In the beginning, sleep was all I really yearned for. A good four hour stretch, and I might feel somewhat human the next day. I might perhaps feel like the girl I’d always known myself to be: prepared and in control. I wanted to feel my humanness–not necessarily an easy task for a new mom.
Ironically, though, it was the baby- the very one who was stealing my sleep- who woke me up to my full human being-ness. This is how it happened: Life started to get hard. It really sucked being sleep deprived. Later when my daughter started getting recurring ear infections, I thought- I should be able to handle this. I didn’t want to admit just how difficult it was for me! This was not who I thought I was! I felt ready when I arrived at motherhood, centered, and carrying with me an idea of how life was going to be.
That was the way I had lived- knowing what to expect. (There’s a reason What to Expect When You’re Expecting is the iconic book it is, because our culture places value on what can be known, logically, linearly, rationally). But life was introducing me to a new way, one that is creative, unknown, open and receptive. Life was giving me what I needed in the form of hardship and challenge and it was inviting me to create my own version of motherhood. I was being given the opportunity to define it for myself. To exchange the voice that says, “You should be able to handle this,” for one that says, “Surrender to what this moment is telling you.”
The impulses of creativity and evolving life are at work even in those moments when we want to pop some “Screwitol” pills.
Imagine this: The moment we say SCREW IT ALL is the moment we are being pushed toward something utterly new. Now that is not what we expected!
Barbara Marx Hubbard says, rather than wondering “What is wrong with me?” ask, “What wants to be born in me?” Maybe it is a new belief or a new rhythm to your life. Some thing wants to express!
It took a while for me to realize this, because in those dark moments, it’s so easy to just say Screwitol. But as I began to cultivate a space within myself, and as I engaged in new conversation with wise women, I came to see that Life is always in support of me. I’m no longer who I thought I was, the prepared and in control girl; out of the struggles emerged this new self- a woman open to the divine mystery of life flowing through her. Now all I yearn for is to be awake, wide awake!
No matter if you are a working mom judging yourself when you hand your baby over each day, a stay-at-home mom criticizing yourself because this is NOT the way you envisioned it (wasn’t it going to be all muffin baking Tuesdays and craft-making Wednesdays?); we are all trying to find the balance between caring for our children and caring for ourselves. Stop judging. Stop criticizing. Start creating something new. (It can be simple- create a new goodbye ritual, create a “mommy moment” in your schedule). And this is so important- start having these conversations with other moms! I invite you to start here in the comment section.