“Yoga for anxiety”. It’s like they created the class specifically for me.
For two hours, I’d be laying in a yoga mat. Two full, glorious hours of peace, slow breathing, uninterrupted thoughts, and deep stretches. Maybe I’ll even get a chance to sleep, I thought to myself, as I entered the yoga studio. I wonder if anyone would care if I just lay down and sleep the whole time? I mean, I am paying, right?
I realized when I was halfway to pick up my sister for this much-needed class that I had left my yoga mat at home, which is typical because whenever I leave the house I tend to always forget something. But it didn’t matter because I was out already and wasn’t turning back. I would have to buy a yoga mat there, would cost a fortune and emit fumes that would make me high and probably negate the whole point of the class, but at this point I didn’t even care. $9 million for a new yoga mat, two hours of peace and stretching and a PVC-induced headache? Take my money.
“Two for Yoga for Anxiety,” my sister said, as we approached the front desk.
“Oooh, so sorry,” said the girl behind the counter, feigning an extremely punchable “yikes” face, “but it looks like you aren’t registered. Did you go online and register for this class today?” I looked at my sister.
“No, nobody mentioned anything to me about registering online,” she said.
“Yeah, sorry. Maybe next time!” And with that, we were turned away.
Someone once told me the thing about motherhood is that you need to get ahold of and gain control over your rage. I didn’t really understand what they meant until my daughter hit toddlerhood, and then I understood it very well. I just didn’t think that rage would hit me standing inside of a yoga studio while trying to get into a “yoga for anxiety” class, but that’s irony for you.
Wait a minute – was this a test? Part of the introduction to the class? Yes – that must be it! I’ll just ignore this silly receptionist and stand here, nod my head, close my eyes and do some deep breathing until the master Yogi comes out from behind the curtain. “I see you, demonstrating your self-control with our receptionist,” he’d say. “Very good.” Then he’d hand me a glass of wine and a pillow, and usher me into the front row of the class.
We all know that this didn’t happen.
As we got back into the car I couldn’t help but feel the rage boil up.
“I’m a little teapot, short and stout…”
A few nights earlier, because Greg and I apparently thought things were too calm around here, we switched our daughter’s crib over to the toddler bed. This meant that she’d been up-and-down all night every night, only to finally bust out of her room for good at 5:30 AM every day with hardly any final attempt at sleep. Exhausted, we let her in our bed one morning, deciding that a toddler foot-to-the-face was fair currency for one hour of shut-eye, and we all started to drift back off to dreamland. But then Marcus, our cat, ran in and jolted us awake just as we started falling back asleep, because he likes to kick us when we’re down. This was our new normal. I could feel the need for sleep in my bones.
“Here is my handle, here is my spout…”
Today, because I thought I’d be doing yoga for two hours and would not have to think about anything or make any decisions, I wasn’t prepared for anything else. I had no running list of other things I needed to do. Which was funny (although not “ha ha” funny) because I had approximately 9,847 things to do, none of which were coming to mind at the moment.
“When I get all steamed up I just shout…”
As I felt the rage boil up, something dawned on me: how can I expect a two year old to manage her emotions when a canceled yoga class makes me want to punch someone? I’m all about mindfulness, meditation, deep breathing (I’m a recovering panic attack-tress), and being at peace. But I want to know: did Buddha ever have to care for a toddler? Did Eckhart Tolle ever deal with 2 kids under 3 while trying to cook dinner? Please tell me the ways.
Anyway, the frustration that came to a head was a reminder of just how small Miss P is, and just how big her emotions are. How she’s learning and growing, and trying her best. And how us adults, we are really just big toddlers walking around trying to make the most sense of this world. This probably sounds like nonsense to someone not in my shoes, and that’s because it is. This is not a real problem. My needs are met, I’m lucky I even get to do things like decide to take a yoga class, get in my car and drive there, and when I can’t get in, go have lunch with my sister instead. But I’m only human. A human who sometimes still needs reminders to get ahold of her emotions.
My life sometimes feels like its full of opposites right now.
Pure joy and utter frustration.
Deep fulfillment and needs cast aside.
Uncontrollable laughter and immeasurable tantrums.
Yoga and rage.
“TIP, me over and pour me out.”
Yesterday, while standing in my kitchen and making Miss P her lunch, she started acting out incessantly and I felt it: the white-hot rage. She was throwing an epic tantrum over a sandwich. This tantrum wasn’t solitary, but rather a giant ball of ice in a hailstorm; one that’s been pelting every one and every surface around here lately. Have you ever tried running through a hailstorm? You can run for cover, but you know it’s inevitable that one of those chunks is going to find you. This one knocked me square in the head.
I had to leave the room. They were safe – Ciro in his jumper, and Miss P in the kitchen behind the safety gate – and I needed a minute. I walked into the bathroom, shut the door, and cried.
I cried because no matter how many amazing moments we have, sometimes I feel like I suck at motherhood.
Because I needed to be reminded in that moment that this will pass but there was no one there to remind me, because we are all the sole residents of our distant and lonely villages.
Because I can’t finish a solid thought from the moment I wake up in the morning until the moment the kids are in bed, and lately even that time is compromised.
Because I was mad at myself for not appreciating every freaking second of it all.
Because of the selfish realization that there isn’t any time for even the smallest of things, and that even when I try and plan as hard as I can, they still don’t pan out.
Because I had no right to cry – after all, these are not real problems, so get it together, woman. What’s wrong with you?
Because I just had to walk away from my little girl who is simply doing normal, two-year-old things like pushing boundaries and testing me.
Take care of yourself, they say. Make sure you are getting enough rest and feel fulfilled. But they aren’t the ones in the thick of caring for small children all day, RIGHT NOW, are they?
I was gone for about 30 seconds before I gathered myself together, dusted myself off and came out. I found Miss P pacing the kitchen, worried, clutching her favorite stuffed animal – her rabbit. She knew I was upset. I took one look at her worried little face and held out my arms, and she immediately fell into them and started crying.
I see you, Penelope. I see myself in you, and you in me. We’re just trying to make sense of it all. Your rabbit and sandwich is my pillow and yoga mat. It dawned on me that in these toddler moments of overwhelming big feelings the thing you need most is kindness, and I think I’ve realized that the best way to offer this to you is to extend it first to myself. You’re doing a good job, little one. I’m proud of you. It’s going to be okay.