I'm feeling like I am drowning. And one of the ways that I know how to swim to safety is to write. There is something compelling me to make my words public, to put my voice out into the world a little further than my personal journal. This is partly because I know that I am not alone in many of these feelings, and partly because I do feel so isolated in the amazingly complex role of being a mom. I also want to open more, be vulnerable, not wear the facade that I sometimes do that everything is put together and happy and beautiful. I want to dig into the pain and walk through the suffering, and I see making my voice public a way to find connection as well as relief.
Right now, in this moment, I want my life before kids back. I feel the enormous need to have as much alone time as possible, an unquenchable thirst that isn't met by a few hours by myself. I want to run away. To play out the other parts of my being that don't involve being a mother with whole-hearted abandonment. It feels awful and freeing to write these words. The voice that preaches at me to be the perfect mother, to think about my kids, to practice what I read in the parenting books squawks in protest to this declaration. How can you even begin to think about running away? The part of myself that is a little deeper, a little wiser, a little gentler reminds me that this is normal, that this feeling is not flawed, that of course I need self-care time.
I punched out some of my anger this morning on the bag, boxing gloves on, left and right hooking and jabbing. Anger at the pressure I put on myself, anger at my two kids who seem to have it in for one another, anger at the comparison of myself to other mothers on Facebook, anger at how having children shifts a marriage. It felt freeing. Exercise, sweating, exertion-other ways that bring me relief and perspective. I also cried in the arms of my fellow workout buddy and my trainer. Physical and emotional releasing all in an hour.
I want to put this out into internet space too because I see all of this as a challenge, as an opportunity to examine, accept, and shift towards greater peace and gentleness. I know that parenting is hard, that there will be moments when it is not fun, and I see these moments as opportunities to steer towards a greater way of living. I tell myself that suffering is optional and now I need to find the ways to make that a truth in my day-to-day life.