Hey friends. Big pots of tea being brewed in the tent today. Stay awhile.
I went to a yoga class on Monday night. It was the perfect balance of East meets West, where I pushed my body and worked up a sweat, but I also blissed out to singing bowls, aromatherapy oils, and visualizing myself as a radiant being of light. I honestly can’t remember the last time I’d taken time like that to care for myself and I can’t even begin to tell you how amazing it was — to be back inside my body again, feeling where the spaces were, and where they were not. I didn’t think about my children once (okay, maybe I did once) or the crises I had to anticipate and solve. If it was all falling to shit at home, it wasn’t my problem for a whole 75 minutes. I lay there, finding my way back to myself, completely blissed out, wondering what the hell has made me stay away for so long. I made a pledge, right then and there to do this on a regular basis. Because every woman needs a singing bowl or two in her life.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why it is that we find it so hard to peel ourselves away from our families. Here are the excuses I find myself making often.
Nobody can do it like I can.
Well, no they can’t. Women, generally, are fantastic multi-taskers, have a whole lot more patience for small people and tend to think they know their babies better than their male counterparts, or at least what diffuses certain crises that upset them. We think ahead. We foresee events and we buffer conditions which will cause problems, being little people having full-scale melt downs. Joel, though, Joel likes to just rock up to situations, free as a bird, then has to deal with the backlash of not being one step ahead.
But even still. EVEN STILL. Perfection is not a priority when one wants to be part of a happy home. I may have to prep a bit before I head out, or Joel might even surprise me with how well he takes control. The point is, the world will not end if I leave. Kids might not sleep as long, or get fed as well, or be wearing any pants for that matter, but everyone will survive. Everyone will be fine.
My kids need me.
Yes, of course they do but not all the bloody time, they don’t, and to think so is a little self-serving and a touch on the needy side. Everyone likes to feel important – pivotal – and yes, a mother is an irreplaceable player in the family game, but there are times when she is really needed and times when she just likes to feel she is needed. To distinguish between the two makes all the difference.
It’s healthy for my children to see me leave and take time for myself, just as it’s important for them to learn that mummy goes but she always comes back.
I prefer to be with my family than do anything else.
This is a tricky one since the pull of our loved ones is a little like a double-edged sword. We love them, yes. We want to be around them a lot, yes, but too much and we’ve toppled over the edge, adding nothing to family life but clipped words and a raging temper. Eventually, we long to be defined by more things than being somebody’s mother, and – like everybody attests to – nourishing other parts of ourselves only makes us better, more patient, more energized parents.
I worry my bonds with my children won’t be as strong if I let them be cared for by others.
A friend sent me a blog post the other day, and I liked it so much I posted it on the Red Tent’s Facebook page. It was about a woman giving advice to her friends who were becoming mothers after her. This one bit struck a chord with me:
“Help your baby learn to love other people. It won’t ruin their bond with you, and they will not love you less. In fact, you will love them a whole lot more when you can feel free to plop them into Nanna’s arms for a night, and head out on the town. With me.”
There’s an insecure part of me that feels the need to ensure my children know I am the mother. THE SPECIAL, HOLIER THAN HOLY ONE. THE ONE THEY MUST BOND WITH THE MOST. (On par with Joel of course, but only just.) I don’t like to feel other people encroaching my territory with this one, and so I like to stay close, but I also recognize my feelings might be a tad on the insecure side. It’s a bit ridiculous really, because of course a child loves and bonds with her parents the most. At least until she starts sprouting pubic hair and wants to ride on the back of motorcycles with long-haired boys who have the southern cross tattooed on their arms. Deep breaths, Rachel. Don’t go there yet.
So, like any good writing session does for me, I’m that little bit more self-aware of the unhelpful beliefs which are in the way of me finding more balance. After next week’s yoga class I’ll practically be as enlightened as the Dalai Lama.
What unhelpful beliefs do you want to get rid of friends?
Ending today’s tent escape with an update on our little photo challenge. Keep the photos coming! It’s been so fun. Only a third of the challenge to go – here’s my middle third:
And some favourites of yours.
Mid-week high-five. We’re on the home stretch. Love big, but escape often. It’s my new mantra.