How to Mother… the Mother

This week, I had the honor of reconnecting with a good friend. As she shared all the good going on in her life, I watched the youngest son sleep peacefully. When it came my turn to share, I wasn’t sure where or how to start. Too much was going on. Before delving into all the Motherhood shit going on, little me’s posse grabbed the mic and spoke.

We miss smoking weed, excessively drinking red wine, dancing to live music and occasionally hoe’ing. Regular yoga was nice too. Every now and then my inner Grace Jones pops up, sneers at me and asks what the fuck am I doing with myself. I should be out in the world conquesting and shit. My friend listened and then reminded me that I could still do all those things, but I wouldn’t like the consequences. Truer words have never been spoken. I love my husband and children. I choose them over the single life.

After we got off the phone it dawned on me that a large part of me has refused to grow up. It’s angry for a childhood it never got and misspent teen years. It feels odd because I am not a running wild sort of person (—that may be part of the problem).  I think it’s more honest to say that I never really felt safe or supported in fucking around. I’ve always felt responsible to or for something.

Whether responsibility meant anchoring a household at a young age, being the flag bearer for all black folk, upholding communal order or making sure that my drunk ass friends got home safely without fucking that dude, I was always about it. I’m not sure that I consciously allowed myself to be young and dumb. Instead I chose to be “old enough to know better yet too young to give a fuck” for far too long. I look back at my life and see a stubborn toddler, angry teen or depressed college student that clearly said fuck all this adulting shit. I want to play!

The fucked up thing is that being responsible is in me. It’s me on default. It’s what I do. I’m secretly 80 years old, too old for this bullshit and will help you solve your problems. However, I’m not sure how to bring these younger aspects to heel. I wish we could run the fuck amok, but that time is over. Those days have passed. There are children who need their mother and shit to do.

These aspects remind me that I don’t want to leave the same holes within the sons…. somehow I need to bring these parts of me to peace… we’ll see…

Stay tuned…

 

Who am IIIIIII????

Since having a second child, I don’t know who I am anymore.

When there was just one child I had space to do shit. We lived in an affordable space with a great babysitter. I was in a space of stability. Regular sleep, regular sex, folks I dig, work that paid… All the things that seemed to anchor my sense of self were present. Then, I got pregnant. Then we found mouse poop under son #1’s chair. Suddenly we purchased a house and had a baby.

Fuck, I am lost.  I don’t sleep regularly. I don’t have sex regularly. I know awesome folks, but have no energy or time to socialize. I’ve stopped working. There is really nothing to anchor me except for being Mom. I think being Mom is cute, but I also feel like there is more to me. Or at least there was more to me this time last year.

I need to figure out who I am with two young children. It’s a bit of a daunting task. I always thought that I am what I do and how I spend my time, but I have to be more than that. I must be more than a milk machine that chases a toddler all day. Raising children has meaning, but I want more than that. When they leave I don’t want to be empty. With every age, a woman changes. Someone new emerges within me all the time. I am looking forward to seeing who emerges next, because I am feeling lost.

 

 

What’s next…conjure..maybe

I sat and listened to my relative. My eyes bulged. I started to sweat and for the first time in a while my intuition kicked in. I could sense “the green”, or various nature spirits listening in on our conversation. I noticed an entity attached to my relative looking at me and could see/feel some of the phenomena they described enduring.

Always in the know, my eldest boy decided to see what Mommy was doing. Somehow the playground with Daddy wasn’t so exciting anymore. My conversation ceased, my intuition turned off and I went back into Mommy mode. It was lunch time anyway and we could only stay here discussing this for so long. Besides, I didn’t have any of my accoutrement with me. There wasn’t much I could do in a park during the daytime anyway. My mind wasn’t blown by what my relative said, but by how long they had endured and that my obtuse ass hadn’t picked up on it earlier. We related. Why am I only hearing this now?

I spent the rest of the day spinning, planning and plotting. On the ride back to where I, my husband and sons were staying, a potion to make for my relative came to me. It should be applied to the hands and feet daily and nightly. I also pondered what could be discreetly done to clear space and whether I should covertly do some work to help the situation. I also thought about what ancestors to ask for help because there is a lot going on. For the rest of the trip I focused on holding sacred space. On the way back home my mind spun. It spun It spun It spun. When it stopped,  I was a bit in awe.

I freaked out. How did a potion come together so quickly and easily? It was like breathing. I call myself a herbalist, but I don’t really care about medicinal application (heh heh). Possessed or Cursed? I can help. Shit, I’m excited to help! Even before studying herbalism I remember asking hyssop for help with my own deposession work, which is a long entertaining story if you are into that sort of thing.

