how reaching for something unattainable makes you crazy

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They are playing quietly.  Maybe, just maybe, I could sneak in the art room for a few minutes.  Just a few…I’ll do anything.  Print some photos for the baby book.  Start writing a blog post.  Listen to MY music.  Drink hot coffee…alone.

Anything.  Just something that I love doing, without interruption, for a few treasured minutes.

And yet, they know.
They always know.
When I sit down with that piping hot coffee and a dream to have a moment to myself, they know.

And my minute of excitement that it might just happen is gone as the oldest boy bursts through the doorway.

“Mom, I’m hungry.  What can I have?”  Didn’t I just clean up breakfast like 5 freakin minutes ago?

I hear the middle boy yell from the living room, “Mom, I want to play trains.  Can you get them for me?”  Seriously? There are already a billion toys all over the house.  And you want to get yet ANOTHER thing out?!

I feel the resistance in my body.  The gripping in my mind.  The frustration that the hope of stealing those few quiet – desperately needed – moments of “freedom” to do what I want to do…is gone.

I take a deep breath.  I let it out.  And for the millionth time, I let it go.  I think, I’ll get to it later.  Maybe I won’t be tired after they go to bed. Maybe my husband won’t be working late again this week.  Maybe my babysitter is free another day. 

The paintings to paint, the blog posts to write, the monsters to knit, the photo books to update…sit in my art room waiting for another day.

I help the older boy find snacks and I bring up the wooden train set for the middle boy.  He asks me to help him set up “the biggest train track ever” and just as we finish it he says, “I want to do a puppet show.”

And my coffee is cold.

It’s now lunchtime and I’m hungry and I hear the baby crying on the monitor.  Naptime is over and I try making lunch while wrestling a wild monkey boy who just wants to destroy everything in his wake.

And of course I let him because it’s easier that way.  Until after lunch I look around at the devastation only to find every pot and pan pulled out, all the plastic ABC’s spread across the floor and food…so much food…on the floor, on the wall and in his ears, neck and bellybutton.

Is it bedtime yet?

We clean up lunch and get ready for rest time.  All the while the talking and the questions and the story-telling continues at a non-stop pace.

I hear…”Mommy, why is it called an avocado?  Watch Buzz Light Year fly.  Is it going to rain today?  Are you watching?  Look what I can do.  Tell me about ice molecules.  Why does it rain? Why are there people?  Why are toots so funny?”…all in the matter of one minute.

And that’s how kids are…non-stop.

And that’s how life is…non-stop.

And yet, I know.
I always know (even when I forget).

That life with children may keep on going – sometimes at rapid speed – but that doesn’t mean I have to.
I can stop.  I can slow down.  And I can get a grip on my racing, resisting mind that wants the moment to be different.

I can find peace NOW.
I can feel contentment NOW.
I can experience joy NOW.

That’s what these kids are teaching me.  It’s ok to want moments alone in my art room.  In fact, for me to feel grounded, I NEED it.  And making space for the things that recharge my soul help me be a more present mother and a happier person.

I can get on the floor and play trains with the boys – and actually have fun doing it – when my mind stops gripping for something else.

I can answer all the questions and laugh more and stop being so dang serious, because my boys (toots and all) help me do that every day.

I can integrate my love of art, journaling and yoga with my mothering by doing these things with and alongside my children.

I can take breaks away from them to do what fills up my heart and enriches my soul.

And so can you.

Accept where YOU are in this moment.

Accept what stage of life you are in.

Listen to the messages in your heart.

What are you craving?  What quiet whispers do you hear?

Remember, it’s ok to want change.  It’s fabulous to start taking those steps towards the change you wish to see in your life.

But stop gripping.  Stop resisting.  Stop reaching for something unattainable, it will make you crazy.

For me, it’s an unattainable, frustrating dream to think I can be alone or do my creative work WITH three little monkey boys running wild in my home.

But it’s not unattainable to drink hot coffee (yeah for glass travel mugs) and it’s definitely not unattainable to make space for the things that enrich my soul.  I can paint.  I can journal.  I can knit.  I can write and blog and teach e-courses (stay tuned – I’m creating a new one!), even while being a stay-at-home-mom.  It just has to be when the kids are in the care of someone else. I have to be creative with my time.

