How I Escaped My iPhone For 3 Whole Days

By accident, that’s how. I left my wall charger in Hermanus on a recent weekend away and then The Band took my car charger with him to Afrikaburn. And it has been the most wonderful accident, learning experience and eye-opener.

Day one was just a huge adjustment – it felt as if I was walking around without my knickers on. It was half fun and half filled with anxiety – I kept having these happy moments when I realised that I hadn’t checked my phone for hours, followed by a sense of ‘what if I’m missing out on Stuff and don’t even know about it’ anxiety.

Day two was my chance to go out and buy a charger – I got to the fabulous Buro store in Stellenbosch (go there if you ever want amazing, personalized service – they never cease to impress me) and it was closed, since it was Workers’ Day, which I had forgotten about. I was surprised that I felt really relieved to see the doors locked and the sign telling me to return the following day. It felt like someone had just given me an extra day’s holiday. And by now I was really relishing the silence and the fact that I was solely responsible for what information I was consuming – and when. I had completely lost that feeling that perhaps someone was trying to reach me and getting offended that I wasn’t responding. My dearest friends know that I sometimes need to go underground and that it’s nothing personal. And since I had both my kids with me all the time and The Band was without signal of his own in the desert, I realised that there was no need for me to feel any obligation or need to be available at all.

Late afternoon on day three saw me returning to Buro and purchasing a charger. I arrived as they were locking up for the day but being the awesome people that they are, they ushered me in and allowed me to make a quick purchase. I plugged in as soon as I got home and have just switched on my phone to find the following waiting to be consumed by unsuspecting old me, either on Twitter, Facebook or by email:

  • The One Thing You Should Be Doing For A Bloat-Free Belly
  • 6 Reasons To Start Using Coconut Oil As Toothpaste
  • Drinking enough water is vital to good health & when you do is just as NB
  • The 6 Mental Steps I Took to Manifest A 6-Figure Salary
  • 3 Ancient Ayurvedic Rituals To Rock Your Mornings
  • Here’s what gluten really does to your food
  • 10 Ways Moms Can Balance Home and Family
  • Seven tips for purposeful parenting
  • 5 Prenatal Yoga Moves Every Mama-To-Be Should Try
  • How to Overcome Anxiety and Depression Without Medications

It’s pretty clear from the headings what sort of newsletter I subscribe to, what pages I like and who I follow on Twitter: things that are supposed to uplift, inform and empower me; things that are specifically designed to help me reach my full potential – as a working mother, a yogi, a woman, someone who has to continually watch myself to make sure that my emotions are in check (more about that in another post) so that I can maintain my balance… as a human being on this planet. And when I saw all these things waiting for me, instead of feeling supported, I felt a cold, small but vice-like hand of panic tightening around my heart. I felt my breath becoming instantly sharper and shallower, and I realised why I have been feeling so relaxed the past few days: I have been in control of my thoughts and my feelings. I have been entirely able to dictate what information I consume, when. I have not had to second-guess what I have been doing, thinking, eating, wearing, cooking, or how I’ve been disciplining or what I’ve been feeding my children, not for one second. I had eaten my morning oats with gusto and no concern about the ghastliness of gluten; I have let my kids have what we call ‘piggy night’ last night because I just did not feel like going through the rigmarole and soap opera that is bathtime can be at times; I have used normal toothpaste and I have washed my bath out with Handy Andy (gasp) because I ran out of my natural cleaning products and just did not feel like driving to the shops to buy more. I have read actual books – fiction, not self-help – and I have been a total rebel and slept for 11 hours one night and for 7 the next because I was excited about clearing out my linen cupboard and didn’t want to go to bed until it was done.

And I have felt happy about it!

It has been interesting for me to see the amount of pressure I allow these sites to exert on me. How sensitive and suggestible I am in terms of feeling that I could / should be doing (everything) better. How I really am a work in progress when it comes to being more gentle on myself and not doubting myself. How you really don’t miss out on anything unmissable if you are out of radio silence for a while.

Moving forward: I am going to unsubscribe from a bunch of these newsletters; I am going to unfollow a whole flock of tweeters and I am going to unlike a horde of Facebook pages so that I have fewer sources of unsolicited advice waiting to ambush me every time I log in / on. And I am officially banning my phone from my bedroom in the evenings. It is going to charge in the kitchen while I sleep and I am going to use my old-fashioned alarm clock to wake me up.

