Being a mom pushes me out of my comfort zone again and again.
In the early days with a baby, then a toddler, then a baby and toddler, I would think, 'I'm exhausted, my kids should be sleeping!' It was hard to get up in the night, to walk a crying baby, to wash every sheet in the house during the night while someone was sick with a stomach bug. Really hard. But not impossible. I learned that I could handle being uncomfortable in all sorts of ways I wasn't used to.
As my kids got older, it happened in new ways. I didn't like baseball or organized sports, but learned to sit in the stands while my son played baseball, making conversation with people who were hard core sports fans. I took my kids to birthday parties and chatted with moms who seemed so much more successful than me or who made me uncomfortable with their personal and invasive questions. I felt out of place often! But I learned that it wasn't such a big deal. I grew more able to connect with people who seemed different, and to handle those inevitable awkward interactions.
My kids are at the age now where they have strong political opinions and ideas. Sometimes they share beliefs and opinions that make me really uncomfortable. When we don't agree I usually start out thinking they're wrong. But because I love and respect my kids, I listen. As I listen, I bump into my own assumptions and habitual thinking and that makes me think in new ways. I'm still trying to digest a talk I just had with my youngest about civil rights laws that is opening my mind.
We're always teaching, right? But this experience of parenting also teaches me. I don't need to be as comfortable as I want to be. My discomfort often leads, not to a complete breakdown of all that is good in the world (as I sometimes feel in the moment), but to my own change, adaptation, learning, and growth.
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 has changed my life, helping me to make peace with myself as I truly am and to appreciate my family, life, and the world as they actually are.