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“Be Still, Mumma”: Slowly Embracing The Stillness Of Motherhood

By Carla Wood, DC

It’s lucky I chortle at irony. Motherhood is full of it; I have never loved so deeply nor have I ever felt such fury and willingness to kill when it comes to the beings that I love. I have never been so busy nor have I been so present.

I get it: Mums are busy creatures. There is an element of work to be done as we provide a physical environment for our bubbas to grow. But I don’t get how mumma busyness has become a growth industry and a competitive social marker. There are planners for everything, from meals to the year’s activities. I hear so many excuses delivered to children to move on from the moment, to speed through life—because that seems to be making us all so happy. I am guilty of it myself, and have yet to find the optimum strategy through it all.

Some of it is pragmatic, but to me the energies of busyness and motherhood don’t match. I ignored that awareness for a long time, because its consequences rattled me to the core. When you value yourself by what you do or the amount you do, stillness is a challenge. When the whispers of your soul call for brave action and uncomfortable thoughts, stillness is a challenge. And yet I so strongly remember the calls to be still from my bub; alas, I ignored them for a while. The more I plod along, the more I think every pregnant woman hears this call for stillness.

“Be still, Mumma. I want to whisper to your heart.”

I pretty much went to the depths of my own insanity before I would heed this call. I became the organizing, nagging psycho woman from hell, trying to fit in all the things I convinced myself I had to do, most of it nonsense shoulds or products of my personal fears. But old habits die hard, and the more I stress, the more I wind up my mental energy and turn to planning and controlling. But hyper-organizing does not work—it just creates another layer of obligation. And so I would create more stress and the cycle would continue. I was stepping away from my heart, my intuitive knowing and my peace—and, of course, the answer. I knew the busyness was the problem—I was looking to order the busyness—but once again I was looking at the outside, not the inside.

“Be still, Mumma. I want you to feel me.”

Feeling my child, being present for her, is quite possibly the biggest gift I can give her. To hold still while she cries, without distraction, to stand in stillness beside her as she assesses the situation, to be still and present for her in the chaos that is life. To just be quiet and breathe in the moment. I am a recovering overdoer, both internally and externally, so stillness is a skill I am learning. But when I am the stillness and not the chaos, the difference in our ecosystem is astounding.

“Be still, Mumma. I want you to know me.”

The more I master my internal stillness, the more effective the external becomes. As I develop my awareness of self, reshuffle my beliefs, and heal my wounds I hear my soul more clearly and I can perceive my child and others with greater depth. To see her, to know her; to see me, to know me—is there a greater joy?

“Be still, Mumma. I have wisdom for you.”

Children are more connected to source and universal concepts than adults. They are not programmed with time, but with instinctual requirements. They do not come with programs for have-tos, obligatory shoulds and rules—only the ones we deliver. I hear the children in the playgrounds everyday screaming, “Mumma be still! Be present for me! Be present for life!” But they don’t use those words, they just react in moments when they are ignored, palmed off or overlooked. The adults see a tantrum, but I get to feel the greatest of loves:

“Be still, Mumma. Be present for yourself.”