“Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.” — Virginia Woolf
As mothers, we are often seen as synonymous with home. We seed the insides of the four walls we live in, tend to its cultivation, clean the dead leaves and brush, feed and water the needy sprouts. We pick up the dirt, prune the edges of our growth—shears in hand to cut the straggly stray hair or string off of a stained shirt—and we do this all in the midst of a home that we often feel we alone have built.
And yet with all that building of spaces, it often seems as though we as mothers do not have space of our own.
We are saturated by our families, information, consumption, stuff. As I write this, I am literally sitting on half of Rapunzel’s long hair and I’m really too lazy at this point to move it out from under me. My dog lays at my feet, and there are toys on the fireplace hearth, toys on the rug, toys layering the hallway towards my bedroom. We are bursting and full of a home that we’ve had to spend more time than ever living inside and sometimes it feels as though there is no space left for us to just be alone.
As mothers, let’s change this.
As mothers, let’s be wild enough to reclaim our space.
It is important for us as mothers to find our own space–even if it’s just a crook of a room–that we can sit, feel safe, be alone, and breathe. For me, my bedroom is my sanctuary. Granted, I only have a corner to call my own, but I have filled it with a sage-green, hand-painted table of white Magnolia flowers that my mother made, along with my candles, my intentions, and my tools that I use to honor my spirituality. It is here where I light a candle, read or journal or write, or simply close my eyes and breathe. And I do this all alone.
It has taken a lot of time for me to ask my husband and children to be alone. I’ve gotten better at it with time and practice.
As a mother living with depression and anxiety, finding my corner has become a life-saving measure for me.
I have had to retreat there often in the midst of one episode or another, when my mental illness takes over and I no longer become the mother I want to be. I tell myself it is okay that I hide. It is okay that I need to be alone. It is okay that I ask for space.
With schools starting up again, so does the hustle and bustle, as we all have been inching our way towards what the world looked like pre-pandemic. We have drop offs and sports, pick-ups and the occasional playdate or two. We are working, cooking dinners, and trying to make time for the book club that we’ve neglected.
And don’t even get me started on the holidays.
There’s something settling around the unstructured time of summer—the laziness, the longer days, the warmth—and just when we get into the routine of it, everything switches again once school starts.
It is in between the chaos that we as mothers need to find our own room to rest.
The fullness felt during this time of year contrasts with what this period traditionally used to look like. As the Northern Hemisphere slips into fall and winter, it is often seen as a time to look inward, a time to begin to store our harvest for winter. The days become shorter, the nights longer. The outward bursting of summer energy starts to wane and we turn towards our inner selves as a source of confidence and light. It is this time, perhaps more than ever, when we need to carve out a corner for us.
Take this time to clear a space just for you. Light a candle. Have items surrounding you that bring you joy—books, a journal, music, incense, crystals, a scarf, plants.
In this space, may you tend to your own garden.
In this space, may you call it your own.