Taking Off My Convivial Cloak + The End Of An Era
It’s starting to hit me and I can’t believe it. My oldest son is going to kindergarten in five days, which means this is the last week ever that he’ll be home as he has been…hence, a new chapter begins for the both of us. Excuse me while I run for a tissue.
By choice, my personal life doesn’t always translate onscreen, but today I’m pulling back the turquoise-colored curtains and opening the windows to air out some details. To start…
I’m going to temporarily remove my convivial cloak and reveal something…
As a self-proclaimed convivial woman, someone who wants to live fully and find presence in the things, people, places, and activities that bring me joy, there’s another side to me.
Behind the scenes of this whole Convivial vision and online world of mine, I have been living another life and its not always pretty or interesting…GULP…it’s been the life of a stay-at-home mom.
Oops…did I just come out of the blogger closet? Uh, yes I did. And yes, that’s me checking my baby’s diaper for poop.
Let’s get this straight- I’ve never identified myself with the moniker SAHM because I do not stay home with my kids, so it just wouldn’t be true. As a writer and daughter to a far-removed Spaniard, I guess I’m literal like that.
I have a way with words, and seeing the world, and making my life how I want it to be, and I prefer to take the lead in defining myself.
So, let me introduce myself properly:
I’m Cheryl- writer, wife, convivial woman-turned-author, but more than anything, I’m a conscious, and many times, casually-dressed mama journeying through life with two little warriors, ages 5 and 3, in tow. I couldn’t count how many times they interrupted me while writing this blog!
As a mother, I wear those golden handcuffs proudly, but plan occasional escapes back into my own life and mind as often as possible. I also serve as an accomplice to other women wanting to break free from routine to remember the work of art within AKA the women they once were and still are.
As a woman who breaks bread with her children by day and creative women by night…
I sit at this computer, typing away, feeling immense gratitude for the time I have had with my son- from the day he was born to his soon-to-be first day of school. Little by little, I realize one aspect of our lives is coming to an end and it’s bittersweet.
When it comes to this special little boy, I can say…
Setting the scene and tone for his birth was my choice.
Having the talk with my husband about staying home to care for him was my choice.
Naming him was my choice.
Breastfeeding him the first year of his life was my choice.
And let me tell you…they were HARD choices to make.
Recently, my husband told me that he doesn’t remember hearing me complain while pregnant with my son. That doesn’t make me superwoman- it makes me conscious of what I got myself into, of the choices I make. I was carrying a baby, what are you suppose to expect…comfort? Really?
I never (ever evuh evuh evuh) imagined being lucky enough to be my son’s primary caretaker for the first five years of his life; I wasn’t even able to imagine doing it for the first six months. It was scary and extremely uncomfortable but I managed like so many other women…kind of.
Let me tell you, I shocked a lot of people when they saw their friend/daughter/sister Cheryl take herself out of the business world to handle business at home full-time. To cope, I continually told myself, “This is not the rest of my life…just one drop in the ocean of my (hopefully) long life.”
If you’ve been on this convivial journey with me, I’m sure you’ve heard me say,
Put yourself first and everything else falls into place.
I mean it and stand by it, but there’s another side of the coin. For the last few light years, I have actually chosen to be second…to my son.
I put him first for three specific reasons:
One, my feisty mama did it for me.
Two, I read a book called Creating A Life: What Every Woman Needs To Know About Having A Baby and a Career and it opened my eyes as to how I wanted to bring new life to this world. That’s what those random $1 purchases at TJ Maxx will do.
Lastly, it was a sacrifice worth making and I knew it would all come back to me somehow.
According to ex-CEO of Veuve Cliquot and author of the book Women, Work & The Art of Savoir Faire, Mireille Guiliani calls this acting with enlightened self-interest. I may be an individual, committed to my own personal evolution, but my family is an extension of me and that ultimately does come first.
There have been many times when I feel like I’ve not given my son my time, my full attention, because I get busy working on my convivial mission, honing and sharing my message, or seeking opportunities for continued growth – personally, professionally, and creatively – but deep down inside, I know he is witnessing something important, something hard to put a price on.
He is witnessing persistence, drive, determination, fierceness, and the creativity of a woman who is hell-bent on self-love, conscious living, and recognizing the work of art within her and those around her.
I could be confused for a selfish mother, I know…but I also know anyone who may think that about me is plagued by an outdated paradigm.
I am committed to my son as his first life coach and the best way to serve is to live your message, to practice what you preach. It’s crucial for him to see me awake and alive, enjoying myself, growing from the challenges I face, and pursuing what makes me happy so he learns how to do it as well.
Certain societal beliefs and the people who perpetuate them want you to believe that you need to sacrifice everything for your kids, but there is a small, yet profound truth to remember.
Everyone’s sacrifices look different and should be respected.
Make choices, but don’t sacrifice yourself entirely…your kids need YOU to show up for them. They are not yours to keep. They are yours to guide, respect, cherish and love; to teach how to thrive, not just survive, in this world.
I’m thankful for the time I’ve had with my son thus far. We’ve had some convivial times. We’ve ventured to many places and I have many more dreams for us to experience together.
But for now, I’m onto a new phase of parenting…school aged kids!