118. The Dos and Don’ts to Making Your Needs a Part of the Mix

One of the things I’ve heard moms say is, “with all the things I juggle from my kids’ schedules, my work, running my household, and trying to stay on top of basic things without feeling behind and overwhelmed, I have no idea how to make my own needs and wants a part of the mix.”

If you can relate, this week’s podcast is for you! I share some tips from my own life on how to make this happen – even with everything you have on your plate.

I’ll see you inside! xo, Janeen

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[00:00:00] Janeen: Well, hey you guys, welcome back to another episode of the podcast. I am Janeen Alley, and as always, I am super excited to be with you guys. So we were talking about the dos and don’ts to making your needs a part of the mix today on the podcast. This topic has been on my mind, but I was just on the phone with my sister-in-law who I love very much, and one of the things that she said when I was talking to her was that she thanked me for giving her permission to set personal boundaries to honor her own needs.

[00:00:28] She said, "I think you were the very first person that I saw do that." So I know as you step out and you start to rebel against cultural norm That we have to be super moms to be worth anything. It’s going to feel really awkward and it’s gonna feel uncomfortable for you. You’re going to think that you’re being selfish. People might even tell you that you’re being selfish or you might feel guilty. That’s usually the common emotion anytime we try to stand up for our own needs and wants. But your example to step forward [00:01:00] will make a difference to other women around you.

[00:01:03] It will give them permission to prioritize their own sleep or their health or their sanity or whatever is going on for for them. So this conversation that I had with her got me thinking about how I’ve done this and this is something that I had to learn how to do from a really dark place.

[00:01:23] And I think that’s honestly what kept me going in the beginning, cuz I did not have any role models that I saw that actually did this to the extent that I needed to do it. I knew that I didn’t want to go back there. I didn’t wanna go back to the depression or the anxiety or the crushing overwhelm that I felt.

[00:01:43] So I had to figure out how to do the hard work to change my thinking around my own needs and wants, and to make them just as weighty as the rest of my family members needs and wants. I was not coming from a my way or the highway type of place. It [00:02:00] was not coming at it from a me first mentality. It was more of a me too mentality. How can I also include the things that are important to me? Not just the things that I needed, but also the things that I wanted to do.

[00:02:14] How could I make those things part of my family culture so that we were supporting each other and the things that we wanted to do. Now, not necessarily supporting each other equally.

[00:02:24] I’m not expecting my five year old to support me in the same way that I was doing for my kids at that time, But I think there are age appropriate things that we can expect from our children. I think culturally we need to include our children a little bit more in the support of us as their parents instead of just constantly giving and giving and giving and having them taking, and taking and taking and not have it be more of a of a mix in that way.

[00:02:54] So I’ve shared my story with you previously on the podcast, and if you missed it, you can go back and listen to [00:03:00] that episode, episode 1 0 6. I’m not gonna go into it in great detail today., but there was a point in my life where I was struggling mentally and emotionally, and I knew if I didn’t make changes to the way that I was doing things, my life was going to be miserable and I was going to die early.

[00:03:18] And I don’t say that lightly. I mean that a hundred percent. What was not working was I was putting everyone else’s needs before my own. No matter how strategic I was, No matter how hard I hustled, no matter how capable I thought I was, I was not the exception to the rule that there are only so many hours in a day.

[00:03:40] I am not superwoman and you are not either no matter how many people say that to you. We all have limits and I know for myself, that was really hard for me to admit. I kind of prided myself on being able to do so much, not just for my own family, [00:04:00] but for other people as well. But what I realized was I am the one who needs to find a voice for my health and for my sanity, and taking some time for me each week.

[00:04:12] No one else was going to do that, even if my husband said I needed to take a break. I would just downplay that and I would continue to plow ahead. We have to realize that we are the ones to give ourselves permission to do that. I realized that I could no longer minimize these needs and wants because of the guilt that I felt.

[00:04:33] I knew that it was a necessity that I figure out how to take care of myself. It needed to be something that I scheduled and I protected and that I fought for. Not that my husband ever said a word about me taking any downtime.

[00:04:50] In fact, he encouraged it, like I just said. But the cultural messaging is conditioned and it’s ingrained in us that we have to do everything else [00:05:00] before we can take care of ourselves. But this message is unhealthy, it’s unwise, it’s dumb, and it’s dangerous. So I want you to get used to making your own needs and wants part of the mix.

