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.

Losing You Was My Becoming

Last night I struggled.

I was triggered during the day by something my mother said in passing and by bedtime I was unwound. I was face down in my husband’s lap balling. It did not stop there. I cried when we went to bed. I woke up an hour after going to bed and cried some more. My husband held me and talked me through it as best he could.

This morning he let me sleep. He got up with little bubby and handled the morning routine. Two hours later I came out to a quiet house. Little bubby was taking his first nap, my husband was sitting on the couch watching the news on low volume. I was greeted by his smile and by the wagging tail of my excited Lucy.

I pat Lucy’s head and crawled into my husband’s lap.

I have been holding in all the pain and grief. I have been trying so hard to remain functional. The lid is off.

I asked to feel my pain and The Universe obliged. I am in pain.

I have decided to attempt to talk honestly with my parents one last time about our dysfunction and working towards healing as a family. If this message falls on deaf ears, as my previous attempts have, that is it for me. I will not subject any of my babies (internal or little bubby) to this swamp.

I am raw and reeling and trying desperately to keep my head above water. AND there is a deep sense of peace rising from my power center because this is the decision that has been waiting to be made and finally I am here.

I never wanted to be here AND somehow I have known I was coming.

Right now I do not feel big. I do not feel much like a hero. I am though and even if I don’t feel it, I know it is true.

Because here I am, going through it, not running. I am doing hard things. It is so hard.

I am scooping everyone into my lap and I am walking out of this place we do not belong…

And I am not afraid.

losing you was my becoming

Re-Defining Safety

Fear, shame, and doubt popped up this morning to tell me untruths about the danger of what I am doing. They were warning me about the calamity that will come from allowing myself to walk openly out in the world with my heart exposed. What you are doing is dangerous – you will only get hurt! 

I scooped my little ones into my lap and held them close as I examined where these messages were coming from. What I did not do was believe the messages. I did not shrink. I can no longer pretend to be what I am not, and I am NOT small.

I started to wonder what these littles learned about love and about feeling things – any things, all things.

To love openly is dangerous.
To feel what we’re feeling openly, freely, publicly, truthfully is dangerous.

This is where disconnection happens. Right here in these untruths.

This is where we shut off our heart, our soul, our creativity, our ability to be with each other and experience connection.

We become hard, rigid, afraid, empty. We create a void and the only thing that can fill that void is the exact thing we are running from, the thing we told ourselves was dangerous. Love is the missing piece. Allowing ourselves to feel what we feel without shame, without fear – this is the only way to fill the void and reconnect with our truth about who and what we are. Some people call this our essence, some people say light and love, some people say sacred, some say holy. I like all of these words, right now the word that has been coming up for me is color. I am bright, boundless, exploding, illustrious color. The word is not what matters, the feeling that rises up when you know you are home in your truth – that is what matters.

When any part of me wants to play small I think I am ultimately looking for safety. I have to keep showing all parts of me over and over and over that we can be BIG and safe. I am comfort. I am love. I am safety – These arms, this heart, this lap, these words. I am safety AND I am NOT small.

I want to take a moment to recognize the monumental growth I have experienced when it comes to holding myself in love and sacredness. In years past when shame came to visit (multiple times a day) it was a tornado of an experience and I was always sucked in. Today it took me a matter of moments to say out loud, No. This is not my truth., and then hold the pieces of myself that were experiencing fear, shame, and doubt in love and gentleness. I am a good mother and all of me feels that truth deeply because of the way I have learned to love and nurture myself.

What I am doing is not dangerous, it is the most courageous thing I have ever done.

Sweet girl, 

You are. You know. All you have to do is trust.


Intentional Disconnection

The concept of intentional disconnection emerged for me within the last week as I have been marveling at all the ways in which little bubby is becoming BIG.

It seems like sleep training was a turning point.

It is like he woke up one morning after putting himself to sleep the night before, and he decided, Okay I am big now, time to start acting like it.

So much happened in one week! He started sitting in the baby swing at the park more confidently and interacting with the children next to him as he swings, he started sitting in the cart at the grocery store, his personality has majorly bloomed – he is much more vocal and expressive, but the biggest news is that little bubby took his first steps (assisted of course).

