How identifying with NOT being something also causes great misery

Avoiding motherhood - causes misery when one is actually a mother

Avoiding motherhood – causes misery when one is actually a mother

By Kara-Leah GrantMusings from the Mat

It’s 7am and I’ve been up for half an hour. Child-free time and totally blissful. Made even more so because since I returned from my book tour I’ve had no childcare at all.

When my lovely Porse childcare woman told me she was stopping work to have a second child, I could feel part of me wanting to panic.

“No, you can’t! I need childcare. I’m a single mum with a start-up business who’s just written a book! What am I going to do?”

After all, I live in Glenorchy, population 400, this is – or was – the only childcare option in town. There is nothing else.

I noted the drama, and deliberately took time instead to let go of the stories of the mind and feel into the experience. What I discovered was a small voice inside saying:

This is an opportunity.

Now I know what that small voice meant.

Hitting the road for four weeks with a child in tow was an exhausting experience.

It brought up all kinds of feelings and issues around motherhood and parenting and working.

By the end of it, I realised I was living an illusion. I couldn’t do it all. I couldn’t take care of my child full-time, and work on a home business, and take care of myself. I’d been sacrificing myself for months and I’d used up all of my reserves, which was affecting the way I was parenting.

Coming back to GY with no childcare in sight I realised that only choiceI could make was to give it all up. To totally surrender to what was and simply be a full-time Mum.

Difficult for someone who’s spent the last three years avoiding that reality. Hell, two weeks after Samuel was born I was busy re-branding my website from PranaflowNZ into The Yoga Lunchbox. Other mothers were awed and asked how I managed to do it all.

There was nothing to be awed at – it’s the result of denying an aspect of Self, of avoiding something – of avoiding motherhood. I’ve had endless energy available to avoid that.

I was driven by the desire to be not-just-a-mother, and I was driven by a strong desire to be financially independent. 

But on the book tour, I was miserable and depressed and so inevitably there was lots of emotional processing going on. Fortunately, I don’t get too hung up on the misery/depressed/emotional processing game anymore. I know it’s just a part of the cycle and inevitably leads to a new understanding and insight.

I knew I had to look at motherhood and working and guilt, and stop avoiding the whole shebang.

So I stayed the process, and got to the point where I knew I had to give up work – or at least, working as I have been.

My child is three and a half – there’s only a year and a half before he starts school. He’ll never be this young again and time moves fast. If I could get over my ideas and beliefs around motherhood, I could just relax and enjoy hanging out with him. I could be a better mother.

So that’s what I’ve done.

I’ve tossed it all in.

No more working 30+ hours on this website and my book and teaching yoga and and and… Instead, I parent.

Lego. Park. Beach. Reading books. Drawing.

And half an hour of work maximum when my son goes to bed, and maybe an hour at most during the day when he’s playing. Things like packaging up books to post off and scheduling articles. Only the crucial things. I’m getting good at saying no, and I’ve reduced the number of articles I’m publishing on the website from three to two a week.

I am now a mother. Or at least, I am now playing the role of mother to my fullest capability.

And it doesn’t suck.

This fear I’ve always had of dropping into motherhood... of losing myself, of being bored, or not existing, or something… That fear? Disappeared completely.

Now that fear doesn’t exist, because those old ideas and beliefs have been excavated, seen for what they are – just ideas and beliefs – and sent packing. It’s immensely freeing. I can just play the role of mother, rather than have ideas about mothering, or ideas about not being a mother.

I can see too how the article I wrote a month or so ago called I’m only woman when there should be man too was a desperate attempt to hold on to the status quo – which wasn’t working – by fixing it. I was feeling that misery and depression and frantically looked around outside of myself for something that could make it go away – and fixated in this case on a man.

A-ha! If I wasn’t a single parent, I wouldn’t feel like this. I need a man!

Folly. Pure folly. Because I am a single parent and I don’t have a man right now. Fixating on something outside of myself to make the situation different is a subtle way of avoiding the truth of the moment. It took another four weeks or so to dive deeper into that truth and understand.

But I get it now.

