motherhood feels like climbing mountains

I THINK I can, I THINK I can

Posted on Posted in Parenting, Reflections on Life

Did you know that The Little Engine That Could can inspire tears? It did for me this morning, reading it to Talon on the couch. I choked up smack in the middle of “I THINK I can, I THINK I can, I THINK I can.”

Maybe I cried because I feel like that too-small blue engine pulling the toy-laden cars over the mountain—terrified that I will slide backwards at any moment. Or maybe it’s because I feel like the anxious toys at the bottom of the mountain—waiting for just the right engine to haul my ass to the other side of this hump.

This me (on the beach in Tonga) feels pretty far away.
This me (on the beach in Tonga) feels pretty far away.

It makes sense I feel a little desperate as a new mother, as the owner of a new business, as a tropical sailor landlocked in the northern mountains. That’s a lot of change in a short time. One year ago, Rob and I were in Thailand winding through villages on a small motorcycle with two outfits each, a beat-up guitar, and a lot of time to kill. Two years ago, we were wrapping up the last day of our decade-long careers at conservation non-profits in Missoula, about to embark on a year of exploration at sea.

This weekend, our baby turns seven months-old, and free-time and the sea seem like distant memories. I went from zero to 60 on the stress-meter over the past year. But what’s life without a little adrenaline? (‘Peaceful’ is one answer…)

Though this scene looks suspiciously Christmas-like, I took the photo yesterday.
Though this scene looks suspiciously Christmas-like, I took the photo yesterday.

Back to The Little Engine That Could. With Talon gumming away at the book cover, I had this chugging through my head.

I THINK I can wash all the dishes and vacuum the rug in between loads of diaper laundry.

I THINK I can manage all 7 contracts through my writing and communications business.

I THINK I can find time to write creatively and pitch magazines and brainstorm a novel.

I THINK I can get Talon to sleep longer than his always-only-30-minute naps.

I THINK I can teach a few yoga classes and still squeeze in a dance class.

I THINK I can hug my husband and genuinely listen when he talks to me.

I THINK I can drink a beer without falling asleep in my dinner plate.

I THINK I can shower more than once a week.

I THINK I can not kill the houseplants.

I THINK I can see my friends.

I THINK I can do it all.

But I can’t. That’s why I cried, because I realized my engine ain’t getting over this mountain in front of me. I hate backsliding. I get through each day with a lot of grit, and just enough grace to sometimes smile at passersby. I wake up each night in a sweat, my mind racing through all of the tasks I didn’t complete the day before. I’m rarely present in any given moment.

But if that damn little blue engine can make it over the mountain, so can I. It just means I have to take deeper breaths, and remind myself that I am not a superhero, and that I only need to climb one moment at a time. Some of those moments I’ll smile, and some of them I’ll grit my teeth as I chant: “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.”

motherhood feels like climbing mountains

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2 thoughts on “I THINK I can, I THINK I can

  1. For sure you have lots of friends and family who have your back, right along with that sunshine on the book’s cover!

  2. If anyone can, you can Bri Bri. You are hands down one of the strongest people I know, right up there with my mother…..and that’s saying a lot. You can – and you will.. (Leave the damn dishes for later though.) 🙂 Squeeze that adorable baby for me today, will ya?

    Love you,
    Kt

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