By Nadirah Adeye, MA
After reaching maximum burnout last week, I took the weekend off from mommy duties. I rested, I lounged, I ignored my To Do list. I participated in a ritual on the beach with community. It was delicious and re-energizing and for the good of my family and the entire state of California, it was so very necessary. On Monday, I had an exchange with a child-free friend about the benefits and drawbacks of being a parent. I let him know that I realized after having time to myself to rest and relax and recharge a bit, that my capacity for depth and appreciation is so much greater now than it was when I could rest and relax whenever I wanted to and for as long as I wanted to. The rest, fun, pleasure whatever is much sweeter because there’s another side to it. I do have moments when I miss being the most important person/thing in my own world. But since becoming a mother, so many other people (in addition to my kid) have been revealed as equally important.
I had an experience a couple weekends ago, where I took my toddler, Sumbaby, out to breakfast and was simultaneously trying to keep track of him, decide what we would eat, mentally count my money and figure out a good place for us to sit in a somewhat crowded establishment. A place opened up near the register (that happened to be ideal) and I sat him down while trying to complete the list of tasks (and not lose our place in line). After a few moments, he decided that he did not want to sit at the table alone (even though I was only a few feet away) and when he came over for me to pick him up, the three people who had been ahead of us at the register (in their 20′s clearly childless) took the table I’d attempted to save. As they sat themselves down, I said, to the woman at the register, “Oh no! They’re taking our seat.” They must have heard though, because I heard a brief exchange between them and then one said, “It’s fine, they can sit over there.” Over there (the largest open space available when we left the register) happened to be a table right next to the bathroom, which was NOT okay. I sat there, with Sumbaby, angry and frustrated and tired and sad and furious. I tried to decide if I would go and say something- which I really really wanted to do. I knew it would make a lot of people uncomfortable during their Sunday brunch, including me. Part of me wanted to go for it. Instead, I sat there; I meditated and calmed down and when another spot opened up (that just happened to be right across from them), we moved over to that seat. In that moment of calming myself, I realized that I’ve been that selfish beast, unconsciously making someone’s day more difficult because of my lack of awareness, my focus on having fun and then disregarding the impact when it’s brought to my attention.
My sense of myself as a part of a community – where my actions impact those around me and people may need my attention and support- has grown exponentially as a result of being a mother. My capacity for emotional complexity multiplied a thousandfold. In the end I was appreciative for the mirror of that woman. I got the chance to observe their brunch a little bit and had even started out feeling some envy for their freedom of movement (and I spent a moment on a pretty intense fantasy about how much sleep they had all probably gotten the night before). But when that one chick got up to leave, I had the sense that there was some kind of dissatisfaction between them- or maybe I was over the envy, but somehow it didn’t seem like it would be so great to switch places with any of them. My sweet baby sitting on my lap and giving me kisses and saying, “I yuv you, mama.” is worth a thousand lazy mornings.
Bio: Nadirah Adeye, MA, is an ordained priestess, writer, and speaker with almost 20 years in service to the Divine. As a Third Path guide, she coaches clients in life transformation, personal alchemy and living radiantly. She also conducts divination and provides services honoring and celebrating life’s rites of passage.