No Wrong Way

I have a confession.

Sometimes I have a little trouble giving myself room to be in my truth of struggle when it comes to mothering. The parts of me that experience privilege, and feel deeply connected to my son, and Love my life, and see all the good – those parts have no room for my truth of struggle.

A few weekends ago we spent sometime with a family we are friends with. They have a little boy too, he is one year older than little bubby. While the Daddies were playing outside with the boys me and the other momma sat at the kitchen table and exchanged truths.

Her truth of struggle looks different than mine. She works full-time and does not want to, she wants to be home raising her baby. She said she has “attachment issues” with her son because it too them two years to conceive and now all she wants to do is be with him. She shared with me the pain she experiences when she drops him off at daycare in the morning and how since becoming a mother she feels “off her game” at work, like her mind is fuzzier than it used to be.

I held space for her truth and felt the ache of her momma heart breaking. When it was my turn to share I felt the space being held for truth shrink. It felt as if there was not room for my truth of struggle. She reminded of my good fortune – I became pregnant our first try, I get to stay home and be with my son. This is all true of course AND I have many truths of struggle.

I could tell this momma, inside of her own truth of struggle, could not hold space for me and mine. I felt her self-judgment, her not-good-enoughs were littered around us like emotional landmines. Better to hold my truths sacred rather than set off bombs.

I was grateful this momma showed up the way she did with me that day. It was a much needed reminder that while support is essential, at the end of the day I am the one that has to be able to hold my truth of struggle. I am the one who has allow space for it. All the blessings of my life can be true AND I am allowed to have truth of struggle.

Here is the other reminder she reflected to me; there is no wrong way to mother. All of us are enough AND we all have truth around struggle. In the space of motherhood there is enough room for all of to be here, there is belonging for all.

She is no less a mother because she works, just as I am no more  a mother because I am home with little bubby. Her struggle is no more or less than my own, it just is. It is struggle, whatever our truth might look like, we are allowed space to be in it.

So I close this by saying I see you Momma, whoever you are, out there being enough AND being in your struggle. Thank you for seeing me in mine.

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Home is Where the LOVE is.

Little bubby turned one at the end of August. I spent most of the month reflecting on the last year of our life together and all the milestones my family has experienced during that time.

When I say milestones I am not talking about little bubby learning to crawl or say Momma, although that last one was earth shaking for me to be sure. I am talking about all the ways in which we ALL grew; as a family, as individuals, in our separate relationships.

It is incredible to me how much growth and Love and joy and abundance we have experienced in this last year.

I would like to share just a few of those moments with you before I move into why I really sat down to write this morning;

Witnessing my sweet husband become a father. Going from frazzled and at times scared while he navigated choppy waters with a newborn into the confident Daddy who played the role of both parents for four days when little bubby was 9 months old while Momma was on a healing retreat.

The way my husband and I found our way home together to our truth about gratitude and fulfillment. Being in it with him as we started calling scarcity out on the lies it was breathing into our life and staying connected to each other and our truth as we moved into a space of joyful intentional living. There is no part of our life together that has not been touched by this sacred work.

And of course little bubby. Oh my heart. I could fill pages and pages with the joy and Love I have been swimming in while I bear witness to the growth of this sweet little soul who chose us. I have in fact. I have been writing this sweet soul letters, 2 or 3 a month, since we conceived. This is how I started my connection with this little soul who chose me as his Momma and I know one day it will all mean something to him.

 

Okay, now that I have had a few minutes to soak in a Love bath let me tell you why I am here today.

As the days drew nearer to little bubby’s birthday something that kept coming up for me were images of my husband while I was in labor. It is hard not to think back to the day little bubby entered the world and the truth is, it was not all joy. There was joy and LOve but there was also fear and pain.

I have not been dwelling on the fear and pain when the memories rise though, what I keep coming back to is my husband and the feeling of warmth and comfort; the feeling of emotionally and energetically being held.

I see him sitting next to me in the labor room reading To Kill a Mockingbird to me. I see him spoon feeding me jello and encouraging me to drink water. I see him holding me as I attempt to move around the room. I see him petting my forehead between pushes. I see him running to the bathroom for a cold wash cloth and then holding it on my face and neck. I see his beautiful face and the tears and relief he is feeling when it finally over and little bubby is laying on my stomach. I see him standing across the room next to little bubby who is being cleaned by nurses while the doctor stitches me. I see him helping me practice taking deep breaths when little bubby will not latch. I see him sacrificing his body to take care of mine. I see him trying over and over and over again. He never stops trying.

