Conscious Parenting: Do you resent being a mother sometimes?
I cannot be around my child sometimes. I’m tired. There is only so much I can give without feeling drained. And the fantasy repeats like a reel: I’m free. I wake up to no need. I’m free. I read to my heart’s content. I’m free. I have the full day and night to myself to do as I please. I’m free. And there is no end to this freedom… it stretches endlessly into the horizon, where sunsets are merely a wonderful punctuation in the glory of infinite me-ness.
I want to be me. In a role that doesn’t allow it. Or is it not allowed because I don’t let myself? It may be okay to step back and be myself, but I don’t allow it. How could I when he needs me around incessantly? And then the fight begins as I bully myself into fitting a definition that is suffocating in its importance: being a mother.
This is the root of Post Partum Distress. When we don’t allow ourselves to say what we feel. Say it. Feel it. Your feelings are never wrong. In fact, it is wrong when you unsay, unfeel, push, press and cage your instincts. Those feelings become monsters. And you drown.
Mothers are human beings. But no one lets us breathe. Once you have a child, you’re supposed to develop a superpower overnight. Yesterday, I was me; today, I’m supposed to have developed magical powers to be everything my child needs. Forget sleep, food, cleanliness and even a few deep breaths, you’re supposed to operate outside of your physical limits and dip into a mental ocean so deep, so unending, that you cease to exist in it.
It’s a puzzle. It’s no wonder we crumble. We have been set up to fail. No one is capable of such lofty standards. It is a lie. You are not supposed to be everything. Say it, feel it: You are not supposed to kill yourself to be something overnight.
And now, I’m going to say something else I haven’t read or heard anywhere else: “I matter more than my child.”
If I don’t sleep, if I don’t rest, if I don’t breathe… I’ll die. If I don’t exist, my child will cease to be. This is why I matter more than my child. My child depends on me.
Self-care is a wellness term that is thrown around a lot. When push comes to shove, real care is admitting your needs. But the world says you’re supposed to shut up and not verbalise the things you really need: Time, space… endless stretches of it.
I’ve seen self-care tips on several Instagram accounts: Go for a walk, get a cup of coffee, work out for one hour. Okay, that sounds great, but what if it is not enough? What if one cup of coffee or a walk is not enough? Is it so wrong to say I need several days of nothing to fill myself up with something so I can begin to fill my child’s cup?
There is anger. I feel it right now. And I’m allowed to be angry for it is an emotion that protects you. It teaches you boundaries. If you’re angry, sit in the anger, it’s sending you a message: You need to protect yourself.
Do you know who the best mothers are? The mothers who mother themselves.
Let you speak your truth to you. No one else needs it.
When you are good to you, you will show up the way your children need because you’re finally showing up for yourself.
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