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Guest Post: Hey, I’m Back. Been Busy Mothering.

March 28, 2019

I’m excited to introduce my friend Jacqueline Herrera.

She’s a freelance writer and runs a non-profit organization called Kitechild. She is also the mother of two gorgeous little trilingual babies. I asked if she could share her perspective as she dives back into writing, her long time passion. Enjoy! -TSH

‘Our energy is infinite’

I murmured to myself as I sat down on the couch at 11:43pm, directly beside a pile of socks that had been waiting for me to play matchmaker and find their other half. It’s incredible the amount of socks that exist for my family of four. Assuming everyone has two feet, and at least 7 pairs each so we don’t have to do laundry mid-week, that’s 98 socks making up the small mountain next to me.

I closed my eyes and basked in the silence that comes at this hour when my children have finally fallen asleep: it’s the most beautiful not-noise I have ever heard. And although I try to talk myself into this self help mantra of infinite energy and being a super mom with super powers, the reality is, I’m just a human. Just a girl in the world, one who’s culture of success led me to believe that I was a failure because I could not push through the exhaustion of motherhood and a career, to make the time and mental space to be creative — specifically to write, which is my true passion. The fact that I was obliterated with exhaustion, physically and emotionally, almost every single night, was something that I began to view as a lame excuse I made for myself so I could feel better about not writing.

I’m too tired.

I’m not in the right mental space.

I don’t feel like it.

I am not inspired

I am drained

I have too much work

Those were all perfectly legitimate “excuses”, if you will (my husband certainly thinks so). And whether it was because of these excuses, or some other form of writer’s block, my confidence in writing began to dwindle. Was I ever really that good? I mean, I’ve been successful at it before. I’ve been paid to write, I’ve had my articles commented on and shared hundreds of times, I’ve had haters and trolls, all the visible markers of ‘success’ right?

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But I soon started to forget the magical feeling I get from writing. It’s a rush, like boarding a rocket and shooting off into outer space. The way the words can dance their way through a sentence, the way emotions can be evoked and characters come to life, the way you find your truth reflected in the pages of a story that you gave birth to…

Writing is creating — like motherhood, it’s something otherworldly that can’t be explained.

Getting into that writing zone is a sacred exercise, it’s precious, it makes me feel whole.

So the fact that I could not, as a mother, get in the zone was a festering wound that would burn every single day I did not write. I constantly wondered where my energy, my drive for it had gone, and only had to look at my healthy, happy children for the answer. Every magical, creative, life-giving aspect of my energy went to them. I devoted every single hour I could, put them first, connected with them on a deeper level. Instead of writing, I was mothering.

I soon learned that motherhood is a lesson in perseverance. Motherhood is grounding, it’s humbling, it’s returning to your primitive core. It strips away all of your expectations of life and forces you trust in the most powerful force of nature: love.

Now don’t roll your eyes just yet.

Think about the concept of love, what it can cause people to do. Move across the world, give up their dreams, kill and hurt each other. Our biggest insecurities in life stem from not getting enough love, whether from our parents, our partners, our peers. We all want to belong. And being nurtured with a motherly love is where that sense of belonging first develops. You learn as a child that you belong to a family. That someone is there to love you unconditionally no matter what.

As a mother, you provide that love whether it’s 3am and your baby is screaming her lungs off, and you’ve exhausted all soothing initiatives, and wonder if putting on a pair of Bose noise-canceling headphones while you try to figure it out would be smart or terrible parenting, or its 7:45pm and you just sat down to take a bite of your dinner when your toddler says “Mom, I have to poop.”

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And without thinking twice, but often sighing heavily and sometimes rolling my eyes, I cleaned butts, rocked babies to sleep, and held my girls close when they were sick and vomiting everywhere (my hair, my shoe, my hands, etc). All this powered simply by the fact that I love them more than anything in the world.

So while I waded through this swamp of love that is motherhood,

I was in too deep to find the mental and emotional space to write, or pursue any of my other creative passions. With a little bit of patience, and luck, my husband and I finally came to a place where we could send both girls to pre-school, which actually does cost an arm and a leg.

I felt so relieved once we made that sacrifice, because we were reaching a point where my mental and emotional sanity was highly at stake, and I truly believe that a mother’s well being is crucial for the well being of the entire family. We don’t often get to plug ourselves back in and recharge; like the energizer bunny, we keep going and going and going because as a mother you don’t have an off button.

But you can, and should, press pause.

Pause to allow yourself to exist outside of your roles as mother, as a wife, a girlfriend, sister, friend, any and all labels, and just be yourself.

I’ve finally found the time to just be me, a girl in the world, a flutter of energy in this vast universe, a tiny speck of dust floating through a ray of morning sunlight. Feeling so small is grounding and liberating, it means I can think big and my failures won’t be of much consequence. And while I may be a grain of sand in relation to the grandeur of the world, my children shrink that world into one I can disappear in just by looking into their eyes. They are my world, and I am theirs, and there are some moments when that is all that matters.

For now, my new freedom (albeit only from 9am — 5pm, Monday through Friday) has allowed me to awaken the Hemingway within me and embrace the luxury of writing down a few words throughout the day. But more often than not, I find myself looking at the clock, wondering if it’s finally time for my babies to come home.

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