Suri discusses how women can find meaningful impact by reframing their lives, through four intention-based seasons: explore, love, root, and bloom. This is the season for love.
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- *May contain affiliate links at no cost to you. Thanks for supporting my channel!
- The Parents Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for Modern Parents by William Martin
- Unruffled podcast from Janet Lansbury
- Simplicity Parenting podcast with Kim John Payne
- The Parenting Teens Solutions podcast with Phinnah Chichi
- Loving What Is audiobook by Byron Katie, as well as her weekly podcast AT HOME with Byron Katie
- My 10 relationship secrets article
- Episode #6 for expecting moms
TRANSCRIPT – edited for clarity
INTRO: Hello and welcome back to Doing Things on Purpose, the podcast that empowers women to take charge of their time, health, relationships, and money by doing things on purpose. I’m your host Suri Stahel.
CHECK-IN: Let’s begin with this week’s mom check-in.
- Today I want to talk about how your inner world often reflects your outer world and vice versa. So as the crisp autumn leaves start to fall, notice – have you been keeping your self-care commitments, or have you faltered? Is it possible to shift something, in order to meet your basic promise to take care of yourself first, before you care for others?
- And if you have been feeling cared for and nourished by your lovingly chosen habits and routines. Well done. Let’s keep going.
- Then when we talk about managing our time – have you thought about any new tasks that have come to mind, with the changing seasons? What do you need to add to your schedule to add a bit of sparkle, and what can you afford to take out?
- Make time for the things that matter first, at the beginning of each day – your health, your relationships and your primary projects. So when life throws you a curveball, the things that you care most about, won’t just break. It can survive being in the back seat once in a while. Because you’ve invested more time nurturing and growing it, than neglecting it.
Last week in Episode 15, I proposed the idea of looking at our life’s journey as mothers and as women, using the metaphor of these four seasons:
- The season to explore
- The season to love
- The season to root
- The season to bloom
I covered the season to explore last week which talks about women in their late teens to mid-20s, navigating the early stages of their careers before marriage, partnership, or family commitments. Go to suristahel.com/15 to refer back to the show notes and links.
This week we’ll be covering the season of love.
A quick note for everyone tuning in – all the resources I’ve shared in past episodes can be useful in any season and stage of our lives. It’s just that we often have very limited time and energy to focus on everything, all at once.
So rather than feeling overwhelmed by trying to do the impossible, why don’t we slow down and choose to focus on just one primary project depending on the season – so we can get good at doing that, before we move on to the next thing.
Whichever order you choose to live your life, being an adult means being aware of the opportunity cost involved in choosing which season comes first.
Three key things that I think every woman should ponder, as we move into this tender season of love, family, and relationships are the following:
1. Making the decision to focus on family first.
What’s affected if I go down this path? If I say yes to having kids now? If I accept that job?
What suffers and what thrives as a result? Is that what I want?
Am I willing and able to put my career in the back seat for a while?
It’s no news to anyone that the average age of first time moms have been steadily increasing. In the US it’s now around 27 years, in Canada it’s 30 and in Switzerland it’s 32 years old.
Generally, our mid-20s to mid-30s have become the golden years when most of us contemplate committing to a relationship and starting a family.
Whether you’re early or late in the family game, it doesn’t really matter.
- If you started too soon (with a baby) – you get to play catch up with your career or education later on.
- And if you’re late – you’re far ahead and you can afford to slow down for a while. Parenting when you’re older does have its own set of challenges.
The thing is, many of us kinda fall into pregnancy or family building without having consciously chosen it.
But even after the fact, we can still choose to decide. Because if not, we’ll be stuck in this dark limbo space between the demands of work and home. Let’s widen the gap a little.
If you’re killing it in your career right now, maybe you’re asking yourself, “How can I possibly slow down now, to make room for a baby – especially after I’ve worked so damn hard building my career all these years?”