[00:05:14] I’ve been thinking about ways that I’ve done this and I thought I’d share just a few examples with you on what I did, because at first it felt really clunky and it felt really awkward and I was just guilt ridden about it, but I knew what the trade offs were. And like I said, I just wasn’t willing to go back there.

[00:05:33] And so for me, my journey out of that dark place started with the Half Iron Man that I signed up for. And I’ve told you guys a little bit of this story, but I signed up for this race, again, not because I was super fit. In fact, I was far from it. I wasn’t doing any exercise at the time. But I signed up for it because it was a big enough stretch for me that I felt like if I didn’t get up and train for this event, I was gonna [00:06:00] die on the race course.

[00:06:00] And I didn’t wanna do that. You know, it’s how often my brain goes and you’re gonna die . But I couldn’t stand the thought of not finishing with my kids and my husband there to cheer me on and not get it done. I just couldn’t stand that thought. So let me break it down for you, and this is important to understand because of the rest of the story.

[00:06:20] So a Half Iron Man consists of three events. It’s a long distance triathlon. So the swim is 1.2 miles. The bike ride is 56 miles and the run is a half marathon. It’s 13.1 miles. So that’s a total of 70.3 miles and it took me about four hours, give or take to finish this event.

[00:06:41] So in order to train for an event that long, I had 11 workouts in a week. I don’t work out on Sundays, so I had to break down 11 workouts in six days out of the week so I had to do double days on my training. Not only did I have to [00:07:00] really be strategic about getting those workouts in, but I had to have my nutrition really dialed in as well. So people often refer to nutrition as the fourth discipline or the fourth event of a long distance triathlon.

[00:07:11] In order to go that long, you not only have to fuel your body during the weeks leading up to the event, but you have to train with nutrition because you have to be eating during the race. It’s too long for your body to hold reserves for the distance that you’re going. And so your body has to learn how to assimilate food while you’re riding and while you’re running.

[00:07:31] So at the time that I signed up for this event, my kids were 10, 8, 6, and four, and I was also homeschooling them. So I knew I couldn’t mess around. If I was committed to getting both of these things done I had to be really focused, and I had to be really strategic and creative with how I fit in each workout.

[00:07:49] Not only that, but I also had to be really creative on how I was supporting myself between workouts. So I had to create a plan and I had to stick to my plan to make sure that the two most important things in my [00:08:00] life, which at the time were my health and my kids, were things that I was making a priority.

[00:08:05] So I had to learn to say no in order to protect my time from other people’s agendas. I have a tendency to want to do all the things and to tell myself I’m capable, and if not me, then who? Like all of the things . I loved being the go-to friend, like I mentioned earlier, and I had to stop doing all of that.

[00:08:29] All right. The next example is probably more along the lines of what my sister-in-law has seen and what she was referring to in the conversation. So my husband and I grew up in Spokane, Washington. And our parents still live about 10 minutes apart. My husband and I, actually, just a little backstory, we met when we were 12, when our elementary schools came together in the same junior high.

[00:08:49] So I’ve known my husband for a really long time. I knew his siblings and I knew his family really well before we even got married. So when we visit Spokane, cuz we don’t live in [00:09:00] Washington state we have to split time between families and this is fine. And both of our parents have been really amazing and supportive with the way that we split time, which I feel really fortunate for. However, I have to manage myself around splitting time and being with people.

[00:09:19] My husband comes from a very large family. He’s the seventh child in a family of eight kids. And so there’s always a lot going on. A lot of really fun, happy, commotion, that’s happening. And I’m not an extreme introvert, but I feel revived when I have time to myself. So I have limits for how much people time I can handle.

[00:09:40] And I do much better in small groups. And sometimes we’re not a small group, sometimes there’s a lot happening, and I’m aware of that, and I take really good care of myself. My husband, on the other hand, has a lot more social stamina than I do. He usually wants to be with people a lot longer than I do, and he wants to stay out later than I [00:10:00] do.

[00:10:00] So the way that we’ve worked this out and the way that I’ve been able to set boundaries for myself is I will stay at my parents’ house and he will go down and party with his family. So we split up when we’re there sometimes. We usually just have one car when we travel, and so sometimes I’ll stay for a little while at his house, and then I’ll have him drive me home around 8:30 or 9:00, and then he usually heads back down after, and we’ve totally worked that out and that is the way that we do it.

