Are You Ready To Give Yourself Permission?

“If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is compromise.” ~ Robert Fritz.
“It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” – J.K. Rowling

I read a tweet first thing today that went something like this:

Great day. Awesome yoga class this morning, now sitting in airport lounge at JFK enjoying a drink. Nice!

Such a seemingly innocuous, harmless little tweet.

But at 5am in the morning, in the dark, it was like a red rag to a bull for me.

When was the last time I sat quietly enjoying a drink in anticipation of a flight somewhere? Or actually made it to a yoga class? Why can’t I just decide to jet off and have the points or credit card to do the whole lounge thing?

Ooh, I was suddenly really, really MAD. Mad with frustration and envy. Mad because I had things holding me down. Mad because I know I have a violent unlived life bubbling away under the crust of my day to day.

And I found myself feeling mad at my kids.

If I didn’t have kids I would be SO much richer. I would be having sex all the time. I could leave nice things that were breakable on shelves below eye level. I could lie on the sofa and read a book during the day on a weekend without feeling guilty about my husband having to clothe/bath/feed/entertain/perform damage limitation/counsel/bandage up/prise apart…whatever.

I could actually have one of those movie mornings where I wake up in a fresh white linen bed, passionately kiss my man, romp, eat breakfast and drink hot, fresh coffee while poring over the papers, romp some more, then emerge for a walk somewhere bracing and picturesque.

Ha!

I was mad…suddenly all I could see were seemingly childless women everywhere on Twitter. Doing retreats. Slipping off to yoga and then curling up with a book at night. Leaping off to conferences and tweeting madly from Vegas over too much champagne.

In my moment of Mad, it didn’t matter to me that these women might have kids, or in fact be miserable. Or that they might trade everything to have a gurgling bundle of chubbly baby in their arms. All I felt was twisting, angry jealousy that I was squeezing every inch of writing I could into the dark, cold hours of morning before my day became a muddy fingerpainting of food and nappies and cleaning up toys and putting away the HUGE baskets of laundry that three children somehow manifest.

A full two coffees later, and The Mad had gratefully eased off a little. I realised that I was mad at a much bigger, messier picture.

What was I really envying? The travel? Yes. The connections and me-times and networking? Absolutely.

But these things are not about my children. *big sigh full of love.*

They are about giving myself permission.

I could go on a retreat. I just don’t allow myself because it wouldn’t be fair to leave the children with my husband on his weekend off.

I could fly somewhere, anywhere. I just don’t because there are few places I would ever want to go without my family to come along and enjoy the ride, and buying five plane tickets is crazy expensive.

And that movie morning thing? I could so totally make that happen if I wanted to. (And if the movie morning thing turned into pile of kids on the bed, sitting on the papers and spilling scrambled egg all over the duvet, then that could still be fun.)

Because the truth behind The Mad is this:

You don’t have to have kids to have a handbrake holding you back from what you give yourself permission to do. It’s just that kids make the challenge to negotiate through the chaos greater.

Kids are massive, volcanic calls to action. They summon you out of your slumber (literally and metaphorically!) and shake your arse in the air, screaming “Do something now! Make it important! Leave me a legacy! If you want it, JUST MAKE the time!”

Because with kids you have no choice. You have to want it so bad that you stay up, like Gary Vee, until 3am to make it happen. You have to properly decide it’s worth doing and then give yourself permission to do it, without guilt.

So for all you women out there living a relatively hand-brake free life, I say this – you have so much freedom. Don’t forget to give yourself the permission to do what your freedom so blissfully allows you to do.

And I’ll keep working on giving myself the permission to do even more.

What parts of your unlived life are begging to be let loose? What thing do you most want to do that only needs you to say “yes”? Can you give yourself – today – the permission to do one secretly haboured, magnificent thing?

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Comments

  1. says

    Children are to you what disability is to me.

    The circumstance that urges us to be creative and find a way to do what we really want to do. To turn a negative to a positive, to rise to the challenge, to stretch out and reach further than we reached yesterday, because it IS possible.

