Breathing and Being

When the pressure becomes too great, it helps to return to this mantra: breathing and being.

My glass is filled to the brim of iced cold cucumber-lemon water that I poured in a Mason jar just to make me feel like I have some sense of control over my life — unlike the heat and the fact that the summer days are so clearly becoming longer just as our days truly are, in fact, getting shorter.

The girls bob up and down in the pool playing games, practicing underwater handstands and pretending to save each other from drowning in the shallow end. It’s been amazing to see them become such strong swimmers.

My pile of four legal pads, a to-do list, a pen and inspiration sweat on my lap as I try and turn ideas into tiny bees to send out into the universe, to pollinate this world with peace and kindness.

I. am. determined.

I. can. do. this.

I. must. work.

And yet I must mother first and foremost. And the summer seems to have grabbed all the sense of motivation I had and tossed it in the deep end.

The Abundant Mama Project — and its new exciting extra the Abundant Mama Peace Circle — will not happen by themselves. They will not suddenly just show up in people’s inboxes. They will do no good in the world as long as they just sit in my head. All the new ideas, new challenges, new self-discovery and self-care tools can’t just sit in a legal pad forever!

And I’ve already been making promises. And setting launch dates and start dates. And, oh my I. need. to. write.

I work and mother and mother and work — just like so many of you — and lately discovered that I feel like nothing is being done well. There’s no ends or beginnings to anything.

Everything, just a work-in-progress.

I look up and watch the handstands. Giggle at their unison “jinx you owe me a Coke” moments that seem to go on forever. Write more to-do lists, which seem to grow like mold in the summer for work-at-home mamas. And remind myself to breathe.

And when the space allows, like right now as they joyfully, preciously nap in their swimsuits on the bed next to me or down the hall, I write and work frantically. I create new websites. And schedule online workshops. And try so hard to respond quickly to your lovely notes and emails and requests. The pressure of making *this* work sits on MY shoulders and mine alone.

And yet …

breathing and being

Earlier this week, I began to feel like it’s not enough. I’m not doing enough. I’m not as far along as I’d like to be. The gremlins started piling on. The self-doubts crept in. This morning it all kind of seemed to hit the fan in my head. I started doing things like judging myself. And feeling ungrateful. And, gasp, even a tiny bit jealous of those who are producing more than I am able to do. I even wrote a note to a friend, complaining.

But the Abundant Mama spirit lives within me despite all of this. And, thankfully, I am able to notice when my spirits are starting to sink. And I know how to take a deep breath and pull myself out of the deep end.

I started meditating on the idea of abundance. And practicing all the self-care tools I talk so much about in The Abundant Mama Project — and all of my e-courses, for that matter.

And, a wonderful shift happened. Let’s call it my mid-summer sigh.

Oh, hello … I’m not able to produce much creative work right now because I am busy making memories. I am not able to be an online rockstar because I’m busy being super mom at home. I am not able to write because I am busy showing my girls how to draw, or making cucumber-lemon water or acting amazed while they go hunting for beetles in the backyard or showing them how to edit their photos on the computer so they can capture their own memories of this summer.

In other words, this summer isn’t about me.

It never was.

And I just have to keep reminding myself of that.

From that moment on, I was repeating this new mantra: Breathing and Being. Breathing and Being. Breathing and Being

I’ll still be working. But, only after I get in the pool and play and only after I take care of them — and myself. And the work will still be here waiting for me, even if I write for 100 hours straight. The work is always here.

And I hope you will still be here, too.

But my girls will only be 7 years old, doing handstands underwater on summer break once and I better wake up and remember that this is also my summer to remember what it’s like to be 7.

And, so far, it’s pretty belly-flopping awesome.

How about you? Anyone else struggling to maintain that working-mama presence while being a present mama? I’d love to hear how you are juggling it all. 

18 Responses to Breathing and Being

  1. yes yes yes. I am in the same spot you are tonight my friend. wondering, waiting, thinking, doing, worrying, and then the pause comes in. what a gift.
    love you – and us – all of us doing this work, being here for our kids, working for ourselves. it's so impt. all of it. we are doing it, my friend.

  2. As a new mom to two toddlers I needed to read this tonight! I adore my children, but al so find myself struggling to enjoy moments as my days feel like a whirlwind of chaos at times. Thanks for the reminder of how it's not about me. That's okay. To soak up this moment as they are innocent at 2&3. Beautiful blog!!

  3. So lovely to meet you … life is so beautifully crazy. I just like to remind us all of that … xx

  4. Yes…lately feeling like I need that button to push, to help with the transition of being at work, to being at home, and realized this past week that there is no magic button. No magic CD I could listen to on the drive. No amount of quiet, sitting in the driveway trying to give myself that pep-talk and ignore the long day I had already. I just plain need to be ready for the chaos, the amazing, energetic, awesome chaos, the second I walk in that door. I know it isn’t exactly as you describe, but still, a struggle so many of us share, trying to do our best at it all. Your daughters are so lucky to have you, Shawn. And we all respect you enough to be here, we aren’t going anywhere.

    • I feel you. I have done better to just know it will be chaos for a bit when I first walk in, or until naps… then I can just embrace it!

  5. I love this: “I’m not able to produce much creative work right now because I am busy making memories. I am not able to be an online rockstar because I’m busy being super mom at home. ” I need to remind myself of this when I feel I NEED to get a post up… Summer is supposed to be my time off from the stress of producing! Thanks for the reminder…. and good luck to you with getting all that amazing work done! :)

  6. […] It would appear my Summer work schedule = perpetually behind (or distracted by Pinterest).  But, these perfectly timed words from Shawn have given me some perspective on that and I’ve decided to save the guilt for sin, as a mentor […]

  7. Yes. I’m struggling. I have my kids at home, 6 and 8, and I have a work at home gig that I do to pay the bills, and I have an etsy shop that I’ve been ignoring and a blog that I’ve REALLY been ignoring, and a novel that I’m trying to send out to agents so I can live the dream that I’ve been dreaming for the past 28 years of my life. I don’t feel like there’s enough air in the world for the breath I need to take, but I’m going to take it anyway.

  8. Like others I struggle with the balance of life. I got a late start at motherhood and at 48 I'm the proud mommy of a super 7 year old son. I look at what some of these super star younger mothers can accomplish and feel inadequate at times. BUT I'm trying to make peace with the chaos and learn that everything is not perfect even for the "super moms". Thank you for the post and today I will remember when the house is a mess that it's fine because my husband and I are making memories and that the summer of "7" happens only once!

  9. I can understand. My kids are 25 and 29, but i have the grandkids alot sometimes i feel like i started over. They have so much energy and i'll be trying to keep up. Lol

  10. Being present and mindful – Namasteॐ Om. I think Jackie Sawyer will appreciate this article.

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Shawn Fink - Abundant MamaFrom Our Founder

I created The Abundant Mama Project to inspire overwhelmed, busy mothers to slow down and let go of the worries and concerns that are holding them back from experiencing joyful motherhood. Read More »
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