I learned the phrase “touched out” from another mama in toddler playgroup.
As a bonding ritual of sorts, her and I find solidarity in a good ole fashion rant session. At the bottom of it all, our needs aren’t being met. She needs a break from breastfeeding and the never ending demands of the night feeds. I need a shower without a toddler in tow.
We want space. We want autonomy, but day after day, our toddler’s grubby, adorable hands fondle every inch of us. We are “touched out”.
The rallying “me toos” of a rant sesh are so satisfying. Consequently, all we are doing is perpetuating surface level banter. We are our own worst advocates. We ignore our inner guidance system that’s trying to redirect us, strap the kiddo into the baby-wearing device and run off to the next play group. Ironic, yes. I see that now.
Knowing in my heart there has got to be a better way to tune in with ourselves and advocate for our needs, I’ve come to the harsh realization that we (mothers) are most likely the guilty parties in this equation.
Standing in the shower, it hit me. We aren’t using the *right* words when we banter.
The ability to articulate what we need with the *right* words often gets diluted in the dense fog of mom-brain, multi-tasking, hysterical toddler tantrums, quick solutions and the processing of our own full mind/body transformation. There is simply too much going up in there to search for just the right sentiment.
We resort for surface level words to describe highly complicated feelings, naively expecting to be fully heard and seen by our communities.
We say things like,
“I just don’t know what to do”.
When we really mean
“I feel disempowered by my options”.
“I’m a bad mother”.
When we really mean…
“I’m learning to forgive myself”.
“I’m feeling sad”.
When we really mean…
“I feel disconnected from who I once was”.
“I’m touched out”.
When we really mean…
“I need to reclaim space for myself”.
I’m guilty of surface level banter on more occasions than I’d like to admit, because I’ll be honest in saying that mom brain is still a very real thing at 21 months postpartum. No excuses though, I can see how it’s a complete disservice to my needs being met.
Here’s the thing.
Lacking the *right* words leads to surface level dialogue, surface level support, and surface level personal transformation. Guaranteed.
Once I allowed the realities of this sub-par paradigm to really sink in, I could visualize the snowball effect of using inappropriate words.
As mothers, we’re leaving room for misunderstanding and confusion. We’re allowing stunted progress and reform in our healthcare systems and social policies that are actually created to support us. And for me personally, the scariest part of it all is that our generational wisdom and storytelling is getting watered down.
Really important details about motherhood and personal transformation are needlessly slipping through the cracks. Yikes!
There is a solution.
I have a mama friend who speaks without reservation when she talks about her journey through motherhood. The language she uses has a way of fostering empathetic responses. Her expressions receive recognition and support when it’s needed. She’s seemingly able to bridge the gaps between cultural differences and within a variegated community, leaving no room for misinterpretation. And most inspiring to me, she’s able to have raw, transparent dialogue with just about anyone.
She’s tapped into her inner wisdom at all times, quietly listening to her core desiries, pivoting when things feel out of balance, and speaking up for what she needs.
THAT is the solution.
The formula is something like this.
Take an internal audit, listening to the whispers of our inner wisdom.
Search for words and dialogue that vibrates with what you really mean.
Speak without reservation.
I know that mothers are often living from a state of depletion, where the ability to tap into our inner wisdom can feel a bit “extra”. Hands up…that’s me most days, but I do believe in the power of finding the answers within and speaking up for what you need.
I’ve witnessed how carefully selected words can transform dialogue, within myself and within my community.
Whether it’s on social media, at play group, or stories we tell our daughters, we are building an improved vocabulary that will shift the way women advocate for their needs and how the collective speaks about motherhood.
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Each week, expect a bite-sized personal reflection with accompanying journal prompt. My hope is that by sharing these reflections and prompts, you’ll be inspired into purposeful action and we’ll both be reassured that we are not alone in this process of unraveling.
Once a month, expect a curation of resources intended to inspire a deeper personal practice. There will be Q&A interviews to showcase how other women in this community navigate transformation, articles and podcasts that have made a lasting impression and practical mindfulness exercises to bring about sustainable change. If you’re a fan of mantra…there will be some of that too.