After such a huge reaction to last issue’s article on the need to finally stop and rest has prompted us to ask: why are so many of us crying?
For Sarah, life seemed to be something happening to everyone else.
On her instagram feed, at the school gates, in her head: everyone else seemed to have a career, the perfect breakfast, and a life full of gratitude.
When she looked around at her own life, though, all she could see was a mess. More to clean up, more to change about herself. Just more that she should be doing. She’d wanted to be a stay-at-home Mama, but now she just felt like she was drowning – which only sent her into another downward spiral of guilt.
Why can’t I be happy with my life?
Why do I yell so much?
I’m screwing this all up.
So many of us are drowning. We think we’ve changed the conversation about motherhood by finally speaking the truth about childbirth, our bodies and the struggle to balance it all, but in fact, we’ve painted yet another unrealistic portrait of what we ‘should’ be feeling in our lives.
Gratitude. Connection. Purpose.
It’s the holy grail. We are all searching for it. And in the chaos of our lives, filled with the toy boxes and part-time roles and constant running just to stay on top of things, it can feel so very far away.
Motherhood is a small window of time in our long and full lives that’s role is to amplify our priorities. Think about it – it’s easy to push on when the only person you have to push is yourself. Before babies, you wanted something, you got it. And if the man beside you was slowing you down, you just pushed him out of the way.
Children don’t work like that.
We can’t change the absolute hold they have over our time, body and energy. We can’t push through. This is the one time in your life, sweet mama, that you will have to stand in the chaos, the mess, and the unknown, and simply accept it for what it is.
Accept, and seek out the blessing.
It’s a calling to refocus. It’s an opportunity to ask yourself – what am I going to do about this? And I mean really ask.
What am I going to do about this?
“More women cry, loudly or silently, every fraction of every moment, in every town of every country, than anyone–man or woman–realizes,” Marianne Williamson writes in ‘A Woman’s Worth‘. “We cry for our children, our lovers, our parents, and ourselves. We cry in shame because we feel no right to cry, and we cry in peace because we feel it’s time we did cry. We cry for the world. Yet we think we cry alone.”
But we are not alone.
There is a rising and a shifting of the role of woman and mother.
There are too many of us screaming and crying behind closed doors, holding ourselves up to the invisible but very tangible standard the world has put on us. Doing more because we believe that’s success. Never wanting to admit that we’re not happy.
But we have a choice. We are here, in this moment, to make a choice.
So what will you choose? It’s a form of self-abusive to keep taking your energy and your focus back to that which causes you pain. You may feel like you have no choice, oh but you do.
In every moment, we can choose to change. In every single moment. Just screamed? Stop, shake your arms and feet, take a deep deep breath… that moment is gone. It’s done. You can’t change it, but you can change the next.
So what will you do?
“What if woman allowed herself to listen once again to her own sensitivities?” writes Judith Duerk, in her life-changing book ‘Circle of Stones’. “To listen to the ways in which she is unhappy? What if she allowed herself to trust what her tears are trying to tell her?”
What are your tears trying to tell you?
Because they are here to tell you something.
We must start with an honest conversation with ourselves about what’s not working. If staying at home all day and night with your little ones is actually pushing you to your limits (despite it being exactly what you asked to do), it is not a sign of weakness to admit the truth. There is no point in pushing on when you know it’s not bringing you joy, nor is it helping your family.
Why is it so hard for us to say – I actually can’t do this alone.
We’re not meant to, mamas. We’re not meant to be inside our homes, day in and day out, juggling all the demands of raising a family on our own. We’re meant to be in a village: a group of women, older and younger, who we lean on each and everyday. We’re meant to be able to freely ask for support without fear of judgement or shame. And it is shame that is keeping us silent.
But what if, like Judith Duerk writes in her book, you had a circle of women around you? How would your life be different if you felt supported, heard, seen and accepted?
What if you could finally say those words that are stuck in your throat?
Gratitude, connection, purpose: it is possible in the midst of mamahood. It’s right there for us to take. But the way in is through honest conversation. When we can openly say ‘this isn’t working’, we can finally see our way back from pain. We see the blessings. We’re grateful for this journey. We realise the greater purpose.
But we’ve got to be honest first.
‘Circle of Stones: Woman’s Journey to Herself’ is the life-changing book by Judith Duerk which is now in it’s tenth anniversary of publication, and has been shared by women around the globe who are committed to finally coming back together in circle to support and heal each other.