Mompreneur Isolation Syndrome.... are you drowning?

Mompreneur Isolation Syndrome.... are you drowning?
Mompreneur Isolation Syndrome?
Are you drowning?

On March 25th, my friend Billy and I hosted a short webinar called Pivot! How to navigate life’s curveballs… and well… it threw us a few curveballs. 

The experience was born from a hunch. A hunch that other solo-mompreneurs were tired, overwhelmed and reaching breaking point - and that any sudden, unexpected change that was outside of their control would derail them and the progress they were working so hard for in their businesses. 

We were spot on. 

We were also completely caught off guard. 

We had no idea how bad it actually is. 

We had no idea how pervasive this problem actually is. 

How deep it runs. 

We had no idea how close many of our friends and colleagues were to their breaking points. 

Billy said last night: One thing became crystal clear; we, as mothers, women & business people, are needing a village around US (not just our kids!) to support us through the unexpected & help us have courage to pivot when needed...For too long, we have been expected to “do it all”… and usually alone, or at least feeling alone, in our struggles.”
We are here to change that. We accept the challenge. We heed the call. 

We’re pivoting with the feedback we received, with the pain we bore witness to last night. 

It was a very delicious taster of what’s to come. 

Thank you to all who participated; it was gold, thank you for sharing your sacred treasures with us. 
If you missed it, and want to catch up - click here to have the recording sent to you :) 

so I'm calling bullsh*t... (part 1)

So today, I'm doing it, I am calling bullsh*t.

Yes, I said (typed) that out loud.

So throughout my life, my adult life mostly, I've been told that any kind of meaningful, purpose or calling related, passion-driven, ministry-type, helping or helper work... that dedicating your life to that kind of thing is an automatic ticket to burnout, stress and overwhelm.

And that's why I'm calling bullsh*t.

It wasn't my proudest moment but in the aftermath of an emotional meltdown in my early twenties, I sat in the sun with my Bible turned to Matthew 11:28-30. Here's what it says:

"Are you tired, worn out, burnt out on religion, come to me, get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a rest. Walk with me and work with me. Watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or hit or ill fitting on you keep company with me, and you'll learn to live lightly and freely." (The Message)

And so the message I received when I read that that day was this:

When I am following Christ and learning how to live from him, the exact opposite of my lived experience would be true. That Christ would lead me away from and teach me how to live free of hustle, burnout & overwhelm! (gasp!)

So, if I was in that space (and I was), then I couldn't help but make the following deductions:

1. Either I am not following Jesus at all (in my case I was chasing a religious check-list) 

2. That I was stuck in a rut of working/hustling for love, and not from it (also true for me)

3. That I wasn't paying attention to HOW I was living out my calling and pursuing closeness to God. I had the "what" down, I was doing the things but I wasn't doing them in a way that would preserve me. 

Earlier in Matthew 11, Jesus also said that God would reveal his great wisdom to anyone humble enough to seek it - that the spirit of God would instruct us how to live lightly and freely. 

And it was basically since that moment, right after I thought that I had blew up my entire life that I started to put it back together again - this time I would be dedicated to the pursuit and application of that wisdom I was promised in Matthew 11. 

I nearly died hustling for my worth, I lost so much searching for love and validation in all of the wrong places. 

If what the Bible says is true, and it is: we all have access to a life that is characterized by REST, blessed quiet and renewal for our souls... a life that is free and light... (check out Matthew 11 in the Amplified Bible. 

I created a video about this experience and towards the end I share about a special and very practical tool that I have created  from the wisdom I have gathered specifically for the purpose of cultivating what I call peaceful productivity. 

In the meantime, if you'd like to participate in something I created called "the Peaceful Productivity Challenge" - You can do that by joining the Facebook Community: Support & Solutions for Overwhelmed Heart-Centered Mompreneurs & Leaders

3 Things you need to know to set sticky commitments & establish sticky boundaries that LAST!

“If its burning you out, it probably doesn’t belong to you” - Lauren da Silva

We've all been there...done the hard work, taken the deep breaths, mustered all the courage to establish the healthy boundary… or like, barely a week ago - compiled a list of ways that 2021 is GOING to be different.

