My soul begs
maybe even more
than my body
begs for rest.
A quiet room
no no no no
just a moment.
No, that’s not true. I want moments. Many many moments of quiet, in a row. It would take days and days of quiet moments for the recovering of this heart and mind. This person.
I am tight shoulders and held breath, sleep deprivation and overstimulation. I am numb. I am not. I am crying. I am trying. I am not. I am feeling a tinge of pride when my Dad walks in and I’m making brownies with Asher on a very bad day. Look at me go! I found the energy! As if his love for me changes based on what I’m doing or not doing. As if he has a piece of graph paper and goes home to erase a bar of love for me if my kids were in front of the TV and I was in my pajamas at 2pm. Sometimes that’s the way it is when he walks in and he doesn’t love me less. I know that. But I stand there thinking I’ve got something to prove.
I wish, oh how I wish I didn’t have this deeply rooted belief that It is All about what I Do. I know with my head that this is not true–it’s not about what I do. But the belief? Buried too deep, it’s there, expecting impossible perfection. So I have to use my head to batter it down, repeat repeat repeat that it’s wrong, this belief, and sometimes I’m just too tired so I lose that fight but I get up again and try.
All those years ago, almost seven now, before I had Miles, I thought I knew what kind of mother I would be, but I’m not her. I’m anxious and a lot of that is not my fault. You know, it’s like my therapist says, Please understand this, Heather…this is your bio-chemistry. My head understands her but my beliefs try to laugh in her face. They just battle it out while I sit on a couch like a cliche.
I hate it that my bio-chemistry is covering up the Heather I am. And at the same time, I’m glad to melt into my bed in more need and pain than I imagined motherhood would bring me. Because I’m buried there in need and surrender with no other choice and what if I still thought I could do it all on my own? That’s worse. That’s more exhausting. That’s a mask and a pretending and I’m terrible at faking. Just terrible.
My child admitted to me that it doesn’t seem like I love being a mom because I get so grumpy so much. I broke in half when he said that. Everything broken, not just my head or my heart or my soul all separate with their separate ways of doing life–every part of me. And I wanted to make it so much bigger. I went to my bed and I cried from my core and said over and over how how how….how did it come to be? That I would be the impatient mother, on edge and prickly, anxious and reactionary? I swore I would not be her. And my boy, he doesn’t know. He doesn’t understand. I can’t explain that Life is very Big and there are things that tear you down and throw you around. He’s not old enough for that conversation and you know what? When I stopped making this difficult conversation bigger than it was? When I stopped sulking on my pillow and wondering if I should go away so they have a better life…(see? I was making it bigger)…I realized, through the help of the friend that I called while crying, that he knows. He knows I love being his mom. I know that he knows. There are so many times that I am patient and kind, when I respond instead of react, when I take them to the park and we laugh and make up silly games. When I kiss him goodnight and tell him 398 times that he is so good and I love him so much. He knows. He was mostly responding to the fact that I had not let him play on my iPhone because it was morning and time to get ready for school and stop arguing with me about it. But if I had allowed the screen time, he probably would have told me that I love being a mom.
That’s just it, you know? They are so concrete and I cannot allow this conversation to continue to punch me in my fear places. One of my greatest weak places is how I over-think my mothering and I could certainly take this statement from an honest boy and let it color every part of me and how I move forward, for always. I certainly could.
but it’s not about me.
that’s motherhood. It’s not. Not even this, is about me. I am writing this to remember that. I am writing this to say that I’m a good mother. I know I am. I know I am. I don’t need to get out my graph and erase a bar of love for myself. I am too in love with grace for that.
I am a really good mother and I say that to quiet my mind in the midst of all the noise, in and out.