In my last note, I talked about the various reasons that we mothers find it hard to settle into and enjoy the crumbs of alone time we get (and how our personal inadequacy is not one of them). I believe that this is a critical and potent time in history, when so much is being revealed and illuminated, both around and within us, and that we have a ton to gain as mothers, in the long run, if we can stay focused on the following:
Cultivating self-compassion. Recognizing that most of the stress we feel is coming from inadequate systems, structures, and narratives, not personal inadequacies.
Feeling our feelings without denying, repressing, or minimizing them. Letting them lead us to deeper truths, values, and clarity around our purpose.
Paying special attention to our anger and grief, and allowing these to fuel our soulfire.
Acknowledging and taking our needs seriously. Learning how to ask for and take what we need rather than hoping others will read our minds, deem us worthy, and give us what we don’t quite consider ourselves worthy of.
Building resilience while strengthening our “hell no.”
Acknowledging our interdependence and fiercely claiming our right to be supported and held within a community. Getting creative about tapping into and/or building that community for ourselves in whatever ways we can. Deconstructing the Myth of Independence within ourselves. Building a village mindset.
Recognizing the importance of rest, rejuvenation, dreaming and creating beyond feeling better as mothers and modeling wholeness and thriving for our children. These things are essential and fundamental to our ability to create a more beautiful future for generations to come. The brilliant adrienne maree brown puts it this way, “I believe our imaginations—particularly the parts of our imaginations that hold what we most desire, what brings us pleasure, what makes us scream yes!—are where we must seed the future.” Accessing this imagination requires that we not be stuck in hyperdrive and operating from a place of perpetual hyper-responsibility.
Refusing to be toxified by the too-small-for-us question of “What’s wrong with me?” and instead asking ourselves over and over and over again, “What is it about the system and structures I’m living within is making it so hard for me to feel content and whole as a mother?”
The Buddhist metaphor of the second arrow comes to mind when I think of mamas beating themselves up for not using their alone time ”efficiently.” The shitty reality (in this case, the circumstances making it so challenging to meet our needs) is the first arrow. First arrows are the challenging events, the triggers, and/or the tough realities of our lives which cause us stress, anxiety, and pain. Second arrows come from the reactions we have to and/or the meaning we make of the shitty circumstances. When our reaction to the reality of our “unproductive” alone time is to beat ourselves up for being “inefficient” or “lazy,” we are launching a second arrow at ourselves.
Allow me to block that second arrow for you…
You’re not sabotaging your alone time, mama. You’re doing the best you can under seriously suboptimal circumstances. The fact that it’s hard to meet your needs right now doesn’t mean you’re not worthy of having them met, and it certainly doesn’t mean your big dreams aren’t worth dreaming.
You are so worthy, and your dreams are absolutely worth dreaming (even if, for a time, they are constantly interrupted).
We can’t always control being hit by the first arrows of life. But by refusing to launch second arrows at ourselves, we dramatically decrease the number of wounds we’re operating from, which preserves more of our strength for creating a world where first arrows are less prevalent, too.
With fierce love and tender reverence for all you mamas everywhere,
We have a ton to gain if we focus on the following…