I believe everyone needs to stop catching the ‘cat of fear’ and find ways to choose to walk forward with more love for themselves and others, but I know this message will probably dive especially deeply into the heart of mothers.
As mothers, we’re like Bartholomew in Dr Seuss’s The 500 hats of Bartholomew Cubbins: we keep trying to take off a hat (and sit down for a cup of tea) only to find another hat (another responsibility) waiting on top of our (rather dishevelled) head.
Information overload … endless ‘to do’ lists … creative projects on the backburner … tasks left half-done while we put out another ‘fire’.
We often live in a constant state of emergency.
But I have learned the hard way that that’s not OK. Not in the long term.
Before we go any further, let me just say I don’t want to add to the parenting conversation online or in the community. I am not speaking to you as a mother. I only want to speak to you as your self. I already know you’re doing your best as a mother.
So, in speaking to you as yourself, I want to start by giving you these beautiful words by Nancy McBrine Sheehan:
In a society preoccupied with how best to raise a child
I’m finding a need to mesh what’s best for my children with what’s necessary for a well-balanced mother.
I’m recognising that ceaseless giving translates into giving yourself away.
And, when you give yourself away, you’re not a healthy mother and you’re not a healthy self.
So, now I’m learning to be a woman first and a mother second.
I’m learning to just experience my own emotions without robbing my children of their individual dignity by feeling their emotions too.
I’m learning that a healthy child will have his own set of emotions and characteristics that are his alone.
And, very different from mine.
I’m learning the importance of honest exchanges of feelings because pretences don’t fool children.
They know their mother better than she knows herself.
I’m learning that no one overcomes her past unless she confronts it.
Otherwise, her children will absorb exactly what she’s attempting to overcome.
I’m learning that words of wisdom fall on deaf ears if my actions contradict my deeds.
Children tend to be better impersonators than listeners.
I’m learning that life is meant to be filled with as much sadness and pain as happiness and pleasure.
And allowing ourselves to feel everything life has to offer is an indicator of fulfilment.
I’m learning that fulfilment can’t be attained through giving myself away
But, through giving to myself and sharing with others.
I’m learning that the best way to teach my children to live a fulfilling life is not by sacrificing my life.
It’s through living a fulfilling life myself.
I’m trying to teach my children that I have a lot to learn
Because I’m learning that letting go of them
Is the best way of holding on.
(I found these gorgeous words in Dr Christiane Northrup’s best-selling book, ‘Women’s bodies, women’s wisdom’. Dr Northrup is considered the world’s leading authority on women’s health and wellness so this book and her other works are well worth reading.)