New Episode! Why Middle School Is So Tricky with Jessica Speer
Jan. 17, 2023

Empty Nest: Rediscovering You with Bridget Belden


Join me this week for my heartfelt conversation with Bridget Beldon about preparing for empty nesting and the newly presented opportunities to advance and redefine ourselves. 

Bridget and I discuss the importance of finding our passions, our purpose, our true selves (again) - and how important it is to prioritize these new inner challenges, so we are ready for the time when our kids leave home. 

Bridget Belden is a mom of two grown kids. She is the Founder and CEO of Magenta Consulting, a coaching organization providing world-class tools to empower women to discover who they are beyond being a “mom.”

 Resource: 

Guest website: https://www.bridgetbelden.com 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/beingmagenta/ 

Facebook:http://facebook.com/beingmagenta 

Real Life Momz: https://www.reallifemomz.com/ 

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Transcript

Hi, and welcome to Real Life Momz, I'm your host Lisa Foster, and Real Life Moms is a podcast that's all about connecting moms through real parenting conversations. I believe that moms have so much insight and knowledge, and together we are powerful. On this podcast, we give moms a voice to tell their stories, and share their expertise and resources through real conversations. And this week, we are joined by Bridget Belden, founder and CEO of Magenta Counseling. Magenta Counseling supports moms through one-on-one coaching and free transformational workshops and provides world-class tools to empower women to discover who they are beyond being a mom. And today, we are having an intimate conversation on the empty nest phase and taking steps to rediscover ourselves before our kids are grown and ready to leave home. 

 

Hi, Bridget. Welcome to Real Life Momz, I am really excited about our conversation today because this is a phase, the empty nest phase, we're talking about. And I feel that where I am in my life, my kids are starting to look into colleges, they're teenagers, and I'm starting to feel a little bit of angst.

I don't know if that's a normal thing or not, but the angst of, like, oh my God, what would that next phase look like? It's exciting, it's sad, and I think it's also like, what am I gonna do? <laugh>? Yes.

All of the above.

All of the above. But I know you have some expertise in this area. I know you have older kids as well, so maybe you could start by just telling us a little bit about yourself and what you've been doing.

Oh, absolutely. And thank you so much, Lisa, for having me here. I am so, um, grateful to you for your patience, <laugh> in, uh, working with me on all the real-life mom stuff that, that came up, um, between now and then. But I'm so happy to be here. My name is Bridget Belden. I live in Orange County, California, with my husband, and I have two kids. I have a daughter who is 27 and a son who's 25 and almost 25. And, um, I started out life when I was a young mom, really, or actually a young woman, really focused on creating kind of that thick life and what I wanted it to look like.

And I went to a good school, and I got a good job. And I married a good husband, and we had two kids. I had a boy and a girl, you know, it was all perfect.

I even had, and I joke about this, my Volvo station wagon, and I literally wrote in my diary when I was growing up that I knew I would have made it when I had my two kids in my Volvo station wagon. Really funny the things you think about, but I am here, and I literally have all of this. I have this beautiful life. I have a beautiful family, and so, um, love them so deeply, but there was just something missing for me, and I couldn't figure out what it was. I thought there was something wrong with me. I thought that, um, I had a lot of shame around it because, you know, here was this life that I had created, and yet I was, you know, really missing something.

And, and, you know, it took me a long time to figure out what that something was and what I realized.

And I can talk, I can, I can identify it now, but going through it at the time, like I said, all I could feel was the shame and isolation. Like there was something wrong with me. But now I recognize that I had been so focused on where I was going that I really never stopped to think about who I was, what was important to me, and what I wanted my life to feel like, mm-hmm. <affirmative>, what my purpose was, and what I was passionate about. I never took the time to figure that out. And so I just went, you know, <laugh> wheels blaring to my, you know, to get to the next step, which was motherhood.

And, um, it really kind of caught up with me. And I was living up; I was working up in LA and commuting and had two young kids, and, um, really struggled with it for a long time.

It caused issues with myself and my husband cuz I couldn't articulate what was happening. And he was terrified. Um, and I was so confused and going to, um, therapy and trying to figure everything out. And the long and the short of it was, is that as I started recognizing, I kind of got to a point where I thought, you know if I died tomorrow, would I have regrets? And the answer was yes, and I knew I had to do something. And so I started carving out time every morning. My kids were little, little before they got up, and I would just sit there and think, and I would for 10 minutes with a journal and just sit with myself in the quiet.

And I have to tell you, at first, it was really, really hard, and nothing came up. It was completely blank. And yet I stuck with it.

And eventually, I started to think about, what, what I was passionate about, what got me excited, what types of things did I want my life to, um, and to have in it, what types of activities brought me joy. And over time, a picture started to form. And, um, out of that experience, I ended up, um, quitting my job in Los Angeles and starting a nonprofit organization. I worked at that nonprofit with my kids and my family for 10 years and put my heart and soul into it.