I fell in love with this man because when I said I wanted to take it slow, he said okay. He never once tried to take anything without asking, he waited for me. I fell in love with this man because when I told him my whole story, without editing the pain, he said I love you, none of this changes that. I fell in love with this man because falling in love with him was the easiest thing I have ever done in my entire life, there was nothing to do but love him.

I did not know, I slipped so easily into this Love with him, just what it would all mean. I did not know then that he was the soul, who chose me and whom I chose, to walk home together. This man has always been walking me home, and I am walking with him too. Sometimes he leads, sometimes I am the one in front, but we are always together, always in our connection. His light shines clarity onto our path and so does mine.

So on this anniversary of the day our sweet little soul joined us here in the outside world, I send my kisses and gratitude to the stars for the man who helped me make the vessel that will always be little bubby’s home. We made this Love, we made his little human form, we made this family, we made a home together.

 

With my Hand on Your Heart

On a very human level, this week was hard.

Saturday my husband, who has been sick all of three times during our 7 year relationship, came down with the cold that little bubby and I have been sharing over the last few weeks. Sunday my cycle started. Monday little bubby began having sleep trouble.

Monday left me in tears, Tuesday left us stressed, Wednesday about killed us.

Wednesday night little bubby woke at 10:30 and did not finally return to sleep until 3:30 Thursday morning.

We were all able to make up some of that sleep during his morning nap on Thursday but the damage had been done and the day hurt.

Have you ever had that kind of day, where the day just hurts? Thinking hurts, moving hurts, interacting hurts, everything is just painful.

It was still before noon when I found myself standing in the middle of the living room, shaking two beach towels, tears rolling down my face, all because Lu was following me around the house as I readied us for our holiday plans when all I wanted was a LITTLE SPACE!

I stopped my shaking and went inward. I breathed through the emotional and energetic shaking as I held all of myself and allowed the hurt to settle. We are okay.

Settled, I walked into the kitchen where all of my loves sat around the table having lunch. I sat in my spot at the window seat and picked up the sandwich my husband had made for me.

He looked at me with his beautiful face, the one he shares with me when he can see my pain and is promising not to add on.

He said, We have to get through this together. We cannot melt down.

I added, At the same time.

He smiled.

He suggested we practice counting our gratitude together to offset the hurt. From my place of exhaustion I shared that I could not see it through the fog. We agreed to start in a simpler place, funny stories. Let’s retell funny stories until enough hurt has lifted to call in our gratitude.

We told the story of Lu getting pooped on by a bird. We told the story of little bubby farting across the living room as he crawled towards a toy. We told the story of Lu getting her ear covered in barbecue sauce.

We laughed and the fog of hurt began to lift. It was time to go. We loaded the car and nestled our babies in and headed out to be with family.

The rest of the day ran smooth. We ate, we played, we rested. We honored the space of where we were and chose rest over fireworks and drinking. We came home early, put little bubby to bed, and cuddled in bed reading until lights out. We were asleep before 9:00.

As a laid next to my husband in the dark, right before falling off the edge into sleep, I told him I was ready to count our gratitude. He went first;

I noticed you remembered to turn the air up before we left.
I am grateful for how gently our babies play together (little bubby was sitting with Lu earlier in the day handing her dog bones).
I am grateful little bubby is asleep and able to rest.
I am grateful for the support we allowed today.

Then I followed;

I am grateful to call you my partner. There is no one else I would choose to do this life with. When it is good, part of that is always you. When it is bad, part of my ability to navigate and survive it is always you.

I am grateful for these sweet souls who chose us (Lu and little bubby). We get to share our home and our love with such gentle little beings and I am so grateful and honored to have been chosen by them.

I am grateful for our ability to lean into support without falling into exploiting  the givers of that support.

I am grateful for this bed I get to share with you, and clean sheets to lay on, and comfort, and quiet, and rest.

I fell asleep with my hand on his chest, his heart beating beneath it.

Momma Gratitude

This afternoon I completed my 3rd load of laundry, 2nd load of dishes (the third load is waiting its turn in the sink), put away all the supplies after giving the Lu an impromptu bath this morning when she decided to roll in mud, made dinner for tonight (legit food I am proud to feed my family), finished cleaning up the art room from last night’s creation, and sat down here to write this post – all while little bub takes a nap.