But ask yourself, “Do the current benefits of the life I’m leading now, still outweigh the costs?”
The only reason for you to pick kids over work first, or work over kids first, has to be based on joy and not fears. So that you can never feel bad about living your truth.
So don’t let yourself be led down a path you don’t want to be on. Or don’t choose to keep walking down a path, you know is wrong for you.
That’s why it’s so important for us to choose this season of love. You take back the power, to be in the driver’s seat of your life.
2. Being ready to lead in the home.
So once you’ve decided on family and relationship as your primary project for this season of life, the next step is to be ready to lead in the home.
Because someone has to be captain of this ship here and if our spouse is busy bringing home the bacon, we have to be one that brings home the joy.
Not in a fake happy-face way. But to really embrace and welcome this huge shift that will occur in your life with the arrival of a baby.
This is when everything you thought you knew in Season 1; about yourself, your sense of identity, your biases about other parents, your career path, your romantic partner, and your expectations about life in general, gets questioned.
They say you can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs, and in this season, we’re going to break some eggs.
But the thing is, I think from that little death also comes a rebirth.
Where we actually get to reconstruct our lives again brick by brick, in a more deliberate way. We get to fit together some parts of ourselves, with the bits and pieces of our partners, and our kids – to make something new. A new sense of wholeness.
When we have kids, our sense of “I” has to dissolve a little, to make room for “we.”
But even then, I don’t think we become less than who we were before. I feel that we expand to become more than the sum of our parts. We evolve into something better than our version 1.0.
The social skills and sense of perspective that we can develop in this season is actually something that naturally develops as we age. Think about how much kinder, more patient, and more loving most grandparents are with their grandkids.
The things that used to bother them a lot when they were our parents, just don’t seem to bother them much anymore. They’ve gained perspective.
But we can choose to be conscious now. We can choose to enjoy our parenthood now.
Today’s parents have so much information available to us that it can get confusing. But think of it as different suggestions and ideas. We’re free to try things on, pick ones that work and put away the ones that don’t. No shoulds.
Because if we choose to lead, we get to decide how our version of a dream family and home life looks and feels like.
Choosing to lead is so important because if no one’s in charge, things can get really messy and confusing.
Children need boundaries, structure and reliable routines in order to thrive. They drown when we give them too many choices.
Leading doesn’t mean you don’t job-share or ask for help when you need it – you absolutely should.
But if you’re a mom, you know that help is not always going to be there when you need it. No matter how many times you ask your husband or your kids nicely, to help with this or that – half the time they won’t be able to. For whatever reason.
Then it’s your job to figure out how to deal with this gracefully. Thankfully, there are many moms out there who are here to help if you just reach out. You are not alone.
3. Base your actions and words from a place of trust and heart-centered love.
Have you ever heard of the statement: Your thoughts and assumptions affect your feelings, and your feelings affect your actions?
So change your thoughts and your feelings change. And by changing your feelings, your actions change and your results change.
It’s not woo-woo, it’s based on the principles of CBT or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy which emphasizes the interconnectedness of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in shaping our experiences.
It might surprise you to know that I am not the same mom and wife that I was 10 years ago.
I remember feeling so tired with my first. One day we were in the bathroom and I had just changed her diaper on the changing mat which was on this wooden box where we kept our folded towels. Then I turned towards the sink to wash my hands and I remembered thinking that, “I shouldn’t be doing this. I should have my hands on her at all times because she’s on a high place.”
And I knew that babies can turn all of a sudden. But I wondered what would happen if she did that while I washed my hands and had my back turned.
I don’t know why I thought that but it shows me that I wasn’t in a good state of mind.
And one time when my kid was still a toddler, she had a big blow out after a long day at a party, I think it was even her birthday party. And she just wouldn’t stop crying. We ended up locking her on the balcony for a few minutes – which made somebody call the police.
