identity crisis

19 Jun

Here is a post I wrote about a month ago. It got lost in the shuffle:

I know that I am more than my roles, I get that. I understand that I am not defined by what I do and how I take on form in this world. I’ve noticed though, that the role of parenthood is an especially hard one to dis-identify from. I’ve also noticed that many of the spiritual teachers around are not and have never been parents!

This was on my mind intensely while I took my two youngest kids to the grocery store with me tonight. I usually sneak out to the store without my kids, or opt to take just one of them. But, as life will demand – I ended up with both little ones in Safeway tonight during the evening rush. The store was packed and my kids are pretty needy at 5:30 at night. I’m navigating the cart and minding my list, putting back things that my youngest was adding to the cart (somehow the sneaky little girl succeeded – I ended up unpacking a bag of M&M’s I didn’t know was there), breaking up the tension of my son who was trying to manage my daughter who was loudly protesting, trying to find decent produce without losing the kids out of the corner of my eye, stop 3-year old from eating (poor thing was so hungry she ate half a carrot and two bites of apple – this is the kid who won’t eat anything in plant form), have an evolved talk with Kieran as to why it was too crowded to wear his heely’s in the store – have him stubbornly dig into the conversation while little sister darts away, I lose my patience/shut him down, only to have him sneak his heals out half way through the shopping trip. Amidst all of this, just trying to keep the kids safe and somewhat well behaved, the whole time being fully aware that I was getting “the look” from every child-less person I passed.

And we wonder why parents have a hard time remembering that we are more than our role as parents! Being a parent is such an all-encompassing job. It’s a wonderful role to play, one I am very grateful for. That said, keeping small children safe and meeting their basic needs is so saturated with energy and focus that it is a huge challenge to unplug from. A hands-on parent really can’t unplug too much during their childs’ younger years, those children really count on us to play the role of parent well and hold that consistent space around their childhood in order for them to grow.

There is a book called, “I was a great mother and then I had kids.” Being a parent is one of those things that as a non-parent, you can look at it and say, “yep, that’s intense, time consuming and full of love.” You know it intellectually and can imagine what it might be like, but to actually experience it is another level of knowing – one you can’t really know without the experience.

I guess I’m beating around the bush a bit, talking in circles. Truth is, the more I work on opening the yoga studio, the more needy my kids have become. They are asking for attention in many not-so-subtle ways. My little one is throwing tantrums at school and my middle child is at my heels constantly. My 12-year old is taking advantage of my pre-occupation and sliding into his own world. I’m feeling an emotion I haven’t felt in a long time….. guilt.

Intellectually, I know that I am a member of the family team too. I know that starting a yoga studio is like giving birth and that the kids will be thrilled to be a part of it. My friend asked me the other day “how do you do it all?” I answered truthfully, ” I DON”T do it all. I say no a lot and pick and choose what we’ll be involved in. Normally, I feel really good about it and am able to be OK with a less-than-perfect home and all that comes with it. Today though, I’m feeling it.

I’m sitting there in the grocery store, trying to patiently listen to ramblings of an 8-year old while his sister wanders off and I can’t find the right kind of bread. I’m noticing the intensity of it all and remembering to try to be in the moment. I’m remembering to breath, and trying to remember how.

I know that I am more than a Mom, and today, I feel like a bad mom.

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One Response to “identity crisis”

  1. Kathleen June 29, 2008 at 10:40 pm #

    I sure understand this blog. I am so proud of you and thankful that you kept on with your desire to open the studio. Check this video out:

    http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/jill_bolte_taylor_s_powerful_stroke_of_insight.html

    I think you will really like its message… K

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