One Shitty Day
today was a wake up call.
a reminder of why i felt called to birth motherfly in the first place.
i dragged my two little ones along with me to a postpartum visit, running out the door after a long consultation, without enough time to grab even a single snack for my toddler (and not many options in the fridge).
fielding several texts and phone calls in route as i munched on chocolate covered expresso beans, i realized i had fallen completely into old paradigm behaviors around motherhood.
societal expectations that say that i have to do it all and do it all perfectly. yes, that’s me, the superwoman—
able to wear my baby while catching other babies, able to give sound prenatal information to a pregnant mama while my toddler harasses her partner, and able to simultaneously nurse my baby and do just about any other task (and trust me i've done them all!)
but at what cost?
i arrived to my postpartum visit feeling frazzled and hurried. i had a lunch date pending with my uncle who was visiting from california (an uncle who is always early) and i was already 20 minutes behind schedule.
i throw amaya into the wrap, grab my prenatal bag, my laptop and select items from my purse before i help jade out of her seat and onto the pavement. i decide to leave the diaper bag in the car since i probably won’t change her anyway. she feels wet but i chalk it up to "just water” since i know she's been playing with her bottle on the way.
i try to be efficient by doing all the stuff that requires two hands first since amaya is already in the wrap. but within a few short minutes she is fussy and wants down.
as i’m unloading her from the wrap i realize she has completely shit through her diaper and her pants.
ok, deep breath. i calmly say to the mama,
“i’m gonna go downstairs and get her diapers,"
leaving my toddler there to fend for herself.
after walking the long hall and taking the elevator 3 flights down, all the while trying to hold amaya away from my body, i decide to just change her in the car. one of the benefits of having a gas-guzzling SUV station wagon is that there is a great diaper changing space in the back.
i open her up and it’s worse than i thought. shit is everywhere and stinks. i clean her up as a hot miami sun beats down on me, and toss the shitty diaper in the car with her pants turned inside out over it.
i manage to get through the visit despite my baby needing to be held constantly but not wanting to be in the wrap and my toddler who keeps asking to eat all this poor mama’s food!
the grandmother says to me at one point “wow, this is a lot for them”, speaking of my children, and i’m thinking,
“a lot for them! damn, it’s a lot for me!!!”
i rush out to make it 30 minutes late to my lunch date, feeling like i’ve provided suboptimal care, both for my clients and my own children. that’s when i caught myself.
what the hell am i doing?” who am i serving?
how easy it is to fall into old stories and patterns of behavior. despite our best efforts, we are literally up against thousands of years of cultural conditioning that has us defining ourselves and our value based on our ability to give care.
and now here we are, having been liberated from narrow roles, only to find that underneath this newfound freedom lies an invisible tapestry of chronic over-giving.
what good is it that we can have careers and be leaders outside the home if in the end we are left exhausted and feeling like we are never enough?
we have added many new responsibilities to our plate without taking any away. now we can be mothers, entrepreneurs, career women, artists, partners, providers. we are bad-ass multitasking motha effas, but in service to what and to whom?
the key strength of a motherfly is her ability to generate support. it is knowing her own limits as an individual and understanding that through her own relational field she has access to unlimited support, resources and possibility.
a motherfly knows she is enough, exactly as she is, imperfections and all.
i took another breath, allowed the screaming kids in my car to be ok.
during my drive to the restaurant i let my man know that doing postpartum visits with 2 small kids was simply too much and i would be leaving at least one child, if not both, behind next time. i delegated the next postpartum visit to my lovely and capable assistant.
then, as if the universe was letting me know it was supporting my efforts at self-care, i received a text from my afternoon client advising me that she would be in my area and would come to me, saving me about a 2-hour drive.
shortly afterward i received the blood type of the baby who arrived on monday and, although the odds were only 15%, he was the same blood type as his mama, relieving me of an additional trip i would have had to make tomorrow to give his mother an injection.
i took it a step further and arranged my day for tomorrow in a way where i do not have to leave my home. because dammit, life has been really full and i deserve a break. my happiness matters.
my kids don’t need a martyr, they deserve a motherfly.
we must let go of this idea that somehow to be worthy of support we have to not need it. being able to ask for support and receive it without guilt is not a weakness, it is our greatest untapped strength as mothers.
not only do we give back to ourselves and our children, we give others the opportunity to support. and the truth is people genuinely love to help. it’s an all around win.
so remember: you don’t have to do it all.
find your tribe, insist on your own well-being and watch it ripple outward to your children, your family, the world. when mothers fill their own cup the whole world drinks.