this is the only picture I took yesterday which is so telling.
It was one of those days where it starts somewhat normal but then a few things are off and then suddenly you realize a lot of things are off and the self care flew out the window hours ago and you’re hot and hungry and dealing with a sad toddler who has refused his nap and wants to nurse nonstop for the rest of the day for comfort. Not to mention it was day 2 of my moon cycle which is traditionally my hardest day as far as emotions, tears and milk supply goes. It’s basically the day that I shouldn’t be a mom, or in public. It’s the day I should be meditating and journaling privately while taking multiple sacred baths. Oh, if only there was a red tent. (Just the image of a big red tent here in Bushwick really makes me smile, right there between the wash-n-folds and bodegas, can’t you see it?) But all of this built up, mixed with a key player in my support system moving away, my best friend being in Canada and my kiddo learning (and non stop screaming) the work F@#%
And then I lost it. Just became a heap of tears. And panic. The tears wouldn’t stop and the breathing got crazy and there it was…a panic attack alone in my house with my 2 year old. Today looking back on it, it’s a huge blur. It’s sad and when I think about it (and as I type this) it makes me cry. I remember my son saying, “Mama, you need to chill down. Chill down, Mama. It’s ok, it’s ok, Mama.” Which also breaks my heart because I’m supposed to be the one comforting him.
I want to be a great Mama. I want to be all of it. And I put a ton of pressure on myself. I want to be with my son full time and juggle two businesses and have a thriving relationship with my partner and still have sacred time for myself. I want to be the Mama who feeds her kid the best organic food, doesn’t do screen time, never has power struggles and flawlessly teaches and models kindness and love to her super “chilled down” toddler. But the truth is, all of those dreams of the mother I want to be are getting harder and harder each day. My foundation in parenting feels shaky and my partner and I don’t alway agree on everything and a lot of time I feel like I’m making it up as I go. I’m trying desperately to “do the right thing” (which is not the even the way I should be thinking of it) but also trying so hard to tune out what everyone else thinks and all the memories of how I was parented and do what my gut says. Be myself. Be authentic. But when you’re standing in the thrift store and everyone is staring at you cause your kid is in the stroller screaming “I don’t like the buckle mama, F@#$ F@#$ F@#$, let me out!” You I feel like a monster and instead of doing one of the many things that today I keep thinking I should have done, I just said to him “I know you’re stronger and bigger than that word and I really wish you’d think about how it makes other people feel.” (Like he’s a 45 year old man and thinks like that, geeze, he’s 2) And then I put down the toddler snow boots I was gonna buy and we left the store with him still screaming and me wearing oversized sunglasses and crying while we strolled around in 90 degree weather. And then I went home and had a panic attack.
It didn’t last that long. Five or ten minutes. And I’m hoping the effects don’t haunt forever. I’ve been working all day to forgive myself, even though I know that’s dysfunctional too. There is nothing wrong with me. I just had a tough day and then it manifested in the form of a panic attack. No big deal, right? But I come from a long line of southern guilt. Years and years of ancestral baggage of not being enough. And our patterns are our patterns and they take years and years to break, redesign and rebuild. But it’s happening. Even just writing this blog is part of it. I’m coming out.
I love myself.
I love myself. Even though I’m not the Mama I dreamed about being when I was pregnant. I love myself even though I sometimes loose my footing and need my kid to hug me. I love myself even though I sometimes run after the ice cream truck with my kid and we share a sprinkle-covered cone (that is made of who knows what) and we love it. I love myself even though I don’t always instinctually know how to handle my kid’s intense feeligs about someone or something in public and I just choose to get out of dodge. I love myself as the Mama I am and am constantly becoming. This mama. This woman. She’s awesome.
TBT to when parenting choices felt simpler* and i was just breastfeeding on a boat. (*it was never simpler)