I never planned to have children.
I saw moms out and about and they seemed tired... soul-crushingly tired. It didn't quite seem like my cup of tea.
Well, we all know how that story ends.
And then, when I became a mom, there was NO WAY I was going to stay home.
I felt as though I needed something else. I had something to prove. Mostly, that my Master's degree was relevant... That I was relevant.
The thought of motherhood, and only motherhood, didn't seem fulfilling (for me).
In reality though, I think motherhood really scared ME. I saw other friends excelling with more children and (seemingly) more patience. If I were in their shoes I would assuredly fail. I had believed, from a young age, that I didn't have that nurturing, mothering persona that “good” moms have. I let that color the perception of myself as a mom for a long while.
So, I dodged the stay-at home-mom life like wildfire- I picked up a gig at a local community college, started this blog and business, hell, I even opened my own yoga studio. I loaded up my plate with a voice in my head telling me that it was good for me to have my own thing... that being out of the house would fulfill me.
Simultaneously, however, I felt a shift away from wanting to return to work full time, a shift away from feeling like I needed to match or at least complement my husband’s income, and a shift away from needing to feel completely self sufficient. My anal retentive tendencies and my need for things to be tidy were thrown out the proverbial window and I had started to mellow.
That first child was the one I needed to show me that I could do the soul-crushing work that is motherhood.
I couldn't shake the feeling that something was calling me home.
But, I shook it off... many, many, many times. I could never say that I was a stay-at-home mom. I’d dance around it, “I mostly stay home, but teach on the side,” or “I teach yoga and an home otherwise.”
Challenges in motherhood seemed to readily coincide with challenges in growing the business and, the moment I needed to get something done was the exact moment someone needed me the most. My frustration, anxiety, and anger seemed to pass from one role to the next. My anxiety was at a peak- in line with what I felt while trying to finish grad school.
My soul was tired. I was ready to surrender to the mess that is life. I had a deep, deep need to take a long breath and to focus on ONE THING instead of trying to do a million things half-assed.
And, in a rather timely manner, things bubbled to the surface.
Two months ago I made a multi-factorial decision to let go of my studio and shortly after I finished writing the yoga teacher training that I'd been plugging away at for months. I decided to devote that attention fully to Motherhood (and minimal hours to my online programs 10 Minute Mamas and Mama Love Yoga).
I stopped telling myself stories that weren't true. I stopped telling myself that I wasn't a good mom, that staying home wasn't enough, and started believing that it is OK to be fulfilled by motherhood. I stopped comparing my journey to everyone else's; just because I've worked hard for my degrees and the career I've had doesn't mean I can't take a step back and do something different. I've also been working on not caring about other's opinions of my parenting or my children.
Most importantly, though, I've chosen my children and I've stopped making my them compete with my work. I've decided that most days, THEY are my priority and that in this stage, these young years, my priority is giving them my attention.
It's in these shifts, I've found the freedom to parent how I want, in the capacity I want, and it has given me a new lease on motherhood. I'm actually really enjoying it and want to make space for it.
It wasn’t in loading my plate up more that helped me figure this out, it was giving myself the space and breathing room to think that I am in the exact place I need to be right now.
It took me learning about my capacity in this new role and how much extra energy and attention I really have and really want to devote elsewhere. And, it took me letting go of obligations that weren’t true obligations- self imposed timelines, deadlines, and goals that weren’t always achievable in this season.
Motherhood is a lot of letting go. That letting go is different for each of us. For me, it has been letting go of who I thought I was and would be as a mom and redefining success.