Winter offers us uniquely beautiful invitations to slow down, to turn inward, and to allow rest and spaciousness to restore our weary bodies, minds, and souls. If we follow the lead of our culture and jump right into “new year, new you!!” energy, we miss out on the chance to be supported in our growth by the wisest of guides.
Winter as a teacher won’t be back around for a whole year. Spring has new invitations for us. Invitations often only noticeable and relevant to those who first said yes to winter and embodied her wisdom.
ALSO, and unfortunately…
The wisdom of winter feels inaccessible to many mothers who never get a break from kid chaos and the relentless needs of others for long enough to be able to tap into stillness or access deeper rest and restoration. Seen in this light, single family households, among many other disadvantages, limit mothers’ access to the teachers and source of nourishment they need most in order to thrive.
Earlier this week, I had a chance to talk with 15 or so super bright, soulful, growth-minded, nature loving mothers about wintering. The general consensus? Mothers (at least this demographic) desperately long to tap into winter’s wisdom and accept her many gifts, but it’s one more thing that feels nearly impossible to do the way society is set up.
Maybe you can relate to some of what was shared? Here are the general sentiments I gathered…
“I’m so deeply depleted that the alone time never feels like even close to enough. Sometimes it actually feels dangerous to get time alone, because it reminds me of how deeply unmet my needs really are and I can’t hold back my rage over the injustice of this societal setup.”
“I love the idea of doing nothing and enjoying deep stillness, but I have no idea how to access that. Others’ needs are constantly creeping back in when I try, so it’s easier to keep doing. My attempts at “being” are constantly sabotaged, and then disappointment and disempowerment are added into the mix.”
“The monotonous grind of mothering, for me, is made even more challenging by the slowness of winter, especially during the pandemic. I feel desperate for time for my nervous system to unwind, but I get even less of that this time of year because my kids cooped up inside. Honestly, I secretly envy my divorced friends who co-parent.”
The most heart wrenching part of the conversation for me was when someone said, “I guess I just have to keep lowering my expectations,” and someone replied, “I can’t actually go any lower.”
Unfortunately, what we really mean when we say that we’re lowering our expectations, is that we’re self-abandoning. Unconsciously, we’re resorting to the only coping strategy we feel we have left.
We deserve SO much better than this, mamas. But it’s not going to get better until we decide we’re worthy of better, we start making brave, bold decisions that reflect the validity of our needs, and we stop accepting the status quo as “just the way it is.” This is not what motherhood inherently feels like, it’s what motherhood in a capitalistic, patriarchal society feels like until enough of us come together and change it.
In the meantime, even if you can only tap into them for short stretches, please don’t short yourself the gifts of winter. You are so very worthy of her healing balm. Also, we need all the mamas we can get connected to the Sacred Mother in order to find our way out of this mess.
Wintering with you,