A Different Kind of Leaning In

It’s ironic that I’m writing this now, really. It’s not even noon and I’m on my second French press of coffee, the teething, cranky baby is finally napping after only a 15 minute stint since 6 am, and the overtired preschooler is in the middle of Frozen because if I didn’t have 2 seconds without whining, I was going to send him with the mailman. Where to, I have no idea, just not at my house for a while. But, here I am, writing with little 3 year old feet on my arm (for the love, why?!). Writing about why I’m here, reminding myself why I’m here.

You see, being a stay-at-home mom to 2 littles isn’t exactly my forte’. If it’s yours, I applaud you, because Heaven knows, I have no clue what I’m doing most days. You know what comes much more easily to me? Business. Working somewhere else, and not in my home all.day.long. I did that for the first 2 years of motherhood, and really enjoyed it, but a series of events led to me quitting work for a while to stay home and raise a couple of babies here. And while I am grateful for this time and at the end of the day I love it, it is so much harder for me than balancing the work/home thing ever was. Maybe you’re the opposite. Maybe you do work, but you’re much more comfortable at home. Or maybe you like some combination of the two, or you are longing for children to hold or even to frustrate you, or are in a stage where you feel less-than-stellar at parenting, like, you rock the toddler years but could pass on the baby stage.

Whatever phase of motherhood you find yourself in, let me encourage you. LEAN IN. That phrase has come to invoke images of advancements in career, more opportunities for women in the workplace, etc. And those are wonderful, needed things. But I think that description is a bit too narrow, because as women, we’re not just career-minded. We may be advancing in our career, or it may be on hold. We may be pursing a degree or pursuing going to the bathroom alone (goals, people). We may be raising babies while simultaneously caring for others in our field of work, or through volunteering. There’s no one way to do this motherhood thing, and thank goodness for that. We need all different kinds of moms to teach our kids about opportunities and to help raise the next generation. Even so, you may find yourself in one of those stages that isn’t quite so comfortable. You may find yourself dreaming of ‘what’s next’ or ‘what could have been’ or ‘if I only do this, then I can make that happen’. Planning and dreaming are good, and needed. But if we focus only on the next, the bigger, the better, we miss the here and now, with all its grit and glory.

If where you’re at right now isn’t an easy stage for you, or not where you thought you’d be, don’t fight against it. It’s a little like labor – when you fight against the contractions, against the pain, labor stalls. It won’t keep moving. But when you work with your body, lean in to what it’s doing, it tends to make it keep progressing on its own. (not always, I know, but you get the metaphor, right?) Where you are may feel sweet, or it may feel hard, but it’s just that – where you are. Don’t fight it. LEAN IN. Be fully where you are while you are there, because soon life will progress, things will change, and these days will be another part of your story, a story that is ever-changing, ever-flowing.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to do some leaning. (literally. The 3 year old is lying behind my head on the couch, so I may as well make him a pillow)

Alisha Meador is mother to 2 wonderful and wild little boys. She has an obsession with all things British, is an aspiring writer, amateur yogi and pretty decent backyard homesteader. She is so thankful for this motherhood community. 

Photo by Sara Ernst