After a busy day of home schooling, starting the day with some work assignments for my Forest School training whilst the kids slept, then taking them out for a morning walk to try and quell the squabbling and bickering which had been yesterday, we got home from their evening swimming club and I faced the kitchen; dinner to cook, dishes to wash, and preparing the activities for tomorrow’s Forest School session. I looked around, all surfaces covered; plates, laundry, the sticky skins of lemons the girls had squeezed to make lemonade with mint from the garden earlier in the day, pots of dry lentils and beans my four year old loves to play with, the calls of the kids from the next room, and I felt truly, utterly beaten.
Beaten, not by the difficult behaviour of my kids, for they are no trouble really, they are lovely, vibrant, busy children, exploring, creating, learning, but beaten by the weight of the everyday overwhelm of everything that it takes to care for kids and run a home. There is just so much to do, always and everyday. And if we as mothers are not very careful, this overwhelm can soon take hold of us, distort our vision, overthrow our hormonal balance and wring the joy clean out of our mothering journey.
Sometimes we have to take a stand against it, against this morass of pressure which builds up within and around ourselves, and which oozes from social media. We have to stand up to it and say ‘no more’. We have to recognize that we are enough. That we are doing enough. That we love and care for our kids more than words can say, and we are doing our very best with the resources we have in each moment.
So let us face that overwhelm, and the voices which accompany it, chastising us, taunting us, reminding us of how we are failing, of how we are not enough, of how we are so much less than. Let us face this. Let us make it stop, and let us remind ourselves, dear, gentle mothers, that we are great. That we are greater, that we are so much greater than the overwhelm which surrounds us.
Rather than trying to run away from it, to shut everyone up, to quickly restore order, walk into the overwhelm, not away from it, walk deeper and deeper into it. And be still. Breathe deeper, deeper than the feelings, the intensity, the drama. As you may have done through labour and birth, taking your breath deeper than the intensity of the experience. Stop, and feel your power. Know you are a Creator. Know that all of this we see before us is of our own creation, and that of those around us. We are powerful creators, we have got this.
Step into the overwhelm, and breathe.
And say to yourself I am here; say to your children I am here.
For the power resides in your words, for when we are here, so fully and completely, with every fibre of our being, we are here, completely alive and in the present moment. And it is from here (and only here), that we are truly powerful and that we can truly affect change.
Look around, breathe deeper than the whole situation, and remind yourself, I am here. Feel this truth deep down in your body, deep in your belly, deep in your womb space.
Awaken to the presence of your power, and the power of your presence.
Allow the stillness to coarse through your veins, allow the spinning and shouting to fade away. Breathe deeper, and bring a sense of stillness to your surroundings.
Feel strength uprising, a strength far greater than the situation, and so capable, so able to hold what needs to be held.
Then feel an awakening in your heart. Feel fierce, pure unconditional love flowing from your heart centre, and feel a softening. As we hold the situation with our power, as we have this, we enable our hearts to open wide and from here we are able to see, once again, with eyes of love, compassion, empathy and understanding.
We have the power to hold, to sort, to connect, to create and re-create.
We remember. We are capable. We are wise.
Gentle mothers, we are so much more than the piles of laundry, the odd socks and diapers, we are so much greater than the unwashed dishes, the sibling squabbles and the feelings of failure which pervade our thoughts when we haven’t been as much, or as good as we hoped we could or should have been.
We are powerful, passionate and loving creators. We hold our children in our hearts, our minds, our arms and our homes. We hold them and tend to them with a love so fierce at times it scares us and shakes us to our core.
Breathe into your power, your love and your fierceness. Breathe deeper than the overwhelm, breathe deeper than whatever creations trouble you just now. Breathe deeper than them all.
And then find your point of stillness.
Connect with your power, connect with your gentle, fierce, pure and loving heart. And look at your kids, yourself and your situation through eyes of love. Feel waves of empathy, understanding and compassion flowing through you. You are love. And so are they. Remind yourself of this.
