I watched the Sound of Music the other night with my eldest. She asked me to braid her hair while we were partaking in glorious sing-songy way too idyllic scenes, which I’ve decided narrowly slides me into the awesome au pair I always wanted for my kids.
Anyhoozers. I’m not sure if it was the song “Climb Every Mountain” when The Mother of the Nuns basically tells Maria to go get her sexy on or when the formerly super uptight gaggle of kids are found hanging from trees, but that movie got me thinking ----
---- Hold up. I’m typing this in IKEA while my kids play in SMALAND and guess what just came a’playing over the loud speaker. Yes. Raindrops on Roses. Whiskers on Kittens. ----
--- Oh, and double hold up: During a recent Skype chat with my dad, aka “Gdad” to my girls, upon asking my eldest what exciting things she was doing for afterschool activities, she reported, “Well, my mom takes us to IKEA. on Tuesdays. Kids eat free on Tuesdays.” ---
Anyway, I decided that The Sound of Music held an important message to us all. It’s simple on the surface, but much more profound when we dig a little deeper (always). Here we go:
GET INSIDE THE WHIRL OF YOUR CHILDREN’S BUZZ INSTEAD OF STANDING OUTSIDE OF IT
When I’m standing outside of that buzz, the centrifugal force of children feels overwhelming. It blows sand and soot and wind all up in my face. However, when I’m on the inside of that force, holding their hand and chasing down the wind with them, it feels vastly different. And while it’s still A LOT and I still look forward to “nighty night,” the feeling I’ve had has been comprehensively fulfilling and completely manageable. Being on the outside, though, whew. I have to bite my tongue. Take deep breaths. Fake a smile. Act like I’m paying attention. And it drains me. I feel bombarded and overwhelmed. And they feel it. They feel the disconnect and it all becomes a vicious cycle.
Why do we stay on the outside then? Stress. Yes. Distraction. Yes. Technology. Yes. Finances. Yes. To-dos. Yes. Yes. A million times yes.
But, there’s more. And this is where we all need to grab each other’s hands and say, “I know motherhood is hard, like The Hardest. And I know you’re getting your ass kicked. And I know you’re in it. And I know you think no one else understands. And I know. And I see you.” And then we’re going to take a deep breath, we’re going to look each other square in the eyes and say, “If we know it’s hard and we know no one really gets it, then what can we each do right now to make it feel better for ourselves and to not be angry gremlin role models to our kids?”
We have to drop what we know. We have to drop our expectations that anyone or anything is going to soothe us or make it feel better. And we have to be willing to shift our perception. We have to be willing to let go of the fear that we’ll be left all alone, unseen and unappreciated. And we have to do what’s best for ourselves in that moment. The only one we can change is ourselves. Which means, yes, you will feel all alone maybe and you will want to cry possibly, but you will have the courage and wisdom to know exactly how to shift into the present moment and save yourself. The reward is that it feels better. You connect to your surroundings. You connect to your Little Light. You let the small things go. You give the gift of you to your kids, unconditionally.
Now, super important. LISTEN UP CRAZY MOMMAS. This does not mean that you go silent and that you act like everything is awesome and motherhood is super silky smooth and that you are a goddess who has no needs or wants. No way. This just means that you make a choice to be where you are. You get to choose to shift into the inside of the buzz or remain buffeted on the outside. Period. Nothing more than that. You still are required by all healthy laws of being human to tell your bestie and your partner that you need help and what help you need. You use your voice. You take care of your wants. You do not shut down. But, in that moment, you make a choice for joy by jumping inside the circle that is childhood energy.
And, look, this shift cannot be dependent on your life being easy breezy. You can’t wait for the right time. The right time is now. And I’m not being a hypocritical douchebag by saying that. My stressors are huge. I’m moving over the holidays. I think about money 65 seconds out of every hour. I run a business from my laptop with very little extra cushion. I’m divorced. I have no idea what I’m doing. But, still, I have the option of opting for being inside that circle of chaos even in the midst of the Wild Wild West.
Nothing gets solved by being on the outside. It never has. It never will. So, walk away from the option.
Now, you can apply this notion not just to kids, mind you. This goes for life and your wellness, especially. Standing outside of the centrifugal force that wellness demands feels like crap. You will think it’s too much. You will decide to wait until the time is right. But, like jumping on a merry-go-round mid cycle, you just have to grab on and haul yourself up. Once you’re there, you’re there though.
Get inside the centrifugal force of your vitality. Opt for the challenge on being actually IN the ride. Participate even when it makes more sense to sit this one out on the bench.