Dear Mother Who Is Struggling

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Dear Mother Who Is Struggling,

I know you haven’t been yourself lately.

I see it in the way your eyes no longer carry the light the way they used to, their colour faded; like an old photograph that once held a cherished memory, now lost.

Your frown lines have deepened, they outnumber the lines of laughter that once etched the sides of your face, back when your joyful smile would reach that far, back when your shoulders were straight and the weight of your tiredness didn’t pull you down.

You love your babies, I know you do.

But this is hard.

And you are tired. So damn tired.

And maybe this is what adds to the tiredness; the guilt that you shouldn’t feel this way. You wonder if you’re the only mother out there who feels so isolated, so alone, so exhausted. Or do they all have these villages you hear of; support networks of family and friends who share the burden of raising a family, while you wake up each morning and wonder how you will get through another day on your own.

Surrounded by little people, noise, clutter, you find yourself lonelier than ever. But it’s not a loneliness from being alone. It’s a loneliness that comes from being so far from yourself, so far from who you once were. You don’t even know who that is anymore. You feel as though you’ve traded your whole identity to be a mother. Sacrificed your entire life to care for those around you. This is all you know now. This is all your life has become.

And you miss the woman you once were, and the life you once had.

You long for your independence, your spontaneity, your carefree. For road trips and dinner dates and live music and nights out in the city. For beach days and lazy Sundays in bed and to read a book, uninterrupted. Drained, you yearn for the things that bring nurture to your tired body and soul as you force yourself through another day on the scarce remnants of what you have left to give.

I know this is hard. But take heart, dear one.

It won’t always be this way. It won’t always be so hard. Days will get easier. There will be more moments to be still, to breathe, more moments to laugh again. There will be more moments where you can reach inside and find the misplaced pieces of the woman you used to be, and the days will begin to feel less lonely as you journey back to your own heart.

I know you think the way you struggle makes you a failure. That because of this, you fall short and aren’t enough. Don’t believe these lies. Be gentle on your heart, for every day you face the hardest job, alone, and you make it through.

No matter how hard, you don’t give up. You show up, and continue to do the best with what you have. And some days that may not seem like enough.

But every day, you continue to love.

And that will always be more than enough.

I know this is hard. But for now, this is all you need to know.

This too shall pass.

And when you close your eyes tonight, write those words on the back of your eyelids, and watch as they fall away beneath your skin and seep into your bloodstream where they will reach your heart and kiss it with the hope that will get you through your tomorrows.

You may not feel it today, but I promise you, my love – you’ve got this.

Dear Mother Who is Struggling

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Dear Mother Who is Struggling,

I know you haven’t been yourself lately.

I see it in the way your eyes no longer carry the light the way they used to, their colour faded. Your frown lines have deepened, outnumbering the lines of laughter that once etched the sides of your face, back when your joyful smile would reach that far, back when your shoulders were straight and the weight of your tiredness didn’t pull you down.

You love your babies, I know you do.

But this is hard. And you are tired. So damn tired.

And maybe this is what adds to the tiredness; the guilt that you shouldn’t feel this way. You wonder if you’re the only mother out there who feels so isolated, so alone, so exhausted. Or do they all have these villages you hear of – support networks of family and friends who share the burden of raising a family, while you wake up each morning and wonder how you will get through another day on your own?

There was a world you used to belong to, and you grieve it. It’s there in front of you, every day, on social media – there, in the radiant faces of other women as they go about their lives, their holidays, gym classes, dates, promotions. You wonder how, in a world so connected, you are left feeling so goddamn disconnected from it all.

Surrounded by little people, noise, clutter, you find yourself lonelier than ever. But it’s not a loneliness from being alone. It’s a loneliness that comes from being so far from yourself, so far from who you once were. You don’t even know who that is anymore. You feel as though you’ve traded your whole identity to be a mother. Sacrificed your entire life to care for those around you. This is all you know now. This is all your life has become.

You miss the woman you once were, and the life you once had.

You long for independence, spontaneity, to be carefree. For road trips and dinner dates and live music and nights out in the city. For beach days and lazy Sundays in bed and to read a book, uninterrupted. Drained, you yearn for the things that bring nurture to your tired body and soul as you force yourself through another day on the remnants of what you have left to give.

I know this is hard. But take heart, dear one.

It won’t always be this way. It won’t always be so hard. Days will get easier. There will be more moments to be still, to breathe, more moments to laugh again. There will be more moments where you can reach inside and find the misplaced pieces of the woman you used to be, and the days will begin to feel less lonely as you journey back to your own heart.

I know you think the way you struggle makes you a failure. That because of this, you fall short and aren’t enough. Don’t believe these lies. Be gentle on your heart, for every day you face the hardest job, alone, and you make it through. No matter how impossible it seems, you don’t give up. You show up, and continue to do the best with what you have.

