For those of you who can't attend tonight's conference, Empowering Women 2010, here is a rough transcript of the remarks I am planning on making... yes this post bears a striking resemblance to my last post, but I thought since so many of you offered your thoughts both on the blog and on Facebook, that you should be able to see the finished product!
So here it is... let me know what you think! I go on at 6 so I can make changes until then!
I remember being pregnant with my first child, having gained 50 pounds, and crying to my then-shrink that I would never again be "me." I was afraid that I would be swallowed whole by motherhood, that I would never again have my own identity. In one sense I was right... having kids did change my identity. But my kids surely did not swallow me whole.
You might be getting your groove back after having children, or after sending your children to college, or simply after a long stretch of putting everyone else first. As women, we are all very good at putting everyone else first! Or you might not have ever lost your groove--if that's the case, my hat is off to you!
Getting your groove back is about finding YOU again... a separate identity, apart from the roles of mom, wife, or any other roles that define you in relation to someone else. Getting your groove back is one of the most empowering steps you can take. It means owning who you are and defining yourself on your own terms.
Here are my Top 3 Tips for Getting Your Groove Back:
1. Think about what you always loved doing before you became an adult with kids and a mortgage and responsibilities... what was it that made you feel powerful and beautiful and in control... and start doing it again! I was a dancer in high school, but sadly gave it up in college. Now, I take a pole dancing exercise class every week. And boy does that help me break free of the mommy role for a few hours!
2. Give yourself permission to have your own life, not just because it's what's best for you, but because it is what's best for everyone else in your life. Being a mom is and will always be the first priority in my life, but it is not the only thing in my life. In order to get my groove back, it was critical for me to make that distinction. Take time each day to do something that is just for you, and when those guilty feelings creep up, push them away! The fact is, you need time for yourself, whether to exercise or see friends or get a manicure... you need to take care of yourself first, mentally, physically and emotionally, in order to fully be there for the others in your life.
3. Prioritize and make a schedule... because finding time in our busy lives is one of the greatest obstacles to getting your groove back. I have a habit of scheduling my entire week on Sunday night in my day planner. I plan out when I will work, exercise, spend time with the kids, see friends, and have alone time with my husband. I am diligent about scheduling because without it, I am not able to accomplish the things that are most important to me.
One final thought is that I don't recommend trying to get your groove back when your kids are really little. I remember having new babies and being totally swept up in the experience of mothering those babies, and I would not trade that for anything. At that point I did not want my groove back! It happens at a different time for each of us, and only your gut can tell you when it is time for you to start. For you, it might be when your youngest starts school... or when he/she goes to college!