So my love-hate affair with my phone continues, but I look forward to this continued awareness and taking control of its dominance in my life. Give it a try – switch yours off for a weekend and see how you feel, and let me know!

On Using a 6-year Old as a Meditation Aid

Danny and me

Danny and me

Since returning from India, I have vowed to become more disciplined in my meditation practice.

Hmmm.

The idea is to sit every morning for 20 minutes before I start with my official day. Sounds simple enough, right? Wrong. Not just am I experiencing the most fascinating level of resistance to getting out of bed – despite having had ample sleep (another post on this very topic of resisting meditation is under way and soon to be posted) – but my children have inexplicably started waking up half an hour earlier than usual. I set my alarm for 6am and the theory is that by 6.30pm I will have finished my pranayama, meditation and be feeling that wonderful sense of quiet calm that comes as a result, and that it will carry me through the chaos of breakfast and getting the kids to school, and into my working day.

In the 3 weeks since returning from my trip, I have probably achieved that five times maximum.

I set up my spot the night before I go to bed – lay my mat out in front of the beautiful old sash window and wide windowsill that I use as my make-shift altar in my bedroom, and put out my beautiful scented candle and the very special bronze Buddha statue that is inlaid with turquoise and agate. My meditation shawl is folded on the mat and all I need to do is roll out of bed when my alarm goes off.

This morning, I was feeling sparkly and alert after three rounds of Kapalabhati and was settling into my meditation with something bordering on anticipation and exhilaration – “Here I am! Finally! I am going to get this right, even just this morning”. Brought my attention to the breath after mindfully scanning through my body. So, this is me, sitting, on my mat, breathing. Breathing in. Breathing out. And then I heard the slight creaking of the wooden floorboards in the passage leading to my bedroom and I knew that one of the kids was up. Back to the breath. Just breathe. A gentle tap on the shoulder and a whispered “Good morning Mummy”. Ah, Daniel. Maybe if I ignore him he will crawl into bed besides my sleeping husband – he knows not to disturb me when I’m meditating. Just breathe. In. Breathe. Out. “Mummy? Mum? (pause) Mummy, you look very beautiful when you meditate”.

And right there any attempt at ignoring this perfect little human being became futile. So I looked at him and smiled, and he gave me the most beautific grin and crawled onto my lap. He is only-just small enough still to be able to fit comfortably into my cross-legged position, with his legs dangling off the one side and his head lolling off the other, but he did it, and I tucked the shawl around him and we both took a deep breath and then I settled back into my meditation, but this time instead of focusing on the sensations of my own body I became aware of his: this perfectly formed human being lying on my lap. The curve of his spine pressing against my belly, the smooth warm skin of his face against my leg, the tousled curls of his head pressing against my arm. The slow and steady breath, about double the rhythm of my own, and the almost imperceptible beating of his heart, as we just breathed together and were peaceful. Soon enough my thoughts started flying as they so often do when it comes to my children: Is he happy? Does he seem to be balanced? Will he remain healthy? Am I a good enough mother? Is he doing enough extra-mural activities? Did I pack his swimming clothes into his backpack? Do I read enough to him? Are his tantrums normal? Am I setting a good enough example for him and his sister?

And then, as if reading my thoughts, he looked up at me and said “You’re the best mummy, you know”.

And then, “This is nice, isn’t it, Mummy?”

And I said, “Yes, my beautiful boy, this is very nice indeed”. And watched as all the thoughts drifted away and came back to the sensation of his small, warm body on my lap, the sound of our breaths, the sensation of our heartbeats, the weight of his head resting on my arm, the curvature of his delicate spine pressing against my belly, the flickering of the candle and the slow and easy peace of my home in the early morning.

 

My beautiful Buddha from Rishikesh, India

My beautiful Buddha from Rishikesh, India

**Photo of me and Danny taken by Shantelle Visser of Shantelle Visser Photography – highly recommended **

Life Lessons Learned from Riding a Bike

I’m busy going through the wonderful, if harrowing, rite of passage of starting to teach my 4 year-old how to ride a proper bicycle. Harrowing for me, that is – he is as fearless and plucky as can be. I have it on good advice from my sister (mum of 4 and, along with my BFF Cath – another mum of 4 – my go-to person in most questions in the child-rearing department) that the 2 or so years he’s spent on his ‘balance bike’ (otherwise known as a JD Bug, or a ‘Lady Bike’ as my Danny fondly and misguidedly refers to it) will ensure a smooth and painless transition to a proper bike, and that the stabilisers / training wheels supplied with the bike are wholly unnecessary and will in fact have the undesired effect of making him question his balance and start to rely on them instead. We’re both willing to try this theory out and so far so good, in that I’m spending long afternoons running up and down the driveway and path outside our house, hanging onto the saddle while I push him along, his little legs pumping up and down like pistons but not doing very much in terms of actually propelling him forward. I’m getting fit, he’s having a ball, and I’m confident that it’s just a matter of time before he gets the hang of it.

