A few weeks ago our pup got pretty ill. It was flashback inducing, as I lay awake all night, just waiting for the cries for help. Periodically, his cold nose would touch mine as a way of asking me to get out of bed and please let hom out in the yard to be sick. There aren’t many up-all-nights in our house anymore as the kids are way past sleeping through the night. But with this newest baby in the house, we’ve returned to some of our old ways.
Something that has also returned is the loud mama voice in my head that leads to me doggedly (pardon the pun) pursuing what feels right, even if other parties are not in accordance with my plan. In this case, I knew that night that this stomach upset was something bigger than the results of an errant visit to the human garbage can for scraps. This dog was sick with a capital S and I refused to stop digging until I got answers I thought worthy.
I know my whole life I’ve always had an inner voice that has tried to direct me, but I am not sure it has ever been as loud as it became when I took on the role of mama. Be it for humans or animals, that sense of being responsible for the well-being of someone else makes the voice in my head way louder than ever before. While in my youth I might have been able to push down or ignore some of the voices, the Mama Voice will not be silenced.
Before I go any further, let me be clear, I am not having some sort of psychotic break right before your very eyes. I do not actually hear voices. Instead, what I am talking about are what some people call your gut or intuition. I’m talking about those feelings you have that force you to stop and question yourself and others mid-pursuit. With my kids and now this dog, the voice is something that says, “Don’t settle for this doctor’s information. You know this person better than he does. Keep pushing for more.”. The voice might also call me back into someone’s room after they tell me everything is alright because the voice knows everything is definitely not alright.
The voice that I listen to is not caught up in the minutia of day-to-day but instead has the time to focus on the important details that need the attention to keep everyone on track. The voice doesn’t have bills to pay or deadlines to meet or chicken to cook. The voice can see wider and deeper than I can at any given moment, and when I can feel the voice trying to demand my attention, I have learned to stop and listen.
The problem lately is that the voice is talking an awful lot about me. I am used to listening the voice when it has me working for others, but when it is making me question my own choices and decisions, I am less clear on whether I should listen. It seems I do not trust the voice as much when the opinions are about my own life. I question whether the decisions I’m being pushed toward are the right ones or just distractions. I wonder whether the voice has my best interests at its core or whether it has easiest path as its goal.
It seems I have some thinking to do. I have implicit trust in the Mama Voice when it comes to caring for my kids. Now I just need to work on trusting the voice that’s there to take care of mama.
This post was inspired by the novel A Well-tempered Heart by Jan-Phillip Sandker.
Feeling lost and burned out, Julia drops her well paying job at a NYC law firm. After hearing a strangers’ voice in her head, she travels to Burma to find the voice’s story and hopefully herself as well. Join From Left to Write on February 4 we discuss A Well-Tempered Heart. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.
P.S. Looking for more parenting guidance and tips for self-care? Check out From Chaos to Calm a guided training to help you feel better in this tough season.