Rosie is really sick. It started a few days ago with a bad fever and no sleep, to a cough and congestion, still very little sleep and now projectile vomiting and of course minimal sleep.
8 and a half months in, and even on a healthy day, still very little sleep.
And in the most bloodshot, red eyed and haggered moments, I ache for her in her suffering and I am completely clear on putting her needs first in this instinctually protective and completely surrendered way that being a mom demands. I feel helpless in it too. In the perpetual cycle of no sleep and her discomfort in sickness and her falling when exploring, and in the unplanned of it all. It’s both the most anchored and certain I feel, to be by her side and soothe her and equally the most out of control and unpredictable I have ever experienced.
Along with building her immune system and being very fickle with her sleep patterns or lack there of, she is crawling, climbing everything, and bailing too. She is a full time mover. A full bodied wonder.
To top it all off, I am trying to get back to working part time too. Taking on more classes and projects and building a plan for my new mom work life balance that I have no idea how to arrange. The finances are getting tighter, my homemade maternity leave is demanding I get back out there. Or maybe it’s also my yearning for a semblance of who I love to be when I am working that has me eager to reengage. Either way I feel the call, the pull and the bills.
And so I started to dive in. Fill up my once free time slots, the ‘for me’ spots, with work, and bustle. And a few weeks into my efforts, my commitments made, Rosie gets sick, like big time sick. And me too. And I have had to cancel 3 work gigs and two appointments in the last 5 days. And I am on the floor humbled by the puke I am cleaning from the cracks of my floor boards… how the heck am I going to do it all?
So back to the drawing board so to speak and I guess I better take advantage of this sick time at home as an affirmation of clearing out what no longer works and get clear on where I want my energy to go. I can’t bulldoze through many scattered work projects at once and overcommit to too many to dos anymore. This moment is asking me to harness my desires, strengthen my ability to say no and sharpen my focus, . On Rosie naturally but also on my relationship to all my relationships including my career. To be more intimate with how I invest my energy. Integral in the choices I chose and aligned with the life design I am creating. I always love how getting sick is really just the body’s way of forcing me to hang out in my heart for a little space and guidance. And now part of my heart is sleeping in the other room as I write this, and she’s made it very clear I am not going to get away with pleasing from insecurities anymore.
Because as I am open to learn from and yearn for flow. I no longer have energy to resist the rhythm of my present life revision. And as my mom friend likes to remind me, its normal to be constantly rearranging and changing in the priorities of Rosie first and the rest of life second. The nimble footwork that is required and continuous shape shifting that is inspired by Rosie ever evolving needs is an adaptation I will have to make harmonious with my business values and ventures too … So I can tango with both gracefully. And that is not what this masculine work architecture offers us new moms. So I will have to make it up as I go.
Rosie is my sun. I orbit her. All day, with awe and every so often with angst. Because I am human and it’s not often glamorous or exciting, it’s mostly cute, riddled with out right hilarity and quite scattered chasing her from one room to the next. And by the time Rosie has been put to bed at 7pm after a full day of Mom duties, the only truth left is time for self care. Sure I could work but filling up my inner well gets me through another sleep interrupted night. I meditate, I roll out my knots, I dance in the dark and I collage or write as an outlet for all my overthinking. I make a colourful wholesome meal to sit and share with my partner and connect in our ideals.
Then after my short 2-3 hour stints of sleep between feeds and reassuring Rosie night time routine, I foggily wake up with Rosie at whatever random time she decides to wake up, and we play in bed, and then we cuddle puddle on the living room floor while I nurse a tea or coffee depending on how short the sleep segments were, and I just marvel in her beaming curiosity. Her zest for her life in this moment. I envelope myself in her giggles and cocoon myself in the wonder in her big blue eyes.
In those moments, I am blissfully at ease and at peace with my lack of sleep and my life as it is.
And then her first nap is upon us and I am faced with myself. What do I do with this precious hour to 90 minutes that is so fleeting in the frame of the expectations my ego has for me.
I often get whirlwinded into emails and cleaning… you know the BS I let my insecurities distract me with. How do I juggle my new mom role with my career and maintaining a home in which I want to revere. Usually I catch myself, often much more quickly, in my avoidance side step and instead crank the tunes (not too loud to not wake Rosie) and start to move my body and dance. And I pause for ten deep breaths that often lead into ten more. And I find the right answer for right action in this moment. And I take off like a storm in the direction I am meant to reinvigorate. It might be a FaceTime with someone I love, it might be an email for a new project I am so excited about, it might be prepping Rosie food with love, or it might be a coffee with my lover as we discuss our life and our worries undiluted. Whatever it is, when I pause and really feel for the right action because I was willing to be in inaction for a beat or two, I find peace in the unfolding of my life and my day, I don’t feel so tired or overwhelmed and I am fascinated to find more time than I thought to enjoy all the nooks and crannies of my life with Rosie.
So as I sit, this morning to write in the silence of Rosie sleeping after several rounds of projectile vomit cleaned, baths and changes of clothes had, snuggles and consoles savored, appointments and meetings cancelled and now just the hum of the fridge, the sound of my fingers hitting the key board and the space I have allowed for my life to take another unexpected turn, I am grateful. I am both really tired from very little sleep and very content with this blurry phase of my experience. That my practice, my faith in the presence I hold, the willingness to be with the extreme exhaustion and new mom insecurities, and still be fully brave and ok in it all, this is what I have come here to share. The possibility of life seemingly mundane and messy, is still magical and meaningful. And it’s only because I fully open to receive it as it is, and give it my all.
So to sums things up, I am going to do less but more honestly from my heart. This hazed reality of not much sleep has blatantly called my bluff and blearingly highlighted the unnecessary. The drains are revealed and the unsustainable relationships no longer concealed. The who, the what and the why are enlightened. And therefore my senses are heightened. I can sniff out my allies and release myself from any and all the foe.
It’s a blessing in this women privileged time in history, to both be a stay at home mom most of the time and dribble back into a career I love as Rosie and my dynamic allow for it (and the community of family I have to support me through it). I appreciate this new conversation that allows our feminine to be acknowledged and embodied, to rise up and raise women with empowered respect for the mysteries of a life we did not over plan. Our unique expressions embraced by our relinquishing of shame and our alchemizing of blame into the power we have to design a new future of unconditional love in our homes and a new life-work paradigm of untraditional job schedules and roles, to be creative and honest to our individual family needs. Its new territory, and yes it feels scary, but everything that is worth it comes with its ball of holy shit feels. I am going to stay true to my heart that is now divided in two, to meet my Rosie and my truth as best as I can everyday, leaving no room for judgement because I have taken full ownership for this beautiful life I am open live. And just a reminder, however you chose to do your life is an honour to witness and has nothing to do with how I decide to live mine.
So this leads me to welcome all my fellow moms out there to come celebrate your dedication to the most unrewarded job of them all. To better take space and time to listen to your heart, re-align yourself with your truth and model that shameless and wonderful version of you to your family. In honour of all that you do, and all that you are, and all that you learn from and release judgment of, I am hosting a Mom’s Day (of) Care on May 2nd here in Nanaimo. Its a place to celebrate all your hardwork, to release any places of guck that might be stuck in the corners of your doing, and to relish in your beauty inside and out. Stay tuned…