I love this part of me; this arcane self that knows and does interesting shit. The type of shit you do when God or Nature is working with you to set things right. Old black shit that runs through my veins and coils in my dreads. Shit that feels like it has been flowing through me and my folk for quite a few lifetimes. However, to be honest, this part of me scares me.

I don’t know how she fits into raising children, going to the grocery store, giving my husband blow jobs and mundane shit like that. Oddly enough though, she’s all I ever wanted to be. She laughs with plants, dances with the wind and listens to the stories of her ancestors. She does things because Mother Nature, her Grandmother/father or a Deity asked her to. She doesn’t really move for anything/one else. Fuck, I love her. She’s so self possessed. I just don’t know where she fits, comes from or how she emerges. I guess if flowers bloom in their own time, she will too.

*sigh*

Take Precious Care over there

J

 

 

What if?

What if all the stories I told myself about what love is and looks like aren’t true? I believe that in order for me to love I must abandon myself completely to it. And by abandoning myself I mean leaving myself stranded in my lover’s arms. No job, no friends, no family, no savings, no community, no sense of self. In the past, love has demanded this of me, but what if I didn’t need to love like this anymore?

If I don’t really need to be so empty to be loved and loving what do I want to fill myself with? Who do I want to be? How am I in love? Who am I, really? And how does this new self jive with all the responsibilities of my current self?

In love, I constantly find myself following the wisdom of a hurt, scared and isolated 5year old. She’ll do anything for you if you love her. This five year old is emotionally and energetically tuned in. She can tell what you are feeling, even when you can’t (usually because you don’t want to). She is fabulous at assessing needs, wants and desires. She is even creative enough to get you the experience you most want, if she likes you enough. This 5 year old has impeccable boundaries that don’t quite work with the rest of me because she is a hardass. Children are fierce and honest in ways adults choose not to be. However, but 9 times out of 10 she’s on the money in her analysis of a situation.

While my 5 year old is awesome at identifying and maintaining boundaries, she’s not so helpful in taking care of me. She asks demands that I love in detrimental ways that kept me safe when I was her age, but aren’t a good look now. The same demands she makes of me, she makes of others. As you can imagine, this doesn’t end well. She’s often hurt, disappointed and confused. Not everyone can love with the ferocity of a 5 year old. I’m no longer a little girl; even though I can’t help but act like one upon occasion.

I’m not quite sure what to do with my 5 year old self. I’ll just take my jasmine flower essence and woman up into shit. I mean jasmine is the essence of divine, intoxicating womanhood. There should be some harmony there. Me and my little five year old have been tussling for years. I don’t want to tussle anymore. I can see her wisdom. It’s just finding the right avenue for it so other parts of me, hopefully more adult parts can express.

We’ll see what happens here..

Take precious care

J

Personal Power & The Scorpio Full Moon

So, I’ve been chewing on selfish… Chewing, chewing and chewing. What surfaced is personal power expressed as love.

If I could summon the personal power to lovingly ask for what I want/need, I wouldn’t need to be selfish. Meaning, there has to be some way to get what I need in a manner that’s harmonious to all involved. It’s possible to have my needs met without being selfish. This can only happen when I am empowered by love.

Without love, my expression of personal power can override the needs of others. Without love, I will feel guilty to even having needs. All things seem to come together in love.

When I have energy and space to hear, Imma fan of conjure and ritual. So a little something to do for the May 10th Scorpio Full Moon popped up. Scorpio loves power. It also loves dredging up and resolving any lingering bullshit. I have issues around personal power and asking for what I need.

For this little bit of fun, it seems best to work with a couple of tumbled stones. As it stands now, I’ll combine rose quartz, tiger’s eye, and soladite in a mason jar with some fresh water and honey. The jar will sit out in the sun/moon light from the 7th-10th with the intention of connecting my sense of personal power with love so it may be harmoniously expressed.

Things change on the daily and there are children involved. We’ll see how this comes together.

Take precious care of yourself.

Jeannette

Selfish

After an intense visit with the in-laws and an even more intense visit home, I find myself with a weak heart. When my heart gets weak, I know I’m on the verge of either getting sick or kirking the fuck out. I’d rather not do either, but it’s Tuesday at 6pm and dinner is in 30 min. Guess who puts dinner on the table? All I can think is..I need to be more selfish.

I need to be more selfish with me so I have more to give the boys.

I need to be more selfish with me so I have more to give my husband.

I need to be more selfish with me so I have more to give life.

