holistic health coach Phyllis Timoll on the ways your childhood family can clash with your new nuclear unit when you become a mom

Well Woman Confidence Series, Part I: Family Feud

Phyllis Timoll

Families are the best until they are the worst. Don't get me wrong, I love my family dearly but they are not without challenges. First, let me tell you a bit about the pecking order in my family (and by family, I mean my mom, dad, and siblings). This is important because my family growing up impacts my family today (i.e., my husband and children). My brother is 10 years older and my sister is 8 years older. I was practically an only child because of the age gap. This makes me the baby in every sense of the word, a fact that haunts me in adulthood. 

Like you, my life changed once I became a mother. Most of the changes were awesome, but like any new mom there were ups and downs. I reveled in the fact that I would be able to lean on my parents and siblings for advice -- given that they had all experienced the joy of parenthood before me. I was not prepared for the feelings that followed next.

I felt like an outsider in my own family -- and sometimes still do. 

My dad always referred to me as "The Trooper" because I was always so independent and game for anything. I was always prepared and ready to go!  Because of this, my family thinks of me as always having it together and never needing support. So when I became a mother, I thought I would be able to lean on my loved ones, but instead I sometimes find they expect me to be a super mom and the “super glue” that holds the  greater family together.  They look to me to plan birthdays, anniversaries, holidays and even a baby shower for my sister.

Now, I love my family dearly and want to be involved in all the special moments, but sometimes I need the help.  Lately, when I have voiced this, I have been shocked at their reactions: they think I don't care about them anymore. This is not true - but my priorities have shifted. I have a daughter, a 4 month old son, and my own business. These are my priorities now. To complicate matters, I am on the west coast and they live on the east coast. The distance and time difference do not make it easy to stay in touch!

Lately, I struggle with trying to find my voice as a grown member of the family - a married woman, a mother, and a business woman. I am struggling to balance being a daughter and also being a mom to my own children who is capable of making her own decisions. There have been some disagreements and some blowouts and I am sure there are more down the road. 

I must rely on my instincts as a mom and speak up when I need assistance. I can't always be the lynchpin of the family. I don't know what the future holds but I do know I will always have to walk the tightrope between my childhood family and my nuclear family. Creating boundaries is a necessity as a busy working mom and boy, does it feel great!

As I go through this metamorphosis, I would really love to hear from you on ways you’ve overcome similar scenarios. I respect and appreciate you as and your experiences are invaluable. Leave a comment below. I can’t wait to read them!

Be Well Woman,

Phyllis of Well Woman
Certified Holistic Health Coach and Founder


Photo by Laura Kudritzki Photography


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