My Practice

I’m not a very patient person. About a hundred times a day, I have to take a deep breath and try to start over. Try to put aside the anger or frustration of the last moment and enter this moment with calm and right intention.

Start over.

It’s a practice; it often fails me, or I fail at it, but sometimes it works. It’s a constant effort to achieve forgiveness and regain my patience because we four bumble around each other in this smallish space, spilling food and bonking heads and fetching water and failing to share and making room and feeding bellies and cleaning messes. Without this starting over, this negotiation and mindful regrouping, we would never get through the day—any day, even the good ones.

I write here about the things I want to focus on, the good feelings, the good moments of family life because I want to remember them. Truly, our lives are so full and we enjoy so much good fortune. Conversely, I really try not to wallow in my feelings of frustration and rage, for doing so doesn’t do me any good and it harms the people around me. My children thrive when I’m present and patient. When I’m insane and shouting, we are all miserable. So I write to remember the good things someday in the future, but also to regroup and refocus right now on why I do what I do, why I am here and not elsewhere. It helps me remember my purpose, it helps me feel better about who I am and my current place in the universe. It helps me start over.

It’s easy for me to slip into complaining, and while I do think that occasionally writing about the crappy parts of this Mommy job is essential to maintaining my sanity, I try hard not to do it all the time. For if I don’t actively write about the great stuff, the sweet parts of this work, I easily drift off-course into dreary waters where dragons lurk.

For me, it’s a constant internal struggle and sometimes—usually—my riotous feelings must be subsumed in the needs of the family. Sometimes I hate it and want to break things, but doing so doesn’t change anything for anybody for the better. So I start over. Sometimes, on the other hand, I do have to cry or walk away for a while—to take care of myself and also to show my kids that I am a human being, that my feelings can be hurt when they are careless. If I’m careful about when I reveal this notion that Mommy is human, it can help us all start over. Sometimes I shout and lose it, and then crushing waves of guilt knock me off my feet. And then, once again, I start over.

The truth is, when Daddy is with us, I feel like 100 percent better and really do stay happier and in the moment. We can take turns being the strong/good one. He is my best friend and when he’s with me, it’s easy to see and feel how gorgeous all this that we have together is, how blessed we are. It’s when he is away and I’m with the kids for hours and hours without him that I start feeling lonely and stuck and jealous and hurt and a little bit like … how the hell did I get here?

And then some milk spills, or someone gets hurt, or the oven beeps, or a diaper needs changing, or a book needs reading aloud. Something happens—whatever this moment holds. I take a deep breath, and I start over.

6 Responses to “My Practice”

  • Kate
    January 12, 2010 at 11:43 am

    Aw, this is gorgeous, and also true. Really enjoying reading these.


  • Margo
    January 13, 2010 at 5:22 pm

    Thanks for this…I, too, always feel so much better when my husband’s around–he tends to be a calming presence, and a reminder that we’re in charge of our baby, not the other way around. Easy for me to forget, sometimes.


    • Sara
      January 28, 2010 at 10:13 am

      Thanks for popping by, Margo. I realize you’re very busy with your own little one. Daddy changes the dynamic in the home, that’s for sure. It’s still true for me even after almost eight years.


  • Teli
    January 14, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    Sometimes I think I’m the only one. Thank you for sharing. I feel comfort now. 🙂


    • Sara
      January 28, 2010 at 10:12 am

      You are SO NOT the only one. The job of mothering is wicked-hard most of the time. It’s blissful some of the time, maybe even much of the time.


  • kelly
    November 10, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    lovely…I remember reading this. Thank you for sharing again. Now, I need to go start over.


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  • About Sara

    Thanks for visiting! I’m Sara, editor and writer, wife to Ian, and mother of two precious boys. I am living each day to the fullest and with as much grace, creativity, and patience as I can muster. This is where I write about living, loving, and engaging fully in family life and the world around me. I let my hair down here. I learn new skills here. I strive to be a better human being here. And I tell the truth.

    Our children attend Waldorf school and we are enriching our home and family life with plenty of Waldorf-inspired festivals, crafts, and stories.

    © 2003–2018 Please do not use my photographs or text without my permission.

    “Love doesn’t just sit there like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new.” —Ursula K. LeGuinn

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