I can do these things even with my children and I can surrender and let go of the frustration.  I am going to be interrupted.  I am going to be asked a million questions.  And I’m going to LOVE it now, because I know how fleeting this stage of my life really is.


It is hard to find time for your creative dreams and desires in the midst of motherhood.
And it’s also a MUST.
Your dreams matter.  It’s important that you make SPACE for them.

So slow down.  Make SPACE in your life to play and to laugh and to dream and to get on the floor with your kids.

It’s in the space where you FEEL the peace that is ALWAYS in your heart.

And when you tap into that peace and stay connected to it, you will see the humor in the fact that your kids always know.  You are more likely to laugh when they interrupt your flow.

You will find more contentment and joy in this crazy life of yours, because it’s messy and it’s imperfect and it’s wonderful, just as it is, in this moment.

Peace and love to you on your day today!


 Your Personal Reflection:

Notice when you feel frustrated.  Are you getting the breaks you need?  Is it time for a recharge? Can you schedule some time away from your family to do something you truly enjoy?  Or how can you start to incorporate more of the things you love in your day with your kids?  Pay attention to your body. Where do you feel resistance or tension?  Is your mind constantly racing and wishing for things to be different then they are right now?  Slow down and make space while you reconnect to your peaceful heart.


Check out my Mothering with heART e-book!

5 Responses to how reaching for something unattainable makes you crazy

  1. Dearest Shannon,

    such a wonderfully honest post and I totally and utterly get the ‘thing’ of needing to unplug and slow down.

    My kids are 11 and 21 (can’t quite believe it!) and believe me, the need for their mum and for me to be there ‘doing something’ doesn’t or hasn’t ended. I’m getting ready for secondary transition (new school) and dealing with emotional fallouts’ from things past.

    It turns out I’m now the generation that needs has to care for parents too. The position of carer is relentless. And so I decided to slow down and stop what I could. Hence the reduction in internet presence and the current break in running online courses. And as I’ve slowed the pace has picked up in domestic areas but at least I’ve been present to deal with them instead of feeling pulled and pushed and frantic and stressed (although I feel that anyway, but not with such intensity!) and snapping at loved ones.

    At the very least I have to grab studio time here and there and honour that part of me that needs peace by carving time for the peace to happen. And I realise I have to trust that I will be alright, that things will be alright and that abundance (money) will be okay too – as I have to be in that role too of earning – and that’s when the balance begins to tip!

    Maybe I’ll accept that all the ‘great’ things I want to ‘achieve’ can’t happen right now, or maybe they can never happen when one’s primary role is carer because motherhood never ends, it just rolls into the next stage. Sometimes I find this scarey but you’re right, the less resistance, the better. Just go with it.

    Even just dreaming of my next art project and then snatching 5 minutes to start it makes me feel better.

    I can’t wait to meet you one day and your children look gorgeous 🙂


  2. Shannon – thank you for this post! Your words are beautiful, as always, and you bring to light so much that I need to think about, especially as I have my own child constantly interrupting me. Most days, I can handle the interruptions, but sometimes, I feel that familiar pull to read, write, collage, just be by myself for awhile. I’ve spent too much time with my mind constantly racing and wishing for things to be different than they are right now — you and I have talked about this some, but I’m a single mother and not by choice. My husband left me and my child when my child was 19-months-old. While he comes to visit my son each month for a weekend — usually to take him on an adventurous trip somewhere — I’m mostly alone in parenting, and I’ve found that to be quite difficult and lonely. I’ve wished and wished that things were different, that I still had my family, that I wasn’t doing this alone. It’s only been recently that I’ve accepted where I am, and I’ve come to a sort of peace with things the way they are. I know that I have a stronger bond with my son than I would have had if his dad stayed in the picture. But I’m still a work-in-progress, as I guess we all are. I’m so looking forward to your new course, and, again, as always, I love to read your words. Your enjoyment of motherhood inspires me, but it’s also so good to know that you’re real and you want time for your own interests, too. A million times — thank you!

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