It’s Kind Of Cliche But It’s True…

…that for many women, if not most of us, labor and birth are as easy as it’s gonna get when you decide to have a child and become a parent. It doesn’t matter if that child comes from your body or another woman’s, motherhood is extremely difficult.

I was watching this video the other day where Cardi B talks about having a newfound respect for mothers and I really appreciated what she had to say. Normally I don’t care who’s having babies, celebrity or not, because really, why tf would I care? This ain’t Children of Men times we’re living in here; people have kids every day.  It’s that parenting in general is so undervalued that the title of the video piqued my interest.

Cardi talks about the crazy that happens to your brain and the rest of your body after you give birth and the intense attachment she already feels to her daughter and I wanted to explore these topics for a little bit.

The post-partum crazy brain is definitely real and I firmly believe it never really goes away. Amidst baby showers, shopping for tiny little clothes and various accessories, picking out names, yada, yada, yada (all of this is after the soul-destroying intensity of the first trimester when you’re pretty sure you’re dying or you’re going to die from lack of nourishment because your body rejects any and all attempts at being fed and watered), nobody really gets into so many of the other important aspects of what happens to you when you become a mother or what parenting is actually like.

I liken motherhood to forever feeling like your skin has been peeled back, every nerve in your body constantly exposed. Something flips in your brain man. You love your children so much that sometimes it feels like you can’t take it. You desperately (this isn’t a strong enough word here) want for them to be happy, loved, protected, and woe is the person who does anything to even attempt to come between you and your child. By the way, it doesn’t matter if that threat is real or perceived, that fire we feel to take care of our children is very real and can certainly reveal the ferocious side of a mother in protection mode.

As they grow we watch them steadily become even more of who they are. We’re reminded that they’re here on their own journeys so inevitably, as humans do, we clash with our children at times. You’ll constantly have them on your mind, even when your mind is somewhere else; it’s a constant connection that we have that brings awe as well as exhaustion.

And that’s why it hurts so much to watch them fall as they make their way around Earth, figuring out what it is they came for. That love is why they’re the ones we get the most riled up about, when we see them heading straight for some bullshit but they want and need to learn for themselves. With such an unfathomable amount of love comes an equally immeasurable quantity of fear.

Every single shadow you have will come straight for you once you become a parent but nobody really talks about that. Instead people put most of the focus on finances, having all the “right” gear, what’s the best school, what kinds of activities should they be put in, and so on, with many other more practical as well as superficial concerns that really do seem important depending on where the parent is coming from.

It doesn’t seem like people really talk as much about life past the baby and toddler stages. I guess they go into the elementary school age a bit but people get the most excited over the baby phase for whatever reason without really examining the fact that this is just another person, a little bitty one just like we once were, growing up with thoughts and feelings and challenges of their own.

I don’t think that many of us came to grips with our own childhoods before deciding to become parents. It doesn’t matter what kind of childhood we had, there’s always something lurking, buried way down in our subconscious, that our children bring out. Being able to recognize this stuff and deal with it is crucial to raising a child who’s comfortable in his own skin, who can go out into the world every single day with the knowledge of who he or she is and thrive.

These and many others are the conversations I want us to be able to have about motherhood. I’ve only touched on a small portion of my thoughts here but I think about these kinds of things all day every day. I don’t know, maybe not many other people see the world as I do and most people are actually fine with the way things are. When I look around at the world it seems to me that we really do want to have these discussions but something holds us back. Eh, just some thoughts…

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What Do You Want?

Male Warrior from LXXXI The Magician's Deck

So I was checking my Instagram one day, maybe last week? Quite often my days blur into each other so it becomes difficult for me to differentiate whether I’m coming or going into or out of my mind. I guess that’s the same thing ultimately, heh.

Anyway, I ran across a post and found my blood started to absolutely boil, just hot like fire. I got super defensive and extremely restless and I split myself in two. I said to myself “Woah, slow down chick, WTF is going on here, why are you so pissed right now?! Nothing has occurred and no one has done anything to you. Breathe man, what’s the problem?”

“The problem? The PROBLEM?! I’ll tell you what the problem is. I’m sick of every time I see a mother who is overwhelmed, overworked, and close to a breakdown (or perhaps she’s already had one, possibly several, but she has to pretend that everything is aces and sunshine) ask for advice on how to fit it all in from people that seem to have gotten it down, the kind of response I see every.single.time is “I dunno, I’m just doing it,”or “I find the time to fit it in,” or “I work at this constantly and don’t let anything stop me; I’m committed to this.”

Omfg, this was bringing me to the teeth-gnashing, hair-pulling, run screaming from the room brink every time I saw some variation of this response. “So, what, you’re (who this “you’re” was, I have no idea lol; just a general direction in which to focus my anger) telling me is that those of us that haven’t been able to pull this off have no drive?! We have no will and don’t work hard?!? Well you can take that and shove it up your ass! Who the hell do you think you are?! And lemme tell you another thing…”

Now, I’m an extremely private person so this was all an internal dialogue going on with me. I realized I wasn’t angry at anyone outside of myself (what I’ve found is that when we’re angry it tends to be about something we’re dealing with but not facing), wasn’t yelling or screaming or cussing anyone out; I was pissed at me. This was all about me and my frustration at not moving my life in the direction that I want it to go; feeling chained down and unable to do what I wanted to do.