I came in from moving the laundry around and saw another item to add to my check list – clean up shoes from front hall. I almost grabbed them then and there but instead I got mad; I have been cleaning my house all day, how the hell is my house still messy?! 

I say this to myself multiple times per week.

It feels like I am always cleaning. It is totally not true, I am no slave to cleanliness; however, I do clean a lot more than I used to.

I have a third person’s laundry to do, and that third person is super messy. I have a third person to feed, and that third person is super messy. I have a third person to clean up after, and that third person is super messy.

I am grateful for the chores my husband does, otherwise I would be buried. As it is, I still feel a bit ick about this particular part of my role as mommy and house co-manager.

That is why I am writing in these sacred few minutes I have left before little bubby wakes up. Not because I need to vent, the opposite in fact; I have gratitude exploding out of me.

My ability to balance is on point. When scarcity creeps in; Hello why is the house still a mess?!, I don’t have enough help, I don’t have enough time, I don’t have enough energy, We need a maid!, I start looking for the truth and tune out the lies scarcity is trying to sell me. Sorry scarcity, I am not buying.

My first truth: The truth of enough.

I am enough. What I have is enough. What I give is enough. I do not have to do it all now. There is enough time for everything.

Second, truth: The truth of abundance.

Enter gratitude, welcome back old friend. I missed you for a moment there. Let’s practice some truth speaking about this life of ours.

My gratitude in this moment is this:

I am grateful for the peace an organized home brings myself and my family.
I am grateful my husband shares a peaceful home as a foundational value and does his part to create and maintain our peace.
I am grateful little bubby naps well and that I am able to use his nap time in whatever way I feel connected to in that moment; cleaning, art, cooking, writing..
I am grateful for the knowledge that no use of this time is wrong as long as I made the decision from a place of connection.
I am grateful for what I was able to accomplish and create this afternoon.
I am grateful for my truth around perfectionism; I do not have to do it all, I do not have to be supermom – I am enough as I am, ALL of me is.
I am grateful for the support I call in; friends, family, the food I eat, hot showers, books, coffee, hugs.

Most of all, always most of all, I am grateful for the love. There is so so much love here and I am grateful.

Little bubby is awake and I am now ready to play.

Yoda was Right (of course she was)

My therapist and I have been using Star Wars metaphors for my inner healing and awakening throughout our relationship. She being a child of the 70’s, me being a child of the 80’s, and this being THE movie series of our childhood, it works.

In these metaphors she is always my Yoda and I am always trying to find my fucking way out of the swamp towards my place of truth and purpose.

Something Yoda told me early on is that growth is comes with loss, it is always accompanied by loss. Because growth is change and to change means on some level things will be different, there is loss in that.

Part of the loss for me, and for many people experiencing their awakening, is in relationships. There are some people who will not show up in this with us. Sometimes it was relationships stepping away from me, sometimes it was me stepping away from relationships. What I can tell you is that the loss makes space for the gain, I have experienced major gains as a result of doing my soul work.

Something else Yoda told me about how me growing will impact my relationships is, while yes, some people will step away because they are not ready or willing to look in the mirror and my truths will be painful for them, others will rise with me. Me giving myself permission to rise will have a ripple effect and those who want to rise will accept my invitation, they will give themselves permission too.

My husband is an example of this truth, we are rising together. One of my best friends I feel is another example, that girl is rising and coming home to herself in the biggest ways right now.

I am having trouble finding my words to share this next part because my truth is, I never thought I would be speaking them..

I think my mother is rising. 

It has been gradual, so much so that I was not fully aware of the minuscule shifts happening, now looking back I can see it all more clearly.

Now as I am standing in my truths every day and giving myself all the permission needed to be BIG, to take up space, to be SEEN and HEARD and hold all of me sacred — She is seeing and hearing me. She is bearing witness to what permission to live a BIG life looks like and it feels like she wants in.

The BIG shift for us was deep truth speaking post Soul Camp that led to deeper, truer connection, the likes of which I have NEVER experienced with her.

Today we did it again. That first day was not a fluke. We can do this.

We can be heard and seen and speak truth with each other. We can rise separately, side by side.

My mother and I shared our truths about some of our parts that are hard to love. We shared our truths about our darkness. She told the truth about how she pushes this part of herself away, the way she disconnects from herself and self-sacrifices in order to be in her relationships. I told the truth that her truth made me sad and that I believe her darkness is lovable because I love my darkness, and it looks and sounds like hers. I told her my truth about darkness, it does not make us unlovable, it does not make you unlovable Mom.

