Our transition to motherhood can be rocky. Where we once were supported through traditional rites of passage, welcomed into the fold by our community elders, we are now flung into this journey. And we are often flung with traumatic childbirth beginnings, and little support as we fumble our way through those early days. 

Where we once had the change of identity supported through process and ritual, we are now thrust a baby and told to be grateful, and to live up to the ridiculousness of society's expectations of the perfect mother.

Where we once had KPIs, a defined job role, projects that had clear start and end dates, measurable outcomes and obvious ways of tweaking performance if said outcomes were less than desirable, we now have days that can dissolve into nothing, endless repetition and the enormous burden of successfully raising a functional human, all without an induction process or any idea of a practicing guideline. 

Where we could focus on one thing at a time (for the most part), we now juggle work with kids with routines with developmental stages with housework (what housework) with WHO THE F*CK AM I?!

And for many of us, we are surprised at how much ‘nothing’ our kids need from us. How many moments of seemingly nothing. Singing a song. Playing a game. Telling that story for the millionth time. Re-enacting doctor check ups. Listening to Minecraft adventures. The details of the days. Wiping that bench for the billionth time. 

The list is endless.

And so full of 'nothing'.

Doing ‘nothing’ is hard. 

Especially when the lists are constant, the pull to be productive is incessant, and it’s all so very mind numbing. 

But what if this was a mindset? What if our purpose wasn’t to close the most cases, to juggle the most balls, to have the most sparkly house.

What if our purpose as mothers was just to Be? 

The subtle (and not-so-subtle) messages are that we win the race by finishing the most degrees, ticking off the most to-dos, making the most progress. Instead, what if we actually measured our success by our constant commitment to Re-Turn? To Be Here, in the moment, right now. To offer ourselves in highest service to This Moment, whatever that may be. 

What if our goal was simply to tune in to Now? 

After all, Now is all we have. 

What if our kids just needed us, Now. Us, fully present, Here with them? 

Maybe our entire purpose is just to Be. Alive, connected to the moment, connected to this space around us, connected to the people around us. 

Perhaps in doing so, we would finally feel all that we have buried, finally notice the mind chatter and the stories, remember what it was like to consciously encounter discomfort and pain. And instead of seeing these as hurdles or failures, we could see them as opportunities for deeper connection, deeper self love, deeper compassion, and more release. 

I'm not suggesting this is easy, but it could be so very simple.

This modern life can be so complicated. I’m all for simplifying. 

Our purpose doesn’t have to be big. Being Present is a huge huge gift. One that we often had little or no access to in our previous lives of sleep, work, drink, repeat. Motherhood often has a way of cracking us open, and revealing the great gaps between what we think we want and what we actually want. And sometimes, we don’t need to define ourselves by KPIs, or my-to-do-list-is-bigger-than-your-to-do-list battles, or even what our kids are doing. 

Cultivating this ability to Be doesn't happen overnight. It's a practice. 

And like any practice, it requires a dedication to come back to it regularly. To keep trying, even when we’d really rather be sleeping. To be gentle on ourselves, so that the patterns can stick. To surround ourselves with others who have similar goals, so that we can encourage each other on. 

And like many practices, it gets easier the more we try. It is made smoother if we seek out the extra supports and tools that we need to bolster the practice. 

And if we forget, or fall off the wagon, it’s waiting right there for us when we are ready to start again.

And most importantly, like so many healthy practices, it can be so rewarding: full of delight, wonder, expansion, and so much joy. 

Who knew Nothing-ness could really be such an invitation?

Here’s to more moments of nothing, and everything.

Anna is a Childbirth Educator, Doula and Motherhood Mentor, working in Canberra and surrounds.

For more information about overcoming motherhood overwhelm, or if you would like to find out more about her workshopsbirth coaching, birth support, and online birthing course,  please visit www.annasiebert.com.au.

© Anna Siebert and Anna Siebert Blog, 2018. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Anna Siebert and Anna Siebert Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

About the author

Anna is a Motherhood Mentor, who works with busy mums to beat overwhelm, stop yelling and enjoy parenting. As a Childbirth Educator, Anna helps parents prepare for their birth to overcome fear, feel confident and come out the other side of birth positive and empowered. She is the founder of Calm in the Chaos, where mums learn how to feel calm, joyful and confident in modern parenting, and Preparing for Birth, where parents learn how to have a positive birth regardless of how their birth unfolds. Her mission is to take the fear out of birth and the overwhelm out of parenting. Anna runs live workshops, online courses and trainings, and is the author of Preparing for Birth.