My bravado said I could have it all. I could be a single mom, I could have a good-paying job, and I could do it without needing anything for myself. But the reality of balancing motherhood and life wasn't what I expected.
Society says we're supposed to sacrifice everything for our kids. I felt like I shouldn't take time for myself. But at some point, I was desperate for nourishment. It was like binge eating, where you starve yourself, starve yourself, starve yourself, and then decide, Okay, now I can eat two pints of ice cream and a cake. Hunger gets the best of you, and then you make choices that you don't really like, because you weren't paying attention until you reached starvation level.
When I discovered OM, I realized there was an alternative to the starve-binge cycle of my life as a mother. OM is not a trade back and forth, where I take care of all the other person's needs, and then they do nice things for me. We both just want to OM. Here was a practice that filled me up and didn't require me to exhaust myself first.
I had been so hungry, and now I was finally taking time to nourish my body and my mind in the way they needed. For a while, I was OMing eight times a day. It wasn't binging. I was nourishing myself and rebuilding a body that I'd mistreated for a long time.
The OM practice is so much about awareness, especially noticing what I want during the stroking. The visceral experience of asking for adjustments is life changing. It's a four-step process. I can easily sense when I want the stroker to move his finger in a different way but bringing it into conscious thought is hard. Putting it into words is even harder. And finally I have to say it out loud.
I'm practicing that process on a regular basis in my daily life. I set aside certain times to listen to myself and decide, This is what I want, then make the feeling into a crystallized thought. I might decide I want to have more time to socialize with adults. Maybe that means going for coffee with a friend so I can talk about my life. Then I have to decide it's important for my mental health that I get to do it, so I have to ask someone to watch my daughter while I go out. Once I was able to verbalize my desires and act on them, I realized I didn't have to choose between what was good for my child and what was good for me. I didn't have to starve myself in order for her to have everything she needed.
It took me a while to integrate these insights fully into my life. Instead of the ping-pong of highs and lows, I gradually shifted into a state more like contentment, a steady joy that I associate with having enough and not being in a scarcity mindset. As a result, I have more flexibility and patience and energy to take care of my daughter.
My mom always made me her entire focus and taught me the concept of sacrificing everything as a mother. I don't want to teach my daughter the same habit. When I set boundaries with her, it's not just for myself but also to model healthy behavior for her. It has made such a huge difference in my life.
At the end of an OM, sharing frames gives both partners the chance to describe something they felt during the session. You get to to look at the experience and state what happened. I use the same step outside of OM, examining my patterns instead of just going through them. It gives me chances to step back and reflect on my choices. I can see whether they're good or bad choices and then decide whether to stay with those behaviors or change them.
By taking responsibility for simple choices—asking for an OM, scheduling a session, requesting adjustments—I realize I have the power to make choices in every situations. My choices allow me to take care of myself in order to be a full human while better serving the people around me.