I was prepping my daughter for sleep one night and we were going through our routine as usual. She wasn't really having it. She was wavering between being fussy and squealing with joy.
I knew that she had some new teeth coming in, so I kept that in mind as I was letting her do her thing. I had been woken up particularly early that morning so I could feel my patience wearing thin.
Eventually, I started to feel frustrated and just started saying “go to sleep" in my head repeatedly—and loudly. Almost immediately, I started to feel guilt and shame. I asked myself: What kind of a peaceful mama am I?
It was not until after I woke up the next morning that it hit me. A “peaceful mama" isn't a mama that is void of negative feelings.
As mothers, we are barraged on a daily basis with a gamut of emotions—some delightfully sweet and some, well, not so much. Thank you, hormones and sleep deprivation.
No, a peaceful mama isn't one who doesn't experience negative emotions. She is one who takes ownership of these feelings and tries her best not to displace them onto her child or others.
We teach our children that “All feelings are OK; all behavior isn't." Does the same not apply to exhausted mothers who are desperate for baby to sleep so they can finish laundry, e-mails, and maybe even a 20-minute re-run before crashing and starting allover again the next day?
I say all of this to let you know that there is no such thing as a perfect mama. You will feel an array of emotions and that is perfectly fine!
It is important to own those feelings, apologize if you do unleash them on others, and take the steps necessary to cope with them—even if that means screaming into a pillow once in a while.
Fighting feelings of shame, guilt, or anger is no way to live peacefully. Fighting them can lead us to hurt others, especially the ones we love.
We must embrace and own our feelings—yes, all of them.
This means relishing the good emotions and working through the bad ones. Now, that is the path toward finding peace as a mama.