But somehow, the things just don't stick.

And so maybe if you’re determined, you try ONE.MORE.TIME....

And alas… more of the same. It just doesn't stick.

And so we focus our energy on just living with whatever it is we couldn't fix without murdering anyone.

Sound Familiar???

Just so that you know… there is something about your values... and your boundaries and visa versa that hardly anyone talks or even knows about.

I am here to share with you why your boundaries and maybe even your New Year’s resolutions won't stick.... and what to do about it.

  1. Your Boundaries & commitments won’t stick if they aren’t aligned with your core values. 

Here’s the thing: If your commitments don’t grow out of authentic & honest recognition of what actually matters to you - you’re going to have a hard time sticking to them. Sometimes we commit to losing weight when deep down we love food more than we love being thin...sometimes we are subconsciously more committed to our comfort zones than we are to growth, change and success. And sometimes, deep down, we actually want to succeed or make a mark on the world outside of the home (rather than stay home with the kids).

This can look like a hundred different things for a hundred different people - but if you had had trouble sticking to your commitments, or your boundaries you might want to spend some time figuring out whether or not you’ve made a commitment that doesn’t in fact matter as much to you as you like to pretend it does. 

  1. Your boundaries reveal your core values & true commitments. 

The flip side of this is that our internal boundaries - that is the feelings of anger, frustration and resentment that rise up inside of us when they are being violated are basically like small warning lights on the dashboards of our lives trying to let us know that we are betraying something or some part of ourselves that actually matters to us. 

Again, this may look different depending on the person… but I am going to go ahead and be honest and say that one of the things I need to function is some silence, and physical space around me (I am basically bubble boy, but without a literal bubble). Additionally, one of the things I value in terms of motherhood is raising children who are empathetic, independent, considerate and helpful. I could follow some really frustrating parenting advice or rather, ideals around motherhood, which basically imply that I should be available to my young children 24/7 and allow them to hang all over me all day (and LOOOOOOVE it) but after 5 mins of that life I am basically about to go full chernobyl on them all and blast our family into smithereens. 

No good reader, I say things like: “no, please don’t touch me, I don’t like that... I will let you know when I am ready for snuggles” and I heed their own requests for space. Things like “hey guys, we are going to have a silent hour - and you may not talk to me, unless you’re on fire”, also work wonders on occasion. 

Any other type of mothering would be me living a lie, and not only do I value honesty and authenticity as an act of courage - I also know that should I be wrong about this, that I am secretly selfish and deprived - the only way that’s ever going to change is if I show up honestly, as I am and open to growth.

 Noone has ever experienced lasting transformation because they’ve spent 5 years pretending - “faking it until you make it”,  always has been and always will be the worst advice. We get help (and we can give it) where we struggle, and we can become less selfish, less judgemental about what is, posture ourselves towards love and grace, and understand that values aren’t made of concrete. 

They, like you, are allowed to change, grow and mature. When we don’t take ourselves too seriously, and when loosen the death grip we have on them, we make room for change.

  1. Your values make the best boundaries 

If you want sticky boundaries and commitments with a lifespan longer than 24 hours. The best place to start is with who you are, and what truly matters most to you. Don’t waste your energy on a weight loss resolution when you are perfectly happy with the size of your pants. But if you’re not, could you frame that resolution or root it in what actually does matter to you? Your health? Time with your children? The vitality needed to pursue your goals? Stewardship of a beautiful body given to you to love and care for? Don’t pick the answer you think you want to hear, pick the one that resonates deeply… even if one of the objections that jumps to the front of your mind has something to do with what he/she/they will say/think/expect… 

I did an online training on this a couple of days ago if you’d like to dig a little deeper (or if you just prefer video):

I also recently did a webinar training called: Whose Life is It Anyway - so if you need some help sifting through the noise of other people’s voices and expectations and identifying what REALLY matters to you… you can gain access to that HERE----> 

How to Simplify Your To-Do List in 3 Easy Steps

How to Simplify Your To-Do List in 3  Easy Steps

Efficiency is my love language. 

