Motherhood is love in its purest form. It's also several parts undistilled stress and worry. Sometimes, the negative emotions (and the guilt that follows) can overpower the sweetness of our pure Mama love.
In so many ways, motherhood is its own whole, it's own complete experience. There's the yin and the yang, the positive and negative, the joyous and the exhausted, the playful and the stressed to tears.
In her book, Buddhism for Mothers: A Calm Approach to Caring for Yourself and Your Children, author Sarah Napthali explores the unique ways in which mothers can blossom when we apply some Buddhist thinking to our lives. The book is balanced and practical, and Napthali's commitment to helping Mamas care not just for our babes in arms, but for ourselves, too, is refreshing.
She outlines ways to help us remain in the present with our kids (this is a big one for me), to help us stay calm, to deal with our anger and to worry less. Sounds like the perfect Mama, right? That's the beauty of Napthali's work (and Buddhism in general); the acceptance that no one is perfect, that we are all flawed, that we all suffer (the First Noble Truth). She reminds us that having guilt about our flaws ("I snapped at my kiddo," or "I'm so disorganized," or "My butt is sagging southward at a rate of 3 inches per year") is not only unproductive, but that it helps keep us stuck. She encourages us to notice our wrong actions and move on, knowing that we may just do better next time.
When we let go of our expectations, our fears--and yes, our guilt--what remains is peace in the present. And I think that after I read this fantastic book another dozen or so times, I might just be able to put it into practice.