Finding Magic on Tough Parenting Days

Photo by Matt Hoffman on Unsplash
One of the main reasons I started this blog was to rekindle my love affair with living a magical life as a parent. With children comes loads of opportunities primed for magic, imagination, otherworldly lands, mythic creatures, beauty and love. You couldn’t have stepped onto a more magical playing field, right?

With parenting also comes a veritable smorgasbord of challenges that force you to dig deep, white knuckled, ragged and at times mystified by the turn your life took once you became a parent.

As much as you love your children and would literally die for them, there are days when you just don’t feel like doing it. Days when you’re not on top of your game, and you know it. Days when you feel like you’re failing your children, failing yourself.

Gray days that feel far removed from the kaleidoscopic, magical ideal you pine for.

I’m writing this on the heels of such a day. It wasn’t terrible in that it didn’t degrade into a complete shit-show. If anything, it was a run-of-the mill wrangling a sick, labile four year-old while eight months pregnant kind of day.

The day’s fulcrum rested more upon my inner state than the actual events and happenings that dot the landscape of life with small children. For example, my son is four. So of course he’ll insist on doing something beyond his ability all by himself, followed by a flat-out boycott on using his own legs to walk to the potty.

In my world, this is the new normal. On a good day I can see it for what it is and maybe even find the humor in it.

If I’m underslept, preoccupied, anxious, battling my demons or maybe just plain old hangry, the new normal seems like a barren desert, and I’m Mad Max, the Road Warrior, barreling through in an armored tank with a feral kid while evading a flock of savage marauders.

Not terribly magical.

In an Instagram-curated world where a wave of spiritual influencers and modern witches share lovely images of herbal infusions, cups of tea set amongst candles, flower studded ritual baths, tarot spreads replete with crystals and sage (you get the gist), it’s easy to step into the snake pit of comparison and lack.

But if the bones of magic is about focusing one’s intent and will to direct energy in a way that creates a desired change or result, then prickly parenting moments surely provide motivation and openings for engagement and practice. 

These days, the bones of my magic are subtle, nuanced and usually private. On one bone lives the moment I call in the Great Mother and allow myself to cry. I call this one “Release Into Her Arms”.

Another bone carries forgiveness magic and is conjured when my Inner Mother steps in to transmute the worn grooves of shame and perfectionism.

As with any magical working, sometimes my magic is on. I come into the grit of the moment - I mean, really meet it - and work that shit.

And sometimes I’m not so on, and I slip and slide and spiral for much longer than I think I need to and the magic seems lost - except that somewhere in there I took a breath or forgave myself or simply allowed myself to be, warts and all. That’s magic too. It’s a shift, an expression of will, even if only for a snot-drenched moment.

What I’m saying is that magic is always available to us, as the magic I like to practice is ultimately predicated on love. And love, at least in my understanding, is the substrate of literally all there is. It’s the binding agent for all states of consciousness, timelines and possibilities.

So, even on those tough parenting days when I feel stuck, stagnant, lonely, frustrated or inadequate, there is a field of Big Love surrounding and filling me at all times. It’s with this Universal support that I can call upon my bag of magic bones to be with me, hold me, alchemize me one moment at a time.

For more on my spiritual beliefs and the Big Love, check out my essay "How Psilocybin Saved My Life".

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