I always knew I wanted a family.
Shortly after meeting my husband in University I knew I wanted to have my first child by 25 and possibly 3 kids before turning 30. In my mind my home was my happy place and it was always 7:30 am, waking up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee and Buena Vista Social Club playing in the background. It wasn’t always easy to admit that this is what I wanted my near future to look like. After all, I was on the path to becoming a psychologist, a professional. Everyone’s expectation was that I apply the same level of determination and strategic planning to my professional life as I had applied to my personal life.
I have always believed that your intuition is your biggest compass. And my intuition told me I would be happiest building my home, nurturing my family and raising my kids in a kind and loving environment. Family became a strong guiding principle in my early years and my heart naturally followed.
Summer of 2017 would be a defining moment in my life when I would finally understand my purpose and re-discover my passion. I say this in a very matter- of -fact- kind of way — but coming to this realization was anything but straightforward.
In early June, 2017 my husband Zarmand suffered a minor heart attack. He was bed bound and out of work but lucky enough to be home with us while he recovered from this potentially life threatening attack. I had recently started a new job and more than ever felt the stress of managing our home with all the added responsibilities. This was by far the hardest thing I’ve ever endured and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t consumed by burnout and anxiety. The mere thought of imagining life without my husband drove me down a slippery road of desperation and negativity. But life would go on and all I could do was roll up my sleeves and be there for my family.
My blog and social media took a back seat and my creative work online, which in the past had brought me so much joy, would halt unexpectedly. I deleted all my social media apps and between 6–11 pm I took care of Z, cleaned, cooked, did laundry, got my kids ready for bed, read books and kissed and hugged them to sleep. Day in and day out on autopilot- this was my routine. At times, I crumbled under the pressure of having the weight of our home on my shoulders. Where was all my creativity? Was this all I was meant to do?
It would take everything in me to get through the day without complaining to my husband and reproaching my kids for misbehaving. I was challenged to my core by both my toddler’s growing assertiveness and their resistance to my on- the- go parenting. I went to bed exhausted every night but deep down, far beneath all my fears, I felt a calming sense of fulfillment.
It was with time that I learned that the secret to having better days, despite the challenges, was within me. I paid close attention to my thoughts and more importantly my reactivity. For example, whenever I started feeling emotionally charged or overwhelmed by something my kids did, I tried my hardest to recalibrate my thoughts. This sounds easy but in reality it is a massive challenge. To step back and recalibrate we must be fully conscious and aware as each moment unfolds before us. It takes courage to stop ourselves in our tracks, reject our script of unconscious toxic thoughts and let the light of consciousness take over.
I was empowered by this new sense of awareness in my home and soon became drawn to books on mindfulness. After my girls went to bed I listened to audiobooks and cooked and cleaned my house instead of going on Instagram or blogging. Not because I didn’t want to, but because I felt like I was on a greater mission: to optimize my life and become a better parent. I started noticing that the little changes I made to get organized both in my thoughts and in my home made a huge impact on my family.
The greatest lesson I would take from facing a difficult family moment and disappearing from the internet for 5 months would be my new gained awareness around my role as a mother. It is easy to forget our value as mothers and as leaders to our tribe. I learned that placing my family before myself didn’t mean that I was neglecting myself or loosing touch with my essence and what makes me unique and creative. Far from it. Instead I was reminded of my worth as the ultimate guiding presence in my children’s life’s. A role that requires us to be nothing else but our true authentic self at every encounter with them.
I was reminded that our children are our mirrors and they reflect back who we are, the good and bad. I was reminded of how much we grow from hardships and how our kids are our awakeners — Our teachers. They helped me find my purpose when I couldn’t see it and pointed me in the direction of my passion, which happened to be right in front of me all along — My family.