The Mother Load

The Mother Load

5 Tips How To Embrace The Mother Load

I heard the phrase ‘mother load‘ the other day, and it resonated strongly. It summed up the stress experienced by a mother who so often does for everyone else first, and there’s not much else left for her.
So often in clinic I work with women who have lost their identity in being the amazing mother, wife, and employee that they are. I can put my hand up and say I was one of them!
Working through my treatment and multiple surgeries, I had a lot of time to reflect and change the way I do life. I had time to review the rituals that keep me energerised.
I came to realise that if I don’t honor self first, if I don’t fill my bucket first, then everything else suffers. I choose to allow my own child to see my humanness moments – because I’m not superwoman. I don’t want to emulate that sterotype and perpetuate the pattern to another generation – that women have to be everything.
Be yourself. Live your life.
Allow your kids to see your full spectrum of life – this is how they learn to regulate themselves!
Yes install a filter, because kids don’t need to know everything. However, they do need to see you not be everything for everyone.
Kids do need hear ‘no’.
Kids do need to learn how to mop, vacuum, set the table, stack the dishwasher, wipe down the bench, cook meals, pack up after themselves. It’s called life.
Here’s to the mothers (and fathers) who have the patience of a saint and continue to breathe through yet another emotional crisis.
Here’s to the mothers (and fathers) who keep trying their best, especially when working through their own stuff whilst juggling all the things in the air.
Here’s to everyone who is honest about the intensity of the mother load – you’re freaking rock!

Here’s to everyone who parents with integrity, and passion.

Cheers to everyone who puts the emotional welfare of their children above all else.

So how do we embrace the Mother Load?

1. Learn To Juggle Less

I often relate all of the things we do in a single day, is very similar to juggling balls in the air. More often than not, we feel overwhelmed, when we try to add extra balls to what we are already trying to juggle.

If you’re already at maximum juggle, and trying to add more, something has to fall – right?

Sometimes we need to recongise, that a solution we are seeking can only be found, when we place all of the balls down, and turn our head and see what it is we were looking for.

It’s not failure, if you pause what ball you choose to throw in the air. It’s not failure if you discern what ball to throw, and what to put down.

Sometimes, it’s actually more efficient, and far less stressful to simply juggle one or two things. What’s the worst that can happen – you do those few things really well?

2. Debate  Like A Hostage Negotiator

One of the best things I ever learnt to do was debate like a hostage negotiator (I thank my lucky stars for my eccletic edutcation and technical training).

What I mean by this, is that when you are juggling, you’re using a lot of mental energy to keep all the balls in the air.

A hostage negotiator needs to understand the personal investment needs of everyone involved, so that the discussion can commence. A good discussion will quickly identify who needs what, and in what time frame. But more importantly, you ihighlight the other persons’s why. 

When you understand the emotional response of what is driving someone’s bheaviour, it no longer becomes peronal – it’s just a logistical solution to solve.

So often, family members get involvled in heated discussions, because they have made the a situation personal. They are reacting. They have activated their defence programs.

At the end of the day, you’re the hostage to negativity when you invest in the drama of others! Learn to simply observe amd ask the qurstion – why is this important right now?

3. Identify the Emotion

It’s frustrating when an emotional response drives sub-conscious and reactive behaviours. It leaves us feeling out of control. What’s actually going on is our Inner Child is expressing an unresolved emotional reaction from the past.

Acknowledging the emotion (that is driving the the defensive behaviour), is a present time response. It’s not a reaction. Therefore responding in present time deactivates the old reactive survival pattern so that  you can take immediate action.

I teach how to talk to your inner child in a recent podcast episode.

4. Make Time To Decompress

Life in westernised society is fast paced. It’s choatic. It’s hectic. If you’re lucky enough to be afford activities, life is even busier.

Add kids to the mix, and the juggle at times can feel mental. Its enough to make you want to stay in bed.

I find when I work with parents who struggle with the mother load, they haven’t dedicated any ‘time out‘ to themselves.

Sleep isn’t enough to charge the battery. You need to physically rest. When the body is rested, the mind follows, and can soothe all those thoughts and feelings that are doing laps inside your head.

When you’ve got kids, taking time out can feel like a luxury you can’t afford. Zoning out infront of the TV or social media doesn’t actually count!

When was the last time you walked the dog whilst listenin to a podcast?

When was the last time you sat in your  favourite chair and read a great book – for the fun of it?

