She looked up from the page, blinking away unexpected tears.

There it was.

The moment.

The cracking open.

Naomi* had just caught a glimpse of herself and it took her breath away.

You see, Naomi pours her soul into raising her twins. She does everything to keep her family healthy, happy and fulfilled. She juggles work and home and relationships and duty. She navigates social expectations, cultural norms and all the unspoken (and spoken) “shoulds.”

She pours every iota of her mental, physical and emotional energy into her family, slotting in the rest whenever she can. To the outside world it looks like she’s ok.

Hell, Naomi looks like Super Woman.

Except inside? In her real being? She’s exhausted.

And in that moment, gazing at the sketch she’d made of her family, she realised she’d left out the most important person of all: herself.

It happens every time. Whenever exquisite, intelligent, motivated mamas meet and share vulnerably from the heart, they realise that somewhere along their mothering journey they’ve lost themselves.

Back to Naomi. That day I’d asked her and a group of mamas to place themselves, each of their children, their partner, work, parents, friends, pets and hobbies on a page covered by a big bull’s-eye. The aim was to see what was in the centre of their lives and – most importantly – where they placed themselves.

Without fail, they were somewhere outside the middle. Usually WAY outside the middle. And Naomi, like the other mamas around her, was stunned to realise just how far down her priority list she – and her needs – had fallen.

When the tears come (and they do for all of us), they offer sweet release. Recognition that something precious is being neglected and a deep knowing that it’s not right.

That to survive (never mind thrive) we must unapologetically reclaim time and space for our wants, needs, dreams and desires. Not instead of our family’s needs, dreams and desires, but alongside them.

It’s vital that we get a piece of the pie too. Not just the crumbs at the bottom of the plate when everyone’s been served, or the last bite little Jana didn’t finish (that we eat even though she has a giant cold and it’s full of germs).

A big, juicy, delicious piece of the pie. Guilt-free, comment-free and with no strings attached.

That cracking open moment is so important. It clears the way for reclaiming yourself as a whole woman and gently shifts family dynamics to a healthier space. Because you’re starting to deeply, lovingly care for yourself.

Want to give it a try? Here’s one thing you can do to start the process of (gently) cracking open:

  1. On a blank piece of paper, draw four or five concentric circles.
  2. Then place your kids, partner, job, parents, siblings, friends, pets, hobbies and self on the circular map (no editing or judging yourself.)
  3. Close your eyes, put down your pen and take a deep breath.
  4. Look at where you placed each person or aspect of your life. How do you feel about that? Where do you rank? Do you want any of that to change?
  5. Finally, write one tiny thing that you will do to bring yourself closer to the middle, and tell me in the comments below. If you don’t want to share publicly, email me at anne@thecenteredmamaproject.com to chat about it! I’d love to hear from you.

If you’d like to go deeper with me as your guide you can book a one-hour “Nurture Session and we’ll spend an hour talking about YOU and one situation you’d like to shift in your life. You’ll walk away with straight-forward steps you can start to take to get things moving in the right direction.

If you’d like to uncover even more and are craving being seen as the whole, beautiful person you are, book a “See You Session in which I’ll get to know you and your beautiful inner world. After our 90-minute call I’ll send you a written portrait of the gorgeous woman I see, as well as personalised affirmations you can repeat for yourself and a guide to creating easy rituals to support your transformation.

I’d love to guide you through the magic of cracking open. Get in touch if you’d like to chat. And in the meantime, have a beautiful day.

PS: If you liked this blog post, please comment below or write to me via email here. I’d love to hear from you!

PPS: If you’re wondering about the image… I am too!! I wanted to include the most amazing image of the most breathtaking art that says ALL of this in one glorious sculpture, but I’m still waiting for the artist’s ok. In the meantime, you can see it here. It’s called Expansion, and you can see her here. Meanwhile, enjoy this gorgeous locally-made delicious heart-bread. We all need nourishing, right? MamaFuel at its best. 

*names and identifying details have been changed