And some days that may not seem like enough. But every day, you continue to love. And that will always be more than enough. I know this is hard. But for now, this is all you need to know.

This too shall pass.

And when you close your eyes tonight, write those words on the back of your eyelids, and let them fall away toward your heart and kiss it with the hope that will get you through your tomorrows.

You may not feel it today, but I promise you, my love – you’ve got this.

Day Twenty-Three #poemadayfeb: Sonnet

I fling the light from behind my eyes

As an offering to the star-filled night

Veiled in the affliction of my demise

May darkness take captive my sight.

That I cannot see the sorrow of grief

Just one night free from these thorns

Blood abandons my side with no relief

How wearily my wasted heart mourns.

Sleep is aloof in these arms of regret

She comforts me like a cheap whore

The barren hours won’t let me forget

Shattered pieces I can never restore.

But when this broken night is through,

My love, may I be no more lost to you.

~ ©️ Kathy Parker // Sonnet for the Sleepless ~

Day Twenty-Three #poemadayfeb: Sonnet

Day Nine #poemadayfeb: The View From My Window

And one day

you will come to learn

it isn’t just iron bars

that cage our hearts,

and freedom

can’t always be found

in the wide and open spaces.

⁃ note to my younger self

Day Nine #poemadayfeb: The View From My Window

Your Mess Is Mine

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Bring me to your house
Tell me, “Sorry for the mess”
Hey, I don’t mind
You’re talking in your sleep
Out of time
Well you still make sense to me
Your mess is mine
~ Vance Joy

Some days there is only mess. Days when our hearts rip open and there is tissue and muscle and membrane everywhere and all our brokenness comes undone and we bleed out onto the ground.

Sorry for the messSorry for the mess. Sorry for the mess. 

There’s nothing pretty about our hearts as they bleed, about our humanity as we suffer.  There’s nothing pretty about rejection, brokenness, abandonment, misunderstanding, cruelness, sadness, pain, hate. There’s nothing pretty about the way we are sliced open by ourselves, by others, by trauma, abuse, memories, nightmares, triggers, words.

Sorry for the mess. Sorry for the mess. Sorry for the mess. 

We are so ashamed of our mess. Ashamed of our humanity, of our ugliness. We’ve been told not to cry, to quiet down, to not show our feelings, to not make a scene.

We’ve been told to not make a mess.

Sorry for the mess. Sorry for the mess. Sorry for the mess. 

But to be human is to be messy. To feel, to love, to hate, to hurt, to cry, to grieve, is all messy. And the worst thing we can do is make others feel ashamed of their mess, to make them feel wrong in their humanity, as though they need to hide it, need to clean up their mess before anyone sees it.

The most beautiful gift we can give one another is to step into their messiest place and say, “Hey, I don’t mind.” To look around at the mess, the chaos, the blood all over the ground, and make sense of them when they can no longer make sense of themselves.

To hear them say it:

Sorry for the mess. Sorry for the mess. Sorry for the mess. 

And to love them enough to say, “Your mess is mine.”

 

 

 

Winter In My Bones

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“The leaves fall gently and like autumn she brings sadness. The leaves are left behind and winter’s in my bones.” ~ Cat Empire

These lyrics repeat in my mind, over and over. They are so on point for me this week. Winter remains stuck in my bones and somewhere there’s a way to cure this sadness but I cannot find it. No amount of rest or sleep or yoga or books or words or herbal tea or music will shift this relentless winter from my bones.

It’s not one thing that causes this dull ache of winter within me. It never is just one thing. It’s an accumulation of busyness, tiredness, stress, demand, pressure, obligation. It’s all things, everything, that leads to a sense of being overwhelmed, where both mind and body collapse, though I’m never sure which one perpetuates the other.

I just know winter is here and with her comes defeat, frustration, impatience, anger. There is lack of motivation and inspiration. There is no creativity. And so winter too brings grief. No words fall from me. Instead pages remain empty as the bitter gale cuts through my skin and seeps into my marrow that shrivels against its spite. Words are always my way back to life and without them there is no life, only a numb detachment that leaves my mind as blank as the page in front of me.

But it’s during these times of winter I must yield to the season and all she offers to teach me, if only I should be silent enough to hear. For if I allow it, winter also brings stillness, reflection and surrender. It brings quiescence. It brings dormancy.

And most importantly, it brings transformation.

For winter is a time when the deep work of the heart is done. And if I can learn to resist the fight and find a way to sit with her, she will do her work within me. She will bring change, renewal, life. In her time, not mine.

Winter is my preservation, and I no longer fight against it. Instead, I choose to surrender. For I know there is a work being done that I cannot see. And though I may not yet understand what that is, what I do understand is that spring always comes when the work is complete.

Always.

Photo credit: Robert Wnuk via unsplash.com