    Not easy, but definitely possible.

    • Natalie Peluso says

      I see that Jane. And I also see that you are not denying your disability, or resisting your limitations, but you are embracing them. This is the key – to take what you feel is holding you back and use this weight to create the momentum you need to move onwards and upwards!

  2. says

    This is me saying I admire you tons.

    For your honesty. And for saying what so many people are thinking, but don’t feel free to say. And for the sweet reminder about permission.

    Which is good schtuff no matter why someone is handbraking it.

    • Natalie Peluso says

      It’s interesting that many comments have been about my honesty. And I’m glad, really, as I woke the day after I posted feeling a little fearful. I feel much stronger now. I know that my love for my family and my kids is unshakeable. But I’m self-aware enough to know that while I am part of them, as an individual woman I can continue to explore so much more of myself….

      @pearlmattenson tweeted to me today:

      Let’s ban the word “selfish” really. your family needs more than an ‘-ish’ – they need you to be a full blown SELF.

      And this crystalised my thoughts a little more. I told her it was as if the urge to push ourselves to fully blown allows us to embrace family even more. That we can keep expanding wider and wider but not in a purely linear way. More like a giant ballooon, where our loved ones float safe on the inside but we can keep stretching ourselves without letting them drop. Without excluding them or leaving them behind. We can embrace them as we grow.

  3. says

    Ah, Natalie, I wish you the life that’s truly yours to live. Kids, operatic arias, chaos, beauty, gorgeousness and all… This world needs every single one of us to open our throats and belt out whatever song rumbles in our bones.

    I love your site, your voice, and your posts. Thanks so much.

    Love, Hiro

    • Natalie Peluso says

      Every day that goes by is bringing me so much closer. And truly, I have abundance pouring around me like a surging wave at the moment. This is a wonderful opportunity for me to live more in the now. With serenity and trust.
      Much love Hiro, thank you.

  4. says

    Sing It Back To Me is a fantastic line for inviting comments! Love the courageous vulnerability you wrote with here.

    Lately I’ve been giving myself permission to feel my feelings about empty nest stuff – my youngest just moved a couple months ago. I’m now one of those women who could (time-wise) do anything, but I don’t so much.

    Your words are like a challenge to me (not like the red flag thing – grin – but an enjoyable: “let’s see who can build the weirdest sandcastle” kind).
    I’m ready to give myself permission to live life out loud!

  5. says

    Wow.

    My friend Erica Swanson sent me the link to this post and honestly, I could have written this exact post.

    I have 3 kids too and I so get what you’re talking about. I’m going to work on giving myself guilt-free permission to do the things that will light my life, spark my spirit and make my heart sing.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.
    Heather

    • Natalie Peluso says

      Heather, thank you for encouraging me that I’m not alone in feeling this way! :) We both know how deliriously incredible children are – but it’s not so much about them as it is about us. And we must have the courage to bravely be the people we are desperate to be with the trust that we will be even better mothers and partners because of this.

      I’m so here if you ever need any encouragment! (And thank you Erica for the gorgeous introduction!)

  6. says

    Wow, wow, wow – great post! This sentence totally resonated for me:

    “Mad because I know I have a violent unlived life bubbling away under the crust of my day to day.” Ohhhh, the day to days..the meals, the diapers, the dirty shoes, the whining, the “no’s”, the fatigue, and yes, sometimes the monotony of it all.

    And at the exact same time the “I love yous”, the kisses, the hugs, the sweet expressions of joy, the chaos, and the love – wouldn’t trade it for anything.

    Loved reading your words and hearing you say what so many of us think.
    Jen

    • Natalie Peluso says

      Thank you Jen – I love, LOVE my children dearly, and I will be the first to say that without their presence so many other shifts and transitions would never have taken place, things that have undoubtedly brought me to exactly this place. It’s just those moments where the physical limitations just pinch. But it’s times such as these that allow me to practise gratitude, and above all, trust. Trust that if I just keep radiating the feeling of doing the things that I want to do – the staircase will surely be there – and in such a perfect way that my children will be the ones carrying me to the top. As light as a feather.