And I’m over it. I don’t care anymore – about mothering or not mothering. Life is what it is. I’m called to mother at this time. It’s only ever my ideas and beliefs creating drama and angst around it. I’ve let go.

I’m called. I’ll serve.

All the while finding ways to still write – like getting up early and straight on to the computer. Because I enjoy writing, and I enjoy writing in peace.

And you know what?

I feel free. Liberated. In the moment. And joyous.

Which is exactly the energy I’m able to bring into my parenting… minus the stress and angst caused by trying to do it all. Makes mothering way more fun and rewarding because I have more to give to it.

Fancy that?


  1. Nikki says

    Kara-Leah, I simply love your honesty! I admire the strength that you have when you are challanged to allow yourself to process the situation, reflect on it and then see where it takes you! Life has it’s hill’s to climb and then you always get that ease afterwards of going down hill….. Enjoy feeling liberated!!!
    Warmest regards

    • Kara-Leah Grant says

      Hey Nikki,

      I’m loving the feeling of liberation for sure… and over time I’ve learned that the more honest I am with my self and the outside world, the better life is. Not always easier, but deeper and richer and more rewarding. It often doesn’t feel like strength that takes me on this ride, but desperation – a drive to relieve suffering as such, and the only way to do so is to turn and face whatever is arising.

  2. says

    Oh Kara-Leah! You don’t have to be a single mother to avoid sinking into motherhood; although I have noticed that some single mothers feel like they have a lot to prove, to society and themselves, and drive themselves very hard. I resonate very much with what you say, and I chose to be partnered (coming from a single parent, then blended family myself, I preferred not to go down that road myself). The Universe arranged things in such a way that i had no choice but to face motherhood, and all my fears about disappearing and meaninglessness and boredom….kicking and screaming sometimes :). I haven’t always enjoyed the process (der!) but I feel as though I have been honed and burnished by it all. I have had to find more mature and creative ways to deal with my needs for space, creative and integrity, and I am an infinitely more rounded person for the experience. hard? You’d better believe it. Worth it? Yep. Did i have to be forced into it? yep :)

    • Kara-Leah Grant says

      Hey Sara,

      Great to read your comment. Seems sometimes the difficult lessons are the ones we’re forced into, and inevitably feel glad to experience. It certainly hones who we are and who we become.

      As for me, I’m becoming more skilled with Lego and more graceful with parenting all at the same time…

  3. Rachel Lindstrand says

    hello love, just typed out a long email and something went wrong so it didn’t send. Anyway..I said…good on you….love the fact that you are going solo with Samuel…and make sure you come to Playgroup on Mon & Thurs. Will be good to hang out with you…be it at the cafe..or at mine for play dates…make sure you keep in touch. Single Parent (or parent with husband but on their own all day)…whatever you still need you mummy friends and your mates…..I tell you it keeps you going. glad your back…haven;’t seen you for ages. Anyway, make sure you join the “yummy mummy” club…so far its just me and you! Talk soon. xx

    • Kara-Leah Grant says

      Hey Rachel,

      Lovely to read your comment. Stepping fully into motherhood is making me appreciate my friendships with other parents, as well as my friends, family and community even more. See you at playgroup (and likely before!).


  4. says

    Three-year old kids are funniest. I always can’t get enough of my 3-year old nephew who talks nonstop.

    I’m sure you will be grateful for choosing motherhood over other things. It will be worth it… 😉

    • Kara-Leah Grant says

      Hey Ces,

      He is a whole lot of fun, and yes, he hardly ever stops talking.

      An exciting journey for sure…

  5. Deb says

    Hey KL, thank you for this ….
    “Fixating on something outside of myself to make the situation different is a subtle way of avoiding the truth of the moment.”

    You just helped me recognise the ‘stuff’ building up inside that I was blaming on my partner, is all mine and it’s this stuff that prevents me beginning just about anything. As soon as I hit ‘send’ I’m off to my yoga mat.
    Your honesty and your courage shine a light. thank you.

    • Kara-Leah Grant says

      Hey Deb,

      My pleasure. Thanks for taking the time to comment – always a delight to hear of other people’s a’ha! moments.

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