Yesterday, I was late for my evening yoga class. Usually I consider “late” to mean that I arrive 2 minutes before class starts, giving me little time to settle in, meet new people, and be available for my students.
Last night, late meant 4 minutes after class was supposed to begin.
Total yoga teacher fail.
Lateness is a bit of a new thing for me. That is, if you consider “new” as in the past 3 years since I became a parent. I’ve always preferred being on time to work. I dislike the frantic feeling of reeling out of the house, driving my Prius like I’m the hero in a suburban action movie, and squeaking into my appointments with a few breaths to spare.
Not only does “running late” increase my stress, but it also increases the likelihood that I will lose my temper at Milly, who has no concept of time or lateness, but does have a great idea of how to push my buttons and a profound love for doing things on her “time” schedule.
And yet I still find myself in the suburban action movie scenario more often than I’d like.
Last night as I gathered my composure before stepping into my class, I had another thought.
“If I’m such a mess, why would anyone want to work with me?”
Self-deprecation is one of my hobbies.
I excel at jumping to conclusions, especially when it comes to what others think of me.
Even though my amazing and forgiving students assured me they were not upset and were happy that I was there, I could not help but feel a toxic negative thought stew brewing in my mind.
The yoga teacher in me got down on myself for unprofessional behavior and disrespecting my students’ time. The teacher trainer in me got down on myself for setting a bad example. But the health coach in me was the most harsh. She’s the one who asked the question, “If I’m such a mess, why would anyone want to work with me?”
See, the work I do as a health coach is especially geared towards busy moms like me. I work with the over-busy, over-scheduled, stretched-too-thin moms who have forgotten what it feels like to really take good care of themselves because they have gotten wrapped up in tending to everyone else’s needs first.
Ideally, I’m a step ahead of these mamas. I’ve been there. I know how it feels but I’ve also learned a few habits and gained a few tools that have helped me navigate the insanity of motherhood with a little more skill, a little more grace, and a lot less stress.
Usually, I feel like this is the case. Despite the fact that I am mother to a 4.5 month old (in addition to the threenager) I generally feel well-rested, healthy, and less overwhelmed by the daily grind of motherhood.
I still have stressful days and long nights, but they are less frequent than they were before.
I make more time for myself now than I did even before I had kids.
All of these things I learned the long, hard way and all of these things I teach to other mamas so they don’t have to go through the same long, uphill struggles that I did.
When I have a total professional/personal fail, it’s as though all of that goes out the window and I’m left with those toxic thoughts, staring down my inevitable defeat.
A few days ago, before the “late-to-class” incident, I read a post on Instagram that reminded me why I do what I do and why I write honest, not-so-pretty blogs like this. In an interview, Glennon Doyle Melton of Momastery, talked about how she can go out there and promote her book about relationship on the heels of her own separation from her husband. She said, “I’m used to going out all busted up. It’s where I’m most comfortable. Now, more than ever, people don’t want shiny, perfect. Lovely and easy and shiny people are really comfortable talking about their problems when they’re over. We’re not allowed to struggle until after we’ve done our victory lap. That’s fine but it’s less helpful than hearing from people in the trenches. How do I show up in the during? Maybe this all happened to me so I can go out there and be seen in the during.”
I love this. It’s true for me, too.
The during is what I am interested in.
My favorite teachers are the ones who are real and honest about their lives, the ups and the downs. They convey messages and inspiration from the trenches. Their vulnerability and willingness to offer their truth, no matter how raw or unflattering it is, offers me hope in my darkest, ugliest, loneliest moments.
They don’t hide their during; they choose to share it.
So here’s my during:
I am a busy mom of 2. I teach yoga but am trying to transition my time and energy to coaching mamas who want to live more conscious, healthy lives. I am struggling, though. People know me as a yoga teacher, not as a coach. The amount of work it takes to rebuild and redirect a business is daunting. Add 2 kids, one of them still nursing exclusively, and it feels nearly impossible.
I’m at home with my kids all day while I work. I want to take them outside more, but currently because I am rebuilding my business, we are inside more than I’d like. My 3 year old watches an embarrassing amount of tv some days. I lose my temper and my cool faster than I’d like, although I am working on it. I am sometimes incredibly overwhelmed by the needs of 2 small children who I absolutely adore, but who are essentially demanding little tyrants with regularly shifting and conflicting moods. I do my best, but I struggle.
To top it all off, I’m about to do this all solo as my husband embarks on a brand new job in joining the air force that will leave me on my own with the kids for the next 10 months at least.
This is the short version of my present during.
There are some days I will rise high and other days I will fall hard. Many days will be in between.
I will work to avoid the self-deprecating, toxic thought sludge that I am so good at cooking up and consuming.
I will have moments of self-pity, judgment, and negativity. I will also try to choose to put one foot in front of the other, no matter what. Victory laps are easy; slogging through waist deep mud is harder and messier, but lead to a much easier and more enthusiastic victory lap.
I will focus on what my fellow truth-tellers and during-dwellers aspire to do, which is remind others like us that we are going through it with them.
Hopefully my during will always provide a safe haven and support for those who need a reminder than life can take many twists and turns, motherhood has many forms, and you are not alone.