Six months of being an exclusively stay at home mum to Archie (2 1/2) and Kairi (6 months).
Six months of breastfeeding both kids (although Archie is nearly weaned), of spending most of my day cooking and cleaning, and of organising playdates in a chronically sleep deprived state.
Six months of attempting to care for myself in the way a "holistic nutritionist should" whilst managing my own feelings of inadequacy, disempowerment and overwhelm; the same feelings experienced by so many women my age who, like me, are striving for autonomy, more rest time, and the high levels of "wellbeing" that they see epitomised in a privileged few... often whilst mothering small children with a fraction of the support they actually require.
Six months of spending almost all of my waking hours caring for others with the general lack of recognition that comes with the emotional and physical labour of motherhood.
Six months of trying to be the new age Gold Coast attachment parent I thought I needed to be. The infinitely nurturing, gluten-free cake baking, cooing-at-my-baby-all-day, $300 boho dress-wearing Earth Mama I once thought I needed to be.
And although I swore I would soak up every second of motherhood I could this time around, and although I swore I wouldn't go back to work for at least a year... I'm back.
And as politically incorrect as it may seem, I'm absolutely thrilled to be working again!
I have missed it, badly. I've missed seeing clients, embarking on scholarly endeavours, creating workshops, and planning yoga classes. I have missed doing good work, I have missed it in my bones.
Don't get me wrong - I adore my children. But that includes ALL of my children - creative children, as well as biological children.
For me, activating the full time motherhood and nurturing circuits takes a toll on me physically and mentally. I can't be entirely happy and healthy unless I'm feeding my creative baby - my work - also. And I finally realise that this is OK.
Deciding to go back to work
A similar thing happened when I home birthed Kairi earlier this year. Except by then I had accumulated more experience, more self knowledge, and a deeper trust that I had arrived at the place I needed to be for myself and my family at just the right time.
I had never been very interested in babies, and up until my late twenties I was adamant that I would never have kids. But from the age of 28 something in me clicked and I knew I wanted to be a mother someday. I conceived Archie just a few months later. And when my menstrual cycle came back after 15 months of breastfeeding him, I was pregnant again by my third cycle. I wanted to have another baby ASAP.
Motherhood is clearly a big part of who I am. But that doesn't mean that being a mother is ALL I want to be. Far from it.
I adore my children and have found motherhood fulfilling beyond my wildest dreams. But being a mother is only one aspect of who I am. I have battled with this, and felt guilty about wanting to return to work and study earlier than I like to admit. I have wanted to do the new age Gold Coast attachment parenting thing perfectly.
And I've failed every time. I've fallen short of my own high self-imposed expectations to be this amazing earth mama who wants nothing more than to stay at home with her kids, and only do my work on the side when they're asleep.
Last month I finally gave up the fight. I decided to go back to doing the work I am called to. And I feel so. much. happier.
As a health practitioner and a writer, I have strong needs for inward focus, solitude, and study. To be truly happy and healthy, I need a focus other than my home and family. And I finally realise that that's OK.
Earth Mothers & Creative Rainbow Mothers
Earth Mothers are the traditional mothers, the classic “nurturer.” Having babies and caring for them is the happiest and most fulfilling activity of her life. She enjoys creating a home, baking biscuits, organising birthday parties, and being available for her children. This mother’s focus is primarily on her kids and she often doesn’t feel the need for a career or other interests.
Creative Rainbow Mothers, on the other hand, are women who have an urge to meet creative needs that come from deep within them. This type of mother has to take care of these needs if she is to remain emotionally balanced and physically healthy. In women like these, their non-human creative babies - life projects, careers etc - need nurturing just as their biological children do. Though they love their children as much as anyone, they are not biologically wired for motherhood to fulfil them at the deepest levels.
Of course, these two mother archetypes lie on opposite ends of a spectrum - there is lots of grey in between. But I'm pretty sure that I'm much closer to the Creative Rainbow Mother on the spectrum, than the Earth Mother.
And of course, this is a simplified concept. There are Earth Mamas who wish they could stay at home and be with their kids indefinitely, but are forced to go back to work for financial reasons. And I've also met women who were midway through a degree, fell pregnant and ended up shelving their career aspirations to care for children, while their husbands forged ahead in their own careers. The gap in study and experience left by those couple of years of mothering seems impossible for these Creative Rainbow Mothers to make up for.
I'm extremely fortunate that I'm able to pursue my creative endeavours part time, whilst still being a stay at home mum the other half of the time. It's a delicate balance I never quite feel I've nailed, but I try!
Finding this work/life synergy is something nearly every new mum has to discover for herself, and there is no right or wrong way to go about it. But knowing which mama polarity I lean towards, has really helped me to make peace with my decision to go back to work at this stage in Kairi's life.
So long story short - I've opened bookings to see clients for private consultation again - woohoo! If you've been wanting to work with me get in touch, I'd love to hear from you!