What about a trashy magazine that takes you a week to read over each and every coffee break?

It’s worth noting that the Heart Math Institute researced that three minutes of meditation daily (or even practicising mindfulness), resulted in hours of wellbeing felt in the body.

Find what works for you to decompress consistently each day. 

5. Do Good, Not More

It sounds easy enough to do good, not more – but have you made the mind body connection with what actually soothes you?

Most of the time, when we pause the juggle, we have the oportunity to connect with our feelings. It’s at this point we can acknowledge the reactive emotion and do something about it.

It is these moments that we can discover what really matters


Reflection is such a gift to self to evolve the way we do the juggle of life and create opportunity for true life balance.

It’s only when we are present, and not operating a past tense survival program that we can focus on the things you can juggle (rather than drop or do poorly).

For more information about our survival switch and techniques to defuse it, view my book “This Is My Roar – Transform Your Trauma Tale.” Click here for more information.

Want to read more like this?

What Really Matters – click here

Self Reflection – A little Look Within – click here

8 Hot Tips How To Journal – click here

Can You Risk Not Stepping Up To Mother yourself? – Click here

How To Stop Making Excuses & Start Living Your Best Life – Click here

About Karen

Change Facilitator

Karen Humphries is a Kinesiology Practitioner, Health & Business Coach, LEAP & NES Practitioner, Intuitive Meditation & Virtual Gastric Band Hypnosis Facilitator,  and self-confessed laughaholic.  She loves being of service to the world with her humorous and positive approach to life, encouraging people to ‘choose to change and bloom from within.’ 

Karen Humphries, Change Chick, Change Facilitator, Kinesiology, Wellness Coach, Australian Bush Flower Essences, LEAP Facilitator, Trauma, Public Speaker, Cancer Ambassador, Blooming From Within, Traralgon, Victoria, Gippsland

Healing Emotions Hurt More Than The Physical Wounds

Healing Emotions Hurt More Than The Physical Wounds

How to come to terms with the emotions of cancer

There are several reasons that cancer is associated with strong emotions. Cancer is an evocative word, which has traditionally referenced a deadly disease. Yet this doesn’t change the fact it is much harder to heal the emotions of cancer, more often than the physical wounds.

What I know to be true, is that upon diagnosis, there is an overwhelming sense of uncertainty thrown in your face. Your mortality is slapped down in front of you. There is an immediate fear of the future, fear of the unknown and fear of losing control.

I still vividly remember the Saturday morning my breast surgeon delivered the news of my pathology results. I had been able to get myself out of my hospital bed unassisted. It physically hurt like hell, but once I got comfy in the upright chair I was able to settle. The bed was for sick people, I didn’t perceive myself sick then. I was simply recovering from mammoth surgery.

When my surgeon sat at the end of my hospital bed, her face was serious and I knew something was wrong. You know that dread you feel watching a suspense movie? You experience that sensation when you know instinctively something is coming and can’t prepare for it?

She informed me that the results were significantly scarier, from what the original scanning and biopsy had shown. That was one of several days the floor disappeared and I felt like Alice falling down the hole.

I allowed myself to sit in the vulnerable

Hysterical tears don’t even come close to describing everything I felt and experienced that day. Hot mess doesn’t either. But I did both of those things and everything in between. Panic. Terror. Overthinking. Sadness. Worry. Anxiety. I experienced all of it, smothered by it in fact.

There was little resilience left after surgery earlier that week to do anything but cry. At that moment I felt completed defeated. In those conversation moments, my physical pain didn’t even rate. But I was gutted emotionally.

I can now reflect on that horrible day, understanding the true power of the fear of the unknown. It’s crippling and leaves you feeling nothing but raw, extremely vulnerable and very isolated.

The healing I’ve done on myself since has shown me that with patience and the loving support of friends and family, I have turned that raw into MY ROAR!

Even now, as broken as you may feel, you are still so strong. There’s something to be said for how you hold yourself together and keep moving, even though you feel like shattering. Don’t stop! This is your healing. It doesn’t have to be pretty or graceful. You just have to keep going. — Unknown

It did, in fact, take the promised eight weeks to recover from that mammoth reconstructive surgery. In hindsight that was the easy part. The hardest part was dealing with the resultant PTSD emotions that arose from a traumatic biopsy experience.

I had buried myself inside the physical recovery from surgery with very little time to deal with the magnitude of why I had surgery and my diagnosis in the first place.

