Just over two years ago I woke up to the realization that, while outwardly I appeared to be well on my way to having it all in my professional and personal life, inwardly I was quickly losing my personal identity outside of my many roles (as a wife, mother, lawyer, and business owner). Even scarier, I had no clue how to stop it.
The weekday routine was simple:
Wake up and make breakfast; help get the kids and husband off; quickly get dressed with whatever time was left.
Head into the office to take nearly back-to-back calls and meetings; get as much work done as possible in between; dash home or, if it was my day, pick up kids on the way.
Get home; make dinner; put kids to bed.
Log-in remotely to do more work; fall asleep on couch (while working); wake up and head to bed (or sometimes wake up right before morning routine).
DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN!
And the weekends were hardly any better, which typically involved juggling my, the kids, and my hubby's often competing schedules.
That was the cycle. Almost day after day of working for my employer and clients, and giving to my family (with serving at church or weekend festivities squeezed in), and almost day after day of no renewal, no me time, no room to breathe. I remembered feeling hollow inside, remotely going through the motions of my daily schedule, but almost as an outer body experience. I wasn't living on purpose -- just trying to manage the day-to-day sway of life. I felt like a hamster trapped on a wheel, with no real way off.
The interesting thing is that my first reaction wasn't to develop a self-care plan, scale back on household or work duties, or to reach out for help. The first thoughts that came to mind were:
What's wrong with me?
Why am I failing?
I'm doing something wrong, other moms seem to be managing so well!
It wasn't until things had gotten worse that I built up the nerve to be vulnerable enough to begin asking friends and colleagues about their systems and what was working for them. I was surprised to learn that almost everyone I spoke with was quietly going through the same struggle. Those conversations were life changing for me! They helped to normalize what I was going through (so you mean, I'm not the only mom out there "failing"), allowed me to learn from the wisdom and experiences of other women, and offered me the opportunity to be more vulnerable and open with other women. I began wondering why there wasn't a platform dedicated exclusively to helping women talk about their self-care issues and finding strategic ways to work through them.
And The SheFirst Project was born!
Those who know me well know that I am not an out front kind of girl. However, my personal struggle with prioritizing self-care, and the general topic of self-care for women, have become so important to me that I'm now more resolved than ever to not only solidify my own approach to self-care, but also to build a community for other women looking to improve their individual approaches to self-care.
So there you have it -- my (high-level) "why" for launching The SheFirst Project and embarking upon a mission to put me (she) first!
I must disclaim that I am not a self-care expert. I'm just a woman on a mission to learn how to live a life of impact, while savoring it as well. And while I plan to share my self-care challenges and successes through this project -- it's really not about me. It's about you, the reader, joining this community and sharing your story in order to empower and encourage women around the world. (Can you tell I'm thinking big?) It's about the experts and professionals who will share their knowledge and resources with this community to greatly improve the lives of every member. It's about the men and women who will become more informed about the unique self-care challenges women face and, as a result, will be better able to support the self-care initiatives of the women in their lives. I'm confident that collectively, we will not only reshape our own lives, but will help to reshape the lives of others.
So I invite you to join me on this journey to provide a platform to discuss the issues faced by the modern day, multidimensional woman, and to discover how to accomplish goals and dreams, support family and friends, and remain true to the most important person — you. Is it possible to have peace, prioritize self-care, and be fabulous while balancing life’s adventures? Let’s find out … together!
I'd love to hear from you. What's your why for wanting to / deciding to put yourself first? And if you identify with the initiatives of The SheFirst Project, please consider joining our community and following us on social media. Also, if you have a self-care story you'd like to share, or an idea for a self-care project or initiative, please shoot me an email. This is our mission, our project -- the more input, the better!
About the Author. Alexandra Sampson is a wife, mother, lawyer, fitness guru and the founder of The SheFirst Project. She is on a quest to live her best life possible by remaining true to her faith, savoring life, and putting self-care first!