Motherhood: Riding the Waves and Trusting What Is

Hi friends!  Thanks so much for sharing your own experiences and lifting me up in mine on this post from a couple of weeks ago!  One of the best pieces of advice I received when Teo was a newborn was to “ride the waves”.  This was general life advice when it was given to me, but I clung to it like a life raft this past year and a half with Teo.  So I’ll share it here and hope that it helps one of you.  There are times in parenting (and in life in general) that you’re pushed to the very brink- physically, mentally, emotionally.  When your babe is teething and not sleeping and you are fighting with your partner and the pressures of life are looming it can feel like nothing will EVER be ok again, right?  Exhaustion couples with frustration and worry and a host of other emotions pile on top.  It can be suffocating.  It’s like a wave that knocks you down.  You’ll make it up for air eventually, but the time underwater feels like it will never end.  Hopefully you land on the other side of the wave soon, and have a ride on the topside that is fun and thrilling and magical!  But either way, whichever side of the wave you’re on your only real choice is to ride it out.  This idea that the good and the bad all comes and goes brings a sort of ease into life I think.

My mantra in motherhood has become EVERYTHING IS TEMPORARY.  That means that the really sweet spots– I soak them up and savor them like the first ice cream of Summer because I know, I know they’re fleeting and will be replaced soon.  And the really difficult spots, the ones that test me and push me, I try to do the same.  I actually find myself, and I know this sounds counterintuitive, but I find myself cultivating gratitude for them.  I try to take the perspective that those tough times are serving me, teaching me, helping me – and I make a conscious effort to feel grateful for them.  It doesn’t make the challenge of whatever it is that’s happening go away, but it takes away the resistance to it, and it brings me to a place of acceptance and peace.  I don’t always remember to do this but when I do, I find myself much happier, more peaceful, and better able to be the person I want to be.

I think as a culture we have created this sort of belief system that everything is supposed to be OK, which makes us feel even more alone when we’re struggling.  This idea that life should be easy and carefree is insane because it’s TOTALLY NOT. Things are supposed to be difficult, life is supposed to knock us down and things are meant to fall apart.  How do I know this?  Because they do, and so it stands to reason that they must.   And not for nothing!  These moments, these struggles- these are where the gifts lie.  These are the times in which we can grow and stretch ourselves and come out the other side stronger, wiser, better.  These tough times hold valuable lessons for us, if we’re open to receiving them.  These are opportunities for us to rediscover our strength, to practice being present, to come back to ourselves and our purpose here.

Which brings me to the other thing that has been resonating with me lately: the idea of trusting in my life’s path.  I like to think I’m driving the ship of my life and this idea is fueled further by some control freak tendencies.  I think this is one of the things I struggle with the most- trusting that what is happening is exactly what’s meant to be happening.  Again, when I fall into this (and for me it’s a daily practice of revisiting this idea throughout the day and really feeling that trust), I’m more at ease in the world.  I struggle less, I’m happier, less fearful, less controlling and I’m generally more at peace.  Unfortunately just saying that I trust isn’t enough- I have to legitimately get into a headspace where I can truly TRULY believe.  And that takes work sometimes when life anxiety is mounting.  But it’s valuable work and I’m better when I do it.

So, I guess in the end this post is a long-winded reminder to myself to trust what is, surrender to the waves and soak up every fleeting moment.  I hope these rambling thoughts of mine land somewhere helpful.  More soon!  xx- Sarah . {My dress, Teo’s romper, my shoes (similar), Teo’s shoes}

PS- Lou and I took these family photos the other morning but I want to be really clear about something- 1.) it took me nearly a year and a half to feel like myself after Teo was born, to fit into my old clothes, to look at myself in the mirror and recognize the woman looking back.  So if you’re a mama struggling I want you to know I see you, just as you are, and you’re beautiful.  Please be kind to yourself and know how very not alone you are.   2.) This is NOT what our life looks like on the regular.  I’m not perfectly manicured chasing a delightfully styled smiling toddler.  In fact, it’s quite the opposite.  Half the time he’s dressed in some onesie we cut the sleeves off and is stained from a dozen toddler meals and I’m in cutoff shorts and some shirt that I don’t care will be ruined by the end of the day.  I really struggled in the beginning of motherhood seeing gorgeous happy families who I perceived to be doing so much better at life than we were.  It’s a highlight reel.  It’s not reality.  I had trouble remembering that so I want to shout it from the rooftops in case I ever make any other mother feel the way I used to.  That is all….

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Reader Comments

  1. Kirsten|

    I have a 12 month old and I could not have said it better. So thank you for saying it since I have these thoughts and feelings all of the time—highs, lows and it’s all an ongoing cycle.
    Plus, Teo gets more beautiful daily!!! What a joy

    • Sarah Yates|

      Thank you Kristen!!!! He is such a sweet boy and being his mama is just the best! 🙂 Congrats on making it through your first year mama! I’m so happy this resonated with you. xx

  2. Abby|

    I am so happy that you are posting again on here! You’re family is beautiful and I am looking forward to seeing the updates on your new home.
    Also, I love the dress and shoes – where are they from?

    • Sarah Yates|

      Hi Abby! Thank you so much for the kind words! I just added the links to the post- sorry I forgot to include them! xx

  3. Leah|

    Thank you again for being so open and honest and taking the time to throughly express what you are going through. The wave analogy is a huge help! And I’m glad you added the bit about the highlight reel at the end. I am 6 months post partum and still 25 pounds heavier than I was before I got pregnant. None of my clothes fit and I wear the same stretchy pants every. single. day. I want my old body back! I’m hoping the weight will eventually come off with time, but I’m 40 and have a feeling my metabolism is just shot. I’d love to hear any tips you might have. Thanks again!

    • Sarah Yates|

      Leah!!! Six months! Go easy on yourself Mama!!!! That’s my biggest tip. Be as gentle and kind with yourself as you are with your baby. You will get back to a size you are comfortable with, but it takes time for some of us (ME!!!!)

      Sleep makes all the difference, or at least it did for me! Weight SLOWLY started to come off when I started to sleep through the night. And then the old traditional things like exercise, and eating healthy of course helped. But sleep, rest, self care, being kind to yourself. Do those things. The rest will fall into place over time. Sending you lots of love!!! xx

  4. beatrice|

    Dear sarah, it is a pleasure as always to read your honest, open and kind words! I’m so very glad to see that you, teo and lou are thriving, as you three are gorgeous in the pictures!
    I am not a mother, but I have been experiencing – and I still am – what I feel to be a fairly tough time in my life, for personal and family resons. Therefore I can totally relate to what you point out in the post, and I want to thank you for reminding me of all that. I have been reflecting on these things for quit a while, but when I’m stuck in discomfort it’s far too easy to allow all the distress and feelings of helplessness to take over.
    Every time it is a genuine pleasure to read your posts, and seeing a notification of new post in my inbox so makes my day. Keep on with the excellent work!
    Sending to you all my very best wishes,

    • Sarah Yates|

      Thank you so much sweet Beatrice! I’m sorry to hear that you’re going through a tough spot, it can be sooo hard and sooo difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel when you’re in the thick of it. I feel for you. Hang in there, look for the lessons and be gentle with yourself!!!! Thank you so much for the kind words and your sweet note! XX