Xavier and the 34 year old toddler
There has been so much going on lately that I really don't know how to begin this blog post. For a second I thought I’d start with an update on the all the things that have occupied my hours recently, like working on growing my business…or the motherhood to-do list that keeps Xavier happy, healthy and entertained. Then I thought maybe a gallery of all our travel last month would be nice… but, not for this post.
After the craziness of the day that was, I have decided to sit back with a big bowl of popcorn and finally spend a little time heeding the call to share some of the thoughts that have been dancing circles in my head for months.
My last 33 year old sunset...
While driving home tonight, I made a right hand turn that put me in direct view of one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever noticed over Sydney, and I was floored. I had to pull over to fully enjoy it. For a few moments, the winter gold washed over my little boy and I while we both sat in peaceful silence – a truly rare moment. The colours seemed completely out of place because the entire afternoon had been grey and windy with heavy rainfall. Within minutes of being parked on the side of the road, I offered a prayer of thanksgiving to God for showing me one last memorable sunset in my 33rd year on this earth. It seemed like a perfect way to commemorate the year that tested me over and over again, especially during the last month… like a heavenly gift for my perseverance.
The night Xavier was born, the old version of me died; the version that existed before becoming a mum. And it just so happens that Xavier was born on my birthday, so I guess you could call it a rebirth. This new version of me is growing at the same rate as my two-year-old son. Right now I’m basically a toddler too. While I look like a grown up who has her shit together, the reality is most days I have no idea what I’m doing, and if what I am doing as a solo parent is serving my son in a positive way. One of the battles I face daily is dealing with idea of being “enough”. Going to bed is when it all hits me… I start thinking of all the ways I might have fallen short, or ways I could have been better… “Are the things I did today enough? Is there enough milk in the fridge for tomorrow? Did I love him enough? Did he eat enough?” Did I spend enough time with him? Will I ever get enough sleep?...”
Tonight, I’m saying enough.
There is a lot I don't know. But there are so many things I know for sure. I know I’m not alone in this. Solo parent, married, never married, whatever your deal is – I know mums everywhere experience so many of the same emotions. How do I know this? Because everywhere I turn, I hear the same conversation. Motherhood is hard work. We know this. We've known this since the dawn of time and somehow - amongst so many circles – the conversation is stifling. I think it needs a shake up because it’s old, stale and completely depressing. And I don't have any interest in wasting my precious hours living in complain mode.
So I’m taking three repetitive, fear based complaints that I’ve heard for the past 2 years, and transforming them into simple resolutions that allow me to escape the negative broken record of modern motherhood. Yes, you have every right to vent your frustrations because sometimes this shit is harder than any of us bargained for. But I want to encourage mums everywhere to actively start empowering each other without judgment. Just to clarify, these are all my own methods for keeping my head out of the depression space, while allowing myself to practice gratitude for all I am experiencing.
Common complaint no.1
“I’m just so busy, I don't get a chance to see anyone anymore!”
Make the time when you can, but never miss a “coincidence”.
You may not get to see your old mates as often as you would like. And we’re all guilty of glorifying the “busy” life. Instead of wishing that you had more time, take a moment to notice, enjoy and appreciate the people you bump into unexpectedly. These are unique opportunities to connect and offer a listening ear to someone who might need it more than you think. These moments are never as coincidental as they seem, and for me, surprise catch-ups have always been the most profound, healing and life altering exchanges.
Common complaint no.2
“My husband doesn't really help out that much, and I wish he would do more.”
Express gratitude for the small things; they make all the difference
This one is funny because I cannot relate, and can completely relate at the same time. At first I thought that women were just saying these types of things to make me feel better about not having a man around, but I’m realising that it's a common pain point for so many mums. If you have a partner who picks up the milk, takes out the trash, makes you your morning coffee, looks after the baby while you take a long shower, or does the Friday night takeout run, offer a little heartfelt gratitude every single time (sarcasm helps nobody!). While men have no idea about the inner experience of motherhood, we also have no idea about the inner experience of fatherhood. Be honest, be fair, and above all, be thankful for the little things your partner lovingly does for you and your family, because in the end, they’re not so little at all.
Common complaint no.3
“These blogger mums on Instagram make it look so glamourous and easy”
Bask in the inspiration when it speaks to your soul. If it does not, make a change.
You don't believe everything you read in magazines and see on TV. So why do you think Instagram is any different? I remember being in 9th grade Drama and learning about the nature of TV and stage entertainment. The general definition of Drama was, “life with the boring bits cut out”. Don't for one second think that these perfectly curated squares are a genuine reflection of someone’s every day life. Appreciate that people share the best bits, and move on. A Gucci bag doesn't make you a better mum or wife, and a 50 thousand dollar Baptism party certainly doesn’t make your baby a good Christian. Avoid the small talk, gossip and empty useless chatter. If you find yourself looking at your own world and wondering when life will start looking as sexy as @hotfitmumwithabootylikeJlo – then it might be time to unfollow and quit stalking pages that make you question your worth.
This whole time I've had it all backwards…
While I think I’m raising Xavier, the fact is - Xavier is raising me. He’s teaching me about patience. He’s helping me rediscover divine guidance in the everyday. He’s showing me how to slow down and let him develop at his own pace and most importantly, his love draws me back into the current moment... it moves me to stop worrying about the shoulda-coulda-woulda garbage that no longer has power over me.
Every day is an unfolding of something new. This year, I vow to enjoy the simple things more and be open to discovering the hidden blessings that are built into challenges I face.
Happy birthday to us, my little boy. Thank you for showing me the world through your eyes.
I love you to infinity and beyond.