On Downward Dog and Dropping Shoes

They’re teaching my kids Yoga in preschool.

I thought this was completely asinine until I discovered the astonishing amount of mindfulness and mental toughness it takes to survive as a person in this world.

Life felt easy for a long time. Growing up, I remember telling people “Stress is like a bee! Just leave it alone and it will leave you alone!” I am surprised I didn’t get punched in the face more when I was younger.

I do have anxiety, however, so I “knew” that at some point, the other shoe would drop. I just didn’t know that the process of dropping would be so……..lengthy. At this point, I’ve said it so much that I need to get: “This is just how life is now.” printed on a graphic tee to wear with my favorite skirts. I find myself saying this daily in exasperated tones as I scramble to sweep up the figurative glitter bombs of issues that other people have blown up and scattered all over the floor of my brain, while still trying to put out the burning fuse of my own. (I got tired just writing that sentence.)

The kids were my shoe drop.

I would jump in front of a bus for mine without batting an eye, but I can’t deny that life was less messy before they were here. It doesn’t help that being a mother to two toddlers less than 2 years apart actually made jumping in front of a bus sound fun some days.

There is no “just kidding” coming. The real, raw truth is that parenting toddlers is just not something that I particularly enjoy and, until my eldest son recently started getting out of the tot phase, I rarely enjoyed my time with the kids. I spent lots of days over the past 4 years wondering if I was even cut out for this motherhood thing at all.

But that brings me back to my point. Life had always been easy, and then suddenly it was not. I suddenly had to invest my independent spirit in the well-being of two more humans and, by proxy, all of the other humans who cared about them. I wasn’t prepared for the amount of baggage that comes with that. How do you find the balance of working through your own personal challenges, while also investing energy into the well-being of all the other people who you care about?  I hadn’t been practicing my skills of wading through other peoples’ messes to that point, so here I was (still am!) most days either trying to forcefully maintain my own inner-peace despite the chaos, or otherwise flailing my arms trying to conjure up a magic bubble to come and carry me away entirely.

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But to where? That’s where I get stuck. I lust for my pre-parenthood life until I realize how sad it is there. My people – my kids  (who I enjoy so much more now!), my hubby, my family and friends – aren’t there. My people are here in this messy, messy reality that I live in. This life where I actually care about people other than myself, which leaves me with that pesky, pesky problem of caring about their problems, too. (As if I don’t have enough of my own to worry about!)

So it turns out that I don’t want to run away, but how does one master the skill of emotional self-preservation, while also being a good mom, friend, sister, daughter, wife, and all of the other things that your people need you to be for them?

I don’t have the answers, but a few thoughts that I’ve had that have kept me from hopping in the time-machine bubble are these:

  1. It seems that when you let other people into your heart, you sacrifice the ease of living that comes when you only worry about yourself. That makes life feel hard sometimes. Not necessarily bad, but definitely hard. Part of that hardness is trying to not lose yourself in it.
  2. I don’t think there is some figurative “there” to get to where these problems don’t exist. We’re all wading through it. I DO think that this is just a time in life when it is critical to be able to find the joy in the small, mundane moments and embrace that sometimes the simple absence of “bad” is worthy of being labeled as “good.”
  3. I am starting to understand why they’re teaching my kids yoga in preschool.

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