Now, I’m not sure what exactly being selfish means. I mean..There is so much shit to do around this house. It never stops. Does being selfish mean letting laundry pile up while I dream about a trip to the art museum? Perhaps. Does it mean stealing off to the river to make little offerings and plan a full moon ritual? I hope so 🙂 I guess selfish also means that I can ignore doing the budget, weeding the garden, trimming the bushes, planning playdates and also hold off on making dinner for a friend who just had a baby. This doesn’t feel like selfish. It feels like goofing off. I mean, I’d be happy. But there are still things to do.

Fuck, I don’t know what constructive selfishness looks like. I’m used to plowing through my to-do’s. I just go until there isn’t anything left to do. Then I smile and collapse in bed feeling satisfied. I am used to always having space where there is no one to touch me, talk to me or suck on me. That shit doesn’t exist with two little ones. There is always something or someone wanting attention. Always.

I don’t know what me-time looks like because there is so little of it. An hour here, 30-45 minutes there. Can’t do shit with that but plot and eat ice cream while the toddler  or husband ain’t looking. The baby is too young to say shit about wanting some yet. So, I guess that’s selfish for now. Meh….

Take Precious Care of yourself

J

 

Violets in the backyard

As I clean up twigs and branches from a recently pruned bush, I note the abundance of violets in the backyard. Large heart shaped leaves and purple flowers dot the lawn, occupy space in the herb patch and form a wild little boundary between our yard and the neighbor’s yard.

I’m eyeing them. They’re eyeing me. They remind me that I love them and that I can make medicine from them. I play bashful by imagining myself getting sick because I harvested the wrong plant. They tell me to stop being so afraid of myself and my path.

I stop. Then I ponder the root of my fear. I think about how it felt to be separated from my brothers at a young age. I think about leaving New York. I remember being forced in a private school I resented being in and how I’ve spent so much time running away from that. Then I come back to the present. The violets are still staring at me; this time with some poison ivy.

Instead of holding on to the memory, I’ve held on to the fear of it happening all over again. I fear being ripped from loving community. I fear being suppressed, overwritten and forced into a way of being that ain’t me. I fear it so deeply that I keep myself basically invisible, isolated and defend my familial boundaries violently.

You know, it just might be time to do a little harvest, leave an offering of gratitude and make a little tea <3 We’ll see.

 

Take Precious Care

J

 

Update: In honor of the Taurus New Moon, I collected some violets with the intention of moving forward through my fear.

Anger, In-laws and life

You know what.. Usually when my in-laws come, I mean when my MIL comes I am all a twitter. It’s beautiful watching the eldest son get spoiled with attention. It’s also nice doing something with some one else’s mother because I struggle to do anything with mine.. which is a whole other post. It was a rough week, but here is what I learned.

1.  Anger is excellent for creating boundaries. When I need a wall so thick, so high that nothing can penetrate it– anger does it for me. My challenge has been understanding the reason for all the walls I violently defend. Unfortunately, I’ve not been able to figure out how to best process emotions with two children… shit’s still a bit crazy up in here. We’ve decided to start sleep training our 4 month old… why you ask? because I don’t need sleep, quiet or any of those things..fuck it

2. Emotional processing is integral to my emotional health and hygiene. When my in-laws visited I took a great deal my anger towards my husband’s historic/habitual choices out on the in laws. My anger wasn’t for them, but I let them have it. Pas bon (not good). Fortunately, before they left I re-directed it at my husband, which made things much more comfortable. However, my behavior still doesn’t sit right with me. I didn’t throw anything, curse any one or show my ass, but I still feel a need to make amends.

3. “Help” is in the eye of the receiver. My Mother-in-law does her best to be super helpful, but fuck if I wasn’t irritated by it. She vacuumed after meals, folded laundry and took on odd cleaning job while she and my sister in law took care of the eldest. (Fuck, I kept the youngest. I needed something to do.) I was not amused. Help, for me, doesn’t look like taking care of the house. It looks like lavishing the boys with attention that I can’t give because I have other things to do. Cleaning and cooking give me respite. I need to move and do since I no longer participate in any sort of athletics.

4. I need a fucking life. I love deez kids; Lawd knows I do. I really enjoy keeping house and yard. I really do. Although I am not always able to keep shit spotless or weed-free, I really like it. I just need more than that. I need life outside of lawn mowing, meal planning, changing diapers, sleep training and teaching the alphabet in French and English.

5. The root of my anger stems from my lack of life. In choosing a mate; I gave up my life. Funny thing is, he never gave up his. He’s not out in the streets at night or doing crazy shit. But he has a life and a family outside of this one. The last time I had a life that I resonated with was 2008. If you caught me pre – 2006 ish I was actually earning good money. At some point in my life I internalized that loving someone means giving up my life. Since marrying, I’ve had life, but nothing like before marrying.

Now, I’m still figuring out what life really means to me and how things fit together now.

