Read an Excerpt
If you're reading this book, you’re probably in the thick of things right now. You’ve recently had a baby or you’re expecting one. In short, your life is in the process of changing. You may even feel like the ground underneath you is giving way. I hope you’ll take away two basic messages from this book. First, you already have all that you need.
Trusting your intuition will serve you more than the latest parenting trend. Second, there’s no escaping the poop—both literally and metaphorically. Much of parenthood is messy, challenging, and unpleasant, but the hard parts of motherhood actually offer us the most potential for growth. How we choose to deal with “the poop” will determine our experience and perhaps our children’s as well.
I wrote this book as a way of collecting and sharing insights about the path of motherhood. Interspersed throughout the book are my stories and also the stories of other mothers who’ve come up against their own expectations, joys, and frustrations—and discovered valuable life lessons. I hope that our stories will help you to stay in touch with your own wisdom, your own authenticity, along this journey.
Each chapter includes a list of “sanity savers” and “thought exercises” to guide you toward the freedom that comes with understanding yourself and accepting your own choices in spite of, or in the face of, the stress,
sleep deprivation, and worries you may be feeling. The sanity savers are practical suggestions from me and other mothers, ideas of what you can do to find balance in a job that often throws you off center. The thought exercises are lists of questions to help you to tap into your own inner wisdom. These questions can be answered in writing in a journal or they can just be contemplated.
Being a mother is the most joyous experience of my life. At the risk of sounding mushy, I can honestly say that being a mother completes me in ways that I didn’t know were possible. Over and over, other mothers
I’ve spoken with confess that the love they feel for their children is bigger than any love they’ve experienced before. They feel split wide open by this love.
At the same time, many of us have felt overwhelmed by the challenges of motherhood: trying to keep our precious ones safe; feeling responsible for their physical, intellectual, emotional, and social growth;
sorting through the sea of information on parenting to keep up with the latest. Then there is the media to contend with—everywhere we look there are images of what motherhood should look and feel like, images that often just make us feel inadequate. The question is: As mothers today, how can we stay sane and true to ourselves?
I’m happy to tell you that we can find balance on this journey—and real wisdom. The challenges and intensity of motherhood can help us become more whole as individuals. Motherhood can help us evolve into more complete versions of ourselves—stronger, wiser, more resourceful, and fully connected to the power of our own love. In my experience,
parenting is the ultimate spiritual practice. It wakes me up on a daily basis, commanding me to stop and pay homage to the ways of the universe. Above all, being a parent calls on me to finally understand that I am not in control—never have been, never will be.
In a way, becoming a mother is like having a big mirror placed in front of you, one that reflects all of your expectations, weaknesses, and strengths, as well as the limitless love you are capable of, love that was impossible to imagine before. This is the good news. Parenting can bring us face to face with ourselves in a deep, lasting way. And it can become an invaluable teacher.
Parenting has taught me, above all, to take a deep breath and just be with what is—whether it’s frustration, tenderness, anger, helplessness, or joy.
When the going gets tough—when the storybook scenarios of serene life with baby collide with the messy realities—I’ve learned to just stop and breathe. I watch the judgments I have about myself or my child; I
observe them rising up within me. I remember that I’m not my feelings;
I’m not this monsoon of fear or impatience or anxiety. When I stop and breathe, soon I see that I’m OK and my kid’s OK, just as we are.
If we can become more aware of how things really are in this very moment,
rather than how we want them to be, this parenting thing can become a lot more fun. We can actually learn to embrace and accept ourselves exactly as we are: the lousiest parent on the planet and the Divine
Mother, all rolled into one.