I have been practicing the balance of intention and surrender since the minute I became a mother at exactly 4:58 pm on that Sunday in April of 2015. I was on an operating table unable to move, with tears gushing out of my eyes because I heard my baby boy’s cry for the first time. Giving birth that way was not my plan, but it was perfect for me and him. Perfect because he and I were safe and healthy. I had to surrender to the reality that my birthing plan wasn’t going the way I wanted it to. I had to be intentional about not letting an unplanned c-section mess with my mind. I chose to intentionally surrender to the experience, and it birthed the start of an amazing adventure into mothering.
Why is intention and surrender so valuable during parenting? In short, it keeps you sane.
Mainly because when raising people you have to constantly be aware and present. Also when you are constantly aware and present 87% of the time things don’t make sense. I’m still in preschool and toddler phase. Brains in my house are growing faster than my lawn. Not my brain, that’s another post, but my kid’s brains…wow. Anyway, the other day I was in the kitchen, where I spend way too much time, prepping another meal and it was way quiet in my house. I caught myself enjoying how quiet it was before I snapped out of it and realized it was a dangerous quiet. I walked in the direction I last heard my three-year old’s feet running and found him in the bathroom about to eat toothpaste. I had to be intentional about stopping my thing to go and figure out what he was up to. So there I stood in the bathroom surrendering to the reality that if I was three I would probably want to eat sparkly bubblegum scented toothpaste too, and also maybe I shouldn’t have kept that toothpaste at arm’s length of a little curious consumer. Of course I freaked out enough to prevent the glob of toothpaste from going into his mouth, but I also calmed down enough to extend grace and teach him that eating toothpaste is not good for his body.
How can two opposing concepts coexist?
I recently had to be super intentional about mitigating mastitis so that I could solo parent for eight days. The timing of my plugged milk duct was not good. So every two hours for a full 24 hours I had to be intentional about surrendering to my body’s issue and take care of me. Meanwhile I had to let go of whatever else was on my agenda. I chose to look at the time as a great bonding between my second little boy, who was days away from his first birthday. It was awful and glorious at the same time. Sometime between nursing, pumping, and warming up my heating pad again I changed my baby boy’s diaper. He had pooped out a fully legible UPC sticker from an avocado. I was intentional about feeding him a healthy fat, but totally surrendered to the reality that he ate a plastic sticker covered in ink. I chose not to freak out. I chose to laugh. He laughed too. It was a perfectly gross scenario.
There are so many more stories I could share that exemplify the collision of intention and surrender within parenting, but I’ll stop here. You get it, right? When you find yourself passionately responsible for human lives the only way to joyfully make it through the day is to dance with these two concepts. Be kind to yourself as you carry two opposing mindsets and realize that it is possible to be intentional while surrendering.