By: Luscious Mother
Hi Luscious –
Sarah here. Is it me or are MANY people hurting right now? I’m definitely a glass half-full kind of gal, but over the past few weeks I’ve noticed my clients are experiencing so much pain, all at once: divorces, cancer diagnoses, major surgeries, kids struggling with anxiety, addiction, and depression. And nearly all of them are experiencing generalized fear about returning to “normal,” or wrestling with what they want their new post-pandemic normal to look like.
It seems like everywhere I look, someone is hurting.
What happens to us when we hurt? Wellllllll… It’s complicated.
Emotional pain activates fear, which automatically knocks us out of our comfort zone, and when you’re a mother this is doubly challenging because mothers are often responsible for creating a general comfort zone for their families. Whether one is a mother or not, being outside of our comfort zone causes our hackles to go up—an experience that looks different for each of us. No two hackles, when up, look the same.
One of my coaches used to say that we are all covered in tiny red buttons. On a good day, they don’t get pushed. We are resilient, have bandwidth for the foibles that come our way, and our healthy boundaries keep curious fingers away from our shiny buttons. But when we’re being delivered a full-frontal megadose of LIFE—sick family members, kids not sleeping, financial strife, colleagues being asshats—the buttons expand in size and sensitivity. Boundaries break down, self-care goes out the window, our nervous system is alive with the sound of neurosis, and then…? Someone just looks at us the wrong way and ALL our buttons are hit!
What’s a Mama to do?
Notice your “tells.” When my husband Matt is scared, his go-to reaction is control. When I’m triggered, I get snippy. I lose my sense of humor and get spun up in worry. Some people just shut down or freeze people out. Or overcompensate. My partner Anna is a 50/50 split: sometimes she’s a fighter, sometimes she’s a flight risk. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to get clear on your special blend. How do fear and pain show up in your behavior?
Get curious. Curiosity holds the keys to the kingdom. Ask yourself questions. What am I really upset about? What am I afraid of? What do I need right now? This will help you shift into observation mode instead of reacting from pure emotion.
Increase your well-being. The more stable your well-being, the smaller your shiny red trigger buttons will be.
GET SUPPORTED! Sometimes when you need support, your friends, or your partner, or your colleagues are simultaneously struggling and they’re unable to give you what you need. Or maybe they’re the ones who pushed your buttons? Maybe you’re pushing theirs?! When Matt and I are each stewing in our own brew, we have outside support to rely on. I have my coach, or I can connect with my Luscious sisters. Matt has a men’s group he meets with every Tuesday morning which supports him in a way I can’t. Luscious Lifelines and group coaching at Camp Can-a-Mama-Get-a-Minute are fantastic options for Moms who want more support.
SLOW DOWN. Choose “rest hour” over “rush hour.” Ease off the gas pedal and notice that nothing catastrophic has happened. The world, she still spins! Slow is okay. In fact, with slowness comes intentionality and peace. Make your schedule humane. For yourself, and others!
Be gentle with yourself. And others. My Mom loves to give me feathers to remind me to be soft and gentle with myself, a reminder I need on the regular.
When we can be gentle with ourselves, we can extend that goodness elsewhere. In the words of American poet, rockstar, artist and dude, Michael Stipe, “everybody hurts, take comfort in your friends.”
And in the words of me, mother, coach, and human woman, Sarah Olin, “It’s okay to hurt! Get supported!”
Holding you in our Luscious hearts,
Sarah + Anna
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