It’s that time of year when CPA moms like us will either have visions of sugar plums dancing in our heads or giant boulders of added stress weighing on our shoulders. You work hard to make a good living, try to balance your career with your family and then the holidays sneak up on you and you have to add about 100 more things to your to-do list.
You probably spend so much time, effort and money trying to make everyone’s wishes come true that by the time New Year’s rolls around, you may be ready to take a vacation from it all. But wait! The year-end financials have to be prepared, tax season is about to start and projections need to be discussed.
Ah, the glamorous life of an accountant mom! Hopefully you squeeze some time into your busy schedule for a manicure, a massage or just some quiet time at a cafe sipping an uninterrupted cinnamon latte.
I’m sure you’ve heard all about the importance of self-care for working moms but for some reason, most still scoff at the idea because it just seems selfish. You might believe that you already spend time away from your children while you are at work, so the idea of taking time to do something for yourself just seems indulgent and impossible.
But I’m actually NOT going to recommend a weekend meditation retreat (unless that excites you) or more bubble baths (unless that seems amazing). Instead, the self-care that I’m going to recommend for you isn’t considered selfish and can be done anywhere, at anytime.
So before you ask your family for their holiday wish list and start trying to squeeze trips to the mall into your hectic schedule, I first want to help you out with the best gift you can give them this year. This gift is what they want and need more than anything else but probably don’t realize it.
What your family wants and needs is a mom:
- who knows how to be happy
- who loves herself and her body
- who loves her life even if it’s not perfect
- who knows how to be present
- who allows herself and others to make mistakes
- who is emotionally balanced
- who knows how to handle stress and drama
- who sets healthy boundaries
- who knows how to manage her mind so she can manage everything else
This is the best gift you can give them and yourself. It doesn’t require wrapping and the minimal investment will pay huge dividends in the short and long-term.
This week I’m going to discuss the best gift you can give your family, what they really want and need and how to get it.
The best gift you can give
As a mom you’ve been consciously and unconsciously taught all about meeting the needs of others. Whether it’s making sure their favorite cereal is in the cupboard, that they have a warm place to come home to or getting them a tutor when they’re struggling in math, you are keenly aware of what your family needs and will often try to get most of those needs met if you can.
Unfortunately somewhere along the line you were probably given the message that you must put others needs before your own. You were told that in order to make yourself a priority you must be selfish and shirk your responsibilities to your family.
The truth is that every single one of us has needs, which is exactly what it means to be a human. Whether you pay attention to your needs or not, they still exist.
You may already be familiar with Maslows’s hierarchy of needs, which describe the five tiers of needs in order of importance. Certain needs must be met first, to a certain degree, before you can attend to the next level of needs.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs are (with level 1 being the most important and working up the tiers to level 5) :
- Physiological needs – air, water, food, shelter, sleep, clothing, reproduction
- Safety needs – personal security, employment, resources, health, property
- Love and belonging – friendship, intimacy, family, sense of connection
- Esteem – respect, self-esteem, status, recognition, strength, freedom
- Self-actualization – the desire to become the most that one can be
As a mom, you already have a lot of responsibility for meeting your children’s hierarchy of needs at their various stages of development. You may even feel that you personally don’t need much other than wanting your children to be happy, healthy and well-adjusted, however, that’s the problem.
Just because you aren’t consciously aware of your needs doesn’t mean you don’t have them. You may not even realize that your needs are being met by things like your job as an accountant, by the people you have in your life or by other external things.
For example, your job might be meeting the following needs:
- Need for structure
- Need to be challenged intellectually
- Need for connection with others
- Need to help people
- Need to share wisdom
- Need for validation of your intelligence
- Need for contribution
It’s fine to have your needs met externally by the people, places and things in your life but what happens when you switch jobs, get divorced or move far away from your friends and family? When you are dependent on things outside of you to meet your needs, this can often create dependence, frustration, and neediness.
For example, this can show up in needing your partner to be less stressed around you so you can be peaceful, for your children to get better grades so you can feel like a good mom and for your boss to validate the good job you do more often so you can feel valuable. This is why most CPA moms feel like they have to manage the universe, or else.
You do have a choice though – you can continue to get your needs met externally OR you can practice a different form of self-care that really makes a difference. This form can give you the emotional balance that a CPA mom needs in order to be able to manage all the things that make up your busy life.
