A Mother’s Zen…Or A Lack Thereof

7 Nov

Me...about to lose my Zen...

Like the early rumblings of an earthquake, I could feel it approaching.  First, there was the rush of blood to my head, then my heart began to quickly pulsate.  The inevitable was happening.  I couldn’t fight it.  I was losing my Zen.

The boys were due for their mid morning sleep and they were just about over the edge. Normally, my boys were great at self-settling.  All it took was getting them snug and zipped up in their sleeping bags, “plug in” the pacifier and in seconds, everyone was in dreamy la-la land.  However, for some unknown reason, this particular morning was doomed for disaster.  Breakfast had been a struggle and the boys had been restless ever since.  It had been over an hour since I had put the twins in their cots but the situation was dire.  Screaming banshees had taken over my house…and my mind.

Shaken up with stress and with no one around to help me think straight, I left my children’s room and firmly closed the door.  I ran to our laundry which is located at a safe and sound-proof distance.  To be completely sure that I was locking myself out from the world, I shut the door tight.  I couldn’t contain myself any longer.  Whilst yelling all sorts of profanities at the top of my lungs, I gave our washing machine three mighty, solid kicks.  The crashing, loud noise was what I needed to get the frustration out of my system.

With my heart still beating wildly, I took a couple of deep breaths.  I closed my eyes and stayed in the laundry room until I collected myself.  I couldn’t believe what had just come over me.  Since the boys were born, I had never experienced losing so much self-control.

Let me further explain – I may not have much time or tolerance for telemarketers who call during dinner or people who drive while talking on the mobile phone…but when it came to my two little munchkins, I was confident that motherhood had taught me the valuable virtue of patience.

So, what was the cause of the outburst ?  Later that day when I had a moment to reflect, I discovered a cold, hard truth.  In all my efforts to be a perfect mother, I had failed to realise that there were going to be unforeseeable moments where motherhood was going to take my temperament to places I had never been.  Hence, losing my Zen.

What actually is a Mother’s Zen, I hear you ask ?  In fear of sounding esoteric or “spiritual”, I will define it in laymen’s terms.  The epitomy of a Mother’s Zen is what you see on the Huggies nappies ad:  The picture of that sweet, gentle mother smiling lovingly down at her placid, perfect baby, with a light and airy version of “It Must Be Love” playing in the background.  (I used to really love that song).  When I first entered motherhood, I thought that this benevolent saint type figure was what I was supposed to be aiming for.

After that washing machine morning , I finally figured that it was all a farce.  I don’t know who initially conjured up this flawless, perfect image.  And if I wasn’t a mother, I probably wouldn’t notice it. But I am and it’s everywhere.  In all the baby shops, on the packaging and labeling of baby products, in the celebrity gossip magazines: The misleading notion that a mother is always tranquil. Holding an inner peace.  In a complete state of serenity.  Geez…some days, I’m lucky to be in a state of sanity, let alone serenity.

Now, let’s return to everyday life and tackle the issue at hand:  If we lose it, what does it take to get our Zen back ?  This is how I look at it – alongside the concept of Zen, is the practice of meditation.  For me to avoid further damage to our washing machine (That was a one-off incident, I might add), my form of meditation is exercise.  Twice a week – rain, hail or shine – I work it out, sweat it out and punch it out.  It’s only a short absence, but I finish up the session desperately missing my munchkins and rush back home.  I always look forward to being greeted by their welcoming, smiling faces.  From that moment, I know I’ve regained the confidence and energy to be the best mother I can be to my beloved boys.  I get my balance back.

It would be nice to always be a Huggies mum but I know that’s not my world.  I have my days when the pressure of being a responsible and providing mother takes its toll. Yet, I am now comfortable with that thought because I have also discovered what I need to do to try and put things back in perspective.

So now, I hand the floor over to all fellow mothers out there.  I’d like to hear your stories.  When have you lost your Mother’s Zen ?  But more importantly, what does it take for you to regain balance and perspective ?

We are all too exposed with the pretty, fluffy side of motherhood.  Let’s delve into the realities.

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2 Responses to “A Mother’s Zen…Or A Lack Thereof”

  1. Christine November 9, 2010 at 9:28 am #

    interesting.. i read a very similar post in another one of my blog subscriptions (….that sounds really nerdy by the way.. lol.)

    http://notwithoutsalt.com/2010/11/07/rough-week-great-books/
    you should check it out cos you’re definitely not alone! i reckon most mum’s go through something like this. and its not good to push yourself too hard

    i guess i can’t really relate because i’ve never been a mother, but i know how insanely hard it must be to give up your sleep and probably at times what must be your sanity to look after your kids 24/7 – and I bet some mums probably feel guilty at admitting that it’s difficult or admitting that they need a bit of time for themselves occasionally or that it’s not working out totally perfect like it does on TV, like it means that they don’t love their kids.. but it’s not true. its very important that you look after yourself so you can look after your kids! its as simple as that. i think its really awesome that you use exercise as a form of meditation.

    at the end of the day, TV sucks! it tells us that to be beautiful we have to be a size 6-8 and our dream prince (cue edward from twilight) will come and rescue us from our without-him-boring life, whom we eventually have many babies with through a labour that lasts about five minutes and the mother and child emerge from the hospital, glowing with the knowing satisfaction that there is no such thing as stretchmarks, weight gain or even.. sweat in these stupid fantasies.

    anyway.. that’s my two cents 🙂

    • mamagrace71 November 9, 2010 at 10:42 am #

      Hey Christine, thanks for your thoughts. I actually just subscribed to the blog you recommended…(Look who’s the geek now ! :-))
      I guess the key is to admit that sometimes it does get all too much. I am big on honesty. If I’m having a rubbish week, I will say so. At the same token, I will let people know when I’m really enjoying motherhood. It is so very up and down.
      I think what we see on TV can really be detrimental to the pressure a mother puts on herself. I was reading a celebrity gossip magazine (I really should stop reading those..) and there was a feature article on a celebrity (Toni Pearen) who has a baby boy (almost 1). She was going on about how wonderful motherhood is and how she’s miraculously back to her pre-baby body without exercising or dieting…I was ready to scratch her eyes out. What’s worse is that she’s probably thinking she’s being a good role model !

      Aaaaanyway…hope you’re having a great week. Oh, and by the way, I though your dream prince is Michael 🙂

      Thanks again for dropping in !

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