And the mission was to inspire and empower kids to take action in their community. And so we did a lot of events, and my kids were right alongside me, and they were the, you know, we are kind of worked with tweens, so they were a perfect age. And, um, when my youngest son went off to college, and it was the same year that the organization turned 10 years old, I turned 50, my husband turned 60, and our son was off to college.

And I thought this feels like a really good place to kind of put a bow in this phase and look what's next. And I had always wanted to share my journey, um, with really searching for that passion and that purpose. And, um, where I found myself was at an empty nester. And so, that's kind of where I started, was working with those moms. So I founded a non-pro or a consulting company where I do coaching with moms who are entering into the empty nest phase or have been there and are really searching for who they are beyond being a mom.

Mm.

Okay. I love this so much. And there's just so much. First of all, I'm 50; I love 50. I just wanna put that out there. It's, yeah. Cause I, it, it, there's some empowerment about being 50 and not like caring about the small stuff, so, such a great time. Absolutely. It's, but, um, when you were talking about just like, you know if I died tomorrow, you know, would I have regrets? It's, it's funny, that hit home for me because, um, I was doing like a little book club kind of thing with some friends, and I think it was the Seven Habits of Highly Successful People.

Is that what it's called? Yeah, it's one of those yeah. Books. Right. And in it, it has a, um, this part where you're supposed to, like, if you're at your funeral, what are they saying about you? What do they, what do you want them to say about you?

Like, who would be talking, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Oh my God. Not the death part. That didn't freak me out. It wasn't like that, right? But it was like, I got nothing. Like, I turned to my friends, and I was like, nothing. I have absolutely nothing. I've been sucked into this vortex of parenting for so long. Yes. And, I'm a working mom, so it's not like I don't have other things, you know, going on. But I had nothing. And it, I always said, whoa, we gotta do <laugh> some work here. I thank God my friends were like, no, Lisa; you're welcoming. We would say this about you.

I mean, thank goodness they like, you know. Yeah. They said something at that moment. Yeah. But it's, I, I agree. I, I wasn't necessarily passionate about anything. You know he's, I love my family. I don't, like, I don't even know if I know my purpose fully. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But I have been really working on it. Um, and I think a lot of us fall there, fall in this like, little category of like, if someone ever asks a mom that's really in it, like, you know, what do you like to do? It's like, I wanna have a heart attack. I'm like, oh my God. I can answer that question.

<Laugh>. Yeah. I have no idea.

<Laugh>. I have no idea. I don't know. Yeah. Yeah.

<Laugh>, I've never tried anything other than parenting. Right. Rights you're so focused on.

And then you go back to the things like, um, what you used to like, right? Like Yeah. You know, like, oh, I ran, so I must, I must like running. I did marathons; I must like running. But no, I didn't like running.

<Laugh>. Yeah. Oh my gosh, you bring up such a good point. And, um, I, you totally reminded me of, and actually, if I were to go back even further, this is actually probably when this hit me, was a very similar conversation. When I was young, I was very focused on my career, and I was working at Levi Strauss and Company, and I was at a sales meeting in New York with my counterparts in the hotel bar where somehow we always ended up, and the president of our division came over and sat down with us, which is, you, you know, a huge opportunity to shine right here I am, little miss.

Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, you know, mm. Gotta get the corner office kind of thing. Which, you know, I was, I don't know, 28. Um, and I was just starting out with my family, and he came around and, and said, let's go around the circle.

And everybody said what they're passionate about, and I froze. I froze. Yes. I knew what I had to say, which was my job, obviously, but I didn't; I'm like, but aren't you supposed to feel something when you talk about your passion? And you bring up a really good point because I think there's a lot of pressure when people think about finding their passion or their purpose. And I actually did a workshop called Purpose Without, without Pressure mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And, um, because I think people get the sense that it's something big, you know, that I'm supposed to be changing the world with what I do, and that feels really intimidating and overwhelming to me.

I don't know if that rings true for you.

Totally, totally. Yes. It's supposed to be big, and I think it's sometimes supposed to be like substantial, like, um, like a thing almost. Yes. You know, like, I do art, or I do something.

Yeah. And, um, what I found in talking to a lot of the moms that I worked with, and it through these groups and also just one-on-one coaching, is that when you start to dispel that myth, because purpose, the way that I like to consider it, is really your gifts plus your values, plus your passion. Hmm. And, um, and so when you can start to dig into each one of those, as you get clearer and more clarity on those, then, then, your purpose becomes clearer.

Like your purpose is, it becomes the container that holds all of those things. It doesn't have to be a thing. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it can be, I love getting up in the morning because I'm gonna go walk my dog because I get so much joy out of, you know, watching the birds fly in front of me on the pa. And this is me talking; this is truly talking <laugh>.

