Hot showers, patience and motherhood

Apr 18, 2017


I lingered in the shower this morning, mama.


And I did it without sneaking from bed before my children were awake, without hurriedly stepping into just-a-little-too-cold-yet water, without shampooing my hair first, just in case that’s all I could squeeze in.

Mama, it wasn’t that long ago that I had to make plans to have a shower, too.  

Which, I know you know, inevitably meant that I would not manage to make it happen, day in and day out.

Mama, it wasn’t that long ago that I had to sit down and have a conversation with my partner about how I could shower more often.


Which felt ludicrous and necessary all at the same time.

Mama, it wasn’t that long ago that I went about my daily activities feeling not-so lovely, feeling ever-so frumpy, and some days even gross.  It wasn’t that long ago that, as I walked down a crowded downtown street, I caught a sidelong glimpse of my greasy, wayward bedhead in the reflection of a shop window.  And I felt shame.  I hoped that no one I knew would see me.

Dishevelled.  Not-together.  Not even able to care for my own body; caring for the bodies of my two children instead.

But mama, despite all the conversations and the sneaking and the agonizing over the simple feeling of warm water cascading down my rounded mother-body…

Showering was still. not. happening.  Not on my schedule.  Not whenever I wanted.  Not when I needed a pick-me-up or a few minutes of solitude.

And there was certainly never any lingering.


And so mama, like I imagine you do, too, I railed.  I railed against the fact of my motherhood, some days, and against the nearly-incomprehensible and yet-undeniable fact that showering had become my mental preoccupation.


Until this morning.

This morning, I lingered.


Yes, I finished soaping my entire body, AND my hair, and then instead of hurriedly grasping for a towel and slipping across the floor to prevent my toddler from climbing on top of the toilet tank again….I lingered.

The moment was made sweeter as the sounds of my two kids cuddling and tickling each other with early-morning camaraderie filled the bathroom.

Mama, they had hardly noticed I was gone!

The moment was made sweeter, too, for all the struggle these last two years.  Yes mama, two years.  All that struggle seemed to evaporate in the steam that billowed around me.

This moment, you see, this glimpse of my self again, didn’t happen on my schedule.  It always takes much, much longer than any of us wish it did, or would care to admit.  It takes much much longer than society leads us to believe and that, mama, might just be the reason for the struggle:  we live in a world where our expectations of what motherhood is are totally, utterly skewed.  It takes longer because babies, for the first two years of life, are still a physical and emotional extension of their mothers, despite all our efforts to get our bodies back, despite pedicures and date nights, and despite the baby receptacles that are marketed to us so that we can separate ourselves from our little ones.  And I know:  I would pay vast quantities of money, too , some days, to have my physical and emotional autonomy returned to me, if only I thought they would work.  But Nature, mama, always has Her way.

And so I lingered in the shower this morning.  The moment was fleeting and yet it was a sign.  It was a sign of my self growing back as my children’s selves grew too.  And it was precious and cleansing and delightful and a little bittersweet, too, believe it or not.  Even after all the struggle.  The bargaining and the conversations.

But on the days that it was hard to have patience for my transformation into motherhood, something told me this shower would come.  This moment would come.


And it will for you, too.

The Becoming Podcast has been on a short hiatus while I focus on writing my book, but oh what a comeback episode I have for you!

This month, I spoke to Toko-pa Turner, who many of you may know as the unofficial patron saint of many of my circles and gatherings because of the sheer number of times I’ve quoted from the wisdom of her book, Belonging.

Toko-pa is a Canadian author, teacher, and dreamworker. Blending the mystical teachings of Sufism in which she was raised with a Jungian approach to dreams, she founded The Dream School in 2001, from which thousands of students have graduated. She is the author of the award-winning book, Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home, which explores the themes of exile and belonging through the lens of dreams, mythology, and nature. This book has resonated for readers worldwide, and has been translated into 10 different languages so far. Her work focuses on the relationship between psyche and nature, and how to follow our inner wisdom to meet with the social, psychological, and ecological challenges of our time.

Here’s some of what Toko-pa and I talk about in this episode:

> The dream that changed Toko-pa’s life, causing her to question her career and, ultimately, her identity

> How we can court our dreams to support us during times of radical transformation – and the reasons so many of us have a hard time remembering and working with what shows up in our dreamscape

> Toko-pa’s perspective on the message of Belonging after the divisiveness our society has experienced in the years since it was published

> What happened for both Toko-pa and I when we fell out of belonging from the ideologies of the “wellness world”

> How to build community when you’re under-resourced

> “The Big Lie” when it comes to belonging, and how we can reclaim a sense of belonging to the greater family of things, as Mary Oliver so famously wrote

Listen to the episode on iTunes


Show Notes

Toko-pa’s Website

Belonging:  Remembering Ourselves Home, Toko-pa’s book

The David Abram video about animism mentioned in the interview

Toko-pa’s self-guided program, Dream Drops

Companion, the program that accompanies Belonging


Also, while you’re at it, if you enjoy The Becoming Podcast, I would be so grateful if you would rate and review, and even subscribe to it on iTunes.  That goes a long way to helping more and more people find and benefit from hearing these interviews!  Thank you so much!