Recovering from surgery while parenting a preschooler is NO JOKE. I can’t believe how naive I was… Those of you who follow my newsletter probably laughed at my hopes of a restful recovery, full of time nourishing my body and my mind. But… parenting never stops, even when your body is screaming in pain.
I am lucky. I had really great help and support. It was relatively minor surgery. I only have one child and she enjoys playing on her own at times. Sure there were challenges but overall I had no reason to NOT have an easy recovery period. But… I have this habit of doing too much.
Anyone else feel that crushing pressure to get it all done, all the time, no matter the circumstances? Like maybe the Earth will stop spinning if my child misses a meal? Or that the pile of laundry will become an unclimbable mountain if I don’t start a load right this instant? Why do we do this to ourselves? Writing these words makes me feel ridiculous; they are, however, my reality.
I think that it is easy for mamas to lose our centers. Life is moving at a relentless, breakneck speed. The demands never let up. I mean, seriously, when you are charged with the task of meeting another person’s daily living needs you are agreeing to an enormous undertaking. I read once that most indigenous cultures dedicated four adults to the care of each child. Yep, that sounds about right. One of the luxuries I was handed during this recovery period was that my parents stayed with us. Heavenly, having a few more eyes and hands to attend to her needs.
And you know what my mind did with all of this extra support? Instead of relaxing my impulse was to jump into action, to play the good hostess, to make sure my daughter didn’t make anyone too uncomfortable with her behavior. It didn’t matter that she is well loved and appreciated for all of what she brings to the table. It didn’t matter that nobody had any needs that really needed to be addressed, especially since they are all competent adults capable of caring for themselves.
(As I edit this I noticed that I wrote “I didn’t matter” both times, instead of “It.” Hmmm… some layers to explore there. Why is it so easy to forget about my own needs?)
I lost my focus. I valued rest and restoration but I acted contrary to that. I forget my “yes’s,” those values and beliefs I carry as my truths, my compass. I let my nourishing habits fall away and with them went my ability to gain perspective and see what is REALLY needed in each moment.
What are your “yes’s?” Your truths? Your guiding vision for yourself, the thing that is worth fighting for no matter what the circumstances?
When was the last time you spent a few moments actually connecting to your yes? Haven’t done it in a while? Do it now. Find a piece of paper and something which with to write. Take a deep breath, close your eyes, and bring an image of yourself to mind. See yourself at peace, a slight smile and glowing complexion. What surrounds this image of yourself? What feelings bubble up? What words come to mind? What does this highest version of yourself hold as true? Write it all down. It doesn’t need to make sense right now, just write what come to mind. Now that you’ve opened your heart, be on the lookout for other images and words that jump into your awareness. Read your list before you go to bed and ask your dreams to add to it. Nothing is coincidence, just more information to which you’ve opened your heart.
These are your yes’s, your guiding principles. Some of your yes’s will be true your whole life. You’ll add some along the way; others will drop away or be refined as your needs change. You’ll know something is a yes when you recognize it as a universal truth, those things that could be true for anyone. How they rank and cluster in your own life is what makes them unique.
It seemed almost impossible for me to take the opportunity I needed to really rest during my recovery. I had everything I needed to do so and yet I was almost adverse to it. The only reason I can think for it is simple fear – fear that things would not be ok if I didn’t control them, which means I wouldn’t be ok. If I had taken even just a moment to pause and connect with my yes’s I’m sure I would have had a much different experience. Today, that list would include:
- ease and confidence in communicating my needs with my family
- connection to a strong social network, to which I can both receive and give
- love for my body and all it does to support me
- trust that NOTHING is more that I can handle
- knowing and enjoying the present moment, as much as possible
It can feel overwhelming, shifting into this mindset when we are used to making things happen, orchestrating each moment to avert “disaster.” Be patient with yourself. Remember that this is a life practice, one that gets easier with time the more you come back to it. I’ll present some more tools as part of this month’s focus. Also, be on the lookout for my upcoming class “7 Days to Discover Your Joy.” More details to come!
What are your yes’s and what keeps you from living them? Share with the community in the comments below and on Instagram. Be well, mamas!