Like, I love walking my dog in the morning because, you know, I love it when, when I see, you know, the sun coming up in the morning. I love to travel; I love the, these are things, it's like finding the things that bring you joy and doing more of them and living intentionally within that. And just by doing that, you find your purpose. It gives you a sense of contribution and a sense of love and belonging and just that you are here for a reason. It doesn't have to be, you know, starting a nonprofit like I did.

It doesn't have to be writing a book. It doesn't have to be skydiving. Like it doesn't have to be this massive thing. And I think if you can start to approach it as, you know, what, do what brings me joy, start there and just start to, and, and it's really hard to answer that question too sometimes, you know? Oh, yeah. We haven't spent a lot of time thinking about who we are and what we like to do at all. And so I think the biggest, probably the biggest thing when I start working with moms is getting them comfortable with sitting there, just focusing on themselves.

And 10 minutes at a time is, is excruciating when they first start, because it's like, I don't know, this is so uncomfortable and so awkward, you know? But that's what it takes is starting and digging in and kind of sitting with yourself and figuring those things out.

Yeah. And this is hitting home for me because going back to like the feeling, um, so what happened to me last, this is last year, um, I started going on this journey, if you will, my husband and the kids and I, we all went to go see, they have these like blossom of the lights, you know, at the mm-hmm. <affirmative> botanical gardens. Right. And the lights are, they're beautiful. I love lights, you know? Yeah. Yeah. And we walked around, and we saw these lights, and what happened was, I laughed, and my husband, you know, you could see his face beaming.

I mean, he could feel it. He was seeing it. And I loved it, but I couldn't feel it. Like, it was so weird. I was not like feeling it. I was like, what is wrong with me? Yeah.

And I turned to him when we got home, and I was like, dude; I really liked it. I mean, I set it up, I really liked it, but like, I, I feel like I can't feel. Yeah. And it was so interesting. He's like, why? Because on the outside, it looks like you had the most fun. I was like, not on the inside. Yeah. So I went down this little hole, and I was like, exactly what you're saying. I had to sit and really work on, like, what is my passion? And I think when we are looking, um, at the passions and, and interests, it's like, once again, it's like, you think it's like a thing or, but what I realized my passion was something not really as tangible as that.

It was more like; I enjoy inspiring people; I enjoy cheering them on, you know?

Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. And then I looked back, and I was like, when I used to run, which was not really my passion, <laugh>, but I would run these r long races. But what I would do in them is I would find other people who were just as slow as I am, and I would cheer them on. So when I got to the end, I like pushed somebody else along with me. So my passion, even back then, was inspiring and cheering them on. Yeah. So, you know, but it took a long time. And that would, and I don't, I don't know if, like, people realize that that can be Yes. You know, a purpose or a passion.

It doesn't have to be Absolutely. Something else. Yeah.

I see it as whatever brings you joy, right? Yeah. And, if cheering people like that feeling that you get, and here's the thing, Lisa, is that in order to get in touch with that, you do have to spend that time to really get quiet and focus on yourself and think about what are those times when I feel, when I feel that, when I feel moved, right. When I feel, um, that excitement, when I feel that joy and start honing in on that, and it can take time to, it's like you're slowly uncovering and peeling back the layers.

Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> and, you know, as moms, we put on, and this sounds, this is a little bit cliche, but, but when you really think about it, you know, we are putting on a layer over layer, over layer, over layer, over layer, over a layer of all these roles that we're taking on, whether it's mom or wife or sister-in-law, or daughter-in-law, or aunt or you know, room mom or c e o or whatever it is that we're taking on all these roles.

It's like your authentic self gets buried beneath that mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And when you are entering into motherhood, for most of us, we're at that age where we haven't really had the opportunity, especially for, I think, um, you're younger than I am, but for my generation, that wasn't really a thing. Like, we got kind of, got married, which I thought was kind of late. Like, I got married at 27, but yet I was just starting out in my career, so I never had that time to explore and figure it out. So it's like you start from that place, and then you just keep piling on top. Well, it's no wonder you get to like, you know, 45, 50, in my case it was mid-thirties, I hit it very early that you start going, wow, I have no idea who I am.

And so it's treating yourself with compassion and patience and recognizing that you're not alone.

And there's nothing wrong with you if you don't know what that is. All you need to do is take that time and commit to yourself to that quiet time to figuring that out. And then once you have that and you start pulling those threads, so what are some things that you could explore when you are, you know, that they give you that feeling of cheering people on and it lifting them up and inspiring them. Like what could give you that, you know, is it volunteer work in a certain area? Is it, um, you know, becoming a coach? Is it, you know, going into the class?

Like, what, what is it that that can help you go there? And then you start just exploring, and some things don't work out. Some things you might go, eh, that wasn't so great, but this, this sounds really cool. Right. And you just kind of start tapping into that and following those leads,.

Do you think like moms or parents, like don't actually hit as, as their kids are starting to leave the home, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, and now it, it's getting quiet. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, do you feel like this is the time they go uhoh?

Yes.

Now, what <laugh>.

