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Honoring A Mother’s Wisdom
Honoring A Mother’s Wisdom
I love Mother's Day as much as anyone. Every year I get excited about the idea of getting pampered and spoiled and served breakfast in bed, even if it's somewhat contrived. Mother’s Day has an air of almost religious sanctity. It's the third biggest greeting card holiday in the United States, and Christmas season aside, it's the second biggest gift-giving holiday.
But quick on the heels of Mother's Day comes the shadow—a feeling of entitlement hard to appease. Maybe it stems from chronic disgruntlement. My internal voice keeps looping this thought: At last, all the hard work I do, the sum total of my daily ministrations, ablutions, and devotions will be recognized. My perceived slights have accrued, and the hope is that this one day will somehow make up for all of them. Finally, my deep hunger for appreciation will be sated. But the chocolates, the flowers, or whatever treats I am presented with don't cut it, because they merely skim the surface. What I really want is this: someone to mother me. Only now that I wear the mantle of mother does it dawn on me what my own mother must have gone through.
Sophomoric as it sounds, what if every day could be Mother's Day? What if we took the time, either through a smile, a gesture, or a kind word, to in some small way honor the work that mothering a child entails? We mamas live constantly in the weeds, a term waitresses use to describe the overwhelm at not being able to keep up with orders. With no hope for tips, we must find other ways for our hard work to be recognized, if only by ourselves.
But therein lies the ultimate paradox a mother faces: how to tend to her own soul while nurturing the mind, body, and spirit of her child. How do you make your devotion sustainable? How can you channel your love for your kids so that it replenishes instead of depletes? How to surrender to the moment and let your ideas of how things should be drift away?
Here is an excerpt from a recent essay I wrote in The Mother's Wisdom Deck (Sterling, 2012) on mothering tries to answer these questions:
For young children’s emerging sense of self, mothers are their be-all and end-all. We are the source they come from and return to when they need anything. It’s a huge responsibility mothers carry, we who already have our hands full. Strength for this arduous task will come from calling upon what mothers you. Our own yearning to be mothered never stops; when we have our own children, it intensifies. We all need to feel the cord tying us to Source. Whenever you feel drained by neediness—your children’s or your own—take a time-out and dive back into Ocean. You must become Source yourself, in order to become Source for your children. When Ocean hears that the fish in the water feel thirsty, she laughs. We are all neck deep in Source, yet crying out for more. Fulfillment lies in recognizing the fathoms within and delving into the Ocean of your very being.
Spend time this Mother's Day celebrating what mothers you. Send yourself a love letter of appreciation. And graciously accept the tokens of gratitude humbly offered, for we all have been held and comforted on the lap of the Great Mother. No thing can ever do it justice.
The Mother’s Wisdom Deck is written by Elizabeth Marglin and Niki Dewart and illustrated by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw. It contains 52 cards illustrated with universal symbols of empowered motherhood. For more information visit MotheringWithSoul.com.
Elizabeth is an award-winning journalist who has written about everything from agave syrup to placebos to zero waste. She writes for the magazines Natural Health, Backpacker and FitPregnancy, among others, as well as a handful of websites, including Gaiam and Natural Medicine Journal. She also has coauthored a 52-card oracle deck with guidebook called The Mother’s Wisdom Deck (Sterling Publishers).
May 11th, 2012