My name is Michelle. I am wife and mom to Caitlin (6) and Emma (5), an entrepreneur, musician, scholar and dreamer. For a moment my head and heart agreed that that was correctly placed in the order of importance but some days dreaming make me a better mommy and wife and everything else. And then some days making and bottling and delivering my milk kefir does it for me. We are alive and layered and full but I believe allowing us to be our authentic selves first and foremost, creates room for healthy extensions of ourselves. So I am Michelle, first. But back to being amom, my story and the journey these two little girls have put me on has wrecked me (my walls and broken perceptions gratefully) and raised the big, brave, honest part of me in ways I’m starting to think very few, easy things in life can. I married Gabriel in 2009 and started a degree in Industrial Psychology that next year. We were surprised when I fell pregnant in 2011 but more surprised when I fell pregnant again in 2012. Gasping? I know. I thought I mistyped that for a moment but that’s exactly the way it went down. I had always had hormone issues and doctors had told me falling pregnant might be a challenge. So from the onset Gabriel and I decided we were going to pretty much wing it. Oh the beauty of ignorant bliss! The past 7 years have upped my expertise in many things from the different sounds of the different cough types to the shades and sizes of infant and toddler rashes, from sleep training methods and communication skills in marriage to gut health and growing bone density because I needed to get my teeth to stop crumbling! All of this and a ton more had turned me into a well. And I am actually laughing out loud at myself right now because it’s been such a beautifully intense process that what has come out of it, I would not exchange for the world! Some days I get to drink from the well and I realize just how sweet grace tastes. It’s helped me in more ways I can count to do the next best brave thing even if that meant allowing my tired self to sleep or offering my grumpy toddler the broccoli for the umpteenth time!
Just this morning I read of a mom of five and her homeschooling journey. How she failed and got up and fell and won and got tripped up and got up and won and learned to live and love well and now is encouraging mommies – tripped up mommies – like this one some days. That flat on the floor is not only for failures but also for those who are choosing to grow the brave part of their and their little people’s hearts. That those floor moments are for holding each other’s hearts tightly, breathing deeply and slowly very slowly wiggling your toes in preparation for the ‘rise’. Because that’s what moms of decades and centuries and millenniums before us did. Hold tight, breathe deep and mommy you better start wiggling those dang toes – one at a time!
I remember when we decided to put my eldest in school because my studies were demanding. I unintentionally pushed Caitlin to be grown-up from pretty much the day her little sister was born. She had to go down by herself, eat by herself, walk and entertain herself. She was only one when Emma arrived. With a travelling husband and family far out and a degree to finish, options were few. I still need to love myself very gently and well in this space because I, at that time, was doing the best I could with the tools I had.
Guilt wants to trip us up so bad! But what it doesn’t show us is by giving into it, it offers us self pity, isolation, binge eating, self hatred and anger as the only options to self soothe and protect and that is a lie! Because none of them serve us well! I had to learn to offer myself a lot more understanding and grant insight into where we as a family were at to get past not completely being ruined by guilt. But because I did give guilt and fear a foothold in my head and heart for so long my little girl had turned into a very needy, emotionally numb and blunt and overly clumsy 5year (going on 14 month) old. The teachers didn’t seem to get her, I didn’t get her– I didn’t have headspace to get her- I was writing final year exams! But when she came home one day and told me the teacher had thrown her on the floor with heart wrenching sobs, something broke in me and a wall came down, the first of many.
I, there and then, unknowingly embarked on a journey that allowed motherhood to change and grow me and break open parts of my childhood heart that needed healing. I learned to say sorry for my own temper tantrums and controlling reactions and watched empathy grow and create a kindness between us that helped cushion our sometimes messy reactions. I tasted (and keep tasting!) how much sweeter choosing connection over control is and how it allows for such a peaceful atmosphere to rest around us. I learned that control is my alert button that I need time out to lean into myself, God, friends and to make time to rest. I am learning that my intentional honest brave interactions with these little people of mine continue to birth and raise new and beautiful things in me. It’s such a humble thing to be taught by a child. They are innately fiercely gentle. Something I want to learn more of..