There I said it :P 

I am the lady who thinks 99.9% of meetings could have been emails, and who is always looking for a smarter way to get things done. 

And I have zero chill about it :D 

THAT is why I was delighted (yes, actually delighted) when a friend called, handed me her to-do list and said HELP ME! 

It. was. LONG. 

And overwhelming.

And it was giving her stage fright. 

So here is the thing about a to-do list, they're just ok. They're a great tool, but if the tasks on them aren't connected to a greater purpose that gives them and their accomplishment real-life-meaning then as you may know from personal experience - will have ZERO appeal when you need to actually get things done.

Additionally, when they're too long - it becomes a "can't see the wood for the trees situation".

Where do you start? How do you start?

Some people like to just start at the top and work their way down - thats a great strategy if you just want to do SOMETHING but, its not an efficient strategy and it does not guarantee that you will get to the end of your day feeling any less stressed or satisfied about how you spent your time if all you have done is distract or exhaust yourself doing things that aren't really important.

So when I find myself faced with a monster of a to-do list, and only 24 hours in a day (as well as what may feel like competing priorities), here is how I take a second and tackle it in a way that transforms my day and leaves me falling asleep feeling at peace and accomplished. 

1. Identify Boulders
The first step in coming up with an effective strategy for tackling your list is taking a look at your day or week and getting clear on how much time you ACTUALLY have at your disposal. 

For some of us that may mean that we need to get real about the fact that we have a 9-5 with little wiggle room OR 3 littles at home with us with lots of wiggles, but still - very little margin for much else other than homeschooling or snack prep. 

Boulders are responsibilities or commitments that are immovable. 

Disclaimer: a lot of the "immovability" of your boulders is perceived. This step if often as much about recommitting to these immovable priorities or re-evaluating your commitment to them. Either way - the goal here is to get clear on how much room you have in your day or week to play with. 

2. Create Time Blocks 
Once you have figured out your non-negotiables, clear the deck - everything else is officially up for grabs. 

This is where you may you need to commit to taking a look at your daily or weekly schedule with a fresh perspective. 

Sometimes you need to remind yourself that you DO have enough time for what matters most - you are just not using it that way.

For me this has looked like realizing that if I need a block of silence - that the two hours before the kids wake up, or after they go to sleep could be put to better use. 

It has helped me be more creative with my hour long lunch break. 

And it has helped me realize that there are some things that I like to control myself (like grocery shopping) that I can delegate to curbside or amazon. 

By the end of this process you should have identified and set aside time blocks (even if they are only an hour each) throughout your day or week that you can use in a different way that you've been using them before. 

3. Name Your Big Rocks 
This is where you get creative with and give meaning to that to-do list. 

Big Rocks are the big, overarching goals or the VALUE that fulfilling certain tasks on your to-do list will bring to your life. 

IF you can't do everything on your life, what is the ONE THING or cluster of things that you can't not do?

or asked differently:

- What thing/s will move the needle on helping you get to where you want to be in your life/marriage/parenting/career most? 
- What task/s if done, would be total game changers for your life? 
- What do you need to do to go to bed feeling deeply satisfied/proud/accomplished? 

These are your big rocks. And you should only have 1 or 2 - for sure no more than 3. Everything else may be or feel important but be honest with yourself - it will be ok if they end up undone.  

Pro-tip: I have found that for ME - my big rocks are usually the things I am avoiding doing, even if its just subconsciously.  

Now... remember those blocks of time you've created in step 2? This is what you're going to do with it. Forget everything else on your list - put your head down and get your biggest rock knocked out. 

If you get through it and you still have time blocked out - hit big rock #2, then #3 and so on. 