Absolutely. Absolutely. And for someone like you, you shared with me earlier that, you know, you're starting to think about it and your kids are teenagers, so Yeah. Um, you're, you know, you're getting, so you're, you're, you're coming up on that and, um, the fact that you're aware of it, I think there's, it's never too soon to start mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Like if somebody, and it's never too late to start, right? It's just that, it's that feeling inside when you kind of go, there's something more for me and I don't know what it is. Right? Yeah. Where do I start? So yes, I think that's a huge, I mean, that's why they call it, you know, the empty nest syndrome is because parents, but women in particular, because the moms, let's face it, typically, and typical households are the ones that are doing a lot of the running around and take on that nurturing role and taking care of the, the household all willingly.

And this is not to say anything, but it's, it's, you know, takes up all your bandwidth as I, as I know, you know? Yeah. Especially if you're working outside the house on top of that, of that mm-hmm. Outside. Mm-hmm. Um, so, um, yeah, absolutely. You kind of look at that, and it can be very overwhelming. It can be some moms get really excited, some moms are terrified, some moms have no, they're completely lost. And are, um, in that place where I found myself, where I felt like, oh my God, there's something wrong with me. And thank goodness <laugh>, we're in a place now where people are talking about this kind of thing.

Instead of where I was 20 plus years ago, sitting there by myself going, I'm the only one feeling this way. Um, so yeah.

So what would you say to moms like getting, whether, not even getting ready for this phase, cuz you said it could also start earlier, even though you have younger kids. Um, yes. So what would you recommend parents like doing to kind of prep themselves a little bit for this coming phase?

I think the first thing, um, is really focusing, starting to, uh, get comfortable prioritizing yourself. And I wanna be really clear when I say this. Um, I understand that when you are, particularly when your kids are younger and you're flying all over town, you know, taking care of doing four and everything else that you think I'm probably crazy. Um, and that it's not realistic. But here's the thing is that all of this starts with you, right? And when, when I say prioritize yourself, I don't mean when you know, your son calls you and says, Hey mom, I need help with this paper.

Or, Hey, mom, something's going on. You say, so sorry honey, I'm off to the gym mm-hmm. <affirmative>, or I'm going to the spa. That's not what it means. All it means is that you start to take considering yourself and giving yourself the time, the love, and attention that you give everybody else.

So rather than pushing yourself to the bottom of the list, which I know for me was an issue, and I know for most of the women I work with, it's an issue. And I think for most women in general, it's an issue. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you start to consider your own needs along with everybody else's. So, you know, it might look like, like what I did, which is getting up early and carving out 10 minutes a day, and then gradually 20 minutes a day, and then gradually 30 minutes a day where you just take that time for you where nobody can bother you. It might look like, um, you know, your morning walk.

You protect that time with your life because that's what it means, right? Where it's just mm-hmm. <affirmative>, reflection time, thinking about what do I want my life to look like, what's important to me?

And not only how it looks, but how it feels. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So, you know, do you want, you know, joy, adventure, travel, love, you know, all these feelings that, that come along with it. My program is built on these six pillars, and right now we're focusing on intention because it's January mm-hmm. <affirmative> and, you know, it's about living intentionally as I define it; it's choosing, identifying what you want more of, choosing what you want more of, and then putting an, getting an action to make it happen. Mm-hmm.

<Affirmative>. So, um, it takes time for, for many of us to identify what that is that we want more of. So for you, you know, figuring out and recognizing that what really brings you joy is inspiring others and lifting other people up and and sharing them on is really a critical clue, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And to follow that and to pull that thread is really important and staying with it. And so it's committing that time for you too, you putting a stake in the ground for you because nobody's gonna do it for you.

Yeah. So it's so important to have those things that are yours. And I'm also a morning person too and block out that time for myself where I can listen to like a, a book that I really wanna, that'll inspire me. Cuz then, you know, obviously when I start my day full, I can be more available to all the things I have to do. So.

Absolutely. Absolutely.

Yeah. And you had a quote on your, I did look at your website too, <laugh>, um, well, which we are gonna go into in a second because I do have to ask you a few questions about that. But one of your quotes in there, and I don't know if you wrote it or someone else said, but you put, um, when your light shines brighter, it's a lot easier to see the road ahead.

Yes.

Yeah. Which was really beautiful because it's true. It's like when we, not only like when we fill ourselves up, we can help others out, but it's. Also, we can see ahead, you know Yes. The path that we also wanna.

Take. Absolutely. Absolutely. And that, yeah. That I believe, was in reference to my pillars and, and, um, living a brighter life cuz I spell out, spell out bright. Um, but yes, absolutely.

Oh, yes. I love that. Now, going to your website, I have to say I did take <laugh> the empty nest quiz. Yes. I thought I was doing really well. I'll be honest. I felt like I'd done a lot of work on myself. Yeah, yeah,

Yeah. But somehow I went to the quiz, and when you had all those choices of, I forget the questions, but it's kind of like, which one, you know, are you drawn to or are you feel, or whatever it was. I, wow. I was all over the place. I had the hardest time picking anything.

