Motherhood is a choice you make every day…
I’ve blogged quite a lot about my having issues with resentment, particularly my being resentful of my husband. But it occurred to me just now, maybe I’m not actually resentful of him. After all, what is there to be resentful of? He’s a bloody great husband and father, totally hands on, always involved. I know not everyone has this kind of support from their partner. No, I don’t actually think I am resentful of him. I can’t resent him for being out of the house during the day, he’s working to support us. I also know that if I told him I wanted to go back to work in some capacity, he would support me. He’s told me too that if I want Miss M to go into daycare now and then so I get a break and just be with the baby, so be it, he’s ok with that. So what exactly am I angry and resentful of him for? He hears me, and he’s willing to discuss options.
I’m suddenly thinking that really if I’m honest it’s all about me. I think I’m just knackered, and pissed off with being on call 24/7 and I take it out on him because who else is there to take it out on. Pissed off with always being the one that decides what’s for dinner and makes sure we all have clean clothes. That does all the research about food and tantrums and sleep and so on and so forth and so ON. That sorts out the playdates and the doctors appointments. Yadda yadda. All the SAHM stuff.
But it’s what I choose to do. Firstly I chose to have my beautiful, much-loved daughters. However, I have also chosen the SAHM lifestyle. I believe it is the best thing for my daughters and for my family as a whole. Yet it looks like two years in I still need to find a way of coming to terms with the actual living of this lifestyle. Does that make any sense?
Gosh another little spark went off in my head. I’m not doing anything for me at the moment. I’ve started making sure that I go for a fitness walk every day (aiming for that 10k run in September) and that’s helping a lot. But there isn’t anything else. I’m pretty sure that if I started thinking about what I want for myself and acting on it, then maybe I’d be able to do all the other stuff without feeling resentful – not of my husband, but of my own choice to be a SAHM.
I think it’s about time I sat down and figured a few things out. Last week I bought a Create Your Incredible Year Workbook & Planner and I haven’t given myself time to look at it properly yet but it looks brilliant and comes highly recommended. It’s about really working out what you want and need from your year, and actually making it happen.
Time for this mama to start figuring a few things out!
My word is calm, and I’m keeping my goals simple and realistic, while ensuring they still pose a challenge:
1, Run 10k during local running festival in September
2, Juice daily
3, Read the 10 Aussie Books to Read Before You Die
4, Take part in 52 Week of Grateful again, but this time posting 52/52
I have a couple of others but they’re not really specific and measureable, as we all know goals should be! I shall mention them regardless, however, as they run within everything else I do:
a, I still get resentful at times, mostly of my husband. I need to work on that, as I did last year. I am much better than I was but we begin this year with massive change as we now have a newborn plus a toddler and well, in all honesty it’s hard dealing with the constant exhaustion, incessant demands, and 24/7 responsibilities of managing my family, much as I love them! And sometimes I don’t deal well with it all and I take it out on my beloved. I’m recognising that. Which is a start, right? 😉
b, Stay on my Mindful path – keep learning, practicing, working on it. Because I know it works!
Happy New Year! X
Fortunately #reverb12 doesn’t involve a commitment / goal to blog every day or even to blog at all, as my time at present does not permit! However, I have been reading the daily prompts and pondering upon them as I go about my day, and I’ve tweeted a little in response. It’s good to reflect on the past year as December with all its busyness begins, and I’ve found the prompts to date to be most thought-provoking. Today the question is:
Compare the “you” from the beginning of 2012 to the “you” that you are now. What new skills or talents have you learned or discovered this year?
I like this one very much as it is perfect timing for me to look back and consider how things have changed within me, given that I started this blog back in January with the express intention of making some changes in my thinking and living. By the end of 2011 I wasn’t in a good place mentally. I’d stopped counting my blessings and appreciating the little things, and my lack of perspective was making me miserable. I’d become very resentful of my lot, and having had a few brushes with some Buddhist teachings, and the concept of mindfulness in particular, I decided that some changes were required for the sake of my own happiness and that of my little family. My mission was:
I am not my best self, and my family deserves my best self. I will find out what is missing, one post at a time. I will become a Mindful Mum!