And now breathe deeper, deep down, all the way, to your place of inner power and indomitable strength. Remember you are as powerful as the Earth. Remember you are a Creator. Remember that you have this. You can do it. You are doing it. And then take a step forward. A step of love, a step of power. For one blazes the way for the other.
You are all of these things gentle mothers; we see you and we need you. Breathe deep, and share your fierceness, gentleness, strength and love with your children and the world. Remember this, we need you.
- Clare Cooper
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I started off this post with the intension of elaborating on a video that I shared with my tribe Soul Centered Mama a few days ago, where I was talking about how language affects the way that we parent our children...but as life is, my toddler woke up as I started to write and completely derailed my thoughts - and something else came instead: this blog post is about that thing...
I found myself completely annoyed when my baby (he's three. he's a toddler. I call him baby) woke up, and feeling frustrated because I had to stop my thought process and the story with the words that I'd already written in my brain. My train of thought was derailed and here I was doing something other than what I set out to do. Then it hit me. This happens a lot. My frustrations when I intended to do something that wasn't possible at the moment. As I surrendered into the moment of putting him back to sleep, I introspected (my go to method) about how often this happens - frustration about not being able to do what I set out to do, and then the memory of my past reactions came flooding to me in an instant. Memories about past reactions of mine (interject past regrets turned into future lessons) came flooding in (goodbye frustration over stopping my intended blog post) - and I realized that many of my less than stellar moments in parenting came as a result of me not being in, and surrendering to the moment that I was living. This happened almost always, when I was in my head, trying to figure out how to finish, do, or get what I wanted vs actually being present in what is happening at the moment. This is something that happens to many of us, a lot.
One of my tribe members, posted about her frustrations because she had a huge list of to dos and a baby who is needing of her attention, and here my little one is causing me to stop my plans, and I have to do something other than what I thought I was going to do, and I must say that the likelihood of this is pretty grand considering that small children always need us - but nonetheless I find the timing to be synchronistic and almost magical - because you see, somewhere in my time to reflect upon her circumstances and my own similarities, I've come to remember the simple fact that the reason that I, and a lot of us suffer is because sometimes in the moment - with our children - we are trying to live in a moment that is not where we are. As seasons change, and certain times of the year invite certain feelings or times in our lives: i.e. summer: socialization, fall: introspection/shedding, winter: introspection/solitude, spring: renewal/rebirth, etc., the same is true with our families and times with our children...as the seasons we too have different periods in our lives - and within our families - that call for different modes...when I understood this a few years ago, it became one of the most freeing bits of knowledge that I was gifted, because some of the hardest periods in my life with my children came when I was trying to live in a "season' that was not conducive to the time that I was living.
I've gotten to the point where I realize that sometimes my home needs me to be hands on, and in others I will need be to be an observer. There are times where I have to schedule my personal time super late or very early in the morning, or times when my kids will be so into an activity or thing (we homeschool) that I can do what I need to do during any time of the day. Learning which is necessary at which time, is like unlocking the key to a store of magic...as I've grown wiser through all of the trials that have come and gone, I am reminded to let go of what I thought was supposed to be, and was met instead with what is. I learned that letting go is not the same as giving up - that there is power in surrendering to now - and that now holds more lessons for growth and love than a plan of what I had to do, but was not possible right now. I learned about the power in surrendering, trusting the process, while putting away my shoulds and woulds that usually cause severe reactions to the ones around me. I learned that the things that have to happen always happen anyway, and that even when the moment is rough, that there is a reason and a purpose for it...There will always be things to, finish and/or prepare, but when I understand where I am now and work with that, I am usually surprised by what happens, and I don't go into the frustration or react in ways (past regrets turned to future lessons lol) that don't line up with the way that I want to treat my children...and hey look, my baby fell asleep, and this blog post was written anyway.
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Soul Mama Blog
Blog to help mamas, on their journey: with the various parts of motherhood and life.