A Coastal Mommy's Musings on Mothering Sunday...

Discussion in 'Coastal Vacations' started by matiasmommy, May 13, 2007.

  1. matiasmommy

    matiasmommy New Member

    My Reflections on Motherhood

    This is my second Mothering Sunday. As my daughter dearest turns 2 years old tomorrow I have decided to reflect upon what it actually means to be a mother. Perhaps my reflections may bear no resemblance to your thoughts, feelings or experiences. But it is my hope that, you too- will take time to remember the special women in your life and what it is they are and do and have done to help you become YOU. Today is not only about saying "thank-you" but also about recognizing what it is to actually be someone's mother.

    Motherhood "happened" to me on a very similarly bright and sunny morning just after 10 am 2 years ago. I had not ever thought, planned, expected or even wanted to become "one of those women". But to date, it has been one of the most enlightening and rewarding challenges of my life. Surely my life's best and richest work. On an entirely voluntary basis!

    But what does being a mother actually mean? I would like to acknowledge those women who have come into my life by twist of biology, fate or accident- that I consider to be or have been as mothers to me.

    I think that mothering is not merely the act of carrying or bearing children. Nor is it really about changing diapers, night time feedings, teaching ABC's or attending graduation ceremonies.

    "Making a decision to have a child -- it's momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body."- Elizabeth Stone

    To "have" a child. What does that really mean?? Our children are reflections of ourselves. They are an exercise in patience. Exercises in forgiveness- and usually us mothers have a much harder time forgiving ourselves. The act of loving in the role of mother- the source of our greatest joys and our deepest sorrows. Our children represent, in one flesh and blood package- our past, our present and most importantly our hopeful future. I am going to be so bold as to say, that the ultimate goal of motherhood is to prepare our children to enter and shape the future which we will never see. It is by loving and sharing the best parts of ourselves and our experiences with those whom we mother that we continue the miracle of creation. In doing so, we leave part of ourselves for the future generations. We can't really "have" a child, anymore then we can "have" a pet. Our children are unique, separate and self determined individuals.

    We strive to be connected to them. To bond with them. Nurture them. Communicate with them. Teach them.

    I don't think that a woman who enters into motherhood outside of the traditional path of pregnancy, birth, infancy or childhood is any LESS of a mother. In fact, studies have shown motherhood, at its core- to be chemical. Interestingly- even the thought of an infant or young child suffering ill or helpless and crying- not just the observation or hearing of it- has been proven to create a physical chemical release and a cascade of nervous and emotional reactions in a womans body- EVEN WHEN THAT WOMAN is not the biological mother of that child- and EVEN when she has never had the physical experience and thus "nervous programming" of motherhood before.

    I have been mothered by old and young. By women who have no genetic connection to me. By women who have never chosen or been able to create life from within themselves. But they have all created room in their hearts and their lives to guide, show, love, nurture, support and teach me. They have all shown and shared with me that part of themselves that is their purest, deepest, most genuine and true self. In so doing, they have influenced me, left a part of themselves with me and irrevocably changed and challenged me.

    That creation, not just the creation of a new life- is MY definition of motherhood.

    Any physically functional female can have a baby. That doesn't make her a mother, or even fit to take on the massive responsibility of nurturing a completely dependant infant into a fully realized adult.

    Motherhood in action takes so many different forms and shapes. But it is she, who consciously makes that decision- to nurture, to care, to love- unconditionally and selflessly- no matter what- and especially when her "child" or chosen one least deserves that love and attention that IS all that embodies motherhood.

    The end goal- of course- is to "raise up" this individual- who may be in years well past the age of majority when they come into your life- to be securely loved and confident so much in themselves by this anchor that is "mother"- that they can be independent, giving, confident, trusting, pure spirited and whole in and of themselves.

    If you are cherishing a girl or a boy, child or adult- that goal is always the same. To support and nurture- and help that child-person to develop and express their unique individuality while sometimes struggling to maintain your own.

    In the often mundane routines of daily life that go hand in hand with this ultimate goal- we often will struggle, question, experience moments of frustration, forced helplessness and exasperation. We juggle schedules, re-arrange priorities, set limits and sometimes feel as if we have reached the very outer boundaries of our own tolerances.

    Before I was blessed with my own baby- I would often observe mothers with their children and wonder HOW they did it and WHY they would ever choose to do so- let alone more then once!

    "mama NUTS!" is a refrain often heard in my house. Usually when simultaneously trying to do something along the lines of cook dinner, talk on the phone and breastfeed. I must get this look on my face that triggers my daughter to laugh and point at me.

    "MAMA NUTS!!!!!"

    Or this morning, my quickly independent little angel while attempting to put her own toothpaste on her toothbrush managed to squirt it all over me.

    "Opps! Sowry mama!" followed closely by giggle giggle. We always laugh at our mistakes here, and we always apologize.

    I think about how much my life has changed. Just not in the way of routines, obligations or responsibility. But how my daughter has given back more to me then I can ever even hope to give her.

    I've discovered that I too, am a child. That I too can learn from her, grow and change with and because of her. That day 2 short years ago that I brought her forth into this physical world- I bloomed not only in body, but also in spirit.

    To see someone so small and yet so strong- so quickly becoming self sufficient and independent. So shockingly bright, this little person who is MY child. From and part of me, but not my possession- changing, learning and growing every day.

    As she changes and grows- I adapt. I change. I grow.

    I have started my business- for my baby. I have learned, changed and grown because of this business- to show her and live by example. She too, can strive to live in success, be her very best, stay smart, be brave, be proud and independent. She can be, do and have whatever she wants. She can embody what it is to BE a woman- not just take womanly form. She too can strive to live to her maximum of experience each and every day and put forth the very best of herself, not show the world only that feminine beauty that exists only on the outside and fades only too quickly with the passage of time or misfortune.

