I’m A Mom Who Feels Guilty All The Time

I’m a mom who feels guilty all the time.  Can you relate?  If so, keep reading.  If not, I envy you.

It seems almost every decision I make is wracked in guilt somehow.  And I never, ever make a decision without thinking of my kids or husband first.

Is that right?  Some may argue, hell no.  Is that wrong?  I don’t know.  I know the whole speech about putting yourself first.  The whole if you were on an airplane analogy and putting your mask on first.  I do realize it’s total and utter importance – I really, really do.  When I don’t put myself first, everyone suffers.  Believe me.  Ask my husband or my kids.

But when I put myself first (on the rare occasion that I actually do put myself first), I suffer.  So who wins?  I suffer the guilt that I worked all day, put my kids in daycare, rushed to get them some take out food, so I can go to the gym, where again they may be in another daycare.  To go home at 7 pm and put them to bed at 8 pm.  Is there something wrong with that picture?  I say, hell yes!!!!  But that’s my opinion.

That’s why I quit working full time.  I was on a fast track, working for the city I live in and really kicking ass working my way up the ladder.  My husband, however, was also kicking ass at his job, either working out of town or a steady 12 hour day shift.  My kids were young then, only 4 and 8.  They grew up knowing daycare and that lifestyle – when both of my kids were 10 months old, they were in daycare full time, or school all day and then daycare until 5pm at night.  Yeah I rocked it at work, but inside I was dying because my kids weren’t being raised be me, really.  My kids did NOT see the best of me ever.  

Work got that portion – the best of me – the one that excelled, was energetic, pushed limits and gave my all.  Work got that side.  My kids saw the screaming, frazzled mother as she tried rushing to get them off to school / daycare so she wouldn’t be late for work.  The one that forgot to eat breakfast, made it through the day with a constant supply of caffeine, which I thought at the time was a benefit to being on-point all the time.   There wasn’t a day that I didn’t yell at them in the morning for something……  

No, my kids saw the mother, in her fancy clothes and high heels, the one that yelled and picked them up at 5 pm, exhausted and utterly depleted.  Dinner, baths, homework, bed time…….. at 5 pm, I didn’t know how I would make it through some days.

There was NEVER time for me, to workout, to reflect, to bake, to clean ….. every damn day seemed like a chore.  Wake up, start laundry, get ready, kids up, off to school/daycare, work all day, pick up kids, homework, dinner, bath, bedtime.  Done.  Repeat.  It sounds awful right?  But women LOVE working.   Admit it.

Work was a blessing to me…… I was able to look good, feel really good about myself, dress nice, afford nice things, hang out with adults, have a life and feel confident every single day because I was good at my job and I thought I was “important”.  But behind the scenes, I suffered.

I had a mother that worked constantly and was never home and there “when I needed her.”  I always compared her to the stay at home “rich” moms that could come and go as they pleased, had nice houses, and went to every single one of their kids events.  In my mind, this is still the “perfect mother” – Mrs. Cleaver, that is.

Every single day while I kicked ass at work and felt amazing and sooooooo confident in my abilities in the working world, I also felt ashamed and guilty that my kids were suffering.  (Or so I thought because I had felt I suffered as a kid with a mother that was always working or too tired to do anything).   And I also questioned my abilities as a mother.  I wasn’t a good mom, I wasn’t enough for them, I wasn’t doing enough…… the list goes. on.

So I quit the corporate world.  I thought there was no way I could ever just be a “stay at a home” mother … I needed something to validate my existence and make me feel “important”.  So I became a holistic nutritionist and most recently, life coach – trying to make an income from home so I could have calm, peaceful mornings with my kids and watch them get off the bus after school and just “be there for them”.  Have completely unrushed, devoted time for my kids each and every single day, to play, have fun, be silly, bake and cook healthy meals, all the while making an income from a home based business and, let’s not forget, also be a loving, attentive and supportive wife.

NOT the way it happened.  AT ALL.