This whole experience has made me think about some very simple similarities between riding a bike and living a happy life. Indulge me, if you will, this is hardly rocket science.

You need to have a good idea about where you’re going, and you need to keep your eyes on the road, but at the same time you’ve got to expect, and be prepared for, obstacles to crop up when you least expect, want or need them to.

When they do, inevitably, occur, it seems that there are two ways of dealing with them. One is to tighten your grip on the handlebars, squeeze your face into a tight ball, hold your breath, speed up and try to blast through whatever is in your way. You may get through to the other side but you may well get hurt, and it’s not going to be much fun. The other is to loosen your grip slightly, slow down, take a few deep breaths, and have a good look for detours or ways around the blockage. Maybe even stop and take stock for a while. Perhaps put your bike down, lie back against a tree and listen to the birds for a while. Maybe go back to where you came from and try again from a slightly different angle. But go easy and go gentle.

I guess it’s all about not being too hell-bent on staying on a chosen course, but being prepared for things to change along the way, and finding a way to adapt so that you still get to your destination. Or choosing a new destination altogether.

Balance is an obvious one that is hugely beneficial. Not going too far one way or the other, but finding a middle ground that works for you. Or even if you’re not a middle ground kind of person, at least knowing where it is so you can get back to it if you need to.

The ability to recover, to dust yourself off and get back in the saddle if you hit a tree. As many times as necessary. Although if it’s the same tree you keep hitting, maybe it’s time to take a good long look at the path you’ve chosen and trying to figure out why you keep making the same mistake over and over.

It all makes me realise how this parenting thing is just so much more complex than going through the motions of getting the kids to eat, drink, brush teeth, bath, ride a bike, walk, talk etc but that ultimately you are their role model for much more important lessons. It simultaneously terrifies me and thrills me. The pressure! – especially when I am still learning so many lessons myself each day and have a semi-infinite number more to learn. And then I remind myself to loosen my grip slightly, show a little more flexibility, and instead of focusing solely on the destination, to live in the moment and enjoy the beautiful ride.

The 10 Things You’ll Do Once You Start Yoga (that have nothing to do with yoga)

I so enjoyed this article by Lee Anne Finfinger (see http://www.elephantjournal.com/2011/10/the-10-things-youll-do-once-you-start-yoga-that-have-nothing-to-do-with-yoga-lee-anne-finfinger/) that I simply have to re-post it on my blog. It made me laugh out loud at myself and I am sure that all of you that are in any way involved in yoga may also find it amusing. It is such a breath of fresh air to find someone who is clearly passionate about yoga (and especially how it has transformed her life), yet able to do without the worthiness and seriousness that can so often accompany any musings about the subject.

In the same vein, I am currently reading a book by Claire Dederer called ‘Poser’, which I am thoroughly enjoying, even though I am only a few chapters in. I confess: the sole reason I bought the book is because of the photo on the cover: a woman in lotus with a glass of wine in her one hand and a baby’s juice bottle in the other. Finding myself constantly challenged in the daily balancing act of my many ‘jobs’ (frequently grumpy and stressed-out mother of two children under the age of four, not-very-good wife, yoga instructor, to name but a few), this resonated with me enormously. Dederer,  a highly self-aware, smart book critic who has contributed to The New York Times Book Review,  makes some extremely powerful social commentary about the challenges of being a mother, a wife, a woman in our current society whilst being very honest (and incredibly witty) about how yoga helped her to fight her own demons. I have just put my own two children down for a nap and so I am keeping this blog post short so that I can dash off and get back to reading!

