Do you ever feel trapped as a mom? You just want space. You crave space. And a little more freedom. But your baby needs you around the clock. You’re always stuck at home because your toddler still needs his daily afternoon nap. Your baby a morning one.
You miss your friends. You miss having time to exercise. You long for hot showers. You miss date nights with your husband and going to the movies. You miss jumping in your car and heading to a coffee shop. You ultimately feel like you have no control over your life.
And the truth is you’re right. You don’t. You’re going to miss all of these things for a while. But that doens’t mean it all has to be horrible. This feeling of being trapped is just a feeling. An outlook. To be happy doesn’t mean everything has to change.
Zeek Braverman sums it up perfectly in Parenthood, Season 6 Episode 5. When his son, Crosby, is venting to Zeek all the challenges that parenting has brought to his life his father replies “You just gotta try and enjoy it son. It goes by so fast.”
The answer isn’t to wait until this phase is over to get your joy back. It’s to enjoy this season before it runs out and you’re left regretting how dissatisfied you felt. The key word here is “try”. There are many days at home with my kids when I feel no joy at all. I had zero patience and yelled too much and payed little attention to my kids’ needs. My days feel meaningless and I feel like throwing in the towel and quitting. But after days like these I realize I need to recharge. To come back to the joy. Like in doing yoga when you’ve realized the workout has become quite intense and you’ve started to hold your breath and your face is all scrunched up and tense. Your job is to be aware of this and always come back to your breath. To let go of the tension and come back to your breath. Back to the pose. Restart. Same goes for meditation. Your job is to be aware of when your mind wanders, as it always will, and you come back to your breath or the mantra you were trying to focus on.
Motherhood is a lot like this. When I realize I have been holding my breath, the stress has built up and I’ve lost the joy, I restart. By taking more time to write, or on the weekend I ask to have the house to myself, or I go out for a couple of hours alone. And then I begin again. From a place of joy. And when I wander from this place, as I always will because, for me, this stay-at-home mom thing can feel so purposeless and suffocating sometimes, I take a deep breath and try again. And as long as I am trying, as long as we all keep trying, then I know I am going to be okay.