My business wasn’t making money, even after the third year I was still struggling, making less than $10,000 annually.  It was draining my self confidence.  The whole “if you build it they will come” thing was a punch in the gut!!

No one told me how I would question myself every single day.  No one told me how hard it was to market, get paying clients, find a niche, get into social media, get yourself “out there” …. while I type, you may think these sound like very simple things, but for the entrepreneur who has been there and struggled, you know much more sorrow than the little detail I am giving here.

Plain and simple:  IT SUCKS the life out of you.  But if you have enough passion, drive, tenacity and desire, eventually you may (or may not) see the gold pot at the end of the rainbow.

Point is:  I now also feel guilty being home.  I don’t bake every day and wear the Mrs. Cleaver hat well.  I have my own issues and battles every single day to deal with.  I may have more time to “put myself first”, and on good days, I do – and it feels damn amazing!  But on bad days, I lack focus, I lack routine and I’ll sit and binge netflix and drink wine.  And, maybe I needed the break or needed to “netflix and chill” because of the chaos in my world, and yet, I still feel guilty – that I wasn’t the superhero mom, that I may have lost my patience, that some nights I didn’t cook or homework got done in the morning, or I didn’t work out, or I didn’t even shower, let alone put on my makeup.

The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.  

So no matter if you are a stay at home mom or work full time, I think guilt will always, ALWAYS plague us mothers.  Especially, those moms like me who are type A perfectionist where nothing is ever good enough.  If this is you, I want to tell you:  You are an AMAZING mother simply because of the fact that you care.  Simply because of the fact that you constantly WANT and NEED to better yourself and those around you, you ARE amazing.  JUST AS YOU ARE.  

With your lack of patience sometimes, your frozen pizza and french fry nights, your overindulgence in coffee or wine, your career or lack of, everything about you is absolutely imperfectly ……………………… perfect.

Let me say that again because it definitely needs to be repeated:  Every single little thing about you, your flaws, your personality, your guilt, self sabotage, or whatever your thoughts put you through, I want you to know this – no matter who you are, or where you work, or how much money you make or don’t make, or how you yelled at your kids, or separated from your husband because you couldn’t handle it anymore – EVERY THING ABOUT YOU IS ABSOLUTELY IMPERFECTLY PERFECT!

Going through some shit?  Having a rough time trying to figure out your purpose or your WHY beyond motherhood?  Having a hard time trying to get your husband on board or struggling to keep your marriage alive?  Or maybe you are a stay at home mom that looks at your house every day with to do projects that NEVER get done?  Maybe you have a kick ass career but you feel your family is suffering?

Guilt plagues us all, but it doesn’t need to overwhelm you, control your decisions, or your life.  If you are experiencing issues, questioning what your purpose is, or just having a hard time dealing with everything in your life, I urge you to consider life coaching.

Whether with me or someone else, a life coach that you can connect with and relate to can help you really figure things out and hold you accountable to action.  Willpower is never enough.  Guilt should not drive your life.  Mothers deserve to be human too.

Right now, I’m offering a summer session package including 4 sessions for only $200!  But I only have 5 spots available at this rate.  If you are interested, call or text me now at 519-890-9794.

Time: A Reflection

Time….

Time, it’s what most of us wish we had more of.  More time.

We often tell ourselves….

There is never enough time in a day.

I don’t have time for that.

I wish I had more time to do the things I love.

Time is of essence.

Time is running out.

And before we die, we think of time.  Some of us know it is our time, some of us will pray for more time and some of us will simply reflect on the value of time and the meaning of time.

How many times in a day or week or year did you wish you simply had more time?  

And then let me ask you this, what do you wish you had more time for?

When I coach clients, I often have them visualize what their ideal schedule would look like – hour by hour for an “ideal” week.  And then I have them compare that ideal schedule to what their current schedule actually is.  You can guess that in most cases those two schedules are very different extremes.

So, how can you manage your time more effectively?  How can you feel like time doesn’t control you?  How can you simply make more time?

