So it has been very quiet here. I haven’t written much of anything on “paper” but I’ve written a lot in my head. The truth is I’ve been very busy and overwhelmed taking care of “all these kids.” According to most every person I meet, this is exactly how I should feel. I have 6 children ages 10 and under. I homeschool them, take care of our home, do our laundry, cook 3 meals a day every day, and do all the other things that are too numerous to list.
I never thought much about how much I do until after baby number 6 arrived. Sure, people were always commenting about how I have my hands full (why is that a bad thing, I wonder?). I just never let the negativity of it creep into my thinking. Don’t get me wrong. I have sometimes had bad days, sometimes even bad seasons, but in my heart, I always held the privilege of mothering these children as the most precious gift I’ve been given.
But this time, sometime in the months after bringing home our little bundle of pink, something changed.
I began believing that I should feel more overwhelmed. I began wondering ‘how I do it all’ (which the answer, of course, is that I don’t). I began to feel the burden of my load in a way that I never had before. Suddenly, these beautiful blessings were the enemy robbing me of my sleep, my time, and myself.
Fortunately, there were many red flags that signaled to me that all was not well within me. And I knew that I needed to look at myself and my own attitudes before I looked at my kids and theirs. In the midst of this soul-searching, I began reading Momma Zen: Walking the Crooked Path of Motherhood by Karen Maezen Miller. I found in it all the thoughts I had been composing in my head over the past months. There they were, so eloquently expressed. I let them wash over me, calming the tension within, allowing myself to be reminded again how all these emotions, all the ones we feel as mothers are purposeful whether it is our first or sixth baby.
And then, there it was. One simple sentence that was the key to releasing me from my self-imposed chains.
“Yes, we all have a load on our hands, but the heavy is in our heads.”
It is so simple, but so not easy. The heavy is in our heads. All those things people had said to me with such well-meaning intentions, had crept into my mind and made me question myself. ‘How do I do it? This really is so difficult. I am so overwhelmed.’
It wasn’t wrong for me to feel that way, but it served no one for me to give in to those thoughts, to let them become my truth. The heavy was in my head. Because as soon as I made the conscious choice to see the beauty in the mess and chaos of this big, noisy family, the load seemed so much lighter.
I still can’t quite wrap my brain around how powerful the mind is and I don’t know if I ever will, but for now I am going to create my own truth. Everyday.