So, to finish off this post, enjoy Lee Anne’s ten points about what you’ll do once you start yoga…

1. At least once, you will force yourself to try to be vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, gluten-free (insert any over-zealous diet here)/ drink Kombucha/ buy bottled water before class and pour it into your sustainable water bottle before the teacher/students/Whole Foods cashier next to you sees.  (If you’re craving meat, just eat it!  On your deathbed, will you really be glad that you didn’t have that steak on your 30th Birthday?)

2. Your iPod will now include a heavy serving of Kirtan music that you will listen to on your very long commute to your yoga studio (It’s cool; if you want to listen to Kirtan occasionally, go for it!  When you start listening to it while driving and falling asleep — time to go back to your old playlists. Do NOT switch over to NPR!)

3. You will pretend not to notice that your ass now fits in a size 6 instead of an 8, but you’re secretly thrilled.  (When you get down to a 4 though, watch it.  People will talk.)

4. You will go back to your natural hair color/ remove your hair extensions/ cut your hair short in an attempt to stop paying so much attention to your vanity.  (Try not to cut it too short — the growing out process is a bitch and then you’ll just need more hair extensions. I did.)

5. You’ll attempt to read the Yoga Sutras, the Bhagavad Gita, or the Upanishads while your stack of fashion magazines calls to you from the next room.  (Really, why can’t I like Rachel Zoe and yoga?  Now that I’m thin enough to actually wear her clothes, why should I pretend I don’t want to?) (See #3.)

6. You will take a retreat.  Hello, Kripalu!  (It’s ok — those other people probably are weirdos.  So are you.  Eat your breakfast and shut up.  No really, shut the fuck up – it’s a silent breakfast.)

7. You’ll start taking photos of yourself in yoga poses. Often.  And you’ll think that other people care.  It’s like the modern-day version of the vacation slideshow.  No one gives a shit, but they’ll pretend like they do so that you do the same when they whip out their own photos.

8. You will at some point wear mala beads, which will break all over the floor of your 6:15am class.  (Basically, it’ll end about as well as when I wore my Grandmother’s rosary beads to dinner at age 6. Silver Lining: The company was kind enough to re-string them for free, and now I just wear them like a really cool wrap bracelet.  It’s very hippie chic. Thank you September Vogue.) (See #5)

9. You will become a cheap date.  Remember, you just dropped two sizes and you continue to spend at least an hour a day sweating and twisting and breathing.  You’ll be buzzed from one drink!

10. You’ll get over yourself.  If you teach yoga, you’ll hope that people show up because they like taking class from who you really are.  If you practice yoga, you’ll keep showing up and you’ll realize that the other shit doesn’t matter.

The Reluctant Mom: my new hero

I recently was referred to this blog by my best friend, and the more I read her posts, the more I love her. I found it so liberating to read that there are a whole bunch of mums out there who absolutely embrace their maternal status but simultaneously embrace their need for time away from the sprogs, and who can also be really honest about the fact that motherhood is not always fun!  As The Reluctant Mom herself says, ‘I love being a mom, I just don’t love everything about it, all the time’ (or something along those lines). I’ll pop a cork to that!

About “Reluctant Mom”

24 November 2011

I thought it might be good to just as little update on me in the “about me” page – as the stuff written below is still valid, and I feel a bit “reluctant” to go and change it, as it is still what is going on.

Reflecting on this year.

I am slightly better now than I was to begin the year.  This year has had a series of downwards spirals, that really just turned in to me clawing at the sides of a bottomless pit.

I can honestly say that there were several moments where I sat on the edge of my bed crying and saying: “I am slipping in to madness, and I am worried that this is my last glimpse of mild sanity…”

So that was not all good.  Actually all pretty shit, no way to brighten that one up at all.

Depression and General Anxiety Disorder have held me hostage much of this year.  It really was one of my hardest and lowest down patches.  In some instances I was a willing accomplice (Patty Hearst Syndrome) but in many I was being dragged backwards behind an ox-driven cart.

Presently I am in a “feeling much better” space.  I am enjoying my life, work, my children and my lot in life.  I am well medicated, seeing a psychiatrist and a psychologist who assist me in keeping my fingers firmly stapled to the ledge.

My relationship has its ebbs and flows.  Kennith is a good guy, if not a great guy.  We argue and we disagree.  And I think it is difficult to be in a relationship with me, when I am not always present.  It has been difficult to just be …… I can’t explain this unless you have been there before.

I am sure that this year has not been a total joy for him.  No doubt he has had several moments where he has been left questioning why exactly he has tied his yoke to a “reluctant mom/wife/person” but I am glad he has decided to hang in there for a bit longer. The good egg he is.

