Photo by Ray Hennessey at Unsplash
It was months ago, and I was sitting on the shore of Lake Washington after a failed attempt at going on a run with my baby in his stroller. From about the four month mark to his seventh month, the moment my baby got snapped in to his carseat, or any type of belted constraint, he screamed. He screamed and typically nothing could soothe him until he was freed from his confinement in baby harness prison. On this day, I have no idea why I thought it would be any different.
I made it about 100 yards down the path before I parked the stroller by a bench, giving into his shrieks of torture (because didn’t I know how painful it was for him to be cozied up in his own little chariot with his special blankie and beautiful lakeside scenery to take it? Babies have it ROUGH!). As I snuggled him into my lap, I felt defeated. Defeated because the one day I had motivation and some time and space to attempt self care in the form of exercise, it wasn’t working out. But also defeated because I knew how quickly I knew the motivation would pass.
These days, with a small baby and two smallish boys, those moments of motivation for self care are few and far between. I feel overwhelmed juggling multiple drop off and pick up schedules along with nap time routines, and don’t even get me STARTED on managing the house. I am not nor have I ever claimed to be a naturally domestic woman, so this whole three-kid-Stay-at-Home-Parent thing is stretching me thin, thinner than I could have imagined. And there are moments when I’m not sure I’m going to make it. It’s in those moments that it becomes painfully clear I need to make space for me, to come up for air in this season of small boys and wet diapers and snotty noses and sibling rivalry.
Making time for me does not mean hiding in the bathroom scrolling Facebook, although that does serve it’s purpose. No, it means remembering I am not only a mom, I am a multi-dimensional human.
I am a friend who loves to laugh with my girlfriends and sing my heart out to 90s pop songs at Karaoke bars.
I am a wife who loves getting dressed up and holding hands with my husband while strolling a new section of the city.
I am a disciple who finds life in slow contemplation.
I am a community activist who gets energized by gathering with people to dream of ways to engage healthy communities and families.
I am a creatives who finds great joy in making music and painting and writing.
All these things make me feel alive and more fully me, who I was created to be. But sometimes, it’s just a little hard to speak up from that place, that place just at the surface where I feel like I might sink from the responsibility of it all, and say “HEY! I need to take care of myself! HELP! Help me help myself!” to those around me.
As I sat on that bench that windy day by the lake, I saw a large crane flying out over the blue water, about 40 yards away. Even though it was far from me, I could see it was majestic in it’s movements, wings spread out gracefully coasting on the wind. The kind of natural gracefulness I wish I could muster these days. It slowed as it approached a wooden post jutting out above the water. Then, loudly it fluttered it’s wings and jerked these lanky, angular legs out from beneath it and awkwardly landed on the post.
The movements surprised me, going from such fluid motion to almost obnoxious gestures and angles. It didn’t seem to match up. But then, just as quickly as the awkwardness began, his skinny little legs disappeared and he resumed his stateliness, perched over the water in a stoic stance commanding respect.
Photo by Alfred Leung on Unsplash
That wise old crane had a message for me that day. It was this– sometimes you will fly and it will feel natural and easy and wonderful. Then you will stop, something new will happen, a change of pace or scenery or relationship. And it may feel uncomfortable for you, maybe even for those around you. But you will find your place and soon you will resume your natural flow. Do not be afraid of the awkward stages, they are necessary. They are grounding. We cannot fly forever, without stopping. But you will fly again, that is for sure.
So here I am, writing, because I love to write and this the self care I have energy for right now. For me, these first initial posts will indeed feel awkward and vulnerable for me. But here I am, finding my place. Bear with me, I trust I am not alone in this, and that these words may give you comfort if you also are struggling to find new rhythms for your family. Share below if there are practices you have found to be grounding for you in seasons of transition.
Mojo on mommas.