It seems complicated, but then again, as humans we have the tendency to overcomplicate everything, don’t we?

We also overestimate how much time it actually takes to get something done.  Let me say that one again, we overestimate how much time it takes to do something.  So if you want to work out, if you want to spend more quality time with your kids, if you want to cook healthier meals, or write a book, or tackle that growing to-do list, what you think will take hours, days or weeks, can possibly take less than 10 minutes a day.

We also don’t make time to build the lives we want.  We all have priorities – work, kids, spouse, house, bills etc.  But, each of us has a desire to do something more with our time, beyond our everyday commitments.

Time is a choice.  If you’ve ever said, “I don’t have time” consider that perhaps you meant “it’s not really a priority”.  There are 24 hours in a day and 168 hours every single week available to you to make time for the things you choose.

Right now, what is it time for in your life?  Write down 3-5 things.  And then start taking action every single day towards those things.

A coaching session may help you clarify where you can gain more time, keep you accountable and start taking control of your life.  Find out more information by emailing info@jencote.com.

Do you feel stuck in your life?

Do you crave change but don’t know how to get it?

Do you even know what it is you really want?

I think sometimes as mothers we tend to forget about our own needs.  Our lives are revolved around taking care of others all day long to the point of exhaustion that we actually never have the time to think about what it is that we want for ourselves.  We tend to think in terms of our kids or our spouse – what do they like and what do they want?  What do they need?

We go through our lives living on autopilot when our kids are young and we don’t even realize that we aren’t thinking about our own needs.  And we wake up feeling stressed out, resentful and exhausted.

I was there!  There was a period of almost 2 years where I just felt stuck and I didn’t know what to do about it.  I started getting depressed, I started feeling really confused about my career, my relationships were suffering, I wasn’t having fun anymore.  I didn’t like the person I was becoming.

I had this great career.  I had two healthy kids and a supportive husband.  I had great friends and family.  I had everything to be grateful for but I couldn’t manage to feel grateful, no matter how hard I tried.  I didn’t even realize at the time that it had anything to do with me not knowing what I wanted for myself.

I wasn’t taking the time to eat right.  I wasn’t exercising in a way that revived me.  I wasn’t taking the time for self care routines.  I wasn’t filling my own bucket.  I was waking up in a rush trying to get the kids out the door and myself to work.  It was lunch time before I realized I forgot to eat breakfast.  Coffee was my best friend.  It was the first thing I looked for when I stumbled out of bed and then it was my afternoon pick me up.  When I got home after an intense day at work, I had to make dinner, do homework, get the kids bathed and then there was bedtime routines.  And there was of course, wine too.  That was my routine for years and over time, it started affecting my health – not only physically, but mentally and spiritually too.

I became this angry mom – I was yelling at my kids and I couldn’t even control it sometimes.  I was lashing out at my husband because I had too much on my plate and I was completely overwhelmed.  I thought that there was something wrong with me.  I compared myself to other mothers that seemed to have it all together.  They seemed so patient, they were working full time and still had time to go to the gym – what?  They always had their nails done, were dressed nice all the time and still had time to do crafts with their kids – what?  So, naturally, I blamed myself for everything and I felt guilty all the time.

I’m here to tell you mama, it’s okay.  There is nothing wrong with you.  Breathe.  Yes, take a deep breath right now.  Doesn’t that feel good?!  Just to take a soul soothing deep breath in and a long sigh of an exhale letting all of that stress go.  You just did something – for you!  And it felt amazing, right?

So, how do you get out of that rut you are stuck in?  There are a few things you can do.

First, get clear on what it is you really want – for you.  This might be a process.  You might not know what that is and chances are, as a mother, you might not give yourself permission to want it.  But ask yourself:  What do YOU want?   I guarantee most of you will have automatically thought, I want to be a better mother.  I think no matter who we are, we will always want to strive to be better mothers.  But in order to be the best mother we can be, we need to know who we are and what our own needs, wants, goals and dreams are too.