We’ll see what happens from here <3

Take Precious Care,

J

 

Well Damn..

It’s been a minute.. so much has happened between now and then. There is so much to say, yet so little time. Oh, the joys of motherhood. Here’s the high notes:

1.  The land we live on is magic. Whenever I think of a plant that I’d love to cultivate a deeper relationship with it pops up in the yard. I wanted roses and now there is a little rose bush forming. I wanted violets. There are an abundance of violets peppering the back yard. Now that I have calmed myself, I can finally enjoy the  magic of this space. Speaking of enjoying things..

2. This transition to two kids is bananas. I find myself sometimes thinking, if only I could take more passionflower, or more shatavari I would be oooookkkkkkaaaaayyyyy. I am constantly reminded that no matter what plant I consort with I need to take care of myself. Some days taking care of me is sleeping when the boys nap. Other days it’s finding mothers of color to talk shit to. Whatever care is on that day I need to do it, or the next day I’m not the mother I want to be. Since we are talking about self care and herbs…

3. Dirt is magic. Did I mention how magic our yard is? It seems to calm the eldest son, put the youngest to sleep and helps me find balance. I never thought planting an herb garden would be a joyful activity to share with a toddler and an infant, but for us it is.

4. Who am I?  I am slowly realizing that I need to show up as myself when I mother; even though who I am is constantly changing. To make everything about the boys isn’t honest. It’s stifling and not real. It makes me resentful. But somehow, I don’t want to completely ignore their needs either. I am finding that we all enjoy being outside and interacting in nature. Whether that means meandering on a wooded path or digging in the garden. I hope to find more harmonious activities to share. Did somebody say change?..

5. In the midst of all this crazy, herbalism has changed for me. Or rather maybe I’ve become more confident in my own approach. I’d be a damned lie to call myself a clinical herbalist. Ain’t never been anything clinical about me 🙂 I find that plants dance in and out of my life to help me and those around me. Oddly enough whatever we need is whispered into my ear or is in the cupboard. Ironically many of the plants I fux with heavily are plants my Father or Grandparents worked with. I’ve decided to stop trying to figure it out and just enjoy the ride. It’s very entertaining at the least.

6. New plant friends.. So in the past few months, I’ve made two new friends.. well more than two. But these two want to be written about: Borage and Lemon Verbena. I am loving loving loving borage seed oil on my face in the morning. It gives my skin a youthful glow. Word on the street is borage is great for hormonal balance too! All I know is that I love borage and she likes me 🙂 Lemon Verbena is a lovely nervine; meaning it calms me the fuck down and supports breast milk production. She pairs nicely with Elderflower and Honey. Me thinks I’ll see more of her this summer.

There is much more to share, but I have a toddler to pick up and a baby to nose frida. Poor Ting can’t sleep while congested.

 

Take Precious Care

J

Third trimester shenanigans: Jinx

So, forget what I said about sleeping because the last few nights have been hit or miss 😀

Here are the revelations not sleeping has brought me.

  1. When Lil Boo doesn’t sleep, I can’t sleep. There could be a myriad of reasons why the boy ain’t falling to sleep. It could be because he’s been a bit sick lately. It could also be due to the fact that our house has been filled with stress from my husband’s work and guilt from me not being the active, play-all-day-Mother I’d like to be. He could also be outgrowing his 8pm bed time, or just sensing the impending doom of not being the only kid in the house anymore. Either way, I watch him actively refuse to nap or wait for me to come and re-tuck him in at night before he finally settles down. Shit makes me sad and anxious 🙁
  2. When my emotions are backed up, I can’t sleep. Somehow I forgot that my father’s death-anniversary is less than a month away. As I carry another son, I can’t help but feel some kind of way knowing that my father won’t get to meet this one. It breaks my heart. Lil Boo met his grandfather. Lil Boo#2 won’t. *sigh* Not to mention, I have never felt more surrounded by death. People have been posting about late term abortions, infant loss, babies being choked out in Wal-Mart. Facebook is a minefield of shit I don’t want to see.
  3. My pregnancy hormones have kicked in and I am feeling all sorts of evil. When I do actually sleep, I still feel tired, overwhelmed and like I don’t want to be bothered with shit. I love the little life inside of me, but the transition from one kid to two is a bit unnerving. There are so many what-ifs floating around my head. I completely respect and honor 1 and done 🙂

When I wake up feeling all of this, I just feel it. 3am is really the only time I have to process, so I enjoy the space to actually feel without interrupting myself. When I am done listening, I find my mind wanders from my body. I drift into sleep peacefully.

We’ll see what pops up next.

With all the crazy about these days, be sure to take precious care!

J