I’ve been blogging on and off since then, following my quiet path, learning along the way from a variety of sources. I’ve found a lot of great blogs that have been an enormous, inspirational help to me on this journey (sidebar blogroll is next on my To Do list!). I’ve also learned by doing. That is, I have tried very hard when in the thick of things to be Mindful, that is, (to me), to stay in the present moment, to fully experience it, to just Be. Not allowing past or future worries cloud the present. Not getting ground down by the more mundane aspects of stay at home Motherhood but learning to appreciate the beautiful little moments, of which there are many. I don’t manage this all of the time, obviously! But I have learned the skill of taking that step back. I am a whole lot more likely to hear the birds singing even while the toddler tantrum goes on. I take a breath nowadays, more often than not – my husband might not fully appreciate this but the fact is there would be a LOT more meltdowns if I hadn’t learned a few lessons in the past year!
Learning to cultivate an “attitude of gratitude” has also been invaluable to me in improving my thinking.
I’ve learned that I’m a work in progress 🙂
I’m also definitely a LOT less resentful, which was my biggest, most destructive issue at the start of the year. I’ve learned to get over and around that by adjusting my thinking. I recently came across this poem by the 14th Century Sufi poet Hafiz which kind of sums it up for me in relation to both my marriage and my children, if that makes sense:
All this time
The Sun never says
To the Earth
“You owe me.”
With a love like that.
It lights the
It’s all about love at the end of the day, isn’t it?
Gosh but I awoke this morning in foul temper! I’ve not slept well the last couple of nights which is totally par for the course at going on 35 weeks pregnant, and I really can’t complain as thus far I have had such an easy ride. But, being both heavily pregnant and human, I have this morning perhaps complained a tad, or rather, seethed with resentment at my husband, for want of a better option. How dare he be able to sleep soundly, how dare he not be able to physically bear a child and thus share the load!! So very not nice, I know. And okay possibly just a little bit unreasonable.
I woke up at 4.45am and couldn’t get back to sleep, on a day when Miss M, miracle of miracles, was still fast asleep at gone six. Why? Why?? My beloved is fortunate that he has not (thus far) suggested to me that this is nature’s way of preparing me for the new baby. He did himself no favours, however, by later getting up and switching on the Skype while I was in the open plan kitchen, thus exposing me to our entire German family at a wedding reception, unwashed and dressed as I was in hot fushia elasticated sleeping shorts and an over-sized mens racerback top stretched over (most of) my bump and flashing my boobs. Having insisted that he cover the camera so that I could get past and change, I then returned to the kitchen and started furiously chopping vegetables for this afternoon’s barbie with friends. Which was actually quite therapeutic, and recognising that it would be nicer to fill the crudités with love rather than resentment, I calmed down (a bit).
Matrimonial bliss is not yet quite restored, but I am now home alone as they are off to the playpark and then the supermarket. Being home alone is nice and helpful when one is not feeling at one’s best. I am going to have a large mug of decaff and two thick slices of raisin toast. With real butter, and a real, grown-up book! After which I will meditate for five minutes…and hopefully, inner peace will be restored. Namaste!
Blogtoberfest 2012, 21/31
Kirri White posted this picture on her Facebook page today, and I love it. In my less joyful moments as a stay at home mum I sometimes find myself getting
a bit very resentful at the lack of recognition I get for everything I do. It’s not like I want constant thanks, but it would just be nice to feel like somebody noticed! (Holy crap someone please tell me I don’t sound like my mother?!). But the usual applies – folks tend only to notice when the stuff doesn’t get done. At least that’s how it feels now and then, particularly at times like now when the raging hormones are rife in this pregnant mama’s tired ol’ bod!
The reality is that I know my husband loves me and does appreciate everything I do, and it’s a bit unfair of me to expect a cheerleading squad style greeting from him as soon as he comes in the door every evening. He more often shows his love and appreciation in his actions, not his words, is all, but sometimes I can’t see that because I’ve gotten all twisty about things during a long day at the toddler coal face.
And at the end of the day the truth of the matter is, a little bit of self-reliance goes a long way in the life of a SAHM and that’s no bad thing. I am responsible for my own happiness and that means learning to celebrate, compliment and encourage myself when I need it, instead of hanging around getting resentful because nobody is telling me I’m the world’s greatest mother and homemaker every night of the week.