[00:10:27] So when we’ve gotten together with family outside of Spokane, if we’re all in a really big house together, I will quietly slip away. When the party is ramping up ,I think I’ve mentioned this before on the podcast, as it usually does, around 9:00 PM at night, I will quietly slip away, so I have time to read my book, and I have quiet time before I head to sleep. This is how I take care of myself. And like I said, I have had to learn this the hard way. Of staying up late and wanting to be with the people because of the fear of missing out and feeling like something fun is gonna happen, but then [00:11:00] I know I pay the price. And because I’m so tuned into my mental and emotional health, because of my past, I am really clear on what it is that I want and I make sure that that happens for me.

[00:11:14] So I want to give a few really clear suggestions for you if you need help making your own wants and needs a part of the mix based off of the two stories that I shared with you.

[00:11:27] So the first suggestion that I have is you want to get really clear on your why. I mentioned my why came from a really dark place, and it does not have to. You just wanna get really clear on what it is that you want and why you want it.

[00:11:44] I knew what I experienced, and I knew that I never, ever wanted to go back to that place. One of the other things that I kept coming back to As I was on this journey for myself is thinking, what if one of my girls was in this situation? What would I tell them to do? [00:12:00] And that really gave me the encouragement from within myself to keep going and to vocalize the things that were on my heart, the things that I needed and the things that I wanted to do.

[00:12:11] Now, I want you to understand that your needs and wants are sometimes on a sliding scale, right? Sometimes the thing that you want is a level 10. Sometimes I’ll tell my husband, Honey, this is a level 10 for me, and he knows it’s a really big deal for me, and other times I’m like, You know, it’s a three . It’s not that big of a deal. But you want to be able to communicate what those things are, just like you want the other members of your family to do the same thing for you. In families. I think it’s so important that we compromise.

[00:12:41] Sometimes we decide to table a dream for a season, and that’s okay as long as you like your reason why and you are not the one who is always putting your wants, and desires on the back burner. I think as moms, we have a tendency to be the one to make sacrifice all the [00:13:00] time. And what I’m asking you to do is that’s okay sometimes, but you don’t wanna do it all of the time.

[00:13:05] All right, Giving and taking is everyone’s responsibility. An example with this for me is I love getting massage every single month. And of course I love it because it feels good, but it also supports my mental and emotional health. So taking the time to really relax is essential. I’ve mentioned this many times on the podcast. It’s essential to learning how to be less reactive in your life.

[00:13:29] Turning off your sympathetic nervous system occasionally is really important for our overall mental and emotional wellbeing, and so that is my why. It’s why I can justify the cost and the time to schedule a massage and to get it done.

[00:13:45] If there isn’t a give and take with each member of the family doing both the activity as well as playing the supportive role, we end up sending the message to our kids that the mom’s job is to be the one who always takes the backseat [00:14:00] or who is always playing the supportive role. It’s not healthy now and it’s not healthy to set that kind of example for our kids when they become adults either.

[00:14:11] Now, of course, your level of support and taking that time for yourself is going to vary depending on the ages of your kids. Obviously, newborn babies are not going to be able to intentionally play a supportive role for you.

[00:14:24] I know they take naps, but that’s not what I’m talking about. If you have little ones, ask your spouse to step in to take over a hundred percent a couple hours a week, hire a babysitter or you need to get some relief for yourself at some point if you don’t have a partner.

[00:14:42] This is something that you need to plan for your wellbeing, so keep that in mind.

[00:14:46] Okay. The second tip that I have for you kind of goes along with the first one that I shared about getting clearer on your why. To stay focused on that why you need to understand what your trade offs are. So if you keep pushing, if you keep making [00:15:00] excuses and justifications and putting your wants and needs on the back burner, what is the trade off?

[00:15:06] And I knew for myself, it was my sanity, it was my peace of mind, it was my joy for life. I was willing to do whatever it took in order to get those things back. No matter how many people I had to say no to. I realized that a little bit of discomfort for me in the moment when I was saying no to something was definitely worth the space and the freedom in my calendar. And I didn’t care what anybody thought about that because I was so clear on my why and what my trade offs were.

[00:15:38] All right. The next thing is you want to create an exciting vision for yourself. When I signed up for my first half Iron Man, I picked a beautiful, sunny, exotic place. At least it was to me. At the time that I did my first half iron, we lived in Europe and there was a race in Mallorca, Spain in May. I signed up for this race in [00:16:00] July, 10 months before race day, and I knew that the winter was going to be gloomy

[00:16:05] So we lived in Germany and the winters there were always gloomy and dark and rainy. It’s why they didn’t have sprinklers for their lawns there. It was amazing . But this gave me something so look forward to. I knew that it was going to be sunny and beautiful and there was gonna be a beach. So as I biked through wind that was blowing sideways, and as I ran in the dark , was raining outside.

