I may as well start by coming out.
Public statement number one: I am a very grateful, work-from-home, Christian mum.
Weird, but I actually love the fact that there are no doubt already some rolling their eyes, shaking heads and moving on to the next article just from the combination of those 10 words.
Not everyone can relate. We all scream for our individual voice to be heard but don’t like hearing others. Luckily, I’m familiar with being blown off as a “goodie-goodie”. I grew up attending church, reading the Bible, enjoying youth group and generally avoiding debauchery. I was a good kid, a “straighty 180”, got decent grades in school, had my first proper kiss at 21, got married at 23, had my first baby at 27 and my fourth at 33.
Bo-ooooring….what a waste of feminine power, right? With the world at my feet, only the brainwashed would make such dull choices, or so I’ve been told.
The thing is, I don’t feel dull, and I do feel powerful.
My life so far has been guided by healthy boundaries that have made life sweet. Just like a tree planted by fresh water, I’ve developed strength and flexibility. And as far as mothering goes, I know the special power I offer my children – the power of the simple, the healthy, the real.
I need to interject here that I don’t believe women have to give birth to be mothers – just evidence the way women care for their hungover friends and beleaguered colleagues. The mothering instinct is alive and well, and it is infinitely important.
Personally, I am a physical mother to four children between the ages of 16 months and seven and three-quarter years (important distinction right there). In my mothering, I attempt to show my children, day in and day out, that simplicity can look good. I show them how to wake with joy and rest with peace. To face challenges head on and celebrate victories, with no regrets. I offer them a safe place to try and fail, and get up and fail, and get up again and again and again. They can fight it, can complain about the boundaries all they like – there’s space for that, too.
I mother this way because I believe that by giving them space now, each day, each and every time they are tempted to explode venom on the rest of us, I will help them outgrow these emotional training wheel days.
I mother so they can one day ride out into the world as capable, emotionally-stable adults who are kind, fun, interesting, caring, and minimally scarred/scarring.
Politics and education mean well, but they can’t offer my children that safe space. Multiple pressure systems are already converging, telling my children that they need more toys, more opportunities. Those systems will soon switch tactics to ensure that my one-day-teens will strongly assert their individual opinions and rights while partying really, really hard. Apparently, that’s the best way to get “freedom” out of their system so that they can then move on to working their guts out as adults, eventually earning the right, financially and emotionally, to slow down, take it easy and truly enjoy life.
And I’ve been brainwashed?
It’s obvious. Any of us who have suffered the loss of someone close know the smashed mirror effect of that way of living – it is a delicately-wrought illusion. It doesn’t add up, and for many, it never pays off.
Which is why I choose another way.
My way of living & mothering has instant reward. I didn’t say it was easy or perfect, but the wealth of slow, simple gratitude is unending, and I can drink from its guilt-free cup at any moment.
It’s a gift I want to give my children.
Right now, my three-year-old is driving die-cast trucks around in blue playdough. He is absorbed in his imaginary world of blue tarmac on a hot dining table today. My baby girl is just waking from sleep, fussing in the knowledge that I am close by, ready to rescue her from her cot…maybe not in her exact timing, but definitely on time. When the aforementioned three-year-old throws a tantrum before lunch (which he ALWAYS does) I will still be grateful that I get to calm him, to show him that his frustration is real, but that it doesn’t need to spill over onto the rest of us. Lunch is coming – he can choose to be grateful.
Not every woman gets, or even wants, to do this type of mothering.
And you know what?
I certainly won’t do it forever. When my kids are in school, my mothering will change. I’ll spend more time writing and working. I’ll spend more time helping them sort through everything they’re learning on their own. Everything will look different, just as different as all of your lives.
Public statement number two: When everything changes I will still choose to be grateful.
Those are 10 words that everyone – mother or male – can relate to and apply.
And there’s my bit of mothering for all of you.