I hope that as I get better, I will have more “energy” to focus on improving our relationship, and being a better partner.  Right now I am pretty sucky if the truth be told.

I feel more in synch with my kids in the last two months than I think I ever have.  I really enjoy them and smile when I think of them.  I enjoy just being with them.  But that being said I am still easily overwhelmed (as I am this week) and I need to keep a check on this, before I find I am putting myself into a situation that I cannot cope with.

Connor is a sensitive caring soul with a soft and gentle nature.  He is a beautiful boy, who is a good soul.   He helps me so much, and I think he is an old soul, who sees more than he lets on.

Georgia is a child that tests my mettle, and often leaves me confused, frustrated and befuddled. Kennith has suggested she will be a “creative” and we need to really find a different way of dealing with her.  I adore her and I find her so challenging, but I do need to find a better way of “coping” with her differences, and have not mastered this.

Isabelle is a third child, but who has decided to surpass her siblings to she is not left behind.  She has shown herself to be the shortest person in our house with the most clout.  She tests me each day, and most days I fail, dismally.  She starts school in January, so I am hoping that peer pressure helps her with her speech, and maybe reduces her frustration.

Work is great.  I do not say that flippantly. I really love what I do and fortunately it lends itself to some flexibility – so I can sometimes sit at my dining room table in my shorty jammies and continue working.  That has been a life line to me.  But I do struggle to find the “balance” between working and stopping working when I get home.

My blog.  My blog has become more important to me, than it was. I do not earn a living from my blog.  I don’t make any income.  It is purely a work of love and obsession.   My ramblings, mutterings and cussing have assisted me in finding me (as flippant as that sounds.)

I try never to go back and change a blog post. I leave it – as you would a diary insert – it has the feelings and emotions that I felt on that day at that time.  My blog changes as I do, and my thoughts felt on one day, at one time, were true to that time.  But I change and I often rethink my thoughts and may think differentlyc or learn something I did not know before.

Because I said it here does not make it so. Forever. I am entitled to change my mind.  I hope I do in some instances.  Try not to hold me ransom when I have said something once.

I am glad you have found my blog – and I also hope that some of my shit resonates with you.  I love my kids, and I like my kids, I just am not a cookie cutter mom. I am easily frustrated when I am with my kids.  I am easily frustrated when I am with YOUR kids, so it is not just mine.

I do struggle to keep sane in my insanity.  Right now I am on a yellow lifeboat and I am bobbing along quite nicely with my bottle of Chenin Blanc <presently looking for a sponsor wine farm, so please apply if you stock Chenin Blanc>

I find motherhood fkn hard and challenging.  I am not going to tell you that it is easy, or that I love it so damn much. I often sit and wonder if I could and would run away from it all, and just leave it behind.  Could I or would I?  But I am here and I chip away at each day.

I realise I am just a bit out of synch with the cupcake-making-craft-doing moms that I see.   I like to drink wine, lots of it, and I like to use a baby sitter, and spend evenings out without my kids.

I do love my kids – I just don’t want to be with them 24 hours of each day.  I can’t balance work, my kids, my relationship and my life, and my tentative grasp on sanity.  I have not found the secret. Yet.

So that is me … and this is my blog.

 

 

 

<< ————————- >>

 

I realized that I have been blogging for more than a year – my reason for blogging is about to turn two on the 10 June 2010.

I have three children and have always battled with motherhood – I find everything about it challenging and nothing about it came easily to me.

Kennith and I put off having children until I was 29 – when I mean put off, I mean, I put him off having children.  I was looking for a way to convince him that we really did not want children, as I really did not want children.

I gave in, and we had our first son when I was 29 – and really I like to compare it to the little Dutch girl – or was it a boy –  with her finger in the dyke (large dam rather than large dame type).

When Connor came along it was like an entire universe opened up to me.  And I am not necessarily talking about the happy universe where fairies and pixies play and giggled, it is more the universe where Stephen King gets his inspiration.

I focused my energies and the preparation on choosing the right colour for the bedroom, buying the right pram, would I wash all his clothes once or twice before packing them into his new cupboard – those sorts of details.

What I did not factor in was how the arrival of this 3 plus kilogram little person would create so much stress between Kennith and I that we felt our stable and very secure relationship was crumbling right before our eyes.

