Deep breaths, coffee in hand
Motherhood is a journey, and one that isn’t always a smooth ride. Those bumps and dips and curves and roadblocks sure keep us on our toes. Some days, on our toes from getting out of bed to getting back in again. There are few things that keep me sane and help me survive motherhood: deep breaths, coffee, love, wine, and venting.
Can’t we go back to bed?
From the moment my kids wake up, they have more energy than all of the lights in San Francisco. They aren’t rambunctious and ridiculously wild (yet….). Rather, they have that zeal for life – this intense excitement to start the new day. Most mornings, I’m jealous of their quest to have the most fun possible. Others? I wish I could bottle their energy up, take a little sip of it, and then put it on a shelf to save for a day when I feel the same.
Being a parent is hard work. The moments I feel most overwhelmed, as though I am about to explode into a million tiny pieces, and then feel anxious because who would then be left to clean up the mess of me in smitherines? Those are the moments that I find myself in a room all alone. Usually sitting on the toilet, though most days I don’t even get to be alone there. I force myself to breathe – DEEP BREATHS.
It’s pretty amazing how much strength there is in the human breath. I think about what my body is doing to produce this breath. So many muscles, blood vessels, and components working together to produce this life-sustaining inhale and exhale process. I contemplate where the breath sits until I expel it. Some may call this meditation. I call it erasing the crazy person that is about to appear in place of Mommy.
When life gives you lemons….
I have friends who claim that they love every second of being a parent. I cringe when I hear them say this. Yeah, sure, it makes me feel guilty because I don’t live every moment. There are times where I question if I am capable of being a mother. If I’m worthy of the title or not.
It’s at this low point that I remind myself how blessed I truly am. I rack my brain and come up with all the aspects of motherhood that I’m grateful for. The hugs, the kisses, and the snuggles. Wiping tears, cleaning skinned knees and elbows. Planning outfits, packing away clothes they have so quickly grown out of, and admiring how far they have come.
Deep breaths. I remember adjusting artwork sent home from school stamped with a smiley face, proudly proclaiming the accomplishment, the true feat, of my child sitting still long enough to actually paint something. I smile and nod now. I love it all, too. The triumphs make up for the struggles. Because when life gives you lemons, you teach your kids how to bake a pie.
Cup in Hand
Many admire my slender black travel mug. It is my most important accessory. That baby keeps my coffee, the life blood of my human existence, warm all day long. I find myself in a sheer panic if I leave the house without it. Late for school now? At least I have my coffee. And deep breaths.
Kids asking me the same question for the umpteenth time, one I have swiftly replied, “No,” to, firmly each time. Siiiipppp. All is good in the world again in that moment. I fear for the moms who don’t drink coffee. How on earth do you survive?
And so, we trudge along
Sleepless nights, work-filled days, homework fights, sibling fights (oh man, that one…. whew!), absent spouses, endless carpools, and infinite sports practices – they’re all worth every bit of strife and struggle. It seems to be a quite uncomfortable road we travel on, us parents. But the work and effort are worth every moment with our children in the end. We are all they have to teach and guide them. To show them how to breathe when they feel overwhelmed. We guide them to have a healthy vice to turn to (some practice other than drinking coffee, or wine once the sun goes down) when life gets hard.
And so we trudge along, ever-exhausted yet ever-grateful. We dance and delight in the thrills. We vent, finding a safe place to expose the raw, real nature of being a mom. The tricky balancing act of love and frustration. It’s a pretty sketchy road we cling to at times. But the luckiest of us just hang on for dear life and enjoy the ride.