The Well


Today, on a very special episode of Mommyfriend…

OK, I’m gonna be honest with you.  This post is heavy and all serious and stuff so if you generally come here for light-hearted fun, know that I do too.  This installment doesn’t even have one of Big Daddy’s P’s cartoons so if you just wanna scroll right through it, you have my permission.

If you’re still here, just know that I feel like Jim Carrey tackling a serious role right now, like you’re here and just sorta waiting to see what my gritty chops are made of.  The pressure…just kidding.  Here I go; I expect to be nominated for an Oscar for this one.

If you are anything like me, you have these deep periods of self-reflection every so often which make you wonder how life has brought you this very place.  Maybe you feel like marriage or motherhood has swallowed up so much of your personal identity that little remains.  Maybe you don’t even know who you are stripped of the title of wife and mother.  Is there a glimmer of your true self left in there anymore?  Do you miss her or would you even still recognize her?


A few years back, coming down from my postpartum hormone roller coaster, I was feeling all sorts of empty in spite of all that I had.  Knowing I was in the midst of people encountering true suffering, I felt self-indulgent and riddled with guilt for even feeling this way.  I was sad and defeated, eating double-stuffed Oreo’s and watching Oprah on this particular Tuesday afternoon.  Elizabeth Gilbert was Oprah’s guest and she was promoting her book, “Eat, Pray, Love” which told the true story of her personal search for self-discovery and fulfillment in 3 different countries following a painful divorce.  The author was eloquent, purposeful and said something so poignant that it changed my entire perspective in that moment and continues to even to this day (Oprah calls these “A-ha moments”). 

Elizabeth (I’m calling her by her first name ‘cause that’s how I roll) said something to the effect that we, as women are wells.  We are the wells that provide water to our husbands, children, family and friends.  We give and we give and we keep giving, in spite of our health and emotional well-being.  We continue giving even when the willingness or desire to give has left us and only devotion and obligation remain. 

But what happens when the well runs dry? 

Your husband, kids, parents and friends go to the well only to discover it is empty and they begin to go thirsty.  There is nothing to be gained, no offering to give.  Our wells require replenishment or they will inevitably run dry.  Elizabeth asked the audience what was filling their well. 

Oh my God, what is filling my well?  I’m thinking about this metaphor and I’m frantically wondering why my damn well is dry.  I panic, is my family thirsty?  Why am I feeling this way?  I put the Oreo’s down and I stopped.  I stopped and I thought and thought and then I thought some more.  Days went by as I pondered my metaphorical well and ways to replenish it.  I needed to find something deep and personal, something that spoke to me as a woman and not only a wife and mother.  I decided that people couldn’t necessarily fill my well, that was my job, but they could certainly deplete it.  After years of careful thought, I personally believe that inspiration, accomplishment and a devotion to your spirit is what ultimately fills our well. 

OK then, so how do you get there?  Beats me Mommy Friend.  I never proclaimed to have all the answers, everybody knows only Oprah has those.  I have more questions than answers; believe me when I tell you it is exhausting to be inside my head.

I am a work in progress and with each passing year I feel like I am getting a baby step closer to defining the woman I am.  I no longer strive to reclaim the person I was before marriage and motherhood.  I have evolved, learned and become a new person worth discovering for having become a wife and mother.  I’ve learned that no one was going to give me permission or an invitation to fill my well; I had to just take it.  Today I take the time for myself and I am utterly unapologetic.  So many of us Mommy Friends are afraid to take the time for fear of inconveniencing our partners or being away from our children.  I understand, I used to feel that way too until I realized, those few hours you spend on yourself – they fill the well. 

Doing something for you, making a concerted effort to invest in yourself will fill the well and benefit the thirsty in your life in so many ways. 

In a lot of ways, taking a personal time-out is the least selfish thing you can do because your loved ones will notice a positive change in you once you become committed to yourself.  Only then can you begin to give from the well willingly, purposefully and eternally.


  1. OMG! Love this freakin’ book. I was completely immersed in it about two years ago when battling my own downward spiral. I spiraled back up by taking an entire year to completely fill the well. My family is no longer dehydrated! 🙂

  2. Beautiful thought and eloquently expressed. I know my well must be getting refilled but it makes me wonder exactly how. I am extremely happy that you are finding a way to replenish yours.

  3. Wonderful post and oh boy can I ever relate. We always giving water and we do need to refill. To be honest though, I’m pretty good at carving me time! Of course my husband is also good at letting me carve that time so it works out. Being able to fill our wells isn’t selfish at all, it’s about survival! I’ll be linking up to this post in one of my future Sunday Stars.Mel

  4. Oh my…how do you read my mind like that? I AM that woman who feels guilty for doing ANYTHING for myself. Thanks for giving me permission. Blogging is actually a great outlet for me. It’s a guilty pleasure for me to sit and read blogs like yours. =)

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