Aren't those the most reassuring words in the universe?
I was reading a blog post the other day, this one, and had that very epiphany.
I am not alone.
I often fight the very same battle my friend Johanna describes in her post. I have a bad set of days where I just can't shake the pessimism and feel like I'm just not keeping up, not measuring up, not doing enough, not mothering well enough, can't seem to see the cup half full. And the worst part of the whole mood is that I keep thinking no one else does this, everyone else seems to keep it together, why can't you also pull yourself together Victoria?
But the key word there is 'seems'. Everyone else seems to have it together.
Johanna also wrote me on Mother's Day to say "Happy Mother's Day to one beautiful and amazing mom. Victoria you always amaze me with how you have it all together!". While the compliment was so nice and appreciated in itself, what really made that comment so special to me (after I stopped choking on my coffee from laughing that someone thought I seemed to have it all together) was that if she thinks I have it all together when I feel like a chaotic crazy person, a juggler with a thousand balls in the air, maybe the people I admire for having it all together also really feel just as nutso as I do. Which sounds mean, to savor the chaos of others, but you get this? In which case, I might just really actually have it all together! Maybe it's just possible that having it all together in motherhood just happens to feel only one step left of chaos. That this is as together as it can get and that I'm doing just fine. This train of thought is quickly derailing into a whole pile of having it together's, but in any case it makes you feel so much better to realize you're not alone!
I think that's why blogs have become so popular for mothers, and facebook too, that this sentiment is how the 'mommy blogger' was born. Logging in to some social contact in the spare minute you have, reading the thoughts of other mothers as they journal their days makes you realize you're not alone in your trials and tribulations. And if everyone else goes through these bumps and days, then you're not some failing oddity who just can't figure it out. Motherhood is very hard on the self-esteem (and I haven't even arrived on the other side, where we see what kind of people we've turned out). It's so important to have feedback confirming at the very least that you're not alone in your uncertainty. That whatever difficulty you're facing has confronted many others, there have been women in this place before you and there will be others follow.
It calms me to think of how my grandmother would have solved a busyness dilemma, how she would have got the laundry on the line with so many little ones running around and not even the luxury of a heavy duty washer to rely on. It gives me strength to corral my one toddler again. It reminds me everyone needs help sometimes. It calms me to hear a friend, a mother of six, say she also gets tripped up on agenda items that should be so small. I can forgive myself for my son being the only child whose mother couldn't manage to scrounge up a white dress shirt for his first communion day. He still looked very nice in plaid.
David Suzuki talks of life energy. That when people die their particles don't disappear. Their energy impermeates the air, and we breathe them in, they become part of us, soak into the earth and become part of it, which nourishes our food and nourishes us. We are all one. The Secret proclaims that our thoughts and emotions emanate from us and attract like, negative or positive, affecting the state of the world. In Catholicism it's called the Holy Spirit, the Trinity, that God is in us, within and throughout all of us, present in all living beings. Sarah Napthali writes, "In Buddhism, there is no God but rather the opportunity to realise our oneness with all that exists."
I think it's all the same. It's oneness.
It's comfort in knowing that we are not alone.