Your Best Self - Kimberly Thompson

Every mom is unique, and I want to celebrate that … which sometimes makes it hard to narrow down what I want to write about! In that spirit of honoring each individual mom, today I’d like for you to consider what has made you unique as a person throughout your life – and ask yourself if you have been neglecting your joys, strengths, and interests since becoming a mother.

I am an empty nester now, and very few of the women in my peer group still have kids at home. Like bookends, some made their entire careers out of home and family, while others sustained businesses and professional identities and cared for their families at the same time. Most of us fell somewhere in between – juggling the ever-changing needs of their families with the need for an income or the need to practice hard-earned professional skills. When it comes to marriages, some have been successful and happy; others have broken apart; still others seem to limp along, not really happy but not quite unhappy enough to dissolve. In my observation, the key to thriving as the nest empties is to not only nurture the children, but to nurture one’s own best self, during those busy childrearing years.

What are you doing today to develop your best self? Not just any self – not your base self – not your selfish self – not the self that others say you ought to be – but your best self? How long has it been since you even thought about such a thing?

I firmly believe that this question is vital to living the life that you really want – not the life that it’s the simplest to fall into. Ignoring this question is how women end up in places they never intended, doing things they never intended, and even parenting in ways they never intended. Asking yourself that question on a regular basis keeps you grounded, and paves the way for living intentionally.

How do you figure out if you are developing your best self? Grab your journal and start writing. Use these prompts to get started.

1) I am good at … [go all the way back to childhood if necessary; you can start with “changing diapers” if you must, but go beyond the everyday tasks]

2) I enjoy … [have you almost forgotten what you enjoy? Then it’s time to do something different … then write about it!]

3) I always dreamed of … [what do your fantasies consist of? If time and money

were no object, what would you do?]

Now, it’s up to you to connect your talents, your joys, and your dreams to your everyday life. What tiny bit of your bliss can you make happen today? In a year, how many pieces of “the best you” can you snap into place? You’re going to have to have a little meeting with yourself on a regular basis to put feet on your ideas. The harder it is to find time for yourself, the more important it is! It’s not good to work in the trenches from dawn to dusk without a break. You will eventually break or wear out, just like an overworked machine. You are not a machine (not even a milk machine). Taking the time to live intentionally and to develop your best self is a powerful safeguard against burnout and despair.