Have you ever felt like you were lost? It’s okay, I won’t tell anyone. In fact, let me tell you about me, and it might make you feel less alone.
I started writing because of Maverick. He’s my oldest, and he’s 6 now. When he was about 18 months old, I was sandwiched between the pressure of my career and wanting to be home with my kid so I could be the one to teach him not to eat crayons. I felt like an utter failure for reasons I couldn’t pinpoint exactly. The constant guilt and feeling like I was treading water in everything I did was suffocating; all the other moms around me seemed to be trucking along just fine, juggling careers and day cares and husbands. I didn’t know what was wrong with me (my soul was being sucked), I didn’t know what I wanted (to quit my soul-sucking job), and I didn’t know how to fix it (follow my gut).
What I didn’t know then, but I certainly know now, is that the answer is always, always follow your gut.
I’d already been to therapy and was on an SSRI to help me cope — writing was the last thing left before I shaved my head and went Britney on everyone. So, I started blogging … and I felt better. People rolled their eyes at another “mommy blogger,” and my family was uncomfortable with what I was writing about (i.e. alcohol, because motherhood drives me to drink like nothing else), but I kept going. I began writing for a local website and I felt even better. Then I got pregnant again and I quit my job to stay home, because by then my gut was screaming ‘QUIT YOUR SOUL-SUCKING JOB AND FOCUS ON YOUR CHILDREN!”
And I listened.
My husband took some convincing, but he came around, and slowly but surely over the past few years, I have re-learned how to listen to that little voice in the pit of my stomach. I was better at listening to it when I was younger, before the internet and cell service was a thing, and I spent a lot of time outside. It was easier then, I think, because I didn’t have as many distractions. I could hear my gut when it said, “This is not the right path for you.” I have broken up with boyfriends and turned away opportunities because of that voice. I married an unlikely man because I listened to my gut that said, “He’s different.” Even when people all around me shook their heads because they didn’t understand, I followed my gut and it hasn’t failed me yet.
When I got pregnant and hormonal and birthed our first baby, my entire world got turned upside down and shaken UP and I couldn’t hear that voice anymore. It’s taken time to regain my footing and shut out all noise that comes from every direction telling me how I should live, how I should parent, and how I should look. It’s very easy to listen to all the other voices and ignore what that tiny voice is telling you. The noise shouts, “THIS IS WHAT MATTERS” and the voice whispers, “None of that matters.”
It’s really, really hard to insulate yourself and your family from the shouting. It takes a lot of work, and to be honest I’m pretty terrible at it. I’m just going to assume that like anything else, it will take years of practice to perfect. And I’m okay with that, because I’m practicing by taking teeny tiny steps every day that are directed by my instincts. It’s been an incredibly freeing experience and is leading me to a happiness that eluded me before, which is why you should totally try it.
What is your gut telling you today?