    I don't claim to have all the answers. Or any of them, at this point! Chances are I never will- as each child is so uniquely individual. Like all mothers in spirit- I realize this thing we call child rearing, mothering- is a living experimen
    t. The results will only show with the passage of time, and my success or failure will rest in her opinion of her own experiences of reality.

    "If you bungle raising your children, I don't think whatever else you do well matters very much."

    - Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

    I think this is very true. Not that we won't (or don't!) make mistakes- so perhaps too absolute and rigid of a definition at first glance.

    Bungle is to "spoil by means of clumsiness".

    Clumsiness is defined as:

    awkwardness: unskillfulness resulting from a lack of training

    awkwardness: the carriage of someone whose movements and posture are ungainly or inelegant

    awkwardness: the inelegance of someone stiff and unrelaxed

    More tenants of motherhood:

    While children do not come with manuals- we all question how best to "do it" and if we are any "good" at it at all we tend to continually question whether not we have even an ounce of real competancy or are making the best choices. We do the best with what we have and what we know at the time. Realizing, (and hopefully often) that unique individuality that belongs to our child/ren while monitoring and checking in to adapt our methods to suit them best. We seek out and accept advice. Strive to learn by doing and "train" ourselves "on the job". As the experiences wash over us we simply do. We often just don't have time to question or meditate about best practice and work from instinct and reflexes.

    I don't know or worry about my carriage and check in to see if I am elegant or not. Being all limbs and joints since adolesance, I'm ungainly by nature. But I do know that while I never expected motherhood to come naturally to me- I've fallen into relaxed routine, acceptance of myself and patient understanding. Perhaps not ever actually ELEGANT, or with anything even resembling Jackie O's famous grace.... but I would like to think at least that I too possess some natural posture. That I am now, officially- one of "those" women. The mommy clan.

    It's amazing to watch a toddler- and even more amazing to think how they ever manage to survive to childhood! But, I have found- that I get what I expect from her. Call me lazy or impractical, senseless, silly or stupid- but as long as she is not doing something obviously very risky like juggling knives I relax. I expect that she is able and competent; that she knows her own self best and I trust that
  2. matiasmommy

    matiasmommy New Member

    ...the 'thesis' continued....


    ....I expect that she is able and competent; that she knows her own self best and I trust that there are times where I shouldn't place judgement on her constantly changing ability and tell her she can't or shouldn't even try. If she indeed CAN'T manage, I expect that she will ask me for help should she need or want it. At any rate, if the worst at risk is a broken teacup, a stained shirt or a scraped knee I figure she is learning about herself as much as about life, gravity or physics. We get what we expect from these powerfully limitless and pure intentioned beings that are our children. I expect that she, in fact CAN. The great majority of the time I am exactly right.

    Funny thing I have noticed. When with someone other more "sensible" adult happens by and says "oh, no- don't go close to that, don't DO that- its DANGEROUS!!" 2 things generally happen promptly thereafter. First, she is DETERMINED to get at that whatever it is she clearly now should not have or do. Second is, she invariably hurts herself with it. Odd, that.

    We strive to live with grace under fire, and fall naturally into the roles and tasks that encompass daily mothering.

    Naturally- some women learn to balance and mother authentically better in some ways then others. But it does NOT make them any less mothers, any less loving or caring in their spirit and soul even if she is hopelessly out of touch with the physical daily practice of it. The thing that really matters, to me- having had one of those hopelessly bungling mothers as my own biological parent- is the underlying love that created her intent. As the famous lyrics from the Sound of Music say:

    Perhaps I had a wicked childhood
    Perhaps I had a miserable youth
    But somewhere in my wicked, miserable past
    There must have been a moment of truth

    For here you are, standing there, loving me
    Whether or not you should
    So somewhere in my youth or childhood
    I must have done something good

    Nothing comes from nothing
    Nothing ever could
    So somewhere in my youth or childhood
    I must have done something good

    I will be the first to admit, that while my childhood was less then rosy and my youth more filled with angst then most- somewhere along the line I must have done something good-and my mother must have somehow put the urge if not the ability within me to do so. This is to say that I have managed to process and reflect upon my own experiences of being mothered and arrive finally- at a happy conclusion. This has reflected in my own experiences of loving and mothering in such a way that I am happy and contented in it and of and for myself- even during challenges and despite never previously believing myself even remotely capable.

    Children learn what they live.

    I made excuses, believing that surely- I could NOT mother as I had not learned the "right" skills. But, nothing comes from nothing, nothing ever could.

    I don't for one instant claim to be the worlds best mother. I don't have all or even most of the answers. I know I'm the farthest thing from perfect. But I'd like to think that at least I am a good, loving and competent mother for my own daughter. I'm sure she will let me know exactly what she thinks of Mama NUTS in about 12 years!!

    Which brings me to my last reflection.

    No matter where she lives, what background or culture she comes from- in my experience there is 3 common truths that mothering women tend to share:

    We all want more for our children then we have had for ourselves.

    We generally love our children more then we love ourselves

    We tend to express our love for our children and others in the ways that we, in fact find ourselves worthy of being loved- rightly or wrongly.

    In short- somewhere and somehow we all have to thank that woman who helped us along the path towards ourselves. She tripped. Perhaps she even bungled far beyond the socially acceptable limits of good mothering. But, we simply can't take full credit for who we are fully without recognizing the experiences that brought us into the reality of ourselves today.

    Mother, I thank-you. What you have done, helped make me who I am. I would not change that which was you, for then- I would not be me.

    Jani Teeter
    Level III International Director, Coach & Trainer

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