Let’s set the record straight from the beginning.
I am nowhere close to being a parenting expert.
In fact, the more hours I log in as a parent, the more I’m convinced parenting experts are a fallacy. I believe with my whole heart that the world needs a whole lot less parenting experts and a whole lot more supports for parents to stay well and vital as they navigate this tremendous responsibility of raising kids.
This is all coming up for me because this past week I’ve had a *really* tough time being a mom.
From the very beginning, the hardest part of the mothering journey for me was the fear that I was getting it wrong.
I have never in my life wanted to get something more right than this.
And when I’m in a bad place, I can feel like there is one way to get it right (which of course, I can’t figure out) and a million ways to mess it up.
In hindsight, I think the risk of failing felt so painful, I was willing to give up the wheel if someone would just tell me what to do to get it right. And pretty soon I was trying less and less to know myself as a mother.
Pretty soon, it felt like I was just trying on someone else’s rules of how it is supposed to happen.
We all know this way of living and mothering will only turn you into a crazy hot mess- and a hugely insecure one at that.
And I’ve spent a fair amount of time in the crazy hot mess department.
But I’m also learning a different way.
Finding “perfect motherhood” isn’t a fancy new coat you put on and fool everyone into thinking you’ve got it together when underneath you’re in beat-up 10 year old yoga pants.
Kids can SMELL a fake a mile away.
I’m figuring out that it isn’t about having the perfect response when your 4 year old breaks out the “adolescent-sized” attitude on you…but rather you don’t. lose. your. ever. lovin’. mind. when she does.
And you don’t lose your mind because you have been TAKING CARE OF YOUR MIND and so she knows she isn’t responsible for your sanity she is responsible for herself (as much as a 4 yr old can be) and YOU are responsible for YOURSELF and you show her that by taking EXCELLENT care of yourself (as much as you can with three little
terrors cherubs running around.)
Do you want to know how to become the mother your child needs you to be?
Become a whole and healthy woman. And take that vital woman and show up as the mother of your children.
It is the only way. THE ONLY WAY.
It is impossible to make wise judgements when you are stretched thin, tapped out and drained from the core.
It is impossible to grow loving and honest relationships when you are spinning out of control with stress.
Think about the shining moments you’ve had before when you felt deeply proud of who you were as a mother. I can guarantee you those were the times you were feeling really good in your own body, mind, mood and soul.
The more you show up as a whole, healthy, well person the more your choices in motherhood come from a wise and well place.
Yes, of course, you’ll still feel like you are wading through dense fog much of the time.
Motherhood is a radical act of faith.
Instead of letting the thoughts go crazy in your mind that say, “You suck. You’re failing at this. You don’t even know who you are anymore.”
Try this question instead, ask “Who do you want to be?”
Who you want to be is who you will become.
Gaze at the image of that person for a while. Not in comparison or judgement. But to see the horizon for a moment since so often our eyes are stuck on the ground in front of us.
You are a magnificent work in progress, you have a destination, you are on a gloriously messy journey.
When I caught this glimpse, my whole perspective shifted.
This is the path of getting it right.
To see myself in the becoming and to invest deeply in the woman I’m heading toward step by step along the way.
Today, I ask you to pause and instead of seeing who you’ve been or who you are in this moment, to gaze at your beautiful horizon and ask yourself “Who do I want to become?”
Let that vision settle into your bones and then from that place step forward into your life and with every thought, every choice, every breath draw yourself closer to the horizon.
I would LOVE to hear from you- your experience of the mamahood journey and your insights about this topic. Please join me in the comments.
p.s. Just a gentle reminder that if you’d like to commit 2013 as a year where you keep the vision of who you want to become before you and surround yourself with the kind of support, guidance and tools you need to make it a reality please consider spending the year with me and my inner circle of Motherlode mamas.