Posts tagged Peace
Serenity Lives Here

Motherhood is the ultimate roller coaster. There is no ride in existence that can match the emotional ups and downs, twists and turns, or the overall thrill and excitement. I never had to wait in line for the ride. I just decided one day that I wanted to take a turn.

My journey, although short, has been a tumultuous one, and in that, I have managed to find peace in motherhood. To some, on the outside looking in, being a mother is either hard and ugly or beautifully simple. I am an eternal optimist as a mother. An eternal optimist that always fears the worse and is overwhelmed with anxiety. My life is run on schedules and routines. Our lives run like a fine oiled machine. Day in and day out we move like robots, but our souls sing of love. In the disarray of schedule keeping, and work meetings, and preschool parties, life sometimes seems like a dance we do with time. I find myself longing for the greener grass, on someone else’s side.

In a world plagued with mommy wars, mom shaming, and mom guilt, how are we supposed to find serenity in our own journeys through motherhood?

Sometimes it’s hard to find, but it’s always there.

Every day is equal parts happy and sad. Every day is equally chaos and calm. When the world seems like it’s moving faster than we can keep up, the kids are screaming, and dinner is burning, you will reach down to pick up your baby, and he will grab your face and lay one of those sloppy, wet, open mouth kisses directly on your lips. There, you will find it. The blissful moments in motherhood that make your heart melt into a puddle on the floor.

These are the moments, for which I live.

Every morning, we wake up at the same time, always before the sun. Our routine is like a dance through the minutes, swaying, and passing bags, hairbrushes, and the occasional child between us. Sometimes, more often than not, there are tears and sometimes unhappy words. Sometimes raised voices echo through the rushed juggling of diapers and tiny socks. But every morning when I pull out of the garage, my oldest shouts at me from the back of his daddy’s truck, “Have a good day, Mommy, I love you so much!“ And there, just like that, the rush begins to steady, and that tiny ray of comfort peeks in.

I am tired, more often than not. Some days, the fatigue can get the best of me. My patience can be thin. It seems that almost every time we have these nights, both boys need me at the same time, every time. One needs comfort, the other attention. No one is ever willing to compromise. I feel like my head will explode. I turn on the radio and scoop both babies into my arms. I dance and sing at the top of my lungs. The most joyous sound begins to fill the house, and we are happy, the four of us together. And there, at the end of my rope, I find euphoria.

Every night before we go to sleep, my boys climb into my bed. While the youngest nurses to sleep, my oldest rests his head on my stomach. The soft outer shell of what was once each of their home. I listen to them breathe. It is calm. It is quiet. It is always the exact opposite of majority of our days. Slow and steady, rather than fast and quick. I watch their chests as they rise and then fall. I inhale their scent, and it is intoxicating. The sounds of their cries have faded, but the echo of their laughter still lingers in the distance. In this moment, the good always outweighs the bad. The worries of the day, the problems, and the fear subside in this moment. We are together here, and we are content.

I believe there is such a thing as perfection. You just have to be willing to get through all of the imperfect things to find it. Motherhood is the perfect storm. No matter how terrible the day has gone, even if there have been too many tantrums and melt downs to count, and even if you lose yourself in a fit just trying to survive until bed time, in the end, there is always a tiny glimpse of tranquility that shines through. You just have to be willing to look for it. Just like the calm in every storm, there is a calm among the chaos. Being a mother is all that I live for, and even in the mayhem, I find serenity here. 

JOURNALIST: Kayleigh Elliott

On Balance & Peace
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Dearest mama, sitting there on the kitchen floor wondering why you can’t seem to do everything, be everything… why you can’t seem to balance all that you have on your plate—I see you. Often, I amyou. You are very much not alone. At times, it may feel like you’re the only one who can’t seem to have it all together. You wonder what’s wrong with you. The answer is absolutely nothing. I’m writing to tell you that I understand, and you are amazing—you are enough—exactly as you are at this very moment.

Throughout most of my adult life, the ever-elusive concept of balance has been the source of many journal entries, countless conversations, and quite a bit of frustration. It's something I've never felt good at—balancing work and marriage, self-care and motherhood, the keeping of a home and the necessity of time alone. I am interested in so many things, and I frequently lament the limits of time that prevent me from reading every book, experimenting with every art form. There are days when the work of running a business takes over my life. My house feels like a disaster and my children don't get the best of my attention. Other days, I'm an attentive and hands-on mother, perhaps even with meals planned and a clean floor, but I'm sorely behind on work tasks. (And sometimes, for the sake of true transparency, I can’t seem to do even one single thing right, in any area of my life.) For some reason, somewhere along the way I set the expectation for myself that I should be able to do everything, and do it well, all the time. I have a feeling you can relate. 

The more experience I gain in this dance of life, the more I learn that "balance" the way I once idealized it is completely unattainable. But it isn't the goal. We all have many things vying for our attention, and only so much of ourselves to give. Managing all of this is really more akin to juggling than balancing. Life is perpetually in motion. Only one thing can be on top at any given time, but it's constantly rotating and as long as there aren't too many things involved at once (meaning, as long as we prioritize wisely), everything gets enough of us in the big picture…in theory.

Balance doesn't require us to give one-hundred percent and attain perfection in everything we do; it's more about knowing how much we can handle and aligning each part of our lives with our deeper priorities. Whenever I feel chaos and overwhelm—or when, for the sake of the juggling analogy, I've lost my grip and allowed it all to crash to the floor—I try to evaluate each thing I'm attempting to handle at the moment. Are these things in line with my values and vision for myself and my family? Is there anything that needs to take back seat or be removed entirely? 

For me, this vision includes a sense of peace and joy in my home, and a life that is simple, uncluttered and unhurried, creative and close to nature. It includes physical health, nourishing food, great books, and ample time together as a family. My husband and I have seen clearly the need for time as a couple to invest in our marriage and keep it strong. I have learned that my personality type requires a certain amount of time alone to recharge so I'm capable of pouring into everyone else. These are some of the things that guide me as I edit which things I choose to juggle and which to let go of. But above all of that is relationships. Am I making sure the people in my life feel loved?

For me, the principle is this: Identify that which is most important, use it as a measuring stick for what you allow into your world, and then aim to be as present as possible in whatever is in front of you in each moment, and just let go of everything else that calls your attention away from what's truly important to you. And when you strip this concept of prioritizing down to basics, I think letting go andbeing present is really the key. More than balance, or a great juggling act, or trying to control everything, it's learning to let go that brings the sense of peace we're really chasing when we talk about balance. Letting go of the need for perfection and order, letting go of the idea that any one of us can do it all. When we not only accept, but fully embrace the fact that life is messy and often chaotic and that we are each only human, we are closer then to that sense of peace.

So now, when I find myself sitting on that kitchen floor—exasperated, overwhelmed, exhausted, defeated, feeling once again like I’m failing at this balance thing—I shift my focus away from balance entirely, away from striving and away from anything that even involves me. Instead I cultivate peace by centering myself in the present moment. I bring my attention to my senses, take deeper breaths, let all thought go and only take in what is happening around me right now—letting peace flow through my body and mind. Then, I remind myself of what is most important, which happens to be the one thing that comes most effortlessly to me (and to you too, mama)—my family is loved, fiercely and completely. We are wired to be the very best at loving them; it is innate to us, ingrained into the cells of our beings. That love is always enough. Everything else is excess. Let that bring you peace, and let that peace infuse and inform every other aspect of your life

Journalist: Hannah Mayo