Today I found myself saying 'being a parent can suck.' It really can, right? Snow days and early dismissals don't affect my parenting anymore (and that will be true for you, too, one day, if it isn't already), but I remember. I remember feeling overwhelmed by trying to maintain some sense of routine in our family, feeling exhausted by all of the emotions and needs in one little house, feeling like I needed to take care of everyone but myself, and feeling like I couldn't face feeding everyone one more meal.
I hate to join the multitudes offering advice, but I have some for you (or maybe for the me that needed it):
Between the holidays, vacation, snow days, and extremely cold weather, some of us are feeling overwhelmed by our kids and responsibilities. Yesterday I escaped the house (although I didn't go for the long walk I could really use!) and walked past a woman muttering, "God help me" as she tried to herd her family into the store with her. Isn't that beautiful? Not "I want to kill them," or "Why the hell doesn't anyone listen to me?" but a simple (slightly desperate) prayer for help.
We do need help as parents. We can't do this on our own. Today, as I sit inside again, wondering if I have the guts to go for that long walk, I am sending love to the woman I saw yesterday and to all of us.
May we all remember to ask for the help we need.
May we find a quiet moment to refresh ourselves.
May we come home to the present moment, letting go of the fantasy life that makes us feel inadequate.
May we take a few moments to love ourselves right in the midst of life as it is.
May we have the grace to see our families as they are, opening to each person in this moment rather than comparing them to the fantasy kids we think we should have.
May we be blessed with a community that helps when we need it the most.
May we remember that this too shall pass.
Sending you love and light on this beautiful, bitter cold day.
Sometimes our kids aren't cooperating with our idea of how things should be. Maybe they're sleeping poorly, bickering over toys, or screentime, rolling their eyes at our funny jokes, ignoring the schoolwork that we know they should be doing, etc.
When we aren't feeling happy or proud or satisfied or even calm, it's good to remember that they aren't here to make us happy. They aren't here to make us proud. They aren't here to make us feel satisfied or calm.
It's up to us. Can we free them from the responsibility to make us happy or proud? Can we be responsible for our own needs and feelings and allow them to be the messy, beautiful beings they are here to be? Let's enjoy the relationship we actually have with them, the ways they are growing, and (maybe most importantly) our own company on this parenting journey.
It's cold in my part of the world today. The autumn leaves, vivid and gorgeous, are all over--on the trees, falling, and on the ground. This year, I feel more attuned to nature's teachings than ever, and I keep watching the trees and reflecting on myself.
The trees are letting go of leaves so beautifully, releasing into their winter stage. The leaves weren't a problem, they were wonderful, but their time is done.
And I'm watching and asking, what am I ready to release? Old stories? The image of who I should be? Habits and patterns? Ideas about my kids? I am feeling the pull to turn inward and enjoy the dark and the cold and the quiet of late fall and winter.
How about you, what are you ready to release? Where does your energy want to go?
I'm a mom, wife, daughter, friend, and teacher who has long struggled with the desire to be the perfect person I imagine that I should be. Practicing mindfulness helps me find peace with my imperfect journey--being with myself as I truly am, loving my family as they are, and showing up for a messy world with openness and compassion.