Revolving Doors of Motherhood by Denise A. Castro

The clock hit midnight for 2020 and the countdown officially began – in just a few short weeks I will be a Mother once again to a baby girl. At the start of a new year I always reset my goals and try and align them to a realistic expectation. I am approaching 2021 with caution, whispering its possibilities with delicate expectations. My expectations for 2020 were very high. I remember asking for recommendations on an effective and manageable agenda that I could use. I bought it, opened it, stared at it for a few days and then it lay on my desk for a week. Why wasn’t I plugging away at my new life scheduler? With its beautiful sparkly stickers and motivational quotes that screamed – you are a boss babe! I paid for it and thought it was exactly the criteria I thought I needed to feel inspired, organized and aligned. I felt the opposite when I thumbed my fingers through its pages; feeling annoyed with the truth that is beautiful agenda didn’t suit me. Time management in my mind wouldn’t transfer to these weekly blocks with its date and times; knowing my handwriting is sort of a cursive scribble that I can only read. This wasn’t what I needed to materialize goals – I needed to be mindful; check back with myself and be honest.

As a Mother we often feel so inspired composing a long list of goals and realistically trying to achieve one if not two of those things. Motherhood is like the revolving door you see inside iconic buildings. People entering and exiting at an alarming pace; forever revolving. Like us, our roles, jobs, goals, dreams and aspirations are entering and circulating that revolving door – rotating as we try and tackle them. When the pandemic hit; the revolving door stopped. Paralyzing our steps; unable to premeditate what our next move might be. My role in that moment which rose above all; was to be a Mother. Be a protector; use my my body as a means to protect my child. My blog dream would have to wait. My MBA program came to a screeching halt. Work was stuck in that slow motion fast forward- where every bit of what you do feels like your stuck in 3 feet of knee high mud – unable to get out. We cancelled my Mothers 60th birthday party; and I remember putting the new dress I had gotten for the occasion away in my closet – thinking I can return it in a month or two once this all pipes down.

It was a Tuesday morning in March. My son wasn’t in the best of moods – fighting me to eat his breakfast and making me feel irritated. I remember sitting at my desk and reading the vast number of cases and deaths that Covid-19 was bringing to the US. I internalized the fear of the unknown; the anxiety that comes with not knowing what to do but quarantine and keep safe. I stared at a corner in my office where a little light flicker deflected from the blinds on my marble floor. Little shimmer-how much I welcomed you in that moment. How I wish I could vocalize my need to scream into an abyss – unleashing every part of despair and emotion that consumed me in that very moment. But I am a Mom – and unravelling to this invisible enemy seemed unfair. I needed to fight it- the only way I knew how; with hope. A new piece of writing was brewing in my mind – picture all of us Moms in a turbulent sea, swimming and fighting an exhausting tide to keep afloat. I wished to collect all the Moms struggling like me; offer them a life vest so they could securely place on themselves; and protect others in the effort.

I doodled not in my fancy agenda, but in a regular lined journal that I had gotten at the South Florida Bloggers Union Awards Ceremony the month before. Its hard blue cover with the elastic seemed very basic and easy to carry. The lines asked nothing of me for organization of my thoughts. No block schedule or inspirational quote for me to “crush my goals” for the week. Everything was at a standstill; the sparkly 2020 agenda seemed to chastise me in a way. While the simple blue journal let me be me; raw with my emotions, my words beautiful and ugly. And I drew a logo – a simple rectangle with the word M-O-M. Inverting it vertically – I thought about the O – and how it embodied a lifesaver for the word. It unites the two M’s – bringing M-O-M together. In that moment it hit me; I want to unite Moms. I want to create a safe space; a community where everyone can support and empower one another during these turbulent times. My blog would have to be both transformational and inspirational in its purpose. But I needed another Mother; one who could forge that other M and ground the Virtual Mom Collective into the community it righteously deserved. And that was Odalys Quevedo, whose friendship and capabilities set a standard of what a member of a “Mom tribe” should look like.

One thing that Covid-19 did to us all; was create a new form of kindness. Bringing down barriers Mothers sometimes create as a form of protection. We will say to ourselves – I just don’t have the time to get to know this person. We aren’t willing to open up and let our busy schedule dictate what to do; no interruptions. I myself am guilty of this; cutting off possible connections with a Mom that might benefit me. I never sought validation from other Mothers; but deep down I craved true connections. So I decided it was time to put myself out there; during a pandemic – admit I am scared and still tackle imposter syndrome at times. But I am the creator and narrator of my story – and I posed the question – “Moms out there – are you ok? If you are not, I see you. I am here for you. And then the responses came – flooding as an outpour of virtual support. The yeses, the narratives, stories all similar to my own; eager to be heard and understood. I remember reading our first DM’s on Instagram and feeling so humbled by the inquiries, the thank yous, the compliments and the overall love for a community that was slowly transforming itself in front of my very eyes.

So I look at my simple blue journal; that I have decorated with stickers of all the VMC brand partners that I adore. Inside it, there are pages full of writing, doodles, IG captions, titles for our events and notes and thoughts of collaborations VMC has done with other Mothers. There are toddler lines of red, green and blue – reminding me that I also inspired my son to draw and write and share in it -making my journal a work of art. There are quotes and poems of pain and hardship; when the isolation of my pregnancy made me feel like a medieval woman forced to do ‘lye in’ or ‘taking to her chamber” for the majority of her pregnancy. Retired from the private eye; secluded from the world until it was time to deliver. I see history repeating itself; re-teaching lessons in the present and I’ve re-directed my attention to the things that make an impact in this life of mine. No goal is unattainable; and using my Motherhood as a transformative vessel is what led me down this path.

To every single woman and mother who I have met virtually – it has been an honor to meet and learn from you. Your time has been instrumental to the success of VMC. As I keep pushing through those revolving doors; I am eager to see what else evolves. I am eager to share my post partum journey during a pandemic – and showcase the lives of my children who have filled the lines of my journal with the story of my truth. Their is no right way to goal setting and it may take time, blood, sweat and tears for it to grow to fruition. But Motherhood empowers you through your sacrifices – highlighting your worth. As I re-shift my time into newborn Mom mode – I keep that revolving door open. Allowing all the new lessons and truths to enter and exit with the knowledge that they are necessary. Growing pains will continue to morph my body and mind, physically and emotionally. And when I look in the mirror I’ll say “manifest that glowing joy queen, it’s the most worthy crown you can carry”.

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