Two weeks ago, I wrote about my very real feelings about working motherhood that followed the birth of my son. The outpouring of emails, comments, and texts really hit me and shows that we’re 100% not alone in our motherhood journey. Please keep ‘em coming.
I talked about how I often feel less than feminist for not wanting a “corner office” anymore, and for wanting to build something that works for me and my family instead. I talked about wanting to be home to nurse my baby in the early morning and to do bathtime in the evening (as a yoga teacher, these are often the busiest hours). I talked about feeling the urge to pivot in my work. What I didn’t talk about was feeling like I’m constantly in between two worlds - work and mothering - and how I feel an ever-present pressure to be amazing at both. All. The. Time.
Please tell me there is a mama out there who feels the same.
Dearest friends, if you know me, you know that I am not interested in doing anything halfway. Not anything. If I’m going to take a course in sleep consulting (which I’m studying right now), then I’m going to focus & finish within two months. If I decide I want to open a business, then I write a 30 page business plan. If I want to make my own baby food [which I actually loved], then I buy a cookbook, set aside time on a Sunday to prep, and start mixing. When I commit, I commit.
But, if I’m being honest here…I’ve had a hard time giving my all in work + mothering lately. Yes, yes, I know we just moved. I know we don’t have childcare yet (so as I write to you it’s 6:00 a.m. on a Monday morning so I can work before Bodhi gets up). Perhaps I should give myself a break. But, instead, I research this topic. I find an article about mothering and work based on the Myers-Briggs assessment. I am an ENFJ. And, I read that mothers with this personality type seriously struggle because they want to be the best mother AND because they are hyper-ambitious with their work. Check. Check.
Cue groans from me. It’s nice to read validating words, but what gives? Living in that constant limbo isn’t sustainable. Living with these feelings actually isn’t healthy for me or my child.
In these moments of stress and struggle, I’m continuously urged to practice yoga. Here are some principles I’ve turned to that I hope helps you, too:
Acceptance: I can learn to accept and acknowledge my feelings, but to know that I am NOT what I feel. I am not inadequate. I am not scattered. I am loving. I am enough. I do my very best. Speaking these words of truth is a practice of ahimsa in yoga, practicing non-violence and peace towards the Self, which radiates outwards, especially to our children.
Presence: When I start to feel in between two worlds, I can recognize that I’m not in the moment. I’m not embracing it and finding contentment with what is. I’m attaching myself to where I want to be, what I ‘should’ be doing. And, that is a cause of suffering, a klesha. To find presence, be with your kiddo when you’re with him. Just zoom trucks on the floor. You can write that article later.
Focus: Focus on what’s important. This will require some work up front for sure. It’s okay to love your baby AND love your work. BUT, priorities will need to shift to accommodate both. I’ve made an effort to sit with my deepest desires and focus in on what matters most - to be home at bathtime/bedtime, to emotionally support my child, to get outside every day, to meditate, to write, to get very clear on what’s working in business and focus my efforts there. You can do this, too.
In the most challenging moments of life, it’s easiest to give up your practice. I hear this from mothers all the time (and, I definitely said it, too). But, when you practice yoga, you learn how to practice acceptance, presence, and focus each time you step on the mat. Even if you can’t get to a studio, set aside time - even just 10 minutes - to breathe, to stretch, to do a few Sun Salutations. Let yoga ground, calm, center, and comfort you. Let it be the first thing you turn to when mothering or working or both get really, really hard. And, if you get stuck, send me a message because I’m here to help.
P.S. If you know a mama who would benefit from reading this, please forward this message along. Now that we’re in Rhode Island and getting more settled, I want you to know that we have something special to unveil so soon! Stay tuned, and thank you for reading. <3 And, if you love what you read, please sign up to be a part of the Yoga Dear Community here.