Everyone has a story. I never thought mine had any type of significance, but everyone else’s did. It’s the ‘Mom way’ to put everyone else before you, validate all those around you (family/friends), but put yourself down and just keep grinding through the day. It’s not until the ripe old age of 46 that I really felt like, “Wow, I am worthy.” I now know it’s OK to share and admit that life can be messy, kids can be tough and getting through things that I never, ever thought I would have to in my youth is not easy.
Being vulnerable is hard. Being real is hard. Realizing that you’re doing the best you can in a world in which you don’t have much control over is beyond hard. I’m tired of hard. I just want authenticity. I want REAL.
Here’s my real:
I was a quiet kid in a quiet town who was quietly eating her way through high school and was never asked on a date, to a prom, or out to a party. My mom was a smart cookie, she kept my sister and me busy through various activities. I was happy.
After learning how to have fun in college and post-college and finding validation through a career in medical sales, I met my amazing husband. As we stood together in the synagogue, the Rabbi joked (at least five times) about us having oodles of kids.
David and I didn’t have oodles of children but we did have three amazing boys. All two years apart, all pretty unique. Without going into great detail, about eight years ago my family went through a lot of introspective work, learning how to deal with our boys’ different personalities in a not-so-typical environment (life sucking in and of itself.) We were not only dealing with what was going on behind our own closed doors, but also with two sick parents and a job change.
There were very few nights I went to bed content. I felt empty and sad. Most of all, I felt alone. After one particularly emotional night I sat on the corner of the bed sobbing. David took me by the shoulders and told me something I’ll never forget. He told me that he didn’t want me to feel like this. “One day when you look you back, you don’t want to realize that your life has passed you by,” he said gently.
Whoa. No magic wand but three years after the epiphany (thank you hubs), with the support of my amazing girl tribe (whom I’ll forever be indebted to) and a hip replacement (thank you hip dysplasia), I got my act together. I shed the 30 pounds that I gained from the chronic pain/ lack of movement over the previous two years and I started to LIVE again. I smiled. I laughed. I did everything I possibly could to enjoy being in the moment.
This process helped me let go. I let go of the fear that I have had of just being and learned that being vulnerable is being real. Tripping over my words, eating two cookies (even if I slightly regret it immediately afterwards) and letting people into my crazy family life means I am living.
I had to fill one more void. I missed working. I missed connecting with people on a professional level. I missed promoting something that I stood behind. I missed that part of my life that I knew I was good at. My quest led me to becoming a representative for a hair care line that truly has brought my girly mane back. It sounds so cliché but working out of my house has brought me a weird inner peace (that also happen to grow my hair back… truly) that I missed for years. I now am making the ‘girl boss’ connections that I didn’t have for so many years, all while being there for my now teenage boys.
Life is a work in progress. It’s work; it’s sometimes hard work.
I still have days where I’m totally overwhelmed and feel my heart pounding from anxiety, I still have days where I want to cry because I feel alone or want to break out of a toxic situation, but I also have many more days in which I look around the room and feel blessed. I feel blessed that I have a husband and children who know how to love and respect the world around them. I am thankful for the friends who stick with me, not just for easy and fun parts of life, but through the bad – sometimes really bad times. And I hope that my new career will help others feel good too.
Lisa Sands is a mother of three boys in the Greater Boston area. If she’s not Ubering her kids around to their various activities she’s putting together her multiple calendars and to do lists. Lisa and her husband are active with Jewish Family & Children’s Services. Lisa represents Monat Global, a naturally based hair care company. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.lisasands.mymonat.com Follow Lisa on Instagram @shoehabit5