Lots of things have changed in my life within the last 5 years. I often wonder how I got to where I am now. Most of my mid 20s were spent hiding from horses because I knew I couldn’t find a way to make them a part of my life. I would avoid movies or TV shows that had horses in them because it would just yank on my heart and remind me of what I no longer had. I was blessed with 2 healthy children and I put 100% of myself into being a good mom. There was no time for what I needed. I love my children & I thank God every day for blessing me with 2 healthy & happy little people that call me, Mommy.
I started to realize that no matter how much I enjoyed my kids, I was still feeling empty. I would try to fill the void in my heart by obsessing over little unimportant things. I became anxious & even high strung at times. I felt like I was searching for something that I would likely never find. I had forgotten who I was & what motivated me to be the best me.
I took a part time job at a horse barn down the road from my house. This was around 4.5 years ago. I was pregnant & had a 3-year-old toddler. I didn’t know how I was going to make this work, but I knew the extra money was going to help & this was something I was good at. I would get up early in the mornings to go feed & water a variety of horses & other random farm type animals. Being pregnant, I was naturally more sensitive to emotions, feelings, energies, smells, etc. As I would make my way around the barn, I felt this feeling of restoration in my soul. I began to walk with a lighter foot. I started to think about how I would be able to give even more of myself to this baby girl growing inside me. It scared me because I knew I was already empty. There was no more juice left. I was literally pushing myself to find spark & passion in anything that I did. It dawned on me that I had to start filling my cup back up. Being a good mom is more than being present for your kids. You need to be present for yourself. You can’t be your best self when you don’t even know who you are.
With some time & patience I was able to integrate horses back into my life. I was reminded that there is a good reason to get up early in the mornings. I noticed huge changes in myself. I became less anxious, worried & became more focused. I matured a lot & seen things I never noticed before. I no longer came “unglued” when minor mishaps arose. I noticed the trees again, the smell of the hay, the smell of the horse, & all the other smells, sights & sounds related to being at the barn. What I didn’t realize was, these “things” released happy chemicals in my brain. These things made ME a better person. I knew I could never take this from myself again.
Then there is balance. Balance is important. If you don’t have balance, you won’t have structure. If you don’t have structure, you have stress. When you are stressed, you can’t enjoy your life. This is probably the hardest part, if you ask me. I became obsessed with my horse, that is all I could focus on. I literally transferred my anxiety & focus to all things related to horses. I had to make sure my horse had the best of everything. In my head, that was what was important now. Having horses in my life made me feel like I was let off my chain and I could be free again. I had to find balance because I was getting lost in my own world & too far away from my adult responsibilities. This was difficult for me to see because I was feeling so good! I was really soaking it up. I didn’t realize the neglect I was giving to my family. Afterall, my family is all I ever put energy into before I got horses back. I didn’t even realize how my family felt about this “newfound mom”. They were feeling confused, betrayed & unimportant right before my eyes. But I couldn’t see that. I couldn’t see what they seen. As far as they knew, mom found something more important to her. But the truth was, Mom didn’t know how to balance. Mom felt great & alive again & Mom wanted to keep filling that cup! My poor spouse was completely blindsided. He never knew the “horse girl” in me as I kept it tucked away for so many years to protect myself. This was an utter shock to the entire family.
I guess what I am trying to share is, LOVE yourself, but don’t get lost doing so. Not everyone is going to have the same story that I do but I think we can all relate. I know some of my readers are feeling very empty & looking for their own happiness, their own way to fill their cup. I also know some of my readers have families at home who miss them, who feel excluded & feel like they must compete with their loved one’s hobbies or even jobs. It doesn’t have to be like this, you CAN find balance. It will take trial & error. But it is possible. Don’t feel guilty for needing to invest in yourself. How can you give your love to someone if you can’t love yourself? You can’t, even if you think you are. But, be aware and don’t leave your loved ones in your dust. Communicate & try to involve them. Maybe join them in their passion or hobby. It may not be something that fills your cup, but it is an investment into your relationship with them.
My favorite quote
“If it is easy, it is right. If it is hard, it is wrong”.