Second, what are the things you can do to fill your own bucket?  Maybe it’s going for a walk in nature without screaming kids tugging on your leg.  Maybe it’s taking a bath or shower without any interruptions.  Maybe it’s going out for dinner with a friend, reading a book or watching a chick flick.  What do you love to do?  What lights you up?  What makes you feel really good?  Find out what those things are.  If you can even take 20 minutes out of your day to do something that feels really good for you, it can make an amazing difference.

Third, no more skipping breakfast or living on coffee.  You have to start taking control of your health and the first thing you can do is to start eating well.  How can you feel good if you aren’t eating good?  Get those energizing green smoothies in your diet, swap that afternoon coffee with a herbal tea, get up 10 minutes earlier and eat a good breakfast.  Drink water!!  You get the idea.

Fourth, stop comparing yourself to other mothers.  With the constant bombarding of social media, it looks as if everyone has a perfect life.  No one posts pictures of their kids fighting or that frozen pizza going in the oven because they just don’t feel like cooking.  No one posts pictures of the stacks of laundry piling up, the dishes in the sink or the homework that didn’t get done.  No one has it all together all the time.

Fifth, ask for help!  I know that most of us are amazing at multi-tasking and we deserve way more credit then we ever give ourselves, but there is nothing wrong with asking for help.  If you want 20 minutes in the bath without kids barging in, ask your husband to help you out.  If you want to have a date night with your spouse because it’s been a year since you’ve gone out but don’t have a babysitter, ask a friend.  People love helping people.  All you have to do is ask.

And finally, know that you are worth it.  If you feel stuck in your life, the only person that has the power to change that is you.  Know that you deserve to take a “time-out” to care for yourself and to get to know yourself.  You will be a better mother, a better wife, a better friend, a better co-worker, and a better person overall.

If you just don’t know where to start, feel completely overwhelmed, or keep questioning what you really want, let’s set up a clarity session to get you living a life you love!  Email me at info@jencote.com.

5 Things You Need To Do Right Now To Change A Bad Habit

Bad habits.  We all have them.  We all know which habits are bad for us but somehow we have a really hard time trying to change them.  I think every single one of us has some bad habit that we instinctively know we should avoid, but don’t.  We also know which habits we should be creating for ourselves to live better lives, but yet, year after year, we fail to make new, healthier habits stick.  And that’s because we are human, life gets messy and changing a habit is not an easy thing – but it is possible for those that are willing to do the work.

It’s easy to create bad habits, but it’s hard to create good habits.

A habit is a settled or regular tendency or practice.  Notice the key word “practice”.  Because practice doesn’t mean perfect and I think a lot of us give up on something good when we screw up or give in to temptation temporarily, instead of starting fresh that next hour or that next day or that next week.

“Bad habits are our enemies because they hinder us from being the person we want to be.”

-Joyce Meyer

So, if you are ready to tackle a bad habit, here are 5 things that you need to do to set yourself up for success:

#1 – You need to believe in yourself FIRST.  Whatever you want to create for yourself, you have to know in your heart, body and mind that you can achieve it. If you think you can, you will.

#2 – You need to hold yourself accountable by letting someone else know what you are trying to do.  By holding yourself accountable, it helps you stop making excuses and start taking action.  It also helps on those days where you feel resistance or when giving in to temptation just seems so much easier.  You have someone you can call.  Everyone needs a phone a friend in their lives.

#3 – You need to schedule it.  Putting it on your schedule makes it concrete and non-negotiable.  For example, if the habit you want to create is going to the gym, then put those workout classes in your calendar.  Or if you want to cut down on alcohol, then make sure that specific days are marked no alcohol days on your calendar.  Then don’t book any social engagements on those days.

#4 – You need to monitor your progress.  Yes, we all slip up from time to time.  You had to work late, got sick, or your babysitter cancelled.  There are always things that may get in the way of your progress.  But if you aren’t monitoring it, how do you know if you are progressing toward your new habit or away from it?  It’s also incentive.  By seeing how good you are doing at something, it gives you the motivation to continue.

