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the Presence Point

The Mama Dance

photo by Mary Claire Carroll

The Mama Dance

Have I told you that I have a daughter? A wonderful, magical, creative, engaged and goofy daughter. She’s almost 20 months old and entering the toddler zone that I was told to be afraid of.

I find myself frequently in search of balance between my time with her and time for work. The fact that I have this moment to sit and write right now is amazing. I worked all morning watching three babies so that I could have this afternoon free to write and share with you. My days are never dull, my time is always full, and it’s hard to take a moment for myself.

I work for my daughter and my family, and then I exert myself for all of you - creating a podcast, writing a blog, writing and editing books, and meeting with my courageous clients. What do I do that is just for myself? I meditate to touch in with my feelings (no matter how rare those moments are) and I love to run, but now that the days are getting shorter, it’s harder to find time to get out there. These moments to myself are few and far between so I feel deeply fortunate that spending time with my daughter feeds me and fulfills me and so does my work. I LOVE what I do.

But it’s a dance. I am calling it the Mama Dance.

How many of us Mamas do this dance? Frankly, I think the answer is all of us. No matter what your lifestyle, there is a dance to being of service to your children and family, yourself, and the wider world. No matter if you leave the house everyday to go to an office or stay at home - working or caring for your child, there is this tremendously challenging dance.

I think the nub of it is finding time for one’s own mind and heart to refresh and renew. I think that is the heart of the challenge. It is a dance because laced into the fact of having a child is an incredibly deep well of love and delight. It is a dance because woven into the fabric of our busyness is the satisfaction and necessity of engaging in work (that hopefully we enjoy). It is a dance because we are just one tiny human trying to embrace all of it.

Not only do we try to embrace all of it, but we long to embrace all of it with all of who we are. Being a mother means it is all right there - the dirty laundry, the screaming kiddo, the sweet nurturing story at bedtime, the kisses and the mud. Our hearts stretch to accommodate all of it. And during the day - whether at work or home (or home trying to work like me) - we stretch to accomplish all the tasks we must.

But we are just tender flesh. We are just pliable, soft, squishy, emotional human beings. How can we possibly do ALL OF IT?!?!

Well, we can, and we can’t. The only way forward is moment by moment. This seems to be the only music I have found to accompany this challenging, delightful, painful, wonderful dance - the music of the present moment. To show up and show up and show up - to all of it, the poop and messes, the pinching, the hugging, the soft release into sleep. To show up each moment and feel our hearts softening and ripening, maturing like a good cheese.

So, probably like many other aspects of living a human life, the Mama Dance is one of enjoying each step of the dance, and that itself then becomes the dance.

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