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SALT LAKE CITY — I met my husband downtown for our Valentine’s lunch date. The restaurant was fancy, the food was excellent and the company even better. But the minute he asked me how I was doing, I couldn’t hold back the tears.
I had no right to cry. I had no right to be unhappy. I was surrounded by blessings. So why did I feel such an empty spot?
My feelings were not rational but, for me, they were real.
I loved my husband and I loved my children, but I still felt stuck.
I felt stuck in my role as a mother. I also felt guilty about feeling that way because I know being a mom is so divinely important. I loved my husband and I loved my children, but I still felt stuck.
I thought at any moment I just might implode. Maybe then I’d be able to find a little part of who I used to be.
I’m not the only mom who has ever felt this way. I’m not the only mom who has been on the verge of imploding.
Moms who feel this way are all around you. You probably just haven’t noticed them. They don’t want anyone to know how they feel for fear they might seem like a bad mother. These women are masked by happy children and positive Facebook posts. In fact, it’s likely you are wearing the mask yourself.
I didn’t actually implode, but I did take an intrinsic look at myself. I really wanted to feel joy, and eventually I found it.
I discovered a way to reconnect with my unique identity, increase my ability to nurture my family, and love my life again. The process I went through consisted of six steps I call MOM Resolutions.
Moms who apply the MOM Resolutions in their lives can find greater peace as a mother, a renewed desire to pursue their dreams, and an increased devotion to their families.
You have value
Back in that fancy restaurant with my husband, I had a great lunch and an ah-hah! moment. I realized much of my emptiness was coming from how I saw myself. In that moment, I declared to myself what later became the first MOM resolution: “I am valuable.”
Why do we moms not have higher self-worth? I’m sure there are many reasons, but I believe we can do three important things to increase our self-worth as a mother and remember that “we are valuable.”
- Embrace imperfectionsWe have too many false ideals of what perfect is or should be. There is no perfect. Even Supermom — if she actually exists — has imperfections. She just has to. When we can let go of the unrealistic expectations we have for ourselves, we can more fully enjoy each moment and focus on the things we are doing well as a mother.
- Stop comparisons We need to stop comparing ourselves to the perfect images we see online or down the block. When we get caught in comparisons, often we are comparing our weaknesses against someone else’s strengths. If we must compare, let’s compare who we are now with who we can become.
- Develop talents Once we stop comparing, we can start to focus on our strengths and talents and how we can use them to bless those around us. Exploring new interests and developing our talents further help us see our value and worth as an individual.
Indeed, you are valuable. You mean so much to your families and so much to your children. You have strengths and gifts unique to you. So discover them, use them and find joy.
*Nicole Carpenter is the founder of www.MOMentity.com and the creator of The MOMentity Process. She is a communications consultant, writer and speaker. She and her husband are raising four children, 7 years and younger, including twin toddlers.**