But then I got it, it started to dawn on  me (son-of-a…): I don’t know what I want to do, that’s what the whole friggin’ issue was. I don’t know what drives me now, what my passions truly are. When you’re passionate about something, you work at it way into the wee hours and you’re de-freaking-lighted to get up extra early to get back to it. You go hard at whatever you’re wrapped up in and come hell or high water, you’re getting it in one way or another.

And it’s not just my passions, because I’m passionate about, say, Tarot. I love the insight I’m able to get from my cards and practicing the art of divination has helped me unlock all kinds of inner doors. But my goals for Tarot aren’t in the same lane as my financial and self-sufficiency goals, which are a priority for me right now.

I’ve found myself so jealous over the years of Moms I’ve seen as being successful at balancing the megaton of work and responsibilities that is motherhood while still having time for themselves to pursue their goals; something I’ve felt I failed at. I wondered so many days and nights, “What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I figure this out? What am I doing wrong??”

When my babies were little, making sure that they were loved, safe, and happy is what drove me. But as The White Witch brings it across oh so gorgeously, children get older; they just don’t need you in the same way. And besides, you start being able to do a lot of this parenting gig with one eye open from two rooms away.

When my husband and I figured out our oldest son had severe food allergies (we had no idea at the time that this was a thing; I mean, who’s allergic to FOOD ffs?), what drove me was figuring out how to make foods that he could eat and enjoy that other kids took for granted.

When I was going to school to ultimately become a midwife, that’s what drove me. But after so many twists and turns in my life, including having somewhere around five miscarriages while trying to conceive a third child, my heart wasn’t really in it anymore, to say the least.

So now I’m at a crossroads, one that I’ve never quite explored or let myself open to. My entire life, I’ve been needing to pay attention to me: what I want, what I need, who I am, what I desire, what really makes me tick, why I’m here. Instead, I ran from fears I couldn’t identify. I was looking everywhere trying to fill a place inside of myself that could only be satisfied from within. I didn’t know what I needed when it’s just me, alone. But that’s all part of my alchemy, so very good then.

I’m figuring it out. My struggles are for my growth and it’s incredible stuff. That’s why I used these six questions as a jumping off point to help me go deeper with rediscovering what my passions are so I can start mapping some things into existence. In a different post I’ll share the spread I came up with and how I felt it worked for me. In addition, I’ve also found my birth chart to be extremely helpful in my fleshing this all out.

So dear readers, tell me, what do you want? I think that truly digging in and figuring out what you’re passionate about is the answer to the inertia and apathy many of us feel in our lives. It’s not that we’re too busy or too tired, it’s that we don’t know what we want. What do you love? Not what you think you should love or should be doing, not what someone else has told you to enjoy, but what do you really love? Happy hunting as you continue to probe the landscape of your own mind! If you’re comfortable, share your thoughts in the comments.

*Featured image: Male Warrior from LXXXI Quareia The Magician’s Deck Copyright 2014 Cassandra Beanland, Stuart Littlejohn, Josephine McCarthy www.quareia.com*

Woke Up This Morning…

I did, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this right now would I? I got to thinking those words this past Wednesday morning and even though I never watched The Sopranos, immediately the song popped into my head. I got to thinking about all the ways our days can twist and turn, just when you think things are going to continue on the same as they’ve been. It’s so easy to fall into routine and lackluster expectation.

I’ve been going back and forth with what to do about our choices for education this school year. Before the 2015-2016 school year, we’d been homeschoolers, ever since I pulled my Big Kid out of public school kindergarten. We had always wanted to homeschool but you know, things, and at the time we just had to put him into public school. There were many tears shed by both Mom and Kid One at that time.

I homeschooled Kid One through the beginning of fourth grade and while there were countless enjoyable moments that I will cherish ’til my time on this rock is up, I would never be so dishonest as to tell anyone that homeschooling is easy or for everyone or the best decision for every kid, that you and your Little(s) will enjoy the time way more often than you guys will want to go tearing down the streets on rampages of insanity. But that’s another story altogether…

Our boys are on a waiting list for a charter school here and if one gets in they both do. If we’ve got to send them to public school, this is the one we prefer. But as of right now, since they’re not in yet, we had to decide which option’s pros would outweigh the inevitable cons of our various choices: a public “cyber school”, our zone’s public brick-and-mortar, or me going back to making up all the curriculum and homeschooling like we used to, this time for two kids.

Well, turns out neither of these options is what went down, surprise, surprise, heh. Instead, our Big decided he wanted to go back to their brick-and-mortar this year and our Little wanted to homeschool. So there ya go. I wasn’t really planning on a split approach but oh well, here we are and trying to pull it together. I’m getting curriculum together double-time for my Little that I would have preferred to have ready weeks before. He and I are finding our groove and this is good.

Life is hysterical to me and there’s always something around the bend that we weren’t really expecting. The way I figure, we roll with it and enjoy the sights. Tell me dear readers, what surprises have thrown you for a bit of a loop this August?