#5 – You need to reward yourself and give yourself a pat on the back.  It’s so easy for us to focus on our failures, but this time, I’m asking you to acknowledge every great thing you’ve done, no matter how small or trivial it may seem.  Changing habits is a very hard thing to do.  Don’t get caught up on your failures, focus on your progress.

Adding better habits to your life will enhance it in so many ways.  We all have value.  We all have value to bring to ourselves and the people around us.  However, to be a person of value, we have to make sure that our bad habits aren’t keeping us from being the person we want to be.

What’s The Hype About Cleansing Anyways?

Cleansing and detoxing is all the rage right now.  It seems everyone has some sort of detox or cleansing program you can buy into.  But why?  Why is cleansing so important?  Why do we need to do a cleanse?  Should everyone do a cleanse?  So what’s the hype about cleansing anyways?

We cleanse the outside of our bodies but we often don’t think about having to cleanse on the inside.  In fact, hardly any of us think about how the internal processes of our bodies work, unless we start having an issue.

Our bodies accumulate waste and toxins.  Exposure to toxins comes from the food we eat, the air we breathe and even our thoughts!  Making poor food choices, overeating, improper digestion, chemical exposure, pollution, prescriptions – you name it, and our bodies have to try and detoxify it.  The organs that can become overloaded with toxicity are the liver, gallbladder, kidneys and skin.

So how do you know if you are suffering from an overload of toxins?

Here are some signs:

  • constantly tired and lack energy
  • skin issues, like eczema or psoriasis
  • headaches
  • achy joints or muscles
  • sinus issues
  • gas, bloating, constipation or IBS
  • mood swings or anxiety
  • cellulite

But cleansing is not for everyone.  Pregnant women, diabetics, people with hypoglycaemia, candida or ulcers should not do a cleanse.  Very sick people should also avoid cleansing.

Why?  Because it’s normal to experience mild symptoms when cleansing like weakness, lightheadedness or mild headaches initially.  However people with very high levels of toxicity will often feel much worse, so it’s important to gradually ease into cleansing.

Now at this point cleansing probably sounds awful, so let me tell you what can cleansing do for you.

  • improved mental clarity
  • increased energy
  • clearer skin
  • can help break bad eating habits or other toxic dependencies
  • helps reduce stress and anxiety
  • improved sleep
  • can help purify the liver, kidneys and blood
  • digestive system will be flushed of waste and bacteria
  • can even aid in weight loss

People often feel more relaxed, creative, energetic and are able to handle stress better after detoxification.

There are all different types of cleanses out there for different lengths of time.  My advice:  start small.  If you’ve never done a cleanse before, don’t sign up for a 30 day detox.  Sometimes cleansing can be as simple as drinking water with lemon in the morning.  Sometimes it can be complex – like avoiding coffee, alcohol, sugar, gluten, dairy.  And if you cheat one day, don’t consider it a failure.  Every little improvement helps!

Change – It’s Possible

Many people want to change and have a true desire to become healthier but just don’t know where to start. To many, their ideal weight or health goal seems impossible so they don’t even make an effort. Some of the more “motivated” individuals go a few weeks strictly following an unrealistic diet or workout plan that only has them crashing and reverting to old ways.

“Change is hard because people overestimate the value of what they have—and underestimate the value of what they may gain by giving that up.”

— James Belasco and Ralph Stayer
Flight of the Buffalo (1994)

Why is change so hard for people?  The majority of people who start something never finish it.  I always thought it was because I didn’t have enough motivation.  Sometimes I knew I was setting myself up for failure trying to take on too much at once, and other times, I didn’t realize it until after I had given up.  Sometimes I wanted something, but quite frankly, wasn’t willing to make the effort for it.

Change is meant to be hard – I think it tests us to see how bad we really want something.