I could never factor in how the arrival of this baby would suddenly bring to life all my issues regarding my childhood and the issues I have regarding my mother and some of the choices she made.

The arrival of this baby made me anxious, paranoid, depressed and severely unhappy.

But, and I really must say but, I was not unhappy with him – of course I loved him with that fierceness of a love that a mother feels for a her child.  She knows she would lay down her life for him at the drop of a hat – no the pain and the unhappiness I felt was for me, my life, my relationship and well pretty much everything.

I struggled with ‘bouts of depression that had moments of light relief and others with shadows of wanting to end it all.

I hated myself.  I hated the fact that I could not cope.  I felt dreadfully alone and I began to hate Kennith because it was all his fault – well who else was I going to blame?

I felt abandoned and angry because I was becoming more dependent on him.  Dependency is a very ugly and frightening word for me.

Kennith assisted by decided nothing says abandonment quite like going off to do a two-year MBA!!

I decided – I, not we, I – at my darkest lowest point, that I wanted to have a second child.  I can’t explain rationally why, it was a primal urge and had all the makings of a breakdown.

We had Georgia in 2005.  If I thought things could not get any worse, I was severely deluded.

All that could go wrong did, we were living in a house of misery and somehow we were getting through the days.  Over the period of 2005 through to end 2006 I can honestly say we were not living, we were surviving.

But with these things, things do get better and they did.

We realized we were in trouble, and somehow find the resolve and the strength to make it better.  We started making more effort just to be present, just to be there for each other and to really value what we had.  I am not trying to indicate at all that it was not difficult.  It was hellishly hard, and running in our separate directions definitely seemed so much easier than trying to walk this path together.

Things got better each year, and my depression definitely got easier to handle, and our children flourished.

In late 2007 we decided to start “talking” about a third child.  We discussed, chatted, planned and finally fell pregnant late in 2008 – we welcomed Isabelle in June 2009.

And here is where my story begins.

I was convinced I had got over all the hard stuff.

I had endured the relationship issues, I had survived two children – often getting through difficult times alone.  I knew the realities of the situation.  I was no longer under false illusions of how easy or difficult it was going to be.  I had experience, I had this all waxed .. well that is what I thought.

However …. yes there is always a but …. but I thought ‘a however’ would sound better.

I had always nurtured illusions <delusions> that I would be a stay at home mom.

I would happily prepare kids for school, drop them off, do some of my freelance work, maybe start a business from home, and grab the kids later and well do kid-mom stuff.

That is sort of the picture I had in my mind.

When Isabelle popped up on the scanning monitor in the OBGYN office I thought, well this is the time.  I need to gear myself up to be at home with her, nurture her, and be there with her to see her gurgle, and take her first step and reach for me when she is crying – I am going to be that mom.

I work for a great company, and I really enjoy what I do.  But I thought I am going to go on maternity leave, finances are going to force me back to work, but I will work until she is about a year and then, I will resign and start this “stay at home mom” life that is all the rage.

The problem I did not factor in to this issue – was me!

I am so depressed being at home I start to slide into a rather dramatic I-think-I-am-going-to-harm-someone depression.  I just cannot cope.

I become erratic (more than usual), and start to go off the edge of my very thin postcard.

I realized while on maternity leave with Isabelle, with crushing clarity, that I am just not designed to stay home.  I will probably kill myself or sell my kids to the circus.  I am embarrassed and frustrated that I can’t do it – but the truth – as cutting as it is – is that I make a better mom working than a mom staying at home.

I am happier and saner when I brush my teeth and put my work clothes on and drive off to work, than if I stayed at home.

Recently someone asked me – a good friend – “But why did you have children if you don’t like being with them?”

Initially I thought I would bitch-slap her, but then I thought about it, and can understand how it seems …. that there are other moms  like me who love/adore their children, but do not want to be with them twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.  I know we are not meant to say it … because that will mean we love them less.

I love being a mom.  I just don’t like being a mom all the time.

I hide from my children, I miss the days of lying on my bed reading, undisturbed.  I would rather be out with my friends eating copious amounts of pasta and drinking wine, than sitting with my kids doing arts and crafts.

Initially the guilt I suffered for thinking like this consumed me.  Again I felt it was just me.

