Hi! I'm Casey...
Like most of you reading this I am a mom. I am also a wife, dog/cat/chicken mom, daughter, granddaughter, sister, sister in-law, aunt, niece, cousin, friend, WOMAN. Not to mention coach, business owner, writer, cook, maid, waitress, accountant, taxi, nurse, napkin, tissue, and all the other hats we wear as women in the aforementioned roles. Sounds exhausting when you look at it that way huh?! It certainly can be!
I have definitely felt exhausted and overwhelmed by life and all that goes with it. The struggles I faced as a new mom seemed insurmountable at times, especially dealing with PPD (postpartum depression) and PPA (postpartum anxiety). I pushed myself relentlessly to be the best mom I could be. I was running myself ragged, entrenched in the martyr mindset, and feeling resentful. It certainly wasn’t how I had hoped motherhood would feel. I was never satisfied with my accomplishments or myself so I was constantly striving, falling short and beating myself up over it all.
I reached my breaking point after our second child was born. I was breastfeeding an infant, parenting a toddler and running a business pretty much single handedly. I was depleted in every way. Then I got the wake-up call of a lifetime! I was diagnosed with a severe case of Guillian Barre Syndrome and spent the next 3 months fighting for my life and regaining my strength and mobility. I could write a book on everything I went through and felt in those 3 months, (which I intend to do, stay tuned) but the real takeaways are the lessons I learned from that experience.
First and foremost, I learned that I needed to take care of myself. It wasn’t selfish, it was survival. Neglecting my needs wasn’t serving me or my kids. I was stressed and trying to do too much. I learned I needed to release my expectations. My perfectionism was killing my joy. I also realized that I needed to learn to ask for help (still learning). I learned that I am not defined by my ability to DO anything. As Rumi says “you are a human being, not a human doing.” I had value all on my own. I discovered I had a voice and more importantly I had the power of choice. The day I chose myself and acceptance of my circumstances, my life changed infinitely for the better.
Today I can see the many gifts that I received as a result of my illness. As with most near death experiences I gained a huge amount of perspective. I don’t sweat the small stuff anymore. I am a MUCH better mom. More patient. More compassionate. More empathetic. More loving. It was also a crash course in gratitude and appreciation (two very different things). . It made me stop and take a hard look at what I valued in life and what I was willing to accept. As I faced my new reality and took a hard look at my life before, I knew there was no going back. I wanted more of the good stuff that made me feel alive and less of the crap that didn’t.
That all consuming love for my kids is still there and I learned that no matter what happens I will always be their mom. BUT, I am also a woman trying to navigate a marriage while raising two small children. I’m a creative that loves to birth ideas… a lot of ideas, so. many. ideas. I’m an entrepreneur, a coach, and a teacher. A survivor. A badass. And most importantly, at the end of the day, I’m still a human being with human needs. It’s easy to get caught up in motherhood. Those littles need us so much, especially at first, but if we don’t learn to take care of ourselves, I mean, REALLY take care of ourselves; mentally, physically, spiritually, intellectually, interpersonally, financially… Whole-y like we know we are HOLY, then we can’t give our whole bright AF selves to our children, our partners, our friends, neighbors, communities, and so on.
In the years since I was first diagnosed I have continued to learn and redefine all the parts of myself. I’ve learned that so many things in life are about intention. I don’t want to wish and hope for joy; or that my kids grow up to do, be, and have things that make them happy. I want to set the example of more. I want to show my kids how to be more in life, more intentional, more purposeful, more meaningful, and yes, MORE JOYFUL.
There is no destination, just incremental growth, there is always more to be had. I am still on my journey. Still learning and growing but I’m much closer to the person I want to be. Someday I want my kids to look at me and think “Yup, that’s my mom. She’s kinda weird but she’s strong and gentle and amazing. She set the example that taught me how to take care of myself and never question my worth and how to live and love authentically. I love the shit out of that lady!”
It took a big, traumatic event for me to realize that I am more than just a mom. That honoring the “more” of me; the human, woman, wife… etc., not only makes life more fulfilling and joyful but it sets the example for my children to recognize and embrace their whole selves. As mothers we have a huge responsibility and an even greater opportunity to live large, take up space, and share our light. My wish is for you to live the most fulfilling life possible and be the example you want your kids to emulate. Because, truth be told, they already are. You deserve more mama, and so do your kids. I had to learn these lessons the hard way. You don’t. All you have to do is choose MORE.
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Life is all about what lights you up!
From the smallest things like fresh picked berries to the life altering moments that steal our breath away like the birth of our children. It’s all meant to be enjoyed and joy FULL. Above are a few of the little and not so little things I love! Our lab pup Stella, Our Newfoundland Mabel, and two of our cats Pumpkin and Squash (Luna, not pictured). Here are a few more! I love a rainy night (sing it Eddie!), lemon cake, animals (all the animals), Fall (we are all October babies in this house!), creating, crocheting, reading, gardening, tattoos, traveling, custard ice cream, feeling my body immersed in water, sleeping babies and toddler hugs. Not to mention a million other beautiful things. This life can be messy. I actually prefer it that way! I’ve been accused of being addicted to the chaos and nothing could be closer to the truth. It keeps me engaged and intellectually stimulated and makes me feel alive! What MORE could I ask for?