We are dealing with generational trauma in my family and for the first time I feel like I can say – We are dealing with it.

There was no broom, no rug being lifted. There were two women, connected by DNA and love telling the truth. The dark, painful, sacred truth.

We can do this. My mom and I, and you – you can do this. I cannot promise you that your mom or your spouse or your child or your boss or your best friend or your partner will show up in it with you; that person may not accept the invitation to rise. That will hurt. It may even rip you open. YOU CAN STILL DO THIS. You are all the mother, spouse, child, boss, best friend, partner you need. You are the connection and belonging you are searching for in those relationships. It has always been you.

In my writing I rarely shift the focus from me to you, this is about my soul’s journey home, AND it’s not. It has never just been about me. If you are reading this you must know, it has always been about you too.

Take the invitation. You are here, you are reading this, you are in relationship with me by bearing witness.

Rise. It might just surprise you who will accept your invitation to rise right along side you.

You Are Ready

Two weeks ago my mother and I did something I never thought possible in our relationship, we practiced truth speaking.

It was HARD.

AND —

It was SO good.

 

I called her a few days after soul camp to wish her a belated happy Mother’s Day and check in. Early on in the conversation she cautiously asked if I had done the work I needed to do around my relationship with my brother in order to be able to step back into the relationship.

I told her I had done work around the relationship, Yes, AND I was not ready to return to the relationship. I asked her if she wanted to discuss where I was at with it and Why, she did.

I told the truth.

He abused me growing up. It was not “siblings fighting” it was abuse. Shattered bedroom door, holes in the wall, bruises on my body, strangulation until I passed out –  I was terrified and it was abuse.

I was holding up a mirror she had been avoiding for a very long time. She had failed as a mother and my truths were the proof.

The truth speaking continued like this – me making room for her to be an imperfect mother, me letting her know I can love her and I will not reject her in this, AND truth speaking about my place of injury in these failures. I understand now it was never her failures that hurt, it was her rejection of me when she failed. By not owning her imperfections as a mother she was rejecting me every time she got it wrong. She was rejecting me because she could not hold the truth, that she was not the perfect mother. She rejected me because I was a reminder that she was not a perfect mother.

I told the truth that I am AS IMPORTANT as my brother, I am MORE IMPORTANT than my relationship with my brother, and I am MORE IMPORTANT than our family being whole. I AM IMPORTANT.

I told the truth that I will no longer carry my brother. I will no longer hold anything that is not mine to hold. I will not hold her pain over her failures, I will not hold my brother’s pain, I will not hold the pain of my family. I will ONLY HOLD MYSELF.

I told the truth that my brother is still spiraling, it just manifesting in different ways. He is still that 13 year old boy in his trauma. He has not showed up to hold his pain, rescue the parts of himself he has abandoned, and he is not loving himself well, if at all.

I told the truth that these truths about my brother make him feel unsafe to me and I will not expose any part of myself or my family to this.

I spoke my truth that I love my brother and I miss him, but not more than myself. I come first.

My mother asked questions and spoke truths as well and held her pain. It was hard and it was good.

For the first time in the history of our relationship I felt seen and heard in my pain and truths. The rug was lifted and we survived.

It was hard and it was good.

When I recounted this experience with my therapist she said one of the best things she has ever said to me; You are ready to have a girl. 

I knew exactly what she meant.

I am in my power. I have done the work. I am saved and I am the one that did the rescuing. We are past the trauma because I am the mother of this vessel and the parts therein, I am safety. Because I now hold myself and my truths sacred and in deep deep love I am able to show others how this is done, including a daughter if one chooses me.

I came home and told my husband what my therapist said and his reaction filled me with so much joy.

I did it. I am on the other side!

There will always be work to do, the tree is never done growing until it dies, but I am done going back. Now it is time for me to find my way forward.

I know I still have some work to do related to my past but it is different now. It is from a place of power and love, not victim mentality and fear. Once these last few parts are scooped into my lap I will be unstoppable. This is what it looks like when a powerful woman rises.

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Showing Up Together

I have talked before about the ways in which my husband and I show up in and for our relationship. These are the things we do to energetically tend to weeds so the flowers of our relationship can continue to bloom and growth in a healthy way. We have relationship check-ins which is a large block of time is set aside with no predetermined topic so we can discuss the health of out relationship and areas where we have room for growth. We also have the beloved conversation cup which is a place holder for conversations that need to be circled back to when space and time can be made to fully honor them.