The moms I saw were perfectly turned out and just love being with their off-spring all the time, but that was not me.  I would see these clicks of moms at my kids schools and they were just so into everything their kids did – and I kept thinking, I need a gap to go and drink wine, I would much rather not sit and watch my child practice hockey or playball – that is why I pay these other people to do these things with my kids, so I can go off and do something else.

While on maternity leave in June 2009, I started jotting down some of my thoughts about my experiences through motherhood and the daily battles I have being me.  I was seeing a psychiatrist at the time and had just started on my new script of Zoloft.

When I started blogging, it actually made me start feeling better, just putting it out there.

But then I started to get responses from other women – who felt the same as me – possibly with less wine and Zoloft, but they echo’d some of the things I was going through.

I can’t tell you how liberating and amazing it felt, that it was not just me crying in the bathroom at 2am, there were other moms like me, who maybe did not quite fit the mould.

So, to sum up who I am, I am a mom of three delicious children, I adore them so much, and if I could have a fourth I would, I also love being away from my children and being with my friends and a large bottle of wine.

I struggle with motherhood nearly every day, and nothing about it comes easily to me.  I stopped faking it was easy and that I was coping around 2007.

Since then my life has got easier, not easy, just easier and just a little saner.

Enlightened Motherhood

Isn’t it a gorgeous feeling when you feel that someone ‘gets’ you? As in, really seems to understand you, what’s going on in your head, your life, your heart?

Today was a particularly challenging day what with two niggly children, an errant dog, a collapsed wall, a 3 year-old’s birthday party to plan, my electricity getting cut off because my payment was one whole week late, Internet banking that won’t work for some reason… and have once again been sitting here pondering how very easy it is to just allow oneself to descend into a funk, and how very challenging it can be to keep consciously practicing all those wonderful yogic traits that we know we should be aspiring to and incorporating into our daily lives. I actually emailed The Band earlier (after being particularly revolting and grumpy to him) to apologise for my behaviour, and to try to express how I feel I’m letting not just him but myself down by not being able to practice what I preach all the time.

That in itself helped, in that it gave me pause to reflect on the fact that it has been a pretty full-on day (week) and was a reminder that the very first principle I should be employing here is ‘ahimsa’ – compassion, non-violence, the concept of doing no harm – in deeds as well as thoughts: not just towards the electricity provider or my dear but wayward dog or my beautiful, precious children, but specifically towards myself. Not seeing myself as a failure if I get stressed out when everything goes comprehensively pear-shaped, or feeling frustrated that I’m not managing to do as good a job at being a mum, a wife, a yoga instructor, a friend as I would like. It’s all about growing up I guess, and at least working towards who and how you would like to be, rather than wanting instant gratification and ‘success’, right here and now.

And then I stumbled upon a blog that made me feel even better because it’s so familiar, it was almost as if she had read my mind. Jessica Berger Goss writes for Yoga Journal and I so loved her latest post that I have copied and pasted it below. http://blogs.yogajournal.com/enlightenedmotherhood/

To Nag or Not to Nag

November 14, 2011

by Jessica Berger Gross

 

date.jpgI don’t want to nag. Truly, I don’t. Then why can’t I seem to stop?

 In my ideal world, every word that passes from my lips to my husband’s ears would have to do with deep things, meaningful things, pure things, sattvic things.

 Why then, this morning did I come downstairs and start on my list of THINGS TO DISCUSS.  Chores, bills, decisions, planning, paperwork, the laundry pile.

Have you?

Could you?

Why didn’t you?

None of this feels very yogic, or enlightened.

The problem is, I don’t know if I can stop. If I don’t continually run through the to do list, who will? (I have the great fortune to be married to a kind and good, handsome and gentle, brilliant man who also happens to be the very definition of an absent minded professor, at least when it comes to things around the house.)

That’s what my head says.

My heart says take a moment to become quiet and still. My heart says show my husband how much I love him, instead of how much I want from him. My heart says talk to Neil and explain why keeping the house clean and orderly makes me a happier, healthier person.

I remember–all of a sudden–how much Neil does. Every early morning with Lucien, all those bedtimes.  The bills and his career and figuring out how to fix the broken kitchen cabinet. Reading to Lucien at dinner every night–and that’s after cooking us dinner.

My new intention is to find a way to keep our family moving forward–organized and oiled–without getting bogged down in the process.  My shoulders fall into place down my back even thinking this way.  

I can’t say I will stop reminding, remembering, nudging, but right here I set the intention to put my to do list second and my family first.