You might get to the end of the day having not done the grocery shopping or having gone to the library - but you have paid the bills, handled that thing you've been putting off for weeks and even spent meaningful time with your best friend or your kids, then paying that library fine or eating cheerios for dinner seem like a great compromise. 

At the end of the day, our time has been given to us to use and care for as a precious gift. It is our responsibility to steward carefully because once its spent its spent - we don't get it back ever again.

Additionally, wasting it on priorities that aren't really ours or spending energy dealing with bitterness and resentment because we have allowed other people to dictate to us how we use it isn't worth it.

While I would probably never advocate for anyone spending more time on social media -If you are feeling a little out of control of your calendar - and you can feel the stress, bitterness or burnout bubbling up as a result - you would probably benefit from all the resources in my FB community for women who are using boundaries and self-stewardship to stay out of both bitterness and burnout - why don't you head on over there now - we can't wait to have you! 

Healthy Boundary Setting: Your first three steps.

Healthy Boundary Setting: Your first three steps.

So you’re starting to feel that resentment and bitterness (or maybe even some burnout?) starts to bubble up in one of your relationships or at work… 

That is almost always an invitation to explore what boundaries are missing and need to be erected. 

So how do you do that? Where do you start? 

Well, contrary to what you may think: you DON’T start with the other person or people in question. 

It’s tempting isn’t it? To look at the other person in the relationship and shovel all the responsibility for our feelings of frustrating and discomfort onto them… but don’t ever go there. It will never truly resolve the true root of those feelings.

Boundaries are erected to protect YOU, what YOU love, what YOU value, YOUR priorities and YOUR life. When embarking on the boundary building process, the only sustainable place to start is with YOU. 

  1. Boundaries ALWAYS start in self-awareness. 

Knowing yourself, what you value, what your priorities are, how you want to live your life, how you want to conduct yourself at work, or make a living, raise your children and what kind of relationships you want to have. Becoming aware of all of these components of who you are is the very first step in sustainable and healthy boundaries. 

It sounds simple, but most people have no idea who they are or what they want. Most of the values and priorities we pursue have been instilled in us in childhood and belong to our parents, or as we get older our peers and our culture. Any boundary - no matter how successfully you seem to erect it - will continue to yield resentment, bitterness and burnout if they aren’t protecting a true and authentic version of YOU. 

Imagine going through all the effort of creating and building boundaries around values, priorities and goals of someone else? No thanks. 

  1. Self-Acceptance is the foundation of good, strong &  boundaries. 

Once you do the work of uncovering who you are and what you want, your next step is to accept all of who you are, what you value, and the life you want - without apology, and without judgement.

This is an incredibly difficult task, but reinforcing boundaries is going to be incredibly difficult if you are questioning the validity and value of your own needs and desires.

We all need to learn and practice the self-care discipline of self-acceptance, and not to judge ourselves according to the standards of our culture, compare ourselves to our peers or measure ourselves by the standards of our parents or other significant people in our lives.

  1. Boundaries are strengthened in love. 

The energy or courage you need to sustainably erect and maintain healthy boundaries will not come from your anger or your fear - but from your love.

Once you are able to see yourself for who you are and who you want to become, once you are able to accept yourself, you will need to learn how to love yourself unconditionally.

Just like a mother cannot help but protect her children out of a fierce and unconditional love - once you learn to love yourself compassionately, you will develop the courage required to protect and defend yourself and the life you have been called to live in the same way. 

Anger and resentment can be difficult emotions to manage, especially when they arise because we are being violated in our relationships, but they are also beautiful invitations to reclaim the authorship and power you may be handing over to others.

Boundaries are one of the ways in which we teach others to know, honor, accept and love us as we are: We cannot be good teachers until we learn to do the work ourselves. 

If you would like to learn more about how to get to know, accept, and unconditionally love yourself - and if you would like some help staying out of bitterness and burnout, why don’t you head on over to our free facebook community: 

Flourishing in Ministry: Avoiding Bitterness & Burnout 

We can’t wait to meet you :)