Well, let me just tell you this is that we're in the process of revamping that.

<Laugh>. Okay, great.

So that's a throwaway. And, um, what our intention with that was to help give a toolkit for moms who are entering this phase.

I think the panic brought me back more to, oh my God, what's my passion? What do I want?

Well, let me just say this, is that I have been doing this work on myself primarily for over 20 years, and there are still things that I am uncovering on a daily basis. I don't think this work is ever done. And that shouldn't be intimidating to anybody or feel like, oh good god, are you kidding me? <laugh>. But I don't think there's ever; there's a finish line. I don't think you get to a place where you're like, oh my God, I'm so good. Life is perfect because that's not the nature of life, right? Life is, there's ups and downs and it fluctuates.

It's like the seasons, you know, seasons change, and you're gonna go up and you're gonna go down. And when you go down, you're gonna learn more things about yourself that, oh my God, what's really happening? And once you learn to drop inside, and I've, I've, I'm at the point now with a lot of coaching that I've received and a lot of work that I've done where I'm finally at the point where I have enough awareness, self-awareness of myself to be able to observe myself and say, okay, ask myself what's really happening right now?

Why do I feel this way? What is it about this situation that is rubbing me the wrong way? And oftentimes, it's, um, the shadow side, right? It's the; it's something I don't necessarily want to uncover about myself. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it's something that isn't necessarily flattering. You know, maybe it's, um, I get, I call <laugh>, this is gonna get a little weird, but I have, um, these different parts of myself right? That comes out. So there's like one that I call pissy Bridget. Like when little girl, and I can picture her like with her arms crossed, and I swear sometimes I feel her come out and I'm just like, okay, what's going on pissy Bridget, why are you, why are you, you know, reverting back to your, you know, I don't know, eight-year-old self where you're having a little tantrum.

And, um, the bottom line is, I guess that is to say is that don't feel like you're going backwards if you realize that you have more opportunity to discover new parts of yourself, um, and, and new things. Because, like I said, it's, we're pulling back the layers, and there's so much depth there that I don't know that you ever get to a point where you're like, okay, I'm done.

Yeah. And you know what it you saying that makes me feel really good because we're alive, we're changing mm-hmm. <affirmative>, we're always going to be changing and evolving and we should always be working towards ourselves. Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. And that's gonna change. So Yeah, that totally makes sense. You know, I don't feel so bad about the <laugh> empty nest quiz anymore. Yeah. I feel fine.

Whoever's listening, don't take the quiz, wait until relaunch it, <laugh>.

Relaunch it. But no, it's not bad. And actually it did send me an email with some very nice, insightful information. Um,.

Well, I'm glad that that was helpful because that was, that was the whole point about it, so I'm glad that.

Yeah. Helpful. So, so that was helpful. And honestly it felt pretty much on point and there was a point that it also told me that I, I feel a little lost and, you know, I think I do. Yeah. You know, I think I do going into that phase. So I think the actual email after I, I think it actually was very nice. I don't think you should take it down. Totally. Okay. So Bri, Bridget, can you talk a little bit about actually your experience and how it felt when your kids actually did leave home, and it's like day one and you are home and no one's there?

Okay, so let me preface this by saying that I started this journey when my kids were little. I had been working on it, you know, one of my main motivators when I um, was really going through that self-inquiry process when they were younger was, I don't wanna wake up one day, look at my husband 20 years from now and say, who are you? And where have I've been for the last 20 years? And so I got to that point where, so I was thinking about that point when my kids would be leaving the nest and all the work I did up until that point was so that I would have something that I felt really good about.

So I'm a little, I have a little bit, yes, I missed them. Okay, I can do that. I, um, it, but I didn't have that and I still miss 'em. I mean, my girlfriends and I were just talking about this, it's like every time they leave after coming for a visit, it's a really sad day. It just is. And you know that this is the way it's supposed to be and you know that, you know, it means you've done your job well when they leave the house. Um, and you know that this is part of the journey. And I think if you don't have something to pour yourself into and something to, um, really feed your soul at that moment, it can be much harder.

Mm-Hmm. Yeah.

Which is why I really encourage everybody, you know, who's listening and, and women who are on this journey, who are looking at that next phase, is that it will make it easier to absorb those moments. And, you know, my daughter, who I'm very, very close to is 27, moved to Brooklyn almost a year ago, and <laugh>, I thought I was gonna die. I was just like, oh my God. Like, sh we've never been that far apart and what am I gonna do? And it was riding that edge of I know this is, you know, rationally I know this is how it's supposed to be and that it means I've done my job well and I want this so much for her.

