My friends at Birth Roots, the local birth and parenting resource center, recently posted this quote from Beth Berry on their instagram:
The fact that you’re struggling to enjoy motherhood has less to do with you than it does the inadequate support structures in the culture surrounding you.
This is an important quote that applies not only to motherhood–but to much of life: community and social ties, marriage, work…
Generally we live in a culture where nuclear family is the most prominent structure, 40-50+ work hours is common, we have more contact with our phones than our neighbors, and we are often running around trying to keep the bank accounts, credit cards, loans, groceries, exercise, and appointments going and MAYBE have a little time left over to chill. Combine this with sparkly images on social media of minimalist kitchens and perfect outfits and happily-ever-after and things don’t feel so good.
I’m not saying it was ever better in this country (post-colonialism); I’m just saying there are repercussions to living with stress, pressure to be successful and gorgeous, and not getting enough support. The most common and most painful thing that my clients tend to struggle with are feelings of insufficiency, wrongness, badness, or not-good-enough-ness. This stems directly from the way we are raised and taught; the way we wrestle with longing for acceptance and connection and so often get less than we need.
Our culture changes slowly. We can’t wait for it to change. We are suffering now and we can respond now. Bring in gentleness. Bring in understanding. Expect imperfection. Try your best but know it’ll still be messy. It’ll come together and fall apart. We can’t fix everything, but we can get in touch with our own longing and meet our needs where we can. We can ask for help, we can ask for hugs. We can let ourselves be ok instead of fabulous. We can live with heart in our imperfect places.