I did not expect him to be taking steps for a few months yet, he has shown zero interest. I guess he just decided he was ready.

All of this growth he experienced in a short period of time made me reevaluate my attitude towards sleep training once again. Clearly little bubby was ready for some intentional disconnection from mommy and daddy.

I am also realizing there is more disconnection coming our way. He just weened from being breastfed so that is one area, we are also getting ready to upgrade his stroller to a forward facing stroller so he will no longer be looking at us on walks. Not to mention now that he is showing us that he is ready to get moving it is only a short matter of time before he will be independently mobile and relying on us less and less to get around.

I am glad that I have been present and connected to the experience of mothering because it does go quickly, like people say, and you don’t get any of it back. Once little bubby experiences a shift he cannot go back to the smaller version of himself, and I would not want him to. AND there are parts of me that mourn the loss of the smaller version of him because I have loved him at every stage and each stage has been special in its own unique way. That is for me to sit with though and that is where the intentional disconnection comes in.

I recognize that little bubby is experiencing so much growth in such a short amount of time and it is my job to make sure I am making room for him to be big, not doing things to keep him small. When he shows me he is ready to walk, then he is ready to walk whether I am ready for it or not. When he shows me that he is getting to big for the stroller, it is time for the big boy stroller even if I will miss looking at him during our walks.

Our connection is there AND he has to be able to connect with things outside of mommy as well, like himself, and nature, and other children, and food etc.. So I am making room for all of it and being intentional when the next aspect of disconnection from me in order to connect to other things happens.

We are figuring this out as we go. It is funny, connection is one of our family values, I never thought that we would be making room for intentional disconnection as a way to experience connection as a family. Little bubby is teaching us a lot.

Everyday I am grateful in new ways for this little soul. I am grateful he chose us. I am grateful we called him in to be with us and help our love grow.

I am amazed sometimes by the things I never knew I never knew. I am grateful to be learning. He is a wonderful teacher.

nana wisdom

Invitation to be Seen

This evening as we prepared for our walk I got all my essentials; sunglasses, head scarf, mala beads, earrings..

I am about 2 months over due on a hair cut which means my normally ultra short pixie is more of a shag. I do not love the shag AND I am letting it go on purpose – a post for another day.

Because I do not love the shag I try to hide it and I overcompensate in other ways when I go out into the world – extra accessories etc.

Getting ready takes a bit longer (to be clear, longer means 15 minutes instead 3) and little bubby is over it. I know this because of the very clear message he communicated to me this evening at the end of our walk.

We got to our park, the traditional last stop on our walk before going home, and I took him out of the stroller for cuddles on the grass. I sat on the ground and he sat in the blanket of my maxi dress playing with a leaf.

After a moment he started pulling at the mala on my wrist, I took it off and let him jangle it around like a rattle. He cooed and giggled as the Tree of Life charm hit against the magnesite beads. He looked up at me with a smile and his focus shifted; he reached up and pulled on the tie of my head scarf unraveling the knot so the scarf fell into his lap. I had a momentary pang of insecurity/shame as I thought Oh know, everybody will see my awful mop of hair, then little bubby started cooing and thrashing the scarf around and my shame immediately melted away. Then he came for my sunglasses, pulling them off and chewing on the lens.

By the time he was done I was completed unmasked. All the careful time spent armoring up to go out into the world, and in a matter of moments I was completed disarmed. My son knows what he needs and wants, his momma. He needs and wants to see me, he does not want me to hide, he made that clear tonight as we sat in the grass together. So that is it, I am done. I will not hustle for my worthiness because my hair is unruly and I am in a transition. Little bubby needs to know he is loveable and worthy in his body, as is, and I show him that by loving myself fully in my body – as is.

I need to address my shame directly for a moment:

  1. We were completely alone in the park so everybody who?
  2. My hair is okay as is, all of me is.
  3. Little bubby does not see an embarrassing mop of hair, he sees his momma – I will not allow anything to keep him from seeing me.