Cuz if I had had this opportunity when I was her age, I wouldn't have ended up <laugh>, you know mm-hmm. <affirmative> in that really crisis point that I did. And at the same time I then, you know, licked my wounds and, you know, tucked in my whoopy and, you know, ended up, you know, turning towards, you know, my work and how can I support other moms who are going through this. So I had that thing to turn towards mm-hmm. <affirmative> and really important, rather than staying focused on her leaving. Yeah. I could also focus on what I had, what was left behind for me.

Yeah, that makes sense. Totally. Totally. And I love, like even just, you know, when you're talking, it reminds me, my husband and I, um, just talked about like date nights. My husband has wanted to do date nights forever, and yes, I am always having an excuse and I love my husband. I'm gonna put that out there. He is like a wonderful man. What my best friend really, but <laugh>, I just, I don't know why I was didn't wanna go on on dates, like Yeah.

Throughout the whole time and, and recently this past New Year's we're like, we're gonna start doing dates. And we went on our first one actually this weekend, um, just to also start reconnecting so that when they do go Yes. It's not like we look at each other, like you said, like, I don't even know who you are. It's been 20 years. Yes. He doesn't know who I am. Like, yes. Now granted, we did talk about the kids a lot. <laugh>. Oh, <laugh>, I'm gonna put that out there. That's natural. But there, but there is hope. Um, so yeah, so that is just interesting.

Like when you say that I, I it reminds me that yeah, date nights and reconnection is so important. Oh,.

It's so important. It's so important. And, you know, that's one of the pillars is cultivating relationships and, you know, it's all relationships. It's relationships with your husand, your spouse or your partner. If you're still married, it's relationships with your kids, it's relationships with your friends and building that up so that you have just this support network to fall into when you need to cry or laugh or whatever. Um, it's all of those things. And yes, it, and it's, it's not easy. It's not, there's a lot of, it feels like whack-a-mole sometimes, you know, like <laugh>.

But if you consider and kind of fast forward to that point when your kids are gonna be gone, that's why thinking about what you want that to look and feel like is so important because then you can start from here to take those steps every single day to get there before you know it.

It's like, I don't know if you've read Atomic Habits, but, uh, by James Clear, but it's a really, it's like it's baby steps every single day, right? It's, it's, it's simple, consistent steps. It's, it doesn't have to be this life-altering massive change. It's just the little steps; baby steps every single day. And having that awareness that you need to do that, that you want to do that, um, have an idea and a sense of what you want your life to look and feel like so that you can choose today. You know, for me, for example, one thing that's really important to me are my friends.

And, you know, I, I have to pay attention to myself because there are times when I can go several days with just feeling like I have my head down and I'm just, you know, working and oh my God, I haven't talked to anybody, and I'll pick up the phone and call somebody. It's an intentional connection. Um, you know, making those, those dates to get together, um, ladies nights or, you know, movie night or whatever it is, so that I can rely on them and have them in my life because they bring, it's like the way I look at the pillars, the six pillars are, it's like weaving.

They're the threads that weave have a purposeful life, right? The tapestry of a purposeful life. So it's about, and I'll, can I go through them really quickly?

Yeah, I was, I was gonna just ask you, what are these six pillars you've been talking about? Yeah.

So it spells out bright mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So it's about living brighter, uh, which is magenta. And so B is B brave, R is cultivate relationships. I is living with intention. G is practice gratitude, H is prioritize health and t is live your truth. Hmm. And we are in the process of incorporating those in, in a bigger way on our website. But if you, um, want to subscribe to the Monday emails on Monday mornings, I send out an email that every month we focus on a different, um, pillar so that it's a way of learning how you can integrate them into your life on really simple ways.

And these are the elements that I found, and I won't go through each of them in depth, but that I found really, I relied on that really helped me find a place to start. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, if I'm sitting there going, oh my gosh, I feel overwhelmed. Like, where do I start to cultivate a life of joy? Like, what, what does that even mean, <laugh>? So it's like, okay, this month we're focusing on living with intention, so what does that look like? How does that, you know, and pick one and kind of work on that, um, one at a time.

Nice. This is all on your website. So you had mentioned that, um, for you, you know, you had done a lot of this work right before your kids left the home. Yes. So it's a little different then. What would you say, like maybe people you work with or moms that you've encountered, what do you think they like actually struggled with the most when their children left the home?

Oh, it, you know, it just really depends. And the one thing I wanna stress is that it's a continuum, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And, um, so some moms are, you know, all they've ever wanted to be is a mom. And so they threw themselves into that role and raised their families and got a great amount of satisfaction from that. And then all of a sudden they're going, okay, I have no idea who I am, <laugh> mm-hmm. <affirmative> happening right now. And so we start at a very fundamental level. And then there are some moms that, you know, kind of know what they wanna do, but don't really know where to start.

Um, and then there's everything in between that, um, it, it, it really is. And what the, what the benefit of having any kind of coaching, uh, program or any kind of coaching support is having somebody hold you accountable to your goals.

