It’s no wonder that women were considered witches and were up at witching hour through the ages. It’s the only peaceful time of a day. There are no phone calls, no jobs. It’s so peaceful and quiet, with absolutely no demands from anyone. It’s 5 am and I’ve been up for the last hour. I’ve crept through the house made some lemon tea and written my morning notes. (Read Julia Cameron’s ‘The Artists Way’ for more details about morning notes.) I haven’t been up at this hour wide awake and unable to sleep since my pregnancy. Obviously Baby Prince No. 4 has woken me up on countless of nights, but I always went back to sleep. There’s something different about being the cause of your own sleeplessness.

I must acknowledge, that my sleeplessness points to my restless, unhappy spirit at the moment. It was a rough day yesterday. The Princes finished school early, and I had a lovely time with them until I let them go swimming. I love pool fun. I spent most of my childhood in the pool, so I was surprised when I was so rattled by them in the pool. I was scared for them as they began fighting. Even as I type this I feel myself stop breathing. There is nothing worse than boys fighting in the pool. They had friends over and their friends were lovely. It was the stupid sibling fighting over a dolphin floaty. I now know I should have just marched in and taken away the dolphin, easy to say after the fact. Instead I threatened them with time out from the pool. This didn’t stop them. This frayed my nerves and I began to shout, which for me is the downward spiral into self loathing, which makes me more angry and hence shout more, as they, being children, refuse to listen to me.

At that moment I hated myself. I hated being a mother, and as much as I love my children, wished I wasn’t their mother. It made me realise that I wish I could just have fun with them without all the responsibility. How many other mothers feel this way? I wanted to run away and hand them back to their real mother. I would be happy being their aunt, or friend. I love them passionately but I was dead tired.
Tired of mothering, tired of homework, tired of running around to therapies, swimming, judo, cricket, teacher’s meetings, doctors and the never-ending shopping to fill my fridges and cupboards. And here in the wee hours of the morning listening to the birds chirping as they welcome the first rays of sun that lightens the sky from black to a light early morning grey, I still feel it. It would be far easier to have a full-time job, where I didn’t have to discipline anyone, or worry that anyone was going to kill each other, or beg, pleading on my hands and knees for the Princes to do their homework. I feel there’s something completely awry in my life, and I feel it’s not all me and it’s not all the Princes.

I think we’ve forgotten something in our parenting, in our education system and in our lives in Western society. It’s called the soul. Even though my kids go to a religious Jewish school and I also did, somehow it doesn’t teach about the soul. It’s something that has to come from the home, I know. But you’d kind of expect it to come across in normative Judaism. But it doesn’t. Sure it’s spoken about, and I saw some lovely thoughts written in my Prince’s book about the Neshama – soul. But it doesn’t touch such an ethereal part of ourselves. Something that can’t be seen or explained, that bit of God that we all carry in us, whether we understand it or believe it, we can’t help that part of us. It’s there. When we feed it and connect to it, there is light in our face and our lives, when we don’t a part of us dies.

 

The soul loves creativity, loves engaging with the world, loves adventure. Alot of these ideas I get from Julia Cameron’s books. She’s a creative expert and believes in soul expression. Whenever I feel melancholy and depressed at being a mother, feeling stuck I turn to her books. Even to read just a chapter. It always makes me feel better. Puts my life into perspective. Helps me realise where I”m going wrong. Here’s what she says about the soul and adventure in her book ‘Walking in this World’.

 

‘The soul thrives on adventure. Deprived of adventure, our optimism fails us. Adventure is a nutrient, not a frivolity. When we ignore our need for adventure, we ignore our very nature. Often we do exactly that, calling it “adulthood” or “discipline”. When we are too adult and too disciplined, our impish, childlike innovator yearns to rebel. Too often rebellion takes the form of a stubborn, self-involved crankiness rather than an exuberant and expansive risk. Risks we tell ourselves are too risky. When we avoid risk we court depression.’

I find this validating. It makes me feel better at five in the morning. It helps to know I’m not alone in my feelings. It gives me hope that I can change, have more faith, have more fun, and make my every day schedule more fun and magical with the small things.

We are definitely the pill generation. I think a lot of women are on anti depressants. I think a lot of mothers are unhappy. Not all the time, just sometimes, like when our kids are fighting in the swimming pool. Which is one of the reasons I blog about Mothers Rights. We have a right to create the lives we want, put the joy and creativity we crave into the every day.

I’m not thinking of self-destructive risks or adventure, like leaving small children to go to India and find yourself. (Okay if the thought has crossed my mind, I’m certainly not actioning it.) It’s small risks, doing things differently. It’s small moments that make all the difference.

What I should have focused on in the middle of the night was how wonderful it was that I made slush with the Princes yesterday, rather than yelled at them at the pool. It was an experiment which was fun, yummy and full of laughs. It was healthy. It was  just Appletiser and ice blended together. Last post I wrote about changing perspective. I still have a long way to go…

As I finish writing this the sky is now a pale blue with the soft morning light and full of birds song. I’m an optimist by nature, a morning person who believes that here’s another day, another chance for moments of joy and fulfillment. To try get off the treadmill of everydayness, and find the soul moments of today.