Mud. Thick, sloppy, gooey mud. For much of the last two months since LM’s birth, it feels like I’ve been existing in mud.
It’s not that I can’t cook, clean, take care of my kiddos, play, do laundry, exercise or work. It’s just that It. All. Feels. So. Hard.
I have had no trouble falling head over heels for Little Man. I delight in him and his amazing older sister. Loving them is so easy (just look at them!). Cherishing them is effortless. Changing diapers, giving baths, walking to the playground – that stuff is hard. Why can’t we just snuggle in bed, staring lovingly into each others eyes all day?
I hesitate to label how I’ve been feeling. I don’t want to minimize anyone else’s struggle. And, I am doing the things of life – showering, cooking dinner, homeschooling preschool for AE, exercising, leaving the bed.
We have even ventured out to a handful of fall festivals. Again, it’s just not easy.
A few weeks ago, I had a meltdown. I sobbed as I felt the weight of “hard” on my soul. “Shouldn’t this be easier? So and so seems to do it with grace and ease.”
Later that day, I was playing Ants in the Pants with AE. She was struggling to get her ants to pop up. As her frustration mounted, I gently, lovingly reminded her “We don’t have to be afraid of hard things, honey. Let’s keep working on it. Hard is not bad.”
I choked on that last sentence. It’s a philosophy I try to instill in AE. Early childhood educator Magda Gerber said, “If you can learn to struggle, you can learn to live.” I’ve long believed that the first step in learning to struggle is to accept the truth that hard is not bad.
So, I’ve been leaning into the difficult. I’ve stopped thinking things should be easier. I’ve meditated on the truth that the harder something is, the more it requires my softness.
And paradoxically, things have gotten easier.
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