Going through the motions

Going through the motionsBy Abby Bordner

There was a time in my life that I felt like I was merely “going through the motions” and I was craving something more meaningful. The years when my children were young, there were times when I would say to myself, “These are supposed to be the best years of my life.” Then I’d wonder if I was missing something. Sometimes parenting was mundane, flat and downright boring.

I even feel guilty writing that! What a miracle that I have these beautiful children in my life, these precious beings and it will be, everyone assures me, the blink of an eye before they’re off to college (hopefully) and I’m left wondering where the time went. I should be enjoying every moment, right!?

Another parenting quote I’ve heard is “The days are long and the years are short”. Maybe that’s what I was feeling. Some days I was exhausted and regretful of how I had interacted with my partner or my children. Some days went smoothly and we all got along. Some days I felt empty inside. Some days I’d look around myself and say, “Is this ALL that my life has amounted to?” And then I’d feel guilty because this is ALL I’ve ever wanted!

Now, don’t get me wrong. I also had moments of contentment and deep satisfaction that I had the privilege of being a Mom. The love I feel for my children is unlike any love I’ve ever felt. If I am ever away from them, there is a part of me that is always longing to be reunited with them. I hurt when they hurt. I feel their pain and I feel their joy. My life is complete now that I have experienced these amazing relationships. And I know deep down that the relationships I create, nurture and deepen are the true measure of the quality of my life.

Looking back on those early years of parenting, I realize now that I was suffering from depression. I’m happy to say that I’ve made some changes in my life, got support for my negative feelings and committed myself more fully to the things that bring me joy. Interesting, when I added more important things to my life, my parenting changed. When I got back to taking care of myself, paying attention to my needs, wants and desires I became a better Mom.

I am now exploring more this idea of BALANCE in our lives. I feel like I hear about it, I read about it, I talk about it. But it has never been more relevant to me than when I was healing from depression. Creating balance actually made every aspect of my life more meaningful. I worried that if I took care of myself, then I’m depriving my kids of something they need. I honestly felt that focusing on other aspects of my life would mean that I was neglecting my kids (and, therefore, being a Bad Mom).

I thought balance meant doing too many things, being too busy and having a life that was too demanding. But actually balance is finding deep contentment in the moments that bring me joy. I am grateful for my yoga practice that helps quiet the chatter in my head; the “shoulds”, the guilt, the Bad Mom dialog. I am grateful to my kids for helping me notice the opportunity in each moment to be fully present and connect with them; snuggling together, going for a bike ride, massaging my son’s head. Balance means valuing all the aspects of my life that bring me joy; my relationships, my kids, my fitness and my work. I don’t feel like I’m just going through the motions anymore.

What are the important aspects of your life that could use more balance?

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