  7. says

    Thanks for the encouragement. Your voice is felt through the post. Very inspiring for me in my early blog days.

    It is really interesting how one phrase could make you steam so. Wow, talk about power and creativity coming alive! Imagine what could be done with that power? I would read more of those phrases if it kick-starts you like that. :)

    I’m not a woman and I don’t have kids. So, you could say I don’t understand the burden/joy of dealing with kids. But I still have the same problem; putting off things that matters and I agree with you that kids is not the problem.

    If “producing kids” is not one of the most creative things you can do I don’t know what creativity is. Being involved with kids in any way and you get creative, you grow incredibly. Most parents I know are very active and creative.

    I often project my anger at myself onto other “objects”, blaming them instead of being honest with what I need and what is happening. If I had kids, I’m sure I would blame them, unfortunately.
    But I suspect that kids are great mirrors that will reflect back to us what is going on, more so than when we blaming the world, because we get instant feedback. So in that perspective, they are a great resource.

    Great site! Amazing voice!

    • Natalie Peluso says

      Believe me, it was a slow burn but a big bang!

      It doesn’t matter whether you have children or not, it is whether you have abdicated the power to choose to something else in your life. It might be your weight, or your partner, or your job, or your bank balance, or education, or class, or the colour of your skin, or your age or the kind of person you fancy at night. We wait for permission to choose our ideal lives from all of these false decision makers. When in reality it’s never any of these things that truly gets to decide what you get to do. It’s you.

      There are plenty of compelling “permission stealers” to choose from – but I can tell you children are the best ones to choose. They can love and snuggle and kiss you back!

  8. says

    Hi Natalie,

    Great insight! My kids are grown, but I well remember going through the same feelings–only without the wisdom. That took a while. My biggest sticking point is money. Except for a short period of solvency many years ago, I have always been too broke to do the things I SAY I want to do.

  9. says

    I have this same inner battle going on inside me…heart vs. head
    I’m fortunate that my husband supports me being me, and pursuing my goals and dreams, and I’m making small changes…but its hard, as you know, especially with a little one that still doesn’t sleep through the night.
    But we’re mommies, and isn’t it in the definition of that role, that we somehow make all things right and work everything out in the end?

    • Natalie Peluso says

      Ah Nikki – your words “the definition of that role” got me thinking. What exactly is the definition of “mother”? Because apart from the physical act of bringing a child into the world (which I think we would all accept as the first clear defining line, biologically) the word has depth, connotations, expectations, limitations…and I’m thinking that my post centers primarily on the conflict between a woman as she sees herself in relation to her children (biological or not) and how she sees herself as a woman “Separate”.

      How we can we as mothers align our personal ambitions, desires and burning wishes to those aligned with our children’s well-being? It IS possible. It’s just not a journey that every woman thinks is possible. Which is why we have mothers everywhere who resent their kids, and quietly despair that time is running out for achieving them. I have a great personal understanding of this with my own mother, and I know that it doesn’t always turn out all right in the end. Sometimes, the burden is too great.

      My feeling is the internet and social media have given us mothers more opportunity that ever before to continue to expand ourselves intellectually, socially and creatively – than any time before. Ever.

      Because it’s the blur that comes from merging your life with that of your children. We are connected to them, yes, but does this mean that we must share all of ourselves for ever more?

      I want my children to be my inspiration. My reminder that no matter how urgent my calling to express myself as a woman apart, that ultimately they are the core of my being and the fire in my belly.

      Having a husband that supports you Nikki is a great gift. I have this too :) Above all, stay joyous, even in those moments when it all seems to get too hard…because you know that feeling when your little was born? That feeling that if you can do that, you can do ANYTHING? Hold onto that. x

  10. says

    Thank you Jen – I love, LOVE my children dearly, and I will be the first to say that without their presence so many other shifts and transitions would never have taken place, things that have undoubtedly brought me to exactly this place. It’s just those moments where the physical limitations just pinch. But it’s times such as these that allow me to practise gratitude, and above all, trust. Trust that if I just keep radiating the feeling of doing the things that I want to do – the staircase will surely be there – and in such a perfect way that my children will be the ones carrying me to the top. As light as a feather.

