I should have been more specific when I set
my intention. I wanted to receive enlightenment on the mat through my yoga practice, not necessarily through the challenges
of motherhood during my daughter’s kindergarten homework session. Sometimes a
mundane task like homework can be revealing and can tell us where we need to take our
next steps on and off the mat.
In the relatively short amount of time required to do kindergarten homework, my
dormant inner Medusa can rear her ugly
head. It is a struggle to keep her at bay
while feigning patience through my daughter’s third math sheet. This was tested when
Chickpea started reading the directions in a
silly voice, “ 10 minus 8 equals….” As she
proceeded to draw 11 circles, my attempt to
stay calm through rhythmic breathing was
challenged. “Three!” Chickpea announced.
On an exhalation, I shouted, “Focus!”
Chickpea stared at me in stunned shame
before her lower lip began to quiver. New
equation: My Outburst plus Her Tears did
not equal Best Mom of the Year.
I took my daughter in my arms and tried
to console her with a personal story that
shared a similar plot line as what had just
transpired – just replace the characters with
my mom and me. Through the salty tears
of three generations, I remember my mom
telling me that she only wanted me to have
better than what she had as a child. I apologized to Chickpea for my yelling at her and
expressed that I, too, wanted her to have better than what I had. When she leaned into
me for a hug, a layer of the veil lifted. For the
first time, I saw that it wasn't the fact that I
wanted Chickpea to have better than what
I had as a child. My childhood was great.
What I really meant was that I wanted her
to have better than I now have as an adult.
I thought about the pressure I put on my
daughter as a result of my pursuit of perfection: the vicious cycle of unrelentingly striving. At some point, I learned that if you simply work hard enough, you will accomplish
all your goals and be a success; mistakes and
failures are inevitable, but ultimate success
But what if I don’t succeed? My insecuri-ties and failures were colliding with the old
school teachings of “Practice makes perfect.”
I desperately worked at the art of letting go
only to experience myself clinging more desperately to the desired outcome. Something
was collapsing in my core belief system.
I apologized to Chickpea for shouting at
her, threw on my Silly Mama persona, and
managed to salvage the rest of the evening
with grace. After tucking her into bed, the
unfiltered thoughts came flooding in. I felt
clueless how to find some kind of balance.
I know that hard work isn’t inherently bad,
and I acknowledge that it is the attachment
to the outcome that is crippling. But how do
I truly understand that and really embody it?
The only thing I knew to do was to return to
my practice. Almost intuitively, I folded into
a standing forward bend. With my world
upside down, I was able to reframe my
thoughts and experiences. The question then
isn't “What if I succeed or don’t succeed?”;
the question practice makes us ponder is,
“What is success?”
Lessons from the Frontline of Motherhood
BY MEG WEIDNER