It’s important to be clear about WHY you want to change.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself when you are considering change:

  • What are your health goals and are they realistic for YOU considering your lifestyle?
  • What obstacles are standing in your way? If you’ve tried a new health plan or workout routine and it didn’t last, what happened?
  • What do you fall back on when things get hard?  Maybe it’s coffee, chocolate, chips or alcohol…. When do you reach for that crutch? Are you tired, upset, bored?
  • What are the negative voices in your head telling you?
  • Why do you really want this change?  Is it really for you? Or is it for someone else?  Is it because someone told you that you should?

Becoming aware of your thoughts and triggers is one of the first steps to change.  Understanding yourself and being honest with yourself is another.  Then setting up a realistic game plan for your lifestyle, not someone else’s is also another key to success.

When you become clear about why you want to change and break down your goals into small, actionable steps suddenly the impossible becomes possible.

 

You can do it, it is possible.  You are strong, you are beautiful and you deserve to feel good. Wouldn’t it be awesome if someone could just tell us that everyday?!  Well someone can – and it’s you!

Remove the negative voices, have a back up plan when things get tough and don’t compare yourself to someone else because we really are all biochemically unique.   And remember, small changes make big results in the end.

Questions To Ask Yourself In Any Relationship

“The quality of your life is in direct proportion to the quality of your relationships.”
― Anthony Robbins

Relationships can get messy.  It seems they are never really simple.  Whether it’s with a co-worker, friend, spouse, parent, child – relationships are the very essence of our lives and yet, when one relationship is flourishing, another can be completely knocking you down.

I’ve recently been going through some relationship messes of my own and it’s been making me question my values and who I am.  The old me would have stuck with the thought of “something must be wrong with me” or  “I’m not enough” anytime a relationship would suffer.

But as I continue to work on myself, I get more in touch with who I really am and the I’m not enough speech doesn’t work for me anymore.  Even though sometimes it’s easy to go there, I don’t want to put myself down or be in any kind of relationship that doesn’t align with the person I want to become.

I know I’m a nice person that gets taken advantage of sometimes.  I’m super sensitive which doesn’t help matters but it’s also what makes me so compassionate.  I’m constantly trying to evolve and grow and sometimes that makes me selfish because I’m focused on my own path.  I’m an introvert so I’m not always the social, lets get out of the house kind of person.  I can admit these things without shame.  It’s part of who I am.

The great thing about relationships is that they make us feel connected.  A good relationship can help us be more productive, feel more fulfilled, feel happy and improve our health.  But relationships are almost like a living thing.  They need attention, energy and time.  A relationship also needs to be built on trust, communication and respect to be healthy.

Sometimes in a relationship, we have the choice to continue to battle or we can choose to let it go.  We also have the choice to give up the fight when it’s really not worth it in order to keep a relationship that is good for us.  So how do you know when it’s time to move on?  Or time to put down the swords?

Well here are some questions you can ask yourself:

Does being in the relationship improve you?  Is it helping you become the person you want to be?  Is it adding value to your life?  Does that person support you and want to see you grow?  Is the relationship built on trust and respect?  Are you willing to put time, effort and energy into the relationship?

Or does the relationship add toxicity to your life?  Is it mentally, emotionally or physically draining all the time?  Does it harm you?  Is it full of criticism and lack of respect?  Are you fighting constantly?  Do you have to “play small” in order to keep the relationship?  Do you dread putting effort into the relationship?

No two people are ever going to see eye to eye on all issues.  There will always be turbulence in any relationship, but knowing if the relationship is a healthy one may help you realize that fighting is not worth it or its time to move on.  Sometimes we outgrow people.  Sometimes when we try to better ourselves the people around us want to hold us down.  Sometimes we get into a relationship to fill a void or fulfill selfish reasons.   Sometimes our anger or hurt can mask how much we really care about that person.  Sometimes boundaries just need to be set or seeing a situation from their perspective may help us become more aware.

I know relationships are never black and white but I think with a lot of self reflection and putting feelings aside, we instinctively know whether or not we should be staying in any kind of relationship.