Maybe all parents have these kinds of horror stories that we’re ashamed to tell. Things we did behind closed doors, when we just couldn’t take it anymore. And sometimes we do feel like we just want to escape.
And maybe our spouses feel the same way too sometimes.
That’s why I want to tell moms (especially new moms) that it’s okay. Your past is over and done with, and what you do now is all that matters.
I’ve shared those two stories with my daughters, and I’ve learned to let go.
If I knew better then, I would’ve tried to ask less of myself. I know now that babies are already self-aware little people.
Do you know that studies show that they can already sense what feels right or wrong, and what’s fair or not, even by the time they’re 6 months old? They’re so fascinating.
If I could go back, I would ask my tired self to just focus on being fully present during care times like diaper changing, nursing and meal times – which is what I learned from listening to Janet Lansbury.
I see that even now, when my girls are older, for every small pocket of time that I can really just stop and present – I gain hours of time when my kids are content and in independent play with one another. Because they feel satiated. They feel satisfied.
We can give that.
And looking back at when my older child had a meltdown when she was two or three, I can see now that she was just super tired. Kids just aren’t able to filter out or express their emotions in the acceptable ways that we adults, like to receive them.
It’s discomforting for us. We wonder what we’re doing wrong.
Knowing what I know now, I would just let the emotions pass. I would have expected it after a long day out. And if I had the energy, I could pick her up, soothe her, and welcome her big feelings about the day.
And anyone with kids, can probably tell you that kids pass through their emotions very quickly.
Even with my older kids of 9 and 11, I sometimes wonder, how can you guys play together when just five minutes ago – you were fighting like cats and dogs?
So nowadays, I know better. If nobody’s crossing a boundary or getting physically hurt, I try not to interfere. And the hot emotion passes.
We really don’t have to control everything.
So when you don’t know what’s the right or wrong thing to do or say, just base your actions and words from a place of trust and heart-centered love.
What would that look like?
And not just when you’re correcting, or enforcing boundaries with the kids, but also when you work together as a team with your spouse.
What would it look like if you trusted your partner and kids to just do their best. Would you keep trying to tell them the same thing over and over again, or would you try to help them out when they seem stuck?
By cultivating heart-centered thoughts, you won’t feel like you ‘should’ do things to support your family, but you start to ‘want’ to do it. You want to have the right mindset, read the right books, go to the right courses, find the latest research, do the right routines, set the right boundaries, cultivate the right structures, cook the right foods, and even happily clean and care for that space, you all call home.
Because you’re happy to provide any kind of value and comfort to those you love – of course you do.
I don’t even think that it’s what you do, it’s how and why you do it. The intention behind the action. Starting from the inside out.
Tips for Your Season of Love:
- Make the decision to focus on family first.
- Being willing to lead in the home.
- Base your actions and words from a place of trust and heart-centered love.
Growth can look very different for each woman and family. They’re as individual as our own fingerprints.
If you don’t know where to start, I’m happy to share a list of books and resources that have personally helped me, during my season of love. Work from people like Byron Katie, Janet Lansbury and Kim John Payne.
But even then, I would still make an effort to carefully try out, and select the things that work for you, while leaving out the things that don’t. You’ll find my list of recommendations in the show notes at suristahel.com/16.
It really pays to find the voices that make you feel lighter and more supported in life. Not ones that validate your negative thoughts, and keep you stuck.
Because what did we learn?
Your thoughts affect your feelings. Your feelings affect your actions. And your actions affect your outcomes.
OUTRO: Next week, I’ll be talking about how the third season of a woman’s life between our mid 30s and mid 40s, could look like. It’s a very exciting time when we ‘root’ down to come back even stronger, in the second half of our lives. Assuming we live till we’re 80 or older.
If you have anything to teach me or share about YOUR 30s and 40s, join in the conversation. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or message me on social.
Thank you so much for listening in. This is Doing Things on Purpose with me Suri, and I can’t wait to catch you again next time.