I went to a Conscious Parenting Class the other night and the teacher Kelly opened the class with a story about how when she was a new, exhausted mother to her 6-week-old son, her mother-in-law, at that time, mother to 6 and grandmother to 15, said, "Don't worry. Parenting is only hard for the first 100 years." As any new (or not so new) mother would be, Kelly was brought to her knees to hear that news.
I went to this class because, for me, parenting seems to be getting progressively more challenging as Lucia ages. I am the mother to one child-- a hyper-verbal, very smart, hilarious eleven-year-old. Sometimes after school, Lucia will tell me a story about what's going on in North Korea, or she'll share a ridiculous Donald Trump anecdote, or maybe she'll explain the reproductive system of a fern. Often she greets me with an emotional tirade about something I truly cannot understand. With every expansive turn Lucia's brain takes, I feel simultaneously excited and scared. How long will it be before this child completely launches and I can no longer keep up with her?
The hardness of not knowing what to expect on this parenting road is not dissimilar from other paths we take in our lives. Is anything ever really known? When I hear Lucia talking about politics or math or stupid boys in her class, it doesn't help me know where she'll be in ten years, twenty years, one hundred years.
When I heard Kelly share that advice, "parenting is only hard for the first 100 years," in a way it was a relief. Hard is not necessarily bad, it's just hard. Every single time I practice yoga, I have moments that are very difficult, hard. It doesn't deter me from practicing. It actually does the opposite-- I feel motivated to keep trying. And things do change. Some of the things that felt difficult get easier and other things get harder.
Yoga and parenting continue to be my greatest teachers. When I am teaching, I often encourage students to truly lean into the struggle because there is always a reward on the other side of it. Yesterday in Penni's class, I felt a fatigue I hadn't felt in a long time. After a short rest, I was able to get up for triangle pose, one of my favorite, most satisfying postures. Last night I had a wonderful moment with Lucia---a shared moment of singing and dancing to our favorite Hamilton song in the kitchen. Later, when it was time for bed, I found myself in the familiar role of nagging to get teeth brushed, face washed. It all balances out. Sure it's hard, but there's always the good that comes after.