I’m on a little journey to find out what makes the mother in me tick. I want to uncover what my real motherhood values are underneath the values imposed upon me by by my society, culture, upbringing and random shit that I have picked up along the way.
I began this journey, like so many others, with a conversation. In my last post, I wrote about the things that I most valued about the way I was mothered. In this post I want to dive down into myself, right into the core and reveal my core mothering values:
- Motherhood is sacred. In our bodies, two cells join to begin the journey towards life. Within our bodies, we grow a complete and utterly beautiful being. When I was pregnant I felt like a bountiful Goddess; ripe, glowing and filled with the fecundity of the eternal Mother. Pregnancy was the first time that I became in touch with the sacredness of the feminine – even if that sacredness sometimes resembles Kali, the Goddess of Destruction, it’s still sacred, people :)
2. Mothering is responsible. This is important for me. I thought motherhood was too big for me for a while, and vowed to not have children. As it turns out, it is too big for me, but I do it anyway. Mothering is not something I do on the side. Raising my children to become functional, healthy, loving adults is my core duty. I take it very seriously. It is my responsibility to provide a loving, safe, secure home for my family. In order to do that, I must be here, I must be straight (as in not on drugs or drunk), and I must be watchful. That is all.
3. Effective mothering is not about what I say, it’s about what I do. If I want my children to speak well, be kind, have good manners, have healthy habits, be able to apologise when they are wrong and to develop certain values, then there is only one thing to do: I must show them. This does not mean that I must be perfect, but it does mean that when I am less than any of those things, that I acknowledge, apologise and strive to be better.
4. Mothering is about being myself. Much of my motherhood journey has been about discovering who I truly am, and manifesting that in as authentic a way as possible. I want to be the person I am meant to be, not only for myself, but to show my children that it is not only the length of life that should be lived, but the breadth and width of it as well. You know, our children chose us. They chose us because there is something within our true selves that they need to reach their full potential. In that way, the most important thing for us to do as parents is to truly be ourselves, because that is what our children need from us. That and a bucket load of love.
5. Motherhood is important, but it is not everything. I never wanted to be one of those mothers that dedicated everything to their children, and then when they left, were left with nothing. As it turned out, I didn’t have to worry: I have a core of fierceness that protects what is mine. I need to have my own space and my own time, and I will do whatever I have to do to get that time, even if it means waking up at 4:30 in the morning.
6. Motherhood is fierce. Motherhood has really honed the fierceness in me. It starts in pregnancy, with the fierce protectiveness we have about our unborn children. It is fired in labour with the tremendous force, pain and relief that is a safely delivered baby. It is honed over years of child raising and all that it entails. What about that feeling you get when someone else mistreats your child? We get a true understanding of the Kali archetype then, don’t we?
7. Motherhood is Love. Now, I don’t mean that wishy-washy hallmark card type love, no sirree. I mean the kind of love that is 24/7, the kind of love that cleans up piss, shit and vomit, that will sit up all night with a sick child. The kind of love that wants a certain type of community, nay world for our child, and then sets about creating it. I’m talking about a love that is unconditional and honest. Real love that says I am here for you, no matter what. Thick and thin, I’m yours. You know?
8. Motherhood is about connection. Now, here’s something I didn’t know about motherhood until I became one (I know, right – add it to the list). The connections we make with other mothers are sacred. The friends I made as a mother of young children with other mothers at similar stages of motherhood are some of the deepest connections I have ever made. You see, we were all being fired in the kiln of motherhood at the same time. Those friendships, they saved me. They still save me.
9. Motherhood is about community. Now, here’s something else I didn’t know about myself until I had children: community is vitally important to me. I am not one of those mothers who needs to have total control over everything that my child experiences. For my children, it is vitally important that they have as broad an experience of life as possible. I know my own shortcomings – I cannot provide everything to my children, and nor should I be expected to. I want my children to feel a part of their community, to have connections to lots of different types of people. Community gives us roots.
10. Motherhood is about letting go. Oh, hey, we all know this one. As soon as we birth our child, we begin to let them go. We wean them, we let them go. They have their first sleep over at their grandparents, we let them go. They have their first day at pre-school, we let them go. They go to school – omg they are gone. Not really, they come back and they go again, just like we did, playing with independence and safety. And when they really go, we will be so practiced at letting go, we release them with grace and let them go so that they can live their own lives, their own way. Right?
What about you?What are your core mothering values? I would love to know!