How are you mama? I mean, how are you really?
Are you tired? Exhausted? Drained? Do you feel as though you have nothing left to give today?
I see you. I hear you. I am right there with you.
But, I’m not going to offer you any advice. I’m not going to pressure you into solutions. I’m not going to objectify or minimize your motherhood to a set of numbers, percentiles or measurements.
Because, I know that no matter how low you feel in this moment, that isn’t the right approach for you.
So, I’m going to show up for you and stand beside you. I’m going to help you feel understood, seen and known.
Because the simple truth is that this motherhood gig is freaking tough.
It is ok to break down. To need help. To cry in the shower. To ask yourself, when you feel your individuality slipping from sight – why did we have kids? To crave the simplicity and ease of pre-parent days. It doesn’t make you a bad parent. It makes you a real parent. It makes you human. I want you to know that you are not alone. We all have bad days. We all get angry. We all lose our temper. We all wish for do-overs.
Choosing to follow attachment parenting or natural parenting or gentle parenting or whichever label we choose to give it, doesn’t mean we somehow get a free pass into a land of rainbows and unicorns where babies never cry and kids never have meltdowns.
It simply means we’ve chosen to be brave enough to see our kids for who they really are, to treat them with respect and try our best to meet their needs.
It means we don’t pretend that kids are something they’re not and we don’t punish them for who they are. It means we don’t see them as incomplete or less than or incapable.
We let them be little. We let them be silly, fun-loving kids. We let them express their big emotions, no matter how difficult or embarrassing or triggering it may be for us. We don’t deny that parenting is hard but we acknowledge that our culture and its unrealistic expectations make it a hell of a lot harder than it needs to be.
Because, when we feel like we need to hide in a bathroom to feed our babies. Or hush our joyful and oh-so-normal children in public spaces. Or lie about where our toddlers sleep at night, it sucks the joy out of our experience. We go underground. We become wary about who to trust our hearts with. We begin doubting our instincts. It doesn’t need to be this way.
Too many strong, brave, trailblazing mothers write to me saying that they feel like failures. Why? Because motherhood is exhausting enough without trying to maintain the illusion of perfection. As women, we are expected not only multi-task our days but to multi-task our identities with chameleon like abilities; to simultaneously be successful career women, nurturing mothers and sexy wives. Now, more than ever, the temptation of comparison is at our fingertips. Curated little squares fill our heads with delusions; it is time to stop critiquing our lives against anyone else’s.
“A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.” Zen Shin
Let’s give ourselves grace and acknowledge that parenting, especially in our culture, is tough. There are so many pressures beyond those presented by our kids. We’ve lost our village. Many of us have zero help from family and friends. Busy-ness has become a badge of honour. And most of us need two incomes to sustain our households or are frantically looking for creative ways to change it as we yearn to give our kids a simple childhood.
So, if you’re having a rough day (or night) here’s a virtual hug from me to you. You are one kickass mama. Take it easy on yourself. Nourish your soul. Carve out some time just for you. Release the pressure. Give yourself permission to say NO once in a while. Find some time to reconnect to yourself without the labels of who you are to someone else – mother, sister, wife, daughter, friend. Who are you to you?
We are all beautifully imperfect in our own ways. Trying to forge a conscious path in an unconscious world is a monumental feat; there are very few guides to help light the path. So, let’s be raw, honest & vulnerable with one another because that is where real strength is found. Let’s redefine motherhood rather than be defeated by the new normal we’ve been asked to accept. And, let’s support one another, lifting each other up, no matter how different our day to day choices may seem.
“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” Mother Teresa