Updated: Aug 20, 2021
March 19th, 2018
“MOM, One who sacrifices her body, sleep, social life, spending money, eating hot meals, peeing alone, patience, energy and sanity for LOVE!” - Lenny Lemons
I hadn’t planned to write a part 2, or 3, or 4 to my Chronicles Of A New Mamma blog, but it turns out that I have a whole lot more to say on the topic of motherhood, and yet still only tickling the edges.
Actually right now I find myself in a position that I never am in. I am sitting on a cane chair in the window of the Yoga Shed, a little studio local to where I live. The late afternoon sun is streaming in on me while I sip peppermint tea and nibble on a coconut and vanilla Ombar centre.
I had plans to bring Anna to try out a kids yoga class, and when my husband said he’d be home early after a couple of nights coming in late, I roped him into attending the class with Anna instead. He wasn’t at all enthusiastic about the proposal, but he did want to spend some time with Anna, and I quite frankly needed to take a breath. So I took (forced ahem) the opportunity when it arose and here I am sitting beneath the sun, drinking hot tea and eating chocolate. (Note, just as I was typing out this last sentence, my husband came out of the room with a teary Anna. She wanted Mamma and he wasn’t prepared to stick the class out for the remaining 25 minutes. So I pulled her in for a cuddle and did what mothers do, I walked back into the class leaving my 25 minutes of freedom, my hot cup of tea, and my husband lounging on the cane chair beneath the sun). Exacerbated.
That’s the thing about being a Mamma, and the thing that most fathers just really don’t seem to understand, there really is no reprieve. Anna adores her Daddy and misses him when he’s away but when it comes to feeling vulnerable because of hunger, or tiredness, when in new spaces, with new people, or trying something new, Mamma is the security blanket. Not to mention the challenge of being home all day. You’ve cleaned, and fed a human, and cleaned, and negotiated nap time, and fed a human, and cleaned again, and mostly successfully made it out of the house for a class or a walk. Trust me, it is not the easy job.
I have friends who say that going to work part-time is amazing. It is equivalent to a vacay or a day spa they say. They get to sit down and drink an entire cup of hot tea, and have adult conversations (or should I say actually hold a conversation) over tacos at lunchtime without chasing a headless chicken around a restaurant. They have come to the conclusion that paying almost the entirety of their monthly salary on childcare is worth what they get from being away in the office, apposed to being at home full-time. I can only imagine.
Anna is super smart but one thing she wasn’t catching onto quickly was the sleep thing. Sleep, has never been her forte lets say, although she has come forward in leaps and bounds after a bit of help from my mum during our stay in New Zealand in January. After trying every soft and alternative approach to teach Anna how to settle herself, I did what I said I wouldn’t do and followed my mums lead towards the ‘cry it out method’. Yup, I am one of those mums. Without my mum there holding the fort I would have crumpled into a mess heap on the floor, but it only took a couple of nights and Anna has been sleeping 12 hour nights ever since (I hope I haven’t just jinxed it). Hallelujah! I feel human again, and finally have the energy to focus on rebuilding my business. It’s a game changer.
I really didn’t imagine I would find it so difficult getting my head around work again. Always having been a little on the verge of a workaholic I certainly didn’t imagine I’d be one of THOSE women who choose to stay at home. Also, teaching is something I have done for so long, and something I know so well, but for the longest time my attention and energy have been far removed from my work. I have cried over it at times. Feeling the pressure from my husband, from myself, from society perhaps to get back into it and earn some money has sent me into a spiral of not knowing what to do, where to start, or even what I want from it all.
How do you articulate to someone that it is not like returning to a normal job (or maybe it is for some, I haven’t had one of those since I left school 22 years ago). That putting energy into teaching when you can’t even find the time and space to do your own practice makes what you’re doing feel disconnected. How do you articulate that teaching yoga consciously, authentically and with connectedness requires you, on some level, to be doing the work yourself? It’s quite possible that I’ve just put way too much of my heart and soul into yoga teaching, and take it way too seriously, but from my experience there needs to be a reservoir to draw from, physically, spiritually and emotionally. When you have a child (or children) that you’re looking after full-time, and without the help of family or nursery, the reservoir is parched most of the time.
I swear every time I have committed to more work, or a big workshop, leading up to it Anna turns into a savage demon child. She gets a cold, starts teething like a MOFO and goes above and beyond her usual “oh you’re sitting down to focus on something so I’m going to go bat shit crazy” vibe. She even strikes on all day naps for the week leading up to the event and I’m left with no choice but to lay out my yoga mat, scramble through my workshop notes and navigate around small piles of toys while being jumped on or beaten with a broom.
I have actually sat down and scrolled through job searches in the area to try and find something that I could do where I just need to show up and leave at the end of the day. Something that pays the bills, and justifies childcare, with little emotional investment. Yes, I actually almost fooled myself into being ok with that.
The unbroken sleep in the night however has changed my outlook quite considerably. I no longer want to stab people in the eyes with screwdrivers, or trip up my jolly neighbour. Slowly but surely I am getting back into my work with the acceptance that I can’t afford the time or money to be doing workshop after inspirational workshop to fill my cup. Right now it has to be about the half hour that I snatch during nap time (when it happens) or an hour there after Anna has gone to bed. It’s challenging but feels like a necessary way of doing things for the time being, and like everything I’ve experienced of motherhood so far, it’s just a stage.