All of this is important and valuable, AND it does not prevent impromptu relationship work from popping up on a random Wednesday night.

Case in point; last Wednesday night I asked my husband if he would be okay with moving the bookshelf from the guestroom to the sunroom the following evening after little bubby goes to bed. Friday night is art night for me and my art supplies were currently splayed across my art table, this mess was not going to be conducive to creativity. I knew if he moved the shelf Thursday evening that would give me Friday during the day while bubby naps to getting everything organized and then I would be all set to paint and create Friday night.

He was ALL IN. Love that man. The issue arose after the Yes. There was an old coffee table in the sunroom that we agreed to get rid of when we moved the bookshelf into the room, its time had come. Trash pick up for large items is not until Monday, and with the upcoming Monday being a recognized holiday we were pretty sure they would not be coming for the table. So the question was, where to store the coffee table until it could be disposed of? It took us a few minutes to find common ground and by the time we did my husband was OVER the whole conversation which he made clear when he threw a Whatever at me.

We do not talk to each other this way. It might seem like a small thing but it is a weed in our garden. In that moment my husband was not speaking his truth; I am tired, I feel myself becoming frustrated, I am ready to be done with this conversation for right now, and I want some space.

Had he spoken his truth I would have been very clear on how he is feeling and what his needs are and I could act accordingly. Me acting accordingly would look like this; letting him know I hear him, that we can figure out the rest of the details another time, and letting him know what I would be doing so he could be somewhere else doing something else.

Later when the dust had settled we would have done a little repair work if needed and give hugs, as is our way after a hard conversation.

We got there, all of these things happened in the end, not before taking an sizable detour into shame town USA together though.

It started with me truth speaking and setting a boundary; I am not comfortable with the way that conversation ended, I am open to hearing your truth about what is going on for you right now but please do not speak to me that way in the future.

My husband practiced truth speaking AND went into his male shame place of I-have-to-fix-and-be-the-hero. I lovingly called him on it and made it clear that is not my stuff, it is his, and I am not willing to hold it for him.

This led him to bring up times when I was playing out this shame with him by having this unfair and unrealistic expectations of him which then made me feel invisible. Is he not seeing my growth? Is he not seeing how far I/we have come? Does he honestly think we are still back there? 

We were both starting to spiral.

I found myself standing across from him with my arms crossed starting to fume when I did this really amazing thing that so many of us forget we can do, I paused.

I pressed pause on the whole situation. I may have even said PAUSE out loud, I don’t remember.

I sat down. I closed my eyes. I took a few deep breaths and checked in with all parts of me that were showing up in this moment ready for a fight, and then collected them all in my lap and said, Okay children watch this magic I am about to do.

I opened my eyes and said to my husband, Let’s talk about the lies we are telling ourselves right now.

We took turns.

Me: I am telling myself that you do not see me and my growth.
Bubby: I am telling myself that you want me to make you feel better.
Me: I am telling myself that I am the only one carrying this relationship and that you don’t care.
Bubby: I am telling myself that you want me to be perfect and handle everything and that I am not allowed to feel the way I feel.

Then we checked in with each other on each lie;

Is this true?
No.

Is this true?
No.

Is this true?
No.

Is this true?
No.

The answer was always No.

We stepped out of the spiral together.

We practiced truth speaking and agreed there were a few things for the conversation cup that we would need to come back to and do some repair around.

Then we practiced gratitude.

We took turns.

I am grateful for the way you are showing up as my partner and not making me handle everything alone.

I am grateful for the safety and space you have created so I am able to do my soul work and become my biggest self.

I am grateful for the work you are doing with your family around boundaries and truth speaking, I know it is hard.

I am grateful for the way you show up in your feminine energy with me and little bubby. I am grateful you are the example of what “being a man” is for him.

Then we let the dust settle, we spent quiet time alone together in the same room, and at bed time we snuggled before falling asleep.

 

Our plan that night was to fold laundry and watch TV, that plan went out the window. We recognize that we cannot plan for everything, some storms seemingly form out of thin air. We are ready for every storm that comes our way though, we meet them head on with confidence that what we have built can weather it. This is our truth because we have been intentional in the way we built this relationship together; we have a solid foundation, and strong walls, and no rock will ever break our glass. We take measures everyday to insure the safety of what we are creating and we show up together ready when the winds start to turn.

I am grateful for this man, and this relationship, and this life.

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