Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash
As my partner worked on the itinerary for our upcoming adventure to Mexico, I decided to spend some time writing in our bedroom with him. The seedlings were clean, fed and in jammies, happily enjoying a DVD. The all-is-calm feeling permeated the 740 square foot home, and I thought it would be safe to add a splash of whisky to my homemade herbal tea to create a lovely hot toddy, and take the edge off my scratchy throat.
I sipped and jotted down some ideas for a post, and noticed that the seedlings were giggling as they teased each other in the living room, not 12 feet away from me. The teasing led to a game of chase, and I reminded them to avoid the area with the wood burning stove, to which they complied, staying over on the kitchen side of the space. Relaxing back into my work, a thud and the pregnant pause that comes just before the cry of anguish when a child is really hurt, filled my ears. I actually felt the disaster before I heard it, and reached him before the full effects of the pain set in.
I have been carving out space to grow myself in this year of log cabin livin’. I paint, and write, and read, and sit quietly doing nothing. None of these things come easily for me as I was raised to emulate the practices of a typical American mom and housewife - do all the things for all the other people. But I know I am a better me when I take time to nourish me. I believe my partner and kids deserve the best me. So, I am taking time to care for me to be the best me for them. (See that twisted logic? I have to be the best me FOR THEM. I see it. I know that is false self care. I am a work in process.)
Me choosing to relax and write in a quiet moment before the evening bedtime ritual was a hard sell to the little voice in my head shoulding all over me. I should do the laundry. The dishes. Read a book to my kids… But I did sit. And I did write. And I did have a hot toddy. And my seedling did get hurt. Badly.
In their effort to avoid the wood stove, they were chasing back and forth around the kitchen table. In his pre-going-to-bed-5-year-old state, my youngest seedling tripped and planted his mouth into the corner of the bench under the table. He busted the inside of his lower lip, ripped open the wound that was still healing from the surgery to remove his upper lip tie, and knocked crooked his top two front teeth.
A cold rice pack from the freezer and two doses of Traumeel stopped the bleeding and the pain. A restless night’s sleep in mom’s bed and a visit to our integrative dentist the next day relieved any worry about long term damage. But after the need for mom-in-crisis-mode dissipated, the mom guilt creeped in. And this time the guilt threw a ticker-tape parade to announce it’s arrival.
How could I have indulged in something so self-indulgent as writing in bed while dulling my senses with whisky and lemon balm? Seriously. Seriously! I could have prevented the teasing from escalating to chasing. I could have snuggled on the couch and watched the DVD with them. I could have put them to bed early. I could have done all the things differently.
I did not listen to my gut. I had a vision of seedling two hurting himself earlier that day. I did. I saw it in my head, and I did not listen. The tragedy and catch 22 in all of this is that in order for me to be in tune with my intuition, I must spend time nourishing myself. In order to spend time nourishing myself, I need to be unleashed from the duties of motherhood and partnership. I have been spending time prioritizing the responsibilities of a household with children. And I did not listen to myself.
I really don’t know what the answer is. It seems like an issue of balance. A yin and yang thing. Or, maybe it is a motherhood thing. It is a gigantically awesome responsibility to keep two little humans safe. It is part of our family prayer at night. “You are safe, and you are loved,” is what I say before namaste. I want my children to feel safe enough to grow and change and to learn from failure, knowing that they are always loved. Maybe, that is the nugget of wisdom in all of this for myself, too.
I am grateful to find a place with rich soil to grow a community. May we take root, and flourish together.
All artwork, photographs, and content are original and created by @bia.birch unless otherwise credited