I've recently noticed the similarities between baking sourdough bread and motherhood.
Both require a slow, careful process.
In the throes of motherhood, a tantrum can send us off a cliff of overreaction. Schedules can rob a mom of patience. Exhaustion will shorten a temper in no time flat. All of those things (and more) suck the joy out of motherhood and pile on guilt.
And that brings me to the art of sourdough bread.
I tried making sourdough bread 1,532 times before I was successful.
I wanted what I wanted when I wanted it (just like a 2-year-old...or a tired mama).
But sourdough is a process. A two-day, slow, tender test of patience to produce a beautiful brown, chewy loaf of goodness. A successful loaf is always worth the time and attention it requires.
I failed 1,532 times because I rushed. I reacted. I was distracted. I didn't plan ahead.
Mothering little ones takes the same kind of care.
Planning, preparation, tenderness, patience.
"I don't have time for that!"
I finally wanted to succeed enough that I decided to take a breath and take it slow and plan for sourdough bread. With so many steps in the process, one must be disciplined (I don't like that word). But I realized another thing in the process...I enjoy watching and feeling what happens to a dough ball as the starter worked its' magic. It's interesting. It's satisfying. It's rewarding. The result was amazing. SO worth the time and attention.
The same can be said of slowing down and paying attention to mothering. Listening to the little voices constantly seeking your attention, stopping what you're doing to watch the wonderful thing they can do, noticing how your slower reactions change the dynamic and encourage softness in them.
Rushing through the sourdough process produced hard and heavy loaves. Rushing through motherhood produces hard, heavy days.
I made that loaf in the picture. You'll notice that it's not the most beautiful loaf you've ever seen. That's okay. Perfection is a myth. We're all doing our best around here.
I didn't mother my kids perfectly, either. No one can. But we can always keep learning and trying and working to do better.
So be encouraged, mama. Allow yourself more time.
Cut some things out of the schedule (just do it).
Remove distractions (that phone).
Take a breath.
Pay attention to the process and enjoy the sweet, warm goodness of sourdough motherhood.