I regularly receive acupuncture treatments to assist my general well-being and to help with managing stress and fatigue. The lovely practitioner I see always reminds me to be gentle with myself which is very refreshing as my own nurturing self is so busy looking after my children, husband, dogs, cat, and clients that there is very seldom gentleness and nurturing left for me. She told me during my last treatment that she hoped that I might be the person who will one day write the book “Mothering Without Guilt” i.e. maybe I might get it right. Ha?!!
This came about because I shared with her that I have decided to take up Biodanza (this involves concious movement and dance). I went to my first class on Monday and it was fantastic! I got in touch with me and my body again – complete strangers for the most part and in the last 5 years used largely for the purposes of keeping my children alive!
However, at the same, time I felt guilty. I felt guilty that I was doing this for myself and my husband was at home and had had to put our daughter to bed when I know he was exhausted due to work stress and the molar monster which emerged over a month ago and haunts us every night. So I made myself feel better by telling myself that the dancing would make me a better, more relaxed and less grumpy mom and wife. Isn’t it funny that my excuse to enjoy myself was was still about others….?! Why was I not allowed to simply go and enjoy the 1h30 minute lesson for ME and not to make me better for others?
And here I thought I was making in-roads into this mothering guilt thing, preaching about being a good-enough mother rather than needing to be perfect…..Hmmm. It is as if that guilt just hides around the corner waiting until I start to feel comfortable and then it sinks its claws into my leg as I walk past, just reminding me to pay attention to it. How do I let that go??
Perhaps simply being conscious of the guilt but doing things irrespective of the guilt is the way forward? I may have felt a little guilty on Monday night but I can also tell you that I felt a huge sense of release and joy for a couple of days afterwards. The whole class had been centered around release, compassion, love and joy so it was a great choice!
What it also made me think about is how as parents we often somehow take on this serious, responsible role. Don’t get me wrong – someone needs to be able to pack the sharp knives away, take the marble out of my son’s mouth and prepare countless school lunches – but with all the responsibility I have neglected my own inner child. When I have done things for me it has always been in quite a contained and responsible way e.g. Pilates (if you find fun in Pilates then please let me know how you manage that!)
Dancing is different – it is a form of creativity, expression, fun and freedom that is closely related to being a child. And it’s been so important for me to play with my own inner child and just say acknowledge her again! In fact, the class made me think how much my children would love to join me for some kind of dance/movement and then I had to catch myself and remind myself – “No, THIS is for me and my own inner child for a change!!”