From all the mom’s I’ve spoken with, I have seen repeatedly this sense of tension where they are torn in all different directions, trying to prioritize and balance things, not only for their families, but find in there somewhere a shred of familiarity of who they were and what they expected to be. Running like a hamster in a wheel, or a mouse in a tunnel, crying out “Who Moved My Cheese”. Well, adaptability is one of the major lessons we go through as moms.
Our experience of our life status as busy Moms can take us from elation to the sense of having been sucked into a black hole relentlessly tortured with unending tasks and a ceaseless list of requests we cannot escape. In these moments we reel and question, “What ever happened to that dream I had”, “my core desires to journey to…”, “will I ever…”, “I always wanted to…”, “Hey, what about meeeeee?”. It’s funny how then all it takes is a moment of looking at a mother with her infant, her smile at seeing that little bundle for the wonder he is, his toothless grin lighting up his face at mom’s lit up eyes and smile; she is totally taken in. Under the watchful eyes of other mom’s, this gaze is reflected, their cheekbones seemingly rising, the corner of their mouths turn up, softened eyes; suddenly, the wind of stress relief passes through the room….a reminder of what it is all about. It is a joy to serve and love these precious little ones. And a mom is ready to lay her whole life down again.
Why is it then we resist the “tasks” that surround this delightful dance? Is it because we are viewing them as tasks? We can find acceptance of the more “beautiful” things, but in a sprint-racing pace of life, it is easy to view the normal “interruptions” as an inconvenience. Add the moment of, “Hey, what happened to ‘My’ life?”, and it’s a concoction for mom to bury her head in the pillow and bellow. Inconvenience? It seems sometimes we are balancing too much on our plates, and we entered a realm that many just don’t understand, unless you are a mom. I hate to be cliché, but it is just true. Add a measure of a loving support network or a lack of one to that mixture, and it can be a relief, or it can be toxic. We soon recognize we have mostly ourselves, moms, to look at in the mirror and come to quick terms with the state and phase of our lives and the acceptance of what is the reality of that life. I love the shift that “The Art of Expecting
” provides on “bustling”. It expands on our never-ending list of tasks, brings the shocking reality of “They spill, you clean. That’s the way it should be.”
And expounds on how the busy hum we create as bustling about, is stabilizing for our children. Like the cozy, cocooned feeling of being in a comfy bed and not wanting to rise for the day, and curling up when you realize you don’t have to. Hearing mom vacuuming down the hall, your bedroom door shut so she didn’t wake you. Dad in the bathroom blow-drying his hair The hum lulls a child to sleep in the safety of a loving home, knowing your parents seemingly have it all taken care of and you can rest.
When we are the parent, though, and we are the ones tackling the list, the experience is a wee bit different at times. We are more than occasionally left baffled at how a child, in passing from one room to another, exploring their world, can leave behind a fury of disaster. Our job is just to aid these journeyers and delight in their findings. But in the nitty-gritty, it can be quite the physical non-stop pickup for the parents. As they get older, this seems to involve larger “messes”, unexpected indoor sport, and giant-sized volumes of things they need to pull out of the closet for their “adventures”. That cute little mushy vegetable mess they once made, confined to a infant-sized chair, becomes a large cup of milk spilling over the table, onto the chair, splashing the wall, all over the carpet (hello, big cleaning project), and it looks a bit more like the scene with Beans and Mark on “Cheaper By the Dozen”.
Am I saying keep some humor in the scope of chaos? Absolutely!!!
I am not saying that there should be complete abandon of “self” and our goals, just a morphing of our perspective to provide the salve that soothes when we are starting to get raw on the edges. I am realizing more and more, it is not so much a resignation of self, rather, a release. It is adaptation and the reinvention of self. It is acceptance at it’s turning point. If you were out in the ocean and had a surfboard, how much sense would it make to continue thrashing about in the waves, when you could rise up and surf? It’s the time when endurance hits it’s peak and turns from a fight to a flow. No one who has ridden a wave thinks to themselves, “Hmmm, if only I could be out here without a board, being sucked under by the riptide”. They look for the bigger and more challenging waves; they grow and expand in their expertise. Like the child growing, and us with them, there are often new hurdles ensuing closer and closer together, like birth pangs. Though it seems relentless at times, the rewards do present eventually, and by no means is a mom in error to care for herself in between the blasts of seeming chaos. There is a time that we settle into it and start to enjoy the process, even coming to a place of embracing the pains…not that they don’t hurt, require seemingly unexpected amounts of resilience, and feel insurmountable at times; it’s just we begin to accept it for what it is; trying us to our limits as we live out our calling as moms. Cushnir, in Surfing Your Inner Sea
says, “It’s not about pretending to be serene while ignoring what desperately needs your attention. Instead, the serenity we’re after is one that can survive, and even thrive, smack in the middle…” of complete upheaval. And some of the most difficult times are not from the challenges themselves, but from our resistance to reinvention and acceptance during that part of our journey.
When mothering brings you to an internal fight, will you endure till it hits the flow? I cannot stress enough the value of momentum and being in the flow
when in comes to survival, acceptance, and the reinvention of self. Each of us defines what that looks like in our lives as moms. We each find the ways to embrace the parts of our selves that will not and should not be extracted; they are wonderful things we can share with our children. And there is a time to set the board down and rest on the shoreline
, a time to care for fatigued muscles, and for taking a timeout to play in the sand. But at times, we either catch up with that wave that’s flowing, or be sucked under. We either move with the wheel or take a mighty fall. And our days can become those of a successful and simple weaving in and out of all the bustling activities that build into the peace and stability of our children’s lives.
Hoping your find your momentum in the flow,