I am so sorry we have put so much pressure on each other during this bizarre time. I see a lot of advice floating around social media, prompting us to be more productive (i.e. get ready every morning, meal prep, and so on). The folks slinging these tips have never lived through a global pandemic - the truth is, nobody has, and they are as clueless as you and I. Sometimes advice giving is really soothing - I, too, like finding answers and light to share with people (bonjour, therapy). Perhaps, telling all of us what to do, is a coping mechanism for said advice slingers. I don't know...furthermore, I am not here to slander the influencer (looking at you, Marie Forleo and the like).
I want to be clear, I am NOT saying advice giving is inherently "bad," or "wrong;" but, at times, it does induce shame. Shame is that yucky feeling when we cannot stand ourselves. It is the mascot of self-doubt; that corrosive bug inside of us, slowly killing our self-esteem. I am afraid the constant stream of products, ideas, and opinions aimed at making us "better," and "more productive mom's," won't stop. We can, however, be intentional in recognizing the flow of information we are consuming, more aware of what we absorb, and more savvy in what we implement.
Here are some facts...
One, I am no scientist; and
Two, I love and am fascinated by the brain.
So, hang in there, and let's consider the following. Because these times are so foreign, and unknown, our brains are in a constant state of mistrust and fear. This is our limbic system being triggered, and becoming super activated while evaluating it's only three options: fight, flight, or freeze. If our brain is operating from a place of fear, it's number one priority is going to be finding protection. That shield may show up in several different ways, such as: numbing with alcohol, starting a juice cleanse, online shopping, or whatever else may feel safe. When we perceive that someone is doing motherhood "better" than us, we get triggered in all that yuck. We might hold our breath, begin to internally criticize ourselves, place unnecessary judgment on others, etc.
When we recognize this happening, we can shift and slow down, instead of becoming more anxiously activated. Take a deep breath...and simply breathe. It is essential that we take this moment of pause. Y'all, the magic is in the pause. It is NOT in making a chore chart, creating a Pinterest-worthy meal, or putting on your lipgloss. When we pause, we create the space in which we are able to notice what is happening on the inside. It is in that space that we can accept what is true for us, and move toward our authentic, and whole self.
If making an asparagus and goat cheese frittata feels well and good, and not like something you "should" do, then crack those eggs, sister. If hanging out under a weighted blanket and binge watching Tiger King is your speed, then enjoy (but, watch out for Carole!).
I have done some pretty amazing things during the quarantine; and feel proud to have made it through some of these long, exhausting, and at times, lonely days. I have been much clearer, more focused, and more present with my kids. I have also spent too much money and time online shopping...(perhaps that is another topic for another day). I have eaten cereal for dinner too many times to count. My children have mastered the arts of Hulu, Netflix and Disney+. I don't remember the last time I actually broke a sweat, or drank enough water (areas for improvement?). I long for a pedicure and a latte.
And, when the yucky feelings come knocking, I allow myself to just be curious. I allow myself to tell someone else what a shit show I have become. I allow them to tell me that I am, in fact, wonderful. If no one has told you lately, find someone to tell you, and in the meantime please hear me say, "You are wonderful!"
So, dear mamas, you can take a deep breath. Reconnect to what is true for you. Maybe it is wearing jeans and lipgloss everyday, and maybe it isn't. I am here to remind you once again, no one knows what the f*ck they are doing. But what I know to be true, is that this is a time for you and I to welcome everything.
With so much love,
A Tool For Your Toolbox:
Whether you are a seasoned meditator or a total newbie, I hope you will give Tara Brach's RAIN Meditation a shot. Tara Brach has helped me turn inward to find teeny tiny moments of pause. This particular practice has been a game changer for me.