The subsequent emotional feels that are incorporated deeply with diagnosis, and were often expressed as feelings like dismal failure and depression. Feelings of perpetual entrapment ensued, both physically and mentally.


Identifying dark places

That was a dark hole, which took some intense therapy to work through. With hindsight, I can see exposing the darkness of those negative emotions with external assistance, allowed me to openly explore all the feelings as the gift it was. Healing those emotions was so much more intense and way more challenging than healing from breast cancer surgery.

The talking therapy was the trick. I didn’t avoid it, I couldn’t, for that messy bitch of emotions slapped me every day. I didn’t process having cancer at the time of diagnosis. I was too busy being shuffled between appointments, having surgery and learning to walk again.

The emotional bastard bit me as I started chemo. The feels oozed out with my energy as the magic medicine flooded into my body. This was the time that my strong facade faded. And once again I was back to feeling overwhelmed and vulnerable.


The talking therapist supported me to gently explore the maze within and find myself again. The talking granted permission to the floodgates to open, which had been bolted tight. Those gates had held everything inside. It was everything inside that robbed me of my energy to recover physically. 


As soon as I wrote in my journal or purged with my therapist the cascading avalanche of all my stuff spilled out. There was a release. It was those moments of releasing the emotional that granted permission for the physical to relax and heal.

A friend shared the following quote with me during these darker days. The message was received. Be kind to self. Put self first. Do what it takes to heal. So I did.

I know you are hurting — really bad. I will not tell you to love yourself or smile, but to keep surviving, to get through this day, to eat whatever you want and not feel guilt. I will not tell you to stay in bed for a week, a month or a year if that is what your soul needs. I will remind you that you are still beautiful, even when you are dressed in all the grief. — Rune Lazuli

The emotional roller coaster of cancer is expected and very normal. It’s our human response to a stressful situation. The various things we feel are simply exaggerated because there is a societal perception that we are fighting for our lives.


I worked with a therapist

With the support of my therapist, I dug deeper into the abyss of the connective tissue within the wounds I now wore. Initially, those new lines caused much shame and embarrassment.


I openly explored my old wounds

I openly explored what my breasts had meant to me as an individual, a woman, a girl, an infant, and mother. I healed more mother wounds, and in doing so in poured an immense and deeply felt gratitude for my feminine.


I worked through the physical loss

I worked through what it meant to have nipples, and the grief I felt when I lost one. I was forced to process the new bumps to my milky white chest landscape.


I worked through the tears

I worked through months of crying every time I looked at my new chest landscape. The red scarring, the skin graft, the puckered skin and the limited range of motion made the emotions raw. It was this rawness that slowed the physical recovery. I was looking too closely at physical wounds, spending all my energy literally trying to fix them. Trying to control the uncontrollable.

From every wound, there is a scar, and every scar tells a story. A story that says “I survived” — Ft Craig Scott’’

What I’ve learnt is the depth that connective tissue stores emotional trauma. It stores a negative outlook. The tissue stores the false expectations we think we need. The stretch of the tissue holds onto the need to control and keeps you in a state of physical stuck and emotional disbelief. This equates to non-acceptance and inability to flow physically and mentally.

Now that I am embracing my role as a patient it’s getting easier to see those new landscape lines. I’ve researched tattoo designs, and the meaning of the symbol I’ve learnt that the ancient Amazon Warrior amputated her right breast in order to shoot her arrow strong and true.

The lesson learnt and accepted is that I now point true north — metaphorically, mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. 

Final words


If you find yourself, a friend or relative, on the cancer rollercoaster, and the likelihood is that someone in your life will be affected at some time, I offer you this. We are gifted challenges, not to endure but to experience. These challenges which arise enable us to explore more of self. These challenges gift us the chance to choose a mindset to focus on what is in our control and surrender to that which is not.

The more we can soften our emotional and mental perspective, the faster and more at peace our physical vessel will respond.


Karen Humphries, Change Chick, Change Facilitator, Kinesiology, Wellness Coach, Australian Bush Flower Essences, LEAP Facilitator, Trauma, Public Speaker, Cancer Ambassador, Blooming From Within, Traralgon, Victoria, Gippsland

Karen Humphries is a Kinesiology Practitioner, Health & Business Coach, self-confessed laughaholic, and now Wellness Advocate residing in Gippsland Victoria Australia. She loves being of service to the world with her humorous and positive approach to life, encouraging people to ‘choose to change and bloom from within.’