I’m terrified of the ocean, I always have been. The vastness, power, and mysterious deep blue swells. I’m certain I’ll be swallowed up if I dare dip my toes in. At the same time, I’m completely entranced by the ocean, mesmerized by its magnificent beauty and magnitude. I’m soothed by the salty air, sparkly surface, and the sound of the crashing of waves. The ocean gifts me, both fear and solace, it’s equally powerful and transformative.
Motherhood, for me, is like riding a tidal wave without really knowing how to surf. I’m forced to face my fears, rise to the occasion, and learn how to balance when things get rough. Motherhood calls me to stop gazing out at the sea and instead grab a surfboard, and ride the wild unpredictable waves. I’m honestly amazed I’ve hung on this long since it has challenged every part of who I am and continues to fling me off my balance. Like anything you’re drawn to and longing for, it compels you to keep seeking and, so I ride and hang on tight.
Like the ocean, motherhood can thrash and hurl me from my board time and time again. A relentless reminder of what little control I really have on how it all turns out.
I honor my exhaustion and my strength, as I get pulled into the undertow and somehow rise with the swells. Motherhood has forced me to show up in a way that I could have never anticipated and it continues to challenge my capacity to hold steady while surrendering to the turbulence. While it’s difficult to hang on at times, it’s also rewarding knowing that I’m doing my very best to raise good humans, and I believe I am doing just that. My kids are a physical representation of a commitment to myself to be brave, to keep expanding, and to keep going.
Sometimes I find myself on the shore, with the warm sun shining bright as I enjoy the view and catch my breath. When my kids and I are in sync, there is harmony in our togetherness. Those are the best days, but they are not predictable or can be planned on, so I savor these moments. There’s no forcing, no controlling, no expectation, there is ease and surrender. On those days I dig my toes into the warm sand, let the earth ground me and I find my center again. Even though it may be a short rest until I’m called back into the surf, I give gratitude for the respite and nourishment.
I don’t think I’ll ever have motherhood completely figured out, but I know that I’m brave enough to keep facing all the twists and turns it offers up daily and that’s enough for me. I may not be the best surfer out there, but I am relentless in my quest to get stronger, stand up and balance the best that I can.
Here’s to all the moms riding the waves and doing their damn best to raise good humans. Grab your boards and meet me out in the surf, I’ll save you a spot.
Elizabeth Brunner is the Founder and CEO of StereoType, a gender-free kids' fashion brand that challenges the norms and stereotypes of traditional clothing.