Um, somebody to shine a light on your, on your bullshit, you know, so when you say, this is what I want, but yet your actions are completely contradictory, having somebody go, you know, Lisa, you're saying you want this, but really what you're doing is this. Mm. And, um, having somebody just there to walk that journey with you and having that support is really amazing. Particularly, I wish, I mean, I, it took me so long to find my way out of the weeds, not even get to a point where I knew which wind was up, but just find my way out of the weeds where I kind of knew where I wanted to start.

It probably took me a good few years because I, it had that conversation at that work event, and then it was like, I'd buried it deep downside, too hard to think about, right? <laugh>.

Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, I got busy doing stuff and then I come back around and it flares up again. I'm going, Ooh, there's that thing again. I'm gonna ignore it and shove it to the back burner. And so having, you know, once you have that inkling that, yeah, this is something I really want, taking that step for you, um, is really, it's, it's really important. Like I said, nobody's gonna do that for you. And I think one of the things I love most about doing this work, you know, you talk about lifting people up and cheer people on, is I believe that women and moms in particular, but all women in general, I mean, I focus on moms cuz that's kind of what I relate to most.

Obviously I'm also a woman. But the, that we have these stories in our heads and I, I've seen that in your group, you've talked about limiting beliefs, and we have stories and we have worthiness issues, and we have all this bullshit that we subscribe to that society tells us about stuff we make up.

We have this whole story in our head about who we can be, who we can't be, what's right, what's wrong, who we should be. And in reality, it's all a crock of crap. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And when we get down to deep inside to who we are authentically and who our authentic self is, we have so much power to change the world. And I, I don't say that lightly. I mean, I, I truly believe that once women understand the power that we have mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, it's, it's, you know, game on. And there's a great book called Cassandra Speaks that talks about stories.

I don't know if you've read that one, but I will.

No, I need, I need, I need to get, uh, into a book club with you. I think <laugh>, I'm writing, I'm writing these down. Yeah,.

We should do that. But it just talks about how over time that every story from the beginning of time has been written by men that talks about how women are silenced. And, um, and not to get to Woowoo and feminist rah rah, you know, but I truly believe that. And when I've seen these women, when I accompany them on their journey of self-discovery and really recognizing what they have to contribute, it is amazing to see them go, oh my God, I can do this. Look at all the things I can do.

And they can step into their own power and find their voice. It is, it's incredible.

Yeah. And, it feels amazing. Not that I'm there. I, I might need some extra coaching here, <laugh>, but, um, but which I think is fabulous that the coaching in general, I think they're more people should be using this because I mean, it shines just a light on, on the person. Yes. I love how you said, you know, you can call somebody out and say, but you're doing this, but you're saying this, you know? Yes. Yes. Sometimes you need that extra person on the outside of the circle to really be able to tell you that.

Yes.

Uh, but it also feels so good when you finally find; I'm gonna call it your true self if you will, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, whether it's your power or whatever it is, and you don't, it, it doesn't matter what the other people are thinking or judging or doing, because those are not your people anyway. They're never gonna come along with you. They're never gonna listen to you anyway. So why do we even spend that time? But if you just hold yourself to who you truly are, others are going to come in line with you that also align with that, you know?

Yes. And it is really, really powerful. Yes. And it makes you feel like you can do so much, and what you're saying and doing is worth something too.

Absolutely. And I love that concept of alignment. I, I think it's, it's so true. Cuz when you are truly aligned with, you know, your true self, then others are drawn to you because you are, you, you are speaking your gifts, you are being who you truly are, and you don't get caught up in all the crap that you can't control.

Right? Yeah. And, someone recently was saying that, like everyone, I think this hit me pretty hard. Um, but everyone has a gift mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And I think that's really hard to believe because the gifts come in so many different sizes and shapes and colors, right? Yeah. And what you think isn't even a gift. Like someone's gonna, be like, well I can never do that, and it could be something silly. Yeah. Um, but it's just like, okay, whatever that is. Right. Let's show it.

Right.

So, and often we don't recognize our own gifts because it comes so easily to us that we're like, can't everybody do that?

<Laugh>. Right. Right. And so you almost feel stupid, or an imposter to even like to say it out loud or do it or show it or teach it. Right. Yeah. Because it is so simple for you that you're like Yeah. Everybody should know that. Why would they even listen to me?

Right. Right. And that's also because we've been told, don't talk about yourself, don't talk about what you're good at because that's bragging, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>.

Yeah. Exactly. So yeah, I love it. And I love, I love this whole part of the conversation. It really resonates with me, for sure. So I do want the listeners to know where they can find you, um, and how, yeah. How to reach out to you? What other things are you offering through your websites? Um, so if you could just tell us a little bit about that, that would be great.

Absolutely. So my website is bridgetbelden.com, and I think Lisa, you'll have this in your show notes.

I will. Is that right?