When we were done playing and cuddling in the grass, I scooped him up and carried him across the street to our home. When I got inside I had a thought..

My healing work is very deeply connected to the feeling of not being seen most of my life. For so long I have felt shameful and small and desperate to be seen while simultaneously being terrified at the thought. This little soul chose me to be his momma and since he has come into my life the message has been clear – I want to see you. I need to see you. Please stop hiding.

I hear you baby, I see you, and I will let you see me. I will not hide. I will not let that be the example I set for you.

You are lovable, you are loved, you are worthy of being seen and heard. 

I am lovable, I am loved, I am worthy of being seen and heard.

In the Way of Beauty

Little bubby and I take a walk everyday, weather permitting. It allows a few things to happen at once; exercise for momma, outdoor time for both of us, quiet time for both of us, and connection.

I was thinking of my husband today as we walked; when we walk we take the long way – the super long way. My husband would say our route is the most circuitous and would think it completely impractical, he would not be wrong.

Cheryl Strayed talks about putting yourself in the way of beauty in her book Wild. That is what our walk is all about. The beauty of being in my body and feeling good, the beauty of being outside together, the beauty of the quiet, the beauty of connection. Knowing this, my question is, why rush it?

We walk one block too far on the way home on purpose because this is where the yellow house is with the hanging orchids and wind chimes. We love the sweet tinkle of bells and to see which bloom has popped, so we put ourselves in the way of beauty.

We turn one block too soon because that is where the bare oak lives with the little bird’s nest. We hope one day to see little babies resting secure inside, so we put ourselves in the way of beauty.

We don’t turn right and instead go down another block because on that same street is the sage house with the coral door. We love to feel the peace radiating from this home’s foundation, so we put ourselves in the way of beauty.

We turn left at the next block so we can walk by the old house with no fence surrounding the backyard. We love to gaze in at the millions of azaleas bursting off the bushes, so we put ourselves in the way of beauty.

Then we arrive at the park next to our home. Sometimes our walks run over and it is time for the next thing on our schedule, be it bath, or baby food, or story time. Somethings cannot be rushed though; like the sun setting on the pond, or watching squirrels eat their dinner in the grass, or listening to the mockingbird sing his song. The grass calls to us, invites to sit and stay a while, and we do, so we can put ourselves in the way of beauty.

in the way of beauty

Permanent Stink

stinky dog

I am the not so proud owner of a stinky dog. It seems that no matter what measures we take this girl is coated in a permanent funkiness that will make your upper lip curl.

Her breath smells like week old fried seafood and no amount of physically teeth brushing with puppy tooth paste and tooth brush or “minty” puppy dental treats have helped. She has fish breath and that is just what it is.

The rest of her has a general salty dog stink. After a bath she might smell marginally better for an hour or two, once the wet dog smell dissipates, but go past a few hours and you are back into salty dog land.

I think this is partly due to her smelly ass dog beds that lay all over our home stinking the place up. She has like 4 or 5 at least and no amount of washing them seems to dent the stink either. I just washed her bedding from her crate and after two consecutive washes with hot water and plenty of soap – nothing. Slightly less salty and funky but not enough to claim a noticeable improvement.

Finally today I called myself licked, no pun intended.

She is a dog, a big one at that, and she is always going to smell like a dog. I am not going to take extreme measures to fight what is just her natural musky dogness. It is what it is. As long as her bedding is clean, and she is clean, and no one is complaining, it is time to live an let stink.

I am sure my natural human odor is just as offensive to her delicate nostrils but she loves me all the same, the least I can do is return that love.

I think maybe this is a lesson for me in terms of acceptance in general. I thinking specifically as it will pertain to my role as a mother. My children, babies and toddlers especially, are going to be messy. There will be messes, things will be broken and ruined, and my house will probably feel like it is under attack for at least 10 years after I give birth. As long as everyone is healthy, and clean, and happy, I think room can be made for imperfection in all of it forms.

I also think I will be a mommy who subscribes to the let-the-baby-run-free-in-a-diaper-while-at-home rule. A naked baby is a happy baby after all and a momma who doesn’t have to do as much laundry is a happy momma.