Calm had to be the answer, for mine and my family's sanity.
I used to be perpetually overwhelmed as a mom to four children and working full-time. Chaos led my life and eventually led me to serious health problems and a breakdown. Calm had to be the answer, for my own sake and my family’s.
My relationship with calm
My relationship with calm began with my parent’s divorce when I was two. Growing up in two homes with different family dynamics, I had to shift and adapt quickly and frequently. I wanted to make it as easy as possible because, as my little self can recall, they were stressed-out single parents. As I grew up, I found it hard to focus (I was eventually diagnosed with ADD). So to aid my success and stay calm with deadlines and school pressures, I developed systems and tools to keep me on track. Palm Pilots and Post-its were my best friends! I earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s in organizational management, which led to a rich career in human resources. My first entrepreneurial venture of taking over and managing a preschool taught me a lot about staying calm under pressure.
I really thought I had my shit together! But then I fell in love with a handsome South African man named Kyle, got married, and instantly became a stepmom with three young children living with us full-time. Oh, and we moved to a new city where we knew no one, launched a new business, and had a 4th child! Feels of overwhelm and isolation swirled around me like a tornado.
Chaos rock bottom
All that I’d worked toward and built for myself to manage my life as a single person turned upside down. I had to learn how to become a parent essentially overnight, navigate a new set of complex family dynamics, and try to fit my work and career trajectory around my new family.
The whirlwind of change resulted in me losing touch with myself because I was making everyone and everything else the priority. One afternoon I had a full-on panic attack. I thought, holy shit, there’s no backup. It’s all up to me. I have to be everything for everyone. I shook and cried.
Then it dawned on me: I have all the tools I need from my childhood coping tactics to what I learned from running a business to my education and experience in human resources. I can make this life I’ve chosen run more smoothly.
And that’s what I did. I did a ton of research and practiced various methods until I found a system that worked for me.
From there, I committed to always strive to be my most grounded self. My purpose in life became to help others keep their shit together and achieve their most audacious goals. All by finding their calm.
There will always be chaos
Life will always be chaotic. You can’t control the electricity going out, the weather storming on your best-laid beach plans, or kids getting sick or colleagues quitting. What you can control is honing in on your calm so you’ll be in the best space to approach any situation.
I need this book, too, especially now
I needed Chaos to Calm at various times in my life, especially along the parenting journey. A big reason I wrote this book is so I could get all my tools and tactics out of my brain and into something tangible for myself! Even still in times of crisis, I must be reminded to lean on my calm strategies. You can return to the book for help whenever you feel disconnected or lost.
This past year, my family went through an unexpected and incredibly difficult time. One of our kids had a health crisis. A whole new world of chaos emerged, filled with routine disruptions and shifts, doctor commutes to the city, and a higher level of emotional energy needed at home than had ever been needed before.
As I revisited each chapter, I felt like I was looking at the words with new eyes and practicing them as though they were brand-new concepts and ideas. And they were new to this new reality.
I practiced every single one of my tools. And they saved me. The last 12 months that our family went through would not have been survivable without them. I had gone to a very dark place until I started practicing what I was preaching in this book and found my grounding. I created new efficiencies in our home and my work. I re-established new, healthy habits. I honed in on communication with my partner and children, and I leaned on my community. I put my self-care at the top of the list to have the energy to care for my family during this time. Before practicing these strategies and tools and techniques, I woke up empty and went to sleep empty. I felt emotional, physical, and psychological burnout every day. I’m grateful for divine timing.
At any phase and stage of parenting, this book will be my companion to remind me that there is always a way to break free from overwhelm.
For more calm tips:
- Sign up for the Own Your Calm newsletter
- Order the book: Chaos to Calm: 5 Ways Busy Parents Can Break Free from Overwhelm
Reach out, I’m here for you.