Recently, we began the project of moving our original blog to the 4yourtype website so that our content is easier to find and more accessible for our website visitors. In the process of doing this, I came across a blog entry I wrote a few years ago for Mother’s Day, and I read it with both delight and a keen awareness of how quickly life changes over the years. Much of what I wrote is still current, although I am older and hopefully wiser. My daughters are grown adult women now, living their own independent and successful lives. Peter and I take great delight in hearing of their adventures, although as a mother, I still worry when I don’t hear from them for a few days or when they are confronting a challenging or difficult situation in their lives.
It’s been hard for me to disidentify with the role of mother, as I totally enjoyed each stage of witnessing and participating in my daughters’ growth and evolution. I have had to shapeshift from being a mother of young daughters to a mother of adult women; a change not for the faint of heart! There’s an essential quality of relatedness that you need to separate yourself from, and the willingness to do this and let go can be trying for even the most evolved souls.
With young children, we need to hold on and let go simultaneously, keeping them safe from harm yet free to explore the world and follow their inner call to discover the daily mysteries of life. When our children become teenagers, we have to look like we’ve let go, give them lots of room, and yet be there when they need us. The teen years test our ability to love unconditionally. Parents of teenagers have to trust that there will be a return to love without rebellion by giving them the distance necessary to become fully developed and contained individuals. And when adulthood arrives, the loving release begins in earnest, as parents must allow them the space to grow beyond their original family and build their own.
What is essential in every stage of mothering is the ability to self-care on a very deep and nurturing level. I think it is important to note that self-care is not the occasional manicure or massage; it is cultivating the daily awareness and relatedness to self, eating nourishing foods, taking time for quiet reflection, journaling, exercising, and maintaining tenderness when the days go haywire, which they tend to do far more than you could ever imagine. If I had one wish for myself as a young mother, it would have been that I would have been self-defined enough to have developed that consistent care for myself. I wasn’t, and yet it was my daughters who taught me this. Though it is somewhat paradoxical, it has been the most amazing gift they could have given me.
This Mother’s Day, I celebrate Claudia and Emily, as not only the most perfect daughters, but also the best teachers that a mother could ask for. And I remember and honor my own mother, my sisters, sisters-in-law, mother-in-law, aunts, grandmothers, my pets, and all those who throughout my life have nurtured me, supported me, challenged me, lifted me up, brought me down to earth, and who loved me for no reason than “just because.” That is mother-love of the highest order.
Here’s to all the mothers in the world, to loving “just because,” and to cultivating a deeply nourishing self care program that restores us and supports us in the work we do in the world.
Mother’s day wishes to all.