Another dirty diaper.
Another missed nap.
Another tantrum on the way out the door.
Another day with no alone time.
Another evening exhausted when you thought you’d have energy to read your book.
I don’t know about you but this is a short list of some of my motherhood challenges. And being a true mindfulness geek (and a born therapist) I have spent time examining what it is like to live through these experiences over and over—what being states are common to the experience of mothering. Let’s talk about what is going on at a deeper level and how understanding it can help us remain sane!
Here are the real happiness killers:
Being a mom can be BORING. Yes, capital B-O-R-I-N-G. We love our kids but after hours with them doing the same activities over and over and over it can start to feel like Groundhog Day! Diapers on repeat. After a while I want to rebel…but what choice is there? Naked bums? I think not.
I have been inadvertently slapped in the face by baby or toddler limbs more times than I can count over the last 4 years. Do they mean to slap me? Of course not…does it ever piss me off? Yes. Same with being pinched, grabbed, slimed, and whined at. Sometimes these things fill me with anger—and they hurt! I’ll admit it!
Ah, chaos, how I never miss you. You know how a toddler can destroy a clean room in approximately 4 minutes? Or how you can’t find something to wear because your clothes are scattered about the house—half washed but in some room unfolded, half in the wash? Ever look for a bill under a pile of art projects from preschool and come across ANOTHER bill due but that never even got opened? Ever had three people and multiple pets needing you all at the same time? Chaos, dear friends. A real head exploder.
You know that moment when you’re planning to finally make a phone call to your old friend, watch a show, take a shower, pay the aforementioned bills, stretch, rest or some other such practical/useful/enjoyable activity and NEVER GET TO due to a child waking up, an infant’s illness, your spouse’s operation, your survival need to bring sanity (eg, get the cloth diapers out of the wash before they mildew) to the chaos rather than do something fun? Expectations, folks…the lead up to the fall.
And last but not least, dears, deprivation. How many times have you been caring for others when you really wish you could eat, go to the bathroom, sleep, or scratch an itch? I think there most of us go through periods (years perhaps) when we put our kids to sleep, feed them, clothe them, or deal with their upsets while our own basic needs go unmet.
Ok, you’re thinking, you’ve laid out the torture…what is the solution? Stop rubbing salt in my wounds!
The solution is accepting these realities of life with small children rather than resisting them. They just ARE. Plain. Simple. Part of the struggle and suffering is thinking something should be better or different. Rather, mastering a more peaceful inner world is about knowing these experiences will arise on a daily basis and that while it is totally normal to dislike them, we could say hello to them in a friendly way and reduce their potency.
“Oh hey there Monotony, here we are AGAIN. Yeah, I know I signed up for you when I started this mothering thing. Ok, you’re right, I didn’t really GET it, did I? No, but I get it now. You and me on nap number 75,000…
What’s that? What did you say? Ok, you’re right, I’m blessed to have this baby in my arms. I know, I know, she won’t be small forever. Smell her sweet baby smell, you say? Since I’m here rocking her? Yes, I’ll try that…”
We can befriend them and we can also find tools that allow us to withstand them and feel less triggered and at the effect of them. I wish I could have used the energy I spent wishing these states away on actually breathing through them and potentially masterminding some useful outcomes. I probably could have written a novel in my head in the time it has taken me to put my two babies down for naps and nighttime!
Bottom line, we are all in this together. How do you cope with these states, Honest Mamas?
Claire R. Colaço is a mother, practicing psychotherapist, and co-creator of HonestMamas.com.
Join Honest Mamas email list.
Receive a nurturing mama meditation when you sign up.