I will try and remember this little Truth when my husband gets home this evening 😉
Blogtoberfest 2012, 6/31
I lost sight of things a little bit last night. Well ok, a lot. It was a long 12 hours with Miss M yesterday, and by the time my husband got home I was feeling pretty resentful. It’s been a while since this emotion had a good hold on me. Knowing as I do how destructive it is, I’ve worked hard these past 9 months on cultivating a mindful attitude of gratitude and ridding my life of pointless resentments. After all, that was the whole point of this starting this blog! But, a very wilful and energetic toddler, anaemia and 7 months of pregnancy have left me a little bit, shall we say, frayed at the edges, and it all came to a head at bedtime. Started with a passionate speech about the utter unfairness of men not being able to physically bear children. Yeah, I know. In hindsight I do feel a little bad for my husband in the face of that little vent! Ended in much snot and tears, related to fear that I will be unable to cope with a newborn and a crazy toddler with a husband that works long hours, and expressed in loud anger and resentment toward him for not having instant miracle answers and always saying the wrong thing. He is so not a bad husband, he’s a bloody brilliant husband. Evidenced by the fact that after a rather heated exchange (well, he’s only human…) and despite all that vitriol, the whole thing ended in cuddles at about 3am when I snuck back into bed from my (rather uncomfortable) point of principle in the spare room.
Awoke this morning feeling drained and puffy, and whilst having a cup of tea in bed alone (thank you lovely husband!) I came across a wonderful article via Twitter by Leo Babauta called The Only Way to Respond to Life, extract here:
“We often not only take life for granted, but complain about it…but goodness, look around you! What a wonder life is! If only we would take the time to see it, to really appreciate it, and to applaud. This moment is a ridiculously generous miracle. Give it up, folks, for life.”
And that was the boot up the ass I needed to get me out of bed and into the day. I got things back in perspective. Sometimes I think there’s too much social media in my life, and I need to cut back. Other times, as happens so often, I find a little gem – a quote or a short article – in my Twitter or Facebook feeds, and I remember what a wonderful tool social media can be. It’s all about moderation, of course. Less trawling through the crap and discussing nonsense, more constructive learning and sharing is the way forward.
Meantime, note to self, or rather, promise – every single day I will remember to stop, and be grateful. It really is the only constructive way to respond to life – especially when the going is rough.
There hasn’t been much blogging going on around here recently, due to first tri knackeredness and nausea. I just haven’t had the energy to do anything beyond the necessary, and play with Miss M. Didn’t even manage my 52 Weeks of Grateful post last week, and despite feeling utterly crappy, I do indeed have everything to be grateful for at the moment! I’ve written the best Buddha quote on my whiteboard to keep me straight when I start feeling a little bit overwhelmed and sorry for myself: You have no cause for anything but gratitude and joy. Damn right!! Coming up to week 8 so hopefully just a few more weeks of this to go and my energy levels will increase again and the vile nausea will dissipate. Fingers crossed!
Such has been my exhaustion that I was almost ready to throw in my blogger towel, until I remembered that the real point of this exercise is not the blog itself (much as I like to write) but the process toward my goal of learning to live mindfully, and thus without resentment. That resentment has started to creep back in just a little bit in the past several days and I think it’s partly a pregnancy thing (if men had to bear children humankind would cease to exist yadda yadda, oh my poor husband…) but also because I’ve taken my eye off the ball with regard to my journey and I’ve lost sight of my goals a little. I need this blog to keep me on track. So, I might be posting a little less, but I’m going to keep posting, and stay focussed.
It occured to me last night that perhaps the best way for me to approach this new pregnancy journey is mindfully. A quick google shows me that this method is tried and tested, so, I will be researching! I am also looking forward to the arrival of Mindfulness: An Eight Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World, ordered from the UK about a week ago, so shouldn’t be long now. To my mind, a truly mindful mum will be a truly happy, fun and healthy mum, and that’s what I want to be for my babies more than anything else in the world.
I’ve been on this journey to banish resentment and cultivate an attitude of gratitude for a little over two months now. So I’m thinking it’s time for a review of how things are going in my quest to become a mindful mum.
The resentment is GONE! Ever since I came back from my brief solo trip to the city for the happiness conference I am, well, happy! Of course I still have moments when I think I can’t endure another second of the toddler world I inhabit, and I still have a slight tendency to go mental when I can’t find my keys – I am only human, and I am a SAHM with an 18 month old child! My husband still bugs me now and then, but it is possible that I might bug him a little sometimes too (but surely not? Ha!). Most importantly, I no longer feel resentful toward him. That resentment was eating me up. I had reached a point where I feared deeply for my marriage and for our little family unit. I am so very relieved that I am rid of those destructive feelings.