This will not only make it easier on you, but will benefit everyone in your life. By learning this new form of self-care, you can get clear on what your needs actually are, and how to meet them.
This investment will do more for your family than any vacation, Xbox or other giant wrapped gift you planned on giving them this year.
What they really want and need
When even the NY Times has a section dedicated to self-care, you know it’s something people want to know more about. Whether it’s the best Yoga poses, the best green juice recipe or the most sought after Ashram retreat, taking better care of yourself is becoming more mainstream than ever.
The issue is that even with all the things recommended to get some “me time”, working moms are still extremely frustrated, overwhelmed and exhausted. The suggestions are just temporary fixes or bandaids that try to change the effect rather than the cause.
The missing piece from all the advice given about getting your needs met and taking better care of yourself is the fact that it all begins with your mind. An unmanaged mind will continue to be frustrated, overwhelmed and exhausted even after a day at the spa or a weekend meditation retreat.
An unmanaged mind will seek relief in the form of bingeing Netflix, overspending online or overeating in order to feel happy. An unmanaged mind will need your mother, children and boss all to behave differently in order for you to feel better.
Therefore the best gift you can give your family for the holidays and what they really want and need, is for you to learn the power of managing your mind. If you want lasting change in your life, to be the best mom you can be and to feel more in control, it all begins with investing in managing your mind.
The goal in learning to manage your mind is to be able to enjoy those manicures and yoga classes without NEEDING them in order to get relief from the stress and overwhelm you’ve ironically created with your unmanaged mind. If you’ve tried to feel better by taking certain actions and it didn’t last, it’s because you weren’t getting to the root cause of why you feel the way you do.
A managed mind is the best gift you can give your family because it helps you to enjoy your life rather than needing to escape it. The best part is that with a managed mind no one needs to change, you don’t need a new job and you won’t have a closet full of impulse purchases.
How to get it
Managing your mind is the some of the most powerful self-care and career improving work you can do. When you understand how you mind works and what has been creating your life, you have the power to feel better and take charge of your life instead of being at the effect of your life.
I’ve practiced Kundalini yoga, gone for a weekend retreat at the famous Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY and read hundreds of books on how to be happier, how to have better relationships and how to be a great mom but NOTHING has made such a profound change in my life, as when I learned to manage my mind. It changes EVERYTHING!
This is exactly why I do what I do; help other CPA moms have the power to drastically change their lives as well. With less stress, more focus on what’s important, better productivity and more control over your emotions, my clients and I have had profound shifts in how we do our careers and our lives.
Since learning to manage your mind takes understanding and guidance, I can’t wave a magic wand but I can give you a brief idea of how to get a managed mind:
- First, you need to pay more attention to yourself, listen to yourself and become the watcher of your thoughts. You can do this by journaling, meditating, praying, taking a walk, etc.
- Next, you need to pay attention to how you talk to yourself. Are you kind or cruel? Critical or compassionate? You need to learn how to be kind and gentle with yourself or else you will want to avoid getting to know yourself better.
- Now it’s important to own your emotions by taking 100% responsibility for how you feel no matter what the situation. No one and nothing can make you feel anything unless you have a thought about it.
- Next, you need to also own the results you have in your life by getting clear that you always have a choice about how you think, feel and act no matter what cards you’ve been dealt. When you own it, you can also change it.
- Lastly, you need to believe in your potential. Your past doesn’t have to be your future. When you learn the power of managing your mind and believing in yourself, you can create a future that isn’t dictated by your past.
If this new form of self-care is something you are interested in, then maybe the best gift you can ask for yourself this year is to learn the skill of managing and mastering your mind. Unlike the toaster oven that only lasted 2 years and the bracelet you never wear, the gift of a managed mind will be with you and your family forever!
- The self-care that I’m going to recommend for you isn’t considered selfish and can be done anywhere, at anytime.
- As a woman and a mom you’ve been consciously and unconsciously taught all about meeting the needs of others.
- Just because you aren’t consciously aware of your needs doesn’t mean you don’t have them.
- If you want lasting change in your life, to be the best mom you can be and to feel more in control, it all begins with investing in managing your mind.
- A managed mind is the best gift you can give your family because it helps you to enjoy your life rather than needing to escape it.
- When you understand how you mind works and what has been creating your life, you have the power to feel better and take charge of your life instead of being at the effect of your life.
If you’d like some help with your self-care and learning how to manage and master your mind, please feel free to schedule a free mini session or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can get to work together.