got in the way of my resilience. It was only when I took a shower that I had an idea of how I could approach the problem differently to resolve it!  Funny how our best ideas often happen in the strangest of places – there’s science behind that but I won’t get into that now.

I’d allowed myself to believe that I didn’t have control over the situation as much as I did.  I was beginning to believe that the technology had beaten me and was getting into a self defeating mindset.  I was giving away my personal power. This temporary lack of belief in my control actually contributed to me losing self-control over my emotions.  Ultimately this led to me starting to doubt myself and my inner-critic started to play havoc.  

Can you relate to this process of how the 4 C’s work? 

Luckily because I’ve taught personal resilience for over a decade now I’ve developed my personal resilience plan to bounce back more quickly from these times.  It’s really a set of skills and behaviours that you can call upon when you feel like you’re losing your sh*t.  

So if you’d like help building your resilience plan let me know as I’m here to help.  Because a part of building our resilience is developing strong and trusted relationships.  And that’s what Wisdom For Working Mums is all about!

And if you ever feel like it’s all getting on top of you and you’re beating yourself up as a mum I want to remind you that you’re not alone. We all lose our sh*t from time to time. We’re human, we’re imperfect and that’s actually a powerful thing to role model for our children. It’s what we do with it when we lose it that’s important.

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