  11. says

    Every day that goes by is bringing me so much closer. And truly, I have abundance pouring around me like a surging wave at the moment. This is a wonderful opportunity for me to live more in the now. With serenity and trust.
    Much love Hiro, thank you.

  12. says

    It’s interesting that many comments have been about my honesty. And I’m glad, really, as I woke the day after I posted feeling a little fearful. I feel much stronger now. I know that my love for my family and my kids is unshakeable. But I’m self-aware enough to know that while I am part of them, as an individual woman I can continue to explore so much more of myself….

    @pearlmattenson tweeted to me today:

    Let’s ban the word “selfish” really. your family needs more than an ‘-ish’ – they need you to be a full blown SELF.

    And this crystalised my thoughts a little more. I told her it was as if the urge to push ourselves to fully blown allows us to embrace family even more. That we can keep expanding wider and wider but not in a purely linear way. More like a giant ballooon, where our loved ones float safe on the inside but we can keep stretching ourselves without letting them drop. Without excluding them or leaving them behind. We can embrace them as we grow.

  13. says

    I see that Jane. And I also see that you are not denying your disability, or resisting your limitations, but you are embracing them. This is the key – to take what you feel is holding you back and use this weight to create the momentum you need to move onwards and upwards!

  14. says

    Believe me, it was a slow burn but a big bang!

    It doesn’t matter whether you have children or not, it is whether you have abdicated the power to choose to something else in your life. It might be your weight, or your partner, or your job, or your bank balance, or education, or class, or the colour of your skin, or your age or the kind of person you fancy at night. We wait for permission to choose our ideal lives from all of these false decision makers. When in reality it’s never any of these things that truly gets to decide what you get to do. It’s you.

    There are plenty of compelling “permission stealers” to choose from – but I can tell you children are the best ones to choose. They can love and snuggle and kiss you back!

  15. says

    Heather, thank you for encouraging me that I’m not alone in feeling this way! :) We both know how deliriously incredible children are – but it’s not so much about them as it is about us. And we must have the courage to bravely be the people we are desperate to be with the trust that we will be even better mothers and partners because of this.

    I’m so here if you ever need any encouragment! (And thank you Erica for the gorgeous introduction!)

  16. says

    Ah Nikki – your words “the definition of that role” got me thinking. What exactly is the definition of “mother”? Because apart from the physical act of bringing a child into the world (which I think we would all accept as the first clear defining line, biologically) the word has depth, connotations, expectations, limitations…and I’m thinking that my post centers primarily on the conflict between a woman as she sees herself in relation to her children (biological or not) and how she sees herself as a woman “Separate”.

    How we can we as mothers align our personal ambitions, desires and burning wishes to those aligned with our children’s well-being? It IS possible. It’s just not a journey that every woman thinks is possible. Which is why we have mothers everywhere who resent their kids, and quietly despair that time is running out for achieving them. I have a great personal understanding of this with my own mother, and I know that it doesn’t always turn out all right in the end. Sometimes, the burden is too great.

    My feeling is the internet and social media have given us mothers more opportunity that ever before to continue to expand ourselves intellectually, socially and creatively – than any time before. Ever.

    Because it’s the blur that comes from merging your life with that of your children. We are connected to them, yes, but does this mean that we must share all of ourselves for ever more?

    I want my children to be my inspiration. My reminder that no matter how urgent my calling to express myself as a woman apart, that ultimately they are the core of my being and the fire in my belly.

    Having a husband that supports you Nikki is a great gift. I have this too :) Above all, stay joyous, even in those moments when it all seems to get too hard…because you know that feeling when your little was born? That feeling that if you can do that, you can do ANYTHING? Hold onto that. x

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