Shalom (on embracing the both-and)

"Wholeness looks like admitting I am both happy and struggling, that I am both full of faith and doubting everything." - Fiona Lynne #wholemama

Kaya stood up all by herself on Monday. She’s learning everything back to front. She’s been walking for three months but she still can’t crawl and when she wobbles and topples to the floor, she’s stuck there, having no idea how to get back up to standing.

But on Monday we were at the playground. And she was on her butt in the middle of the tarmac where an overenthusiastic run had planted her, and she leaned forward onto her hands, wiggled her butt up into the air, held the pose like a yoga pro for a moment as she figured out how to get her balance, and then just stood up. Just like that. Rasmus and I looked at each other in slight disbelief and then broke into applause.

It was one of those moments you imagine experiencing before you get pregnant. The pride at your little girl who figured it out, it fills up your heart and you don’t care that nearly every other child in the world achieves this minor feat because right then you are certain your baby is a rockstar. She will go far this one, because just look at her standing up all on her own!

Then there are the other moments. The moments I have to grit my teeth and take three deep breaths so that I don’t do something I’ll regret. When she’s whiney and clingy or she throws the food I spent ages preparing straight on the floor in disgust. She refuses to let me cut her toenails so she looks a little like a neanderthal baby. And she’s at that stage where she starts to know what she wants and exactly what she doesn’t want and it requires more patience than I have. And sometimes she’ll hit me in frustration and I will want to hit her back and then feel so horrendously guilty that that feeling could ever exist in me.

I am not the perfect mother I thought I would be (don’t we all secretly hope we’ll be the ones to figure it out?) But I’m learning step by step to offer myself as much grace as I offer my mama friends when they confess their own frustrations, their own failings.

The road to shalom, to wholeness looks like acknowledging it all, owning it all.

Wholeness looks like stopping pretending it’s all easy, or I feel exactly what I hoped I would feel. Wholeness looks like admitting I am both happy and struggling, that I am both full of faith and doubting everything.

Wholeness looks like working out ways to take regular breaks, to escape for half an hour or a morning, and drink iced coffee and read beautiful words and sit in the sun and feel myself fill up again. It looks like sharing my struggles with others and hearing them tell me, “yeah, that is so normal”. It looks like accepting their offering that I am enough. Even when I fail. Even when I don’t meet my own standards. I am enough.

And then it looks like going home and seeing her little face break into a big grin as I walk through the door and suddenly knowing it is true. I am enough. I am on the path to wholeness and shalom and it’s messy and sometimes so so hard but it is also the feeling of a chubby toddler running full speed into your arms because she’s so thrilled you are back again.

// Some of my favourite bloggers have a great summer initiative called #wholemama. It’s a community challenge and invitation for mamas to integrate our creative and spiritual selves in our day to day. Each week they’ll post a word to write on – this week it is shalom, and this is my contribution.