13 April 2017

Feature: Beauty and Wellness

 Approaching Motherhood Mindfully

This isn’t about finding intellectual stimulation, ‘me time’ or impeccable posture.  We talk about these things a lot, and yes they are important.  However, I often get the distinct feeling that there is a common perception that those elements of life, in whatever iteration they may take for any individual, are mutually exclusive to mothering. 

I am currently mothering full time.  I cannot count the number of times I have been asked ‘aren’t you bored?’ or ‘don’t you want/need to use your brain?’

To send some answers out into the universe: no! I’m not bored, and I engage my brain every damn day!  Who are these people that consider mothering a mindless task?  Name me one baby/toddler/small person who isn’t constantly trying to outwit you, present you with new behaviours daily or who does the same thing in the same way every day and I’ll eat my hat.  And your hat.  Beyond that, though, motherhood – for me – has represented an unprecedented freedom.  Freedom to think; freedom to create; freedom to engage in a community in which I previously left at 9am and returned anywhere between 9pm and 5am (no joke – I worked insane hours at a very demanding job); freedom to just be me.  I haven’t felt this much like myself since I was a teenager.  OF COURSE there are difficult bits, but they are so far outweighed by the positives, by the people I have met and the opportunities I have found (hay Bad Mum!) and the new things I am learning.  In fact, the hard bits almost feel like a welcome change from all the awesome.  And that’s before we factor in how joyous it is to get to hang out with my little weirdo all day. 

I’m not the best mum.  I’m not the most competent, the most consistent or the most disciplined, but I am enthusiastic, engaged, mindful and most definitely NOT bored.  And I’m willing to bet you are too.  I often see a narrative that supposes that women are some lesser version of themselves for heading out of a big corporate work place and into a playground; I certainly felt shame and judgement for making that decision.  It’s important, though, for all of you mothers out there, working full time and mothering, or mothering full time, to take a moment to recognise – in the best sense – how much of your brain it takes to mother.  The creativity, the patience, the resilience, the often mind blowing frustration packaged into gentle hands and calm voices.  All of this takes wit, mindfulness and confidence.  This can translate into a world of opportunities to bring out your best self, whether you’ve chosen to stay in that glass tower or spend your days in “active wear” (guilty). 

If your best self is what you’re currently doing, then fab – you do you.  But if, like I did, any of you are currently struggling with an expectation that unless you are working full time at a desk somewhere earning other people shed loads of money you’ll be bored, or have no opportunity to engage your brain, take a deep breath, recognise the skill involved in what you’re doing, and mindfully tell whomever it is that’s asking ‘aren’t you bored?’ to fuck off. 

Written by Mallory from @the_parlour_hackney


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