Nor do I have that underlying feeling of general discontentment that was weighing me down so heavily by the end of last year. Where has it gone??! The fact of the matter is that not much in my life has actually changed. Only my attitude towards it. My husband is the same man he always was, my toddler is still just as demanding as well as a source of great joy, my lifestyle is exactly what it was at the end of last year – I am still a SAHM in a small coastal town, on the mummy circuit. I do a bit of party plan now, which is fun, but that alone would not have been enough of a catalyst for this amount of change.
Going to Sydney allowed me to take a step back and reevaluate my life from a healthy distance, as well as being such a fantastic learning opportunity. When I looked at my life from a completely different perspective, I found that there is so very much to be grateful for and appreciative of. I cannot get the Buddha’s words out of my head: You have no cause for anything but gratitude and joy. I find I remember them over and over again. It is so true and it is often all the kick up the ass I need to get myself back into the right mindset!
I believe the resentment and discontent are gone because I am learning to be a mindful mum. I also know it’s an ongoing process, in fact, an everlasting one. I am excited about the new concepts I’m exploring, such as reincarnation. I’m grateful that I have found these new paths to go down as I simultaneously travel through motherhood, because the responsibility of a mother is so great. I want to give my little girl the firmest and most wonderful foundations in life. I want to be the happiest, most mindful mum I can be, for her. She deserves nothing less than that and I just feel so grateful that my headspace is healthy and open at this precious, vitally important time in the life of my little family.
One day at a time – this is enough. Do not look back and grieve over the past, for it is gone; and do not be troubled about the future, for it has not yet come. Live in the present, and make it so beautiful that it will be worth remembering.
~Ida Scott Taylor~
Toward the end of last year someone pointed out to me that perhaps I was procrastinating all the time because I didn’t have enough to do, and that’s why I was getting nothing done and living in physical and emotional chaos. I think they were right. In recent weeks I’ve been so much busier than I was, but I’m also a lot happier. I think it’s partly because I am more focussed on scheduling proper family time, instead of just drifting about the house on family days doing bits and pieces of jobs, with everyone getting grumpy and dissatisfied – I have to be more organised now because otherwise I can’t keep up with the party planning and eBaying as well as running the house and caring for the family plus my voluntary stuff. So we are having more fun together as a family, and naturally that makes me happy!
I know it’s also because I’m kind of working again a little. It’s good for me. I’m happier on myself, and my husband is clearly happy that I’m happy, and he has had no issues taking on a few extra household and childcare tasks so that everything still gets done now that my attention is away from the home for a few more hours a week. If I’m honest I think it’s also probably easier to be cooperative and pleasant around a wife who is no longer giving off a subtle (and sometimes not so subtle!) vibe of discontent and resentment at all times. I’ve been working really hard on being mindful, and grateful for the little things, and while I have had the odd blip (e.g. irrational meltdowns caused by missing keys etc – well I am still me, after all!), I think things are starting to improve around here. Certainly, I am not currently feeling as resentful as I was. And things in general actually seem to be under control – for now, anyway! So, I’m just staying in the now this evening, and enjoying it 🙂
I am not feeling very Zen today (whatever Zen is exactly). I was fine until just after morning tea, when we had agreed to go out, but husband took forever to get his arse in gear (or so it seemed to me) and then just when I thought we were finally about to leave the house he started faffing at the computer saying he needed to check which account to do shopping from. Why? Why must this always wait until we are at the front door?? And all downhill from there…
Oh, I am feeling all twisty inside!! Filled with simmering resentment and anger! A combination of PMS (curse these raging hormones), disappointment that period clearly imminent as we are in third TTC (Trying To Conceive) cycle, and the fact that it has been raining for days on end have combined to turn me into the least mindful mum imaginable.
There was one brief break in the weather and I insisted we all get down to the ocean for a quick walk before I lost my mind completely, and that did help a bit. However, it occurs to me that perhaps I should have gone and done that by myself and cleared my head, as might have been wiser for all concerned, especially given the mad dash back to make sure we didn’t veer too far from the Miss M’s new routine, and my inability to respond nicely to any comment, however well-intentioned…
So, one step forward, two steps back on this journey of mine. Husband is cooking dinner tonight, which I possibly don’t deserve, given I did kind of demand it in ranting, shrill tones of which I am now ashamed…perhaps I can still make good though. I’m shut in my sewing room trying to regroup self. Helps to write it out.