Yes. Yeah. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And so, um, from there, you can learn more about the coaching program. If you have any interest in learning more, you can sign up for a free 45-minute pathway to purpose, uh, clarity session. And that really just allows me to go deeper into, you know, your biggest challenge when it comes to really cons contemplating what comes next for you. And I can give you a little mini plan. Um, and like I said, our website is in the works right now.

We, are working on a new and improved, um, quiz, but you can feel free to take the quiz. I think there are some helpful nuggets that come out of that. Um, I'd say probably I'm the most active. Um, my, I have a Facebook group, which you can find from the website and, um, Instagram and I'm, I'm really working on getting more consistent with posting on both of those.

That's great. That's great. And I did like kind of scroll through your website, so there is a lot of helpful stuff on there. So I'm gonna go back and check out this bright word for sure.

<Laugh>. Yeah. And that will be coming too. We'll be really enhancing that. And I think the Monday probably the blogs blog posts and the Monday, um, emails are, you know, that's where we try to give the, I try and give the, you know, most helpful tips, like actionable items. Um, and I'd love to hear from people to find out, you know, what they wanna see more of. If there's something else that can be of benefit. Um, if, if something didn't ring true, like the feedback is really amazing.

Cuz until I get that, I don't know if it's landing or not landing or, you know.

Yeah. That's a great, great point. Feedback is so helpful for everyone. Yeah. Yes. So what would you like to leave the parents that are listening today? Like what is like that one nugget that you just want parents to walk away.

With? We all have the power to create a life we love and it starts with you. And so that's where you need to start, is to really stop and listen, commit that time to yourself, do whatever it is that allows you to reflect. Whether it's journaling, I use my phone, my phone memos a lot. Um, when I have a thought that keeps popping up into my head, I'll record it on notes, voice notes, and then, um, you know, don't edit anything that comes out of your mouth.

Don't let that little internal inner critic tell you that that's stupid or you can never do that. Because over time, those little nuggets add up to a picture. So we see, you probably recognize it might have taken you a little while to recognize and put the picture together that what you really like to do is to lift people up and inspire them and to cheer them on. You know, maybe that came through a series of thoughts that you had where you kind of like, yeah. Okay. Well, there is a common thread, and it's funny you're saying this because I'll tell you exactly where I came from. I was, uh, doing, like, I was talking on my phone in the notes, and I was, I was waiting for my son who was in a hair appointment. I was just waiting in the car, and I wanted to put together just a solo little episode, which is out there. Um, and I just recorded notes, um, in the car and waiting for him. And yeah. I put them together, and I was like, oh my God, this is my passion.

Yeah. Yeah.

So, yeah. So thank you. That's exactly it.

Yeah. I love that. Thank you for that. So that's what I would say is that it's, it starts with you, and it doesn't have to be hard. It, it, it's, um, it, I find it incredibly rewarding when even if I find something that <laugh>, it's not so flattering about myself, the fact that I can see it and know it's there and can acknowledge it all parts of me, it's, it's very, um, it's liberating in a lot of ways. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know? Yeah.

Yeah. I agree. It.

Really is. Yeah. I.

Agree. Well, thank you for just discussing this topic. I mean, you've really shined so many lights on different parts of it that it really makes me think I'm letting the listeners, I hope that they get to think about these things too and really just take that time and work on themselves. It's so important. Yeah. So when we do cross that line, <laugh> into that fd nest phase, and I look around the house and my kids are not needing me, um, you know, we're just gonna be ready.

Yes, yes, absolutely. And I'm so happy that, um, you reached out and that we were able to connect. I really enjoyed the conversation.

Thank you for listening to this episode. Bridget gave us so much insight into this phase of parenting and how important it is to get quiet and figure out what brings you joy so that when you reach this empty nest phase, you're ready because you will already know who you are beyond being a mom.







Bridget Belden Profile Photo

Bridget Belden

Life Coach

Bridget Belden is Founder and CEO of Magenta Consulting, a coaching organization providing world class tools to empower women to discover who they are beyond being a mom. Bridget is an award-winning speaker has been featured on podcasts such as The Sweetest and Toughest Job and Interesting People I Know.

Prior to her current venture, Bridget worked for more than 15 years in retail and apparel manufacturing. After a very personal introspective journey in pursuit of finding her purpose, she left her job to explore her calling of making a difference. In 2006, she founded Ripple Kids, a nonprofit seeking to inspire and empower kids to take action in their communities. A Ripple Kid is a kid who has identified an issue and has taken action to resolve it.

After 10 years running Ripple Kids full time, and her kids gone from the nest, she realized it was an opportune time for her next life evolution – starting venture based on her own journey of self-discovery. Magenta Consulting supports moms through life-changing one on one coaching and free transformational workshops, reconnect with who they were before they had kids in pursuit of a life of passion and purpose.

Bridget lives in Orange County CA with her husband of 29 years, Charlie and their dog Max. She loves travelling, spending time with friends and family, and will rarely pass up the opportunity for a good meal and a nice bottle of wine.