I find the story of Prince Siddhartha wildly inspiring.
Especially the part when, at 29, he left his family of origin for 7 years- renouncing a life of ease and privilege, in search of spiritual liberation.
The tiny part of the tale that history seems to forget is that he left his wife and newborn son behind.
When he came back from ‘meditating-under-the-tree,’ he met his 7-year old child.
No biggie. Whatevs.
He was subsequently named “the Buddha,” “the enlightened one.”
APRIL 14th, 2018 on the Narita Express
I was a puddle of tears and snot this morning when my husband kindly dropped me off at the train station this morning.
I felt terrible thinking ‘how much of a selfish, deserting as$hole am I to be off to do a 200-hour yoga teacher training and leave my 2yr and 5yr olds behind?’
Who made me cry?
Not my husband — he is super supportive and reminded me that this has been my dream for close to 20 years
Not my kids — they are excited about spending time with dad, Omamma, Saint helper Norma, Happy Meal toys and their iPads
Not my parents — they live on the other side of the world and don’t even know I’m going
Not my friends or clients — they are always encouraging and say that I inspire them to take more time for themselves.
So, who is it?
Dear mama guilt: you’re a f*cking b!tch!
You seem to be forgetting the time and energy expended on having had 2 kids in the past 6 years:
+ 18 months of pregnancy — no massages, no cheese, no wine, bad sleep, bleeding gums, water retention, gestational diabetes…
+ 2 x major surgeries — 3 levels of body tissue severed, little feet kicking the scars, meridian pathways in the middle of the body blown to pieces…
+ 28 months of breastfeeding — no sleep, mastitis, feeling like a hunchback, waking up with baby vomit in hair, never finishing a thought, a conversation, or a warm meal…
+ 85 months of catering to the never ending daily needs of:
- 6 kilos of groceries to buy, carry, and put away
- 3 nutritious meals to prepare, carefully cut up, and serve (only to find it all on the floor)
- 1 dishwasher to unload before loading it with double its capacity
- 2 heavy trash bags to take out
- 40 nails to cut
- 28 teeth to brush
- 4 ears to clean
- 6 diapers to change
- 4 outfits to put on
- 2 heads to brush while they are doing jumping jacks
- 2 seatbelts to click
- 31 items of laundry to hang and leave out in the rain
- 2 story time books to read
- 1 sticky floor to wash
- 1 bath to draw
- a minimum of 4 big arguments to have over the tiniest of shit
- 4 apologetic hugs to give
- industrial mess of toys to put away
- 1 peed bed to change
- catching whatever sicknesses going around school (for the record hand foot and mouth disease as an adult sucks)
- countless hair dresser/vaccinations/dentist appointments/extracurricular activities to book and remember to show up for (on time and preferably dressed) …
That’s a total of 131 months of my life solely dedicated to my kids’ upbringing.
Dear mama guilt, I’m not asking for a medal.
I’m just asking for a little ‘me’ time to recharge.
+ A little time to get to know myself again and to work towards something I’ve always wanted to do
+ A couple of days to pause and catch my breath
+ A couple of hours to reacquaint myself with my body again
+ A couple of minutes to shed some weight of responsibility off my shoulders
+ A couple of seconds to seek spiritual liberation
One month in exchange for 131 months doesn’t sounds like a fair trade? No?
Well, I respectfully don’t give a sh*t what you think.
I know deep down that I’m creating a space to nourish my soul so that I can show up in the world as the radiant woman my husband fell in love with.
Yes, mama guilt, now is my time. Not yours.
Get the f*ck out of my path to becoming perhaps not “an enlightened one,” but at least “a lightened one.”
Carmela Fleury is a certified lifecoach, a yin yoga teacher and the village crazy mama. She has a soft spot for working with mothers of young children and currently leads “Raising Happy & Healthy mamas” retreats worldwide.