I have had a lot on my mind lately about the state of motherhood. I have to be honest, it is my nature not to want to cause conflict or to challenge anyone’s choices when it comes to something as personal as parenting and mothering.
At the same time I have an inner fire burning in my chest to free women from the unbelievable and ridiculous standard of expectations we’ve heaped upon ourselves. One of the many beautiful gifts I’ve learned from becoming a simplicity parenting group leader is to become more curious rather than confrontational when there’s a difference of opinion, to listen with soft eyes, and to find the intention behind spoken words.
So, with those principles in mind, I invite you to read my stream of consciousness…
I will be first to admit that this mothering gig has been vastly more challenging and humbling than I ever could have imagined. I will also admit that there are many days I would prefer to have lots of time to think, reflect, and sit in the sweetness of silence.
At the same time, I honor motherhood and its personal tests. The journey is stretching me to strengthen my character, my spiritual qualities like no other role has.
Because I do respect mothering, there is an inner desire to fully embrace it, especially now while my youngest is still in preschool. How quaint and retro of me to yearn for full-time homemaking. Really? Are we really so bitter and jaded about gardening, homemade meals, clean spaces, and time for personal connection with our children that this ideal of nourishing our very spirit with these simple rhythms and routines is just too old fashioned?
I think in our quest to be valued that we didn’t fight for the feminine qualities that capture the true greatness of women but instead we fought for the right to be…men. We fought to work outside the home and in the home. Great. Now everyone is working. Men and women. The babies? The babies are being outsourced to the “professionals” or they are at home with us and responded to between work calls and email responses.
There are days when I catch my breath and wonder, “is this what I want?” I sleep to the last minute I can after sometimes, a restless night of scared or ill little ones, to ready everyone for the day ahead. Without a moment of reflection, I pack lunches, tie shoes, and drive the van for the school drop-off. I head home for a quick breakfast, glance at the piles of laundry, papers, toys, and art materials that I have no time to organize or handle because there are posts to write, clients to call – a pressure to earn. There’s guilt about the grocery store trip I need to take or the cat box that needs to be emptied.
But it is the relationships and the deep connections that are sacrificed by living this hurried life as a wanna-be homemaker who strives toward breadwinning and self-fulfillment through career.
Let’s be honest. There is no work-life balance, at least not while mothering children under age 7. Is it necessary for us to be striving to be a mother of little ones, the nest maker, and a breadwinner all at once? Aren’t there enough years to give each experience it’s own time and attention? I am befuddled at our belief that we must be everything to everyone in the same moment.
My thoughts on all of this are still percolating. I feel especially thoughtful when I think about what I want to share with my own daughter about motherhood and what it is and how she might go about it. I want it to be easier for her. I want to create a society for her that actually believes the mother-child bond is unique, sacred, and worth a few years of our undivided attention.