I am 33 years old, married and have a two-year-old daughter. It is great to be a mother and see how beautifully we were created. I was fascinated by pregnancy, I am still interested in the subject of natural births and I try to research as thoroughly as possible each stage we are going through.
There is such a chaos of information, myths and truths out there on almost any subject in the field of raising children: from breastfeeding and ergonomic baby-wearing systems (child-wrapping systems attached to the parent’s body) to self-diversification and gentle education.
It’s a challenge to keep your mind clear and not doubt yourself as a mother when you decide to do otherwise than is customary. As long as you stay in your “Facebook bubble” of the mothers’ group you joined to inform yourself and to meet other “weirdos” like yourself, you feel normal and take courage. When someone asks you an ironic question, you start questioning yourself, especially in the first months after birth, when there is a hormonal cocktail in your body that upsets you, and depressive tendencies sprout, thoughts quickly chain with other thoughts and rise like a climbing plant late at night, when everything hurts and the baby screams and you don’t know what to do to get it and yourself to fall asleep.
We talk too little about all the hard work that is vital in the beginning and instead we are promoting a lot of pink images with well rested mothers looking perfectly at peace in the midst of their happy families. Yes, that can also be a part of the new mother’s experience, it’s true, but it’s not the whole picture. And, if you compare yourself with the advertised standard, when you still have a belly as if you were pregnant in the fifth month, you have dark circles under your eyes and your shirt smells of sour milk from the last breastfeeding, where does that leave you? So I decided not to compare myself with other mothers and to be grateful for the full half of the glass.
One of the pursuits that concerns me now is related to the balance in the education and upbringing of my child – I would like her to be a well-developed person, skilled on every level, whole and satisfied with life. But I am also concerned about my personal balance: how much time, resources and energy to allocate for the roles I have in the family and in society .
How can I raise myself as a human being so that I can be a good example for my daughter? I am amazed to see how she copies me in detail, including the high tone of my voice. An idea from an article: to replace daily guilt (for example, because I got angry and yelled at her) with the responsibility to change; to focus on what I can do to be better next time (get enough sleep, laugh and relax, etc.).
For some time now I have been aiming to work more consciously with myself. I do therapy in writing; I have a notebook in which I write three handwritten pages every day. The exercise is called “Morning Pages” and I started it as part of a creativity unlocking process, as an artist. But then I saw that it works on several levels. I often complain there, to free my brain from debris. Sometimes I write my plans, my joys, I make lists with statements that I repeat to learn them, I analyse situations that annoyed me and which, when put down on paper, seem to lose their power. The writing exercise helps me get to the bare facts.
I also use these pages for prayer or as a journal to write down creative ideas, blessings, and apparent “coincidences,” which I consider to be answers to the prayers written in the notebook. Not all of them received their answer. For some, I still haven’t found the courage to act. I used to pray, “Lord, change my behaviour!” Now I say, “God, thank you for this book about mental traps, which has many practical exercises that I want to test to become aware of and change the negative aspects of my behaviour!”
Also in the chapter “searches”, I think of minimalism: I read, analyse and make an effort to get rid of unnecessary objects or things that do not bring me joy, but only gather dust. I get tired visually, and these things only load my space and mind. In parallel with the clear-out I do periodically, I document the efficient organization of time (now I test the “Bullet Journal”) and finances. In fact, I focus quite a bit on the external aspects because I know that it is difficult for me to stay with my thoughts and look carefully at what I have to clean out and organize inside.
Another quest is related to my mission in life and the right job for it. I am a perfect beginner in many work techniques, but I am not an expert in any field. I still haven’t figured out if that is okay (I’ve read about the scanner personality) or if it’s a sign that I’m undecided and haven’t disciplined myself enough. I do not have a great purpose for life, but I have a certainty: I want to bring joy to people through what I do.
I sometimes think about how relevant we are, as Christians, in today’s society. Sometimes I am afraid of inadequacy or I feel a slight alienation.
I began to see God a little differently when I realized that I attributed many traits to Him based on childhood prejudices—for example, prejudices about money or creativity.
Sometimes I miss simplicity, the simplicity of an innocent child’s faith. I am grateful that I have so much to learn from my child. I see her pressing emotional buttons that I didn’t know I had and revealing the worst in me—so I know what to fix. She teaches me daily the lesson of goodness and forgiveness. The lesson of living in the present, not in a reality of social networks. The lesson of using time for the really important things: to take care of yourself by fulfilling your basic needs, to learn something new every day, to work with joy at what you like, and to play.