[00:16:31] I was getting soaked by cars that were driving by, my mind was focused on sunshine and beaches and time with my family and how amazing it was going to feel to cross the finish line. It got me outside. It kept me motivated, focused, and excited, and not just that, but it kept me healthy and for the first time in many, many months, I felt like myself. And that vision was a thing that kept me going, and it was so important for me during [00:17:00] that time.

[00:17:01] Okay. The next thing is you need to have a plan. I’ve mentioned this several times already, but you need to have a plan on how you’re going to execute your dream or how you’re gonna execute the conversation to make your needs and wants a part of the mix.

[00:17:16] So you need to have a training plan. You need to have a babysitter plan. You need to be really creative with all of it. During those double day workouts, I could get one workout done before my kids woke up in the morning. But I had to get really creative on how I was to get that other workout done because they were little and because my husband wasn’t home during the day.

[00:17:37] I remember I got my runs in during my kids’ swim lessons. That was one of the things that I did, and I just actually ran the perimeter of the base, which wasn’t very big. It was kind of boring. But that was how I got that workout done because again, I was really determined. It was just probably a less than a mile loop around the perimeter fence of the base on the inside, and I got in a couple [00:18:00] laps before they were finished with their lessons.

[00:18:02] One other thing that will help you get clarity on where your time is going is to either track your time or to create a color coded calendar and take a look at where your time goes. So if you’re doing the color coded calendar, you can use one color for your kids’ schedules, another color for a project that you have, or the work that you’re doing.

[00:18:23] And you can see where your time is going and what is dominating your life. And then from there you can feel good about making the adjustments that you need to, to again, add in a separate color that’s for you, , for the things that you want to add into your life, whether it’s self-care time or exercise time, or downtime or whatever.

[00:18:44] All of those things are really good things to have on your calendar.

[00:18:48] All right. My last tip on this is you have to learn how to say no and I totally get it. You feel selfish and you feel guilty most likely for saying no. And not just to [00:19:00] other people, but to yourself as well.

[00:19:03] I want to offer to you that there is a world that exists where you can say no and not feel either of these emotions. This is where freedom and Peace reside. This is where they live. On the other side of learning how to say no, . So if you want help with this, go listen to episode 111. How to say no. This takes practice and it takes repetition and you’re gonna feel a little bit awkward.

[00:19:28] You’re gonna feel like you’re not doing a very good job at first, but keep going. This is a skill worth learning how to do for sure. Okay. I promised you on this podcast I would also share what not to do. So what not to do, first of all, I don’t want you to misunderstand what it is that I’m saying. I’m not saying that you need to be demanding.

[00:19:50] I’m not saying that you need to bulldoze over other people. I’m not saying that you need to come first all the time. This is a give and take process and it takes compromise and it [00:20:00] takes patience and it takes you vocalizing what it is that you want.

[00:20:04] Okay? So again, not from a me first place, but from a me too mindset, right? You can totally do that. And the last thing that I wanna say here is, Don’t give up! Your desires, your wants and your dreams matter. They do. I believe this with my whole heart. They totally matter. You are here for a reason, so don’t minimize those things because of the way that we’ve been culturally conditioned.

[00:20:30] If you’re getting some pushback from either your own mind or from other people in your life, don’t give up. Like I said, I really had to trial and error this when I first got going on this, and it was really uncomfortable and it was really awkward and I had to deal with my own mind drama for so much of it and for so much time, but I just put my foot down with myself and I was like, Nope, we are not going back there.

[00:20:53] We’re not going back to the depression. We’re not going back to the dark. We are moving forward with this, and this is something that we can totally do. [00:21:00] And it’s true for you too. So don’t give up on this.

[00:21:03] All right, my friends, if this was an episode That made a difference to you in your life. I would love it if you shared it with a friend.

[00:21:11] Please share the podcast with everyone that you know, . Don’t hold back. Just share it with whoever, and I would be so grateful if you did that. It would be amazing. This is one of the ways that we can help lift one another, is to share content that is uplifting and it’s helpful to us. And it’s always helpful to work on it with a buddy. You can create a plan with a partner to help you to make your own needs and wants a part of the mix. But first you gotta share the podcast , right? All right, my friends. I hope you guys have a beautiful rest of your week. And we’ll talk to you guys soon. Take care. Bye.