I've always been one to contemplate, so it’d seem that being this is my first written piece of the new year, I’d be reflecting on 2020 and sharing the lessons I’ve learned along the way. I try to view most challenges as opportunities, that hard stuff isn’t happening to me but instead happening FOR me. But I’m just not there yet. I certainly still hold tightly to the belief that challenges are opportunities but I don’t have a lot of headspace right now for heavy reflection of the past when so much of it has followed us into the new year.
This past week I found myself sitting alone at our local community college's pond, seeking wisdom and solace from the universe as the cold wind bit at me, a blunt reminder that Mother Nature dulls herself for no one, including a tired mama looking for peace. The school has worked hard at giving space to Mother Nature’s need to remain untamed, intentionally leaving unruly patches of grass untouched, allowing greenery to flourish, surviving and thriving in the midst of a concrete jungle.
It’s the place I’ve found myself time and time again over the years, sometimes on a daily basis to walk, run or meditate. It’s the place I found myself the day before my D&C when I miscarried, silently, tearfully saying good bye to the little love my body refused to let go of on its own and it’s the place I take my oldest when he needs help calming his chaos within. And so this week, when I needed a brief escape from homemaking, from mothering, from being a wife, I bundled myself up, found a clean rock with enough space for my bum and sat, watching the water, watching the small waves rise and fall, the pattern matching my breath.
I asked the universe for help in finding peace within as I was tired, anxious and angry. Lately, I’ve felt as though I’ve been met with resistance in every aspect of my life and I was done, like DONE, with all of it. I don’t write about my marriage but we all know parenting littles doesn’t leave much time for romance and is a prime breeding ground for conflict, especially when perspectives differ at times. This is a dynamic only amplified at work, as working to support littles, in roles with differing perspectives, especially in the time of Covid, can be hard for all kinds of reasons.
Parenting also feels harder lately as my 5 year old son no longer allows me to help him when he needs deep pressure proprioceptive input and has been using me as a crash pad, leaving me bruised, confused, frustrated and helpless. He’s become jealous of his 2 year old brother again and will often attempt to use his body as a barrier to keep Daniel from getting to me. Big feelings are getting bigger, Covid is still happening, he wants to see his friends – I get it, believe me, I do. It ain’t easy being five.
It might be harder being a 5 year old’s mom.
I tried to look at this seemingly universal resistance as happening for me rather than happening to me. After one particularly hard day at work, followed by a particularly charged “conversation” with my husband, I tearfully asked the universe what I was supposed to be learning from all of this because I was having trouble understanding the message. I was driving, on my way to pick up my son for OT, already anticipating round 3 or 10 (who was counting) of the day. Transitions are difficult, especially when they are for appointments. The universe heard me but stayed silent on the matter and when I pulled in to my mother-in-law’s driveway to get my son, it was time to stop pondering this anyway. I had to prepare for the mental gymnastics required to get my 5 year old to stop watching TV, put on his shoes, convince him he needs his coat on and get in the car without it looking like I was losing my shit.
It wasn’t until I sat in stillness by the pond that I received what I was asking for, whispers of wisdom telling me to look to the water, to notice how it flowed. To remember that even when surrounded by brick and mortar, concrete and glass, evidence that at one point man forced Mother Nature to bend to his will, she was still there, untamed, surviving, thriving, flowing, rising in the midst of a concrete jungle.
Mamas, we have the strength, resilience, life force within to keep rising too. We have come to be who we are as mothers in the midst of situations that demand us to bend to their will – family dynamics, our partners, our children, our extended families, work, Covid-19, even our own thoughts – and yet we keep on keeping on.
The truth is we cannot change most of the things we come up against and constantly being met with external resistance will drain us. That's why self-care is so important to our livelihoods as mothers. If we can find some serenity within our daily lives, even for a moment, even in the bathroom, to pause, look within, and re-align with our light, our resilience, our amazing selves, we can remind ourselves that even in the middle of the battle of life, we will still rise.
While I haven’t had the headspace necessary to reflect on 2020 yet, because, well, life just keeps happening, I have set an intention of coming back to myself when fatigued and battle weary, re-aligning with who I want to be, as a mother, as a wife, as a friend, as me.
This isn't a New Year's resolution. It’s a mindset. A daily practice. And my wish for you, dear mamas, is that 2021 becomes the year you discover that you deserve to come back and re-align with who you want to be too.