Warning…this post is extremely long. That is what happens when I have a week without a fully functioning computer and I am going insane because I can’t get online! LOL
Motherhood is more than just making choices about mothering. Understand?
Motherhood is the absolute bitter along with the absolute sweet in life.
Motherhood isn’t about what kind of stroller you’ll get, which kinds of diapers work best, how to burp a baby properly and on and on. No.
Motherhood is so much more. At the beginning of your journey in being a mother, you carry in your heart all the things you wish for your child.
Before you even become a mother physically, you think to yourself, “how will this child make me feel?” and after you have that child you think to yourself “how do I make this child feel? Is he or she comfortable? Is she cold? Is he hungry?”
We as mothers begin to operate on another playing field where our feelings aren’t as important as making sure we teach our children how to move from basic comforts to deeper needs and dreams in life.
That’s right, and here is the kicker…we’ll go ahead and make excuses for it.
Things will be said like “oh its just a phase he/she is going through.” Or “I don’t know why he thinks he can lie and get a way with it!”
And of course he does, because after all he learned from the best right?
Our impressionable children don’t create the bitter in our lives as mothers. Our impressionable children become mirrors of how we need to change, grow and mature.
They become reflections of real life. But I must say that when they are old enough to reason and grasp truths, this is where life becomes truly interesting. If they are growing and maturing into young adults, you will watch your child emerge from that child-cocoon into an independent butterfly ready to fly away.
When they do fly away from your home and to other places of interest for them, it is important to remember that where they go and who they hang with will now also become a part of their personality.
It took a few years for me to understand this little known factoid. I’d figuratively bang my head against brick wall in my brain because I couldn’t understand who my child was becoming. Where did she go? Yes physically she would come home to visit, but where was this beautiful soul that used to be filled with kindness, love, respect, joy and most importantly…integrity.
We know our children intimately from the time they are in our wombs, and as they grow we discover their beautiful, unsullied, unadulterated personalities. They look at the world very uniquely.
They have little quirks that are endearing. When they become young adults, we watch them make so many transformations.
Not just physically, but mentally, spiritually, intellectually and emotionally. It can be jarring when that young adult comes back home after an extended stay somewhere.
If they have changed to try and be a part of their friends (and not held on to who they are) we can shake our heads and say “who the hell have they been hanging out with?” If they have taken on a people pleasing attitude and stepped away from their true worth as an individual, that is where I cry.
When we try to talk to our young adult children but they simply are closed off and will not share their lives anymore, we need to realize that they have come to confide in others.
Choosing to be a stay at home mom or a mom that works a full time job doesn’t make one better than the other.
On the contrary, motherhood has nothing to do with vocation. I can’t give more kudos to the mother that chooses to work a full time job and drops her child off in daycare, nor can I give the stay at home mother kudos for putting her career aside for the sake of her family.
Both seem noble don’t they? Neither are. They are simply a means to an end. Unfortunately, on both sides of that coin, each party thinks they have the upper hand and that they are doing more for their family.
The stay at home mom will claim that she is doing right by her family by selflessly giving up her right to her career and then will proceed to put down the working mother as an “absentee parent” in capable of real love.
The same is true on flip side. A working mother will work all day, do the shopping, come home and possibly clean and cook and claim that the stay at home mom is just a lazy no good mother who couldn’t give a rats ass about doing “real work.”
This is the beginning of the bitter. When a mother doesn’t know her own true value as a woman, she will begin to become bitter, knocking down other women and their mothering styles.
If she displays this kind of behavior in front of her children, she sets the stage for her children to be aimless, restless, feeling sorry for themselves and having lots of pity parties.
The bitterness continues in motherhood when a mother doesn’t know how to respect a child’s boundaries. I’m not talking about embittered children, I’m talking about the bittersweet of motherhood.
Understanding that our children have emotional, physical and spiritual boundaries is very important. Mothers who cross those boundaries consistently trying to “instill” some sort of value in them will actually just make their efforts null and void in the end.
We as women need to allow our children to develop a sense of self…NOT little creatures we’ve made just like us, acting and thinking the way we do.
Really, think about it, what would happen if the whole world was filled with people just like yourself. I mean everyone. What would that world look like?
We don’t need little emotionally broken clones of ourselves running round. We need strong children who understand and value us as we are as their parents, and at the same time can value who they are as well.
When children begin to devalue their parents, they are suffering from low self esteem. We need to teach our children to value others, and that starts with accepting that we can not change others.
All we can do is love them as they are, with all their frailties, afflictions, quirks, strengths and so on. That is our job as mothers. Our job is not hard at all. That’s why it isn’t actually a job…its a calling.
Anyone that thinks motherhood is hard hasn’t ventured into the great craziness of being vulnerable and transparent before your young ones.
As soon as things are laid out and children understand you are NOT superwoman and that you do NOT know all the answers, you do NOT have an endless supply of money, and NO you can not have anything you want, it starts to get easier.
Will you get hurt? YUP. You could have your heart broken for sure, but hearts only break when they are not soft and pliable. Keep your heart soft towards your children and it will never break. It will just get squeezed a bit.
When you bring a child into this world, you realize that child has needs and desires. Others will come along and put in their two cents about how that child should be raised or looked after, but in the end, it is your innate mothering that will lead your child through their own dark days.
When others interfere with this process (because they think they can do it better than you can as a mother) you end up with an embittered child.
This is also a part of the bitter. It is the bitter of your child seeing things only from his or her point of view and then getting others to agree with the sentiment.
This can bring a chilling bitterness into your soul if you let it. In these situations, it is usually that “other” person who has never fully bonded with her own mother that now thinks she can make it all okay with your child.
Ever have one of those women in your life? These women carry around a quiet contempt for their own mothers and they teach your child how to carry a quiet contempt for you.
They will undermine you at ever turn, and if you say one thing, they will say the opposite is true and then schmooze with your son or daughter until they are fully brainwashed.
Bitter can set in for sure. Do you let it? Absolutely not. It is important as a mother to always hold on to your worth as a woman. Beauty fades, we all become older, but there is a timelessness to the worth of a woman. Knowing your true worth as a woman will help your children to be confident in making their own decisions.
Knowing your true worth as a woman also means that you hold your children accountable for the decisions they have made, without making them feel guilty.
It means respecting that they have boundaries. I do not cross my children’s boundaries, and for that I’ve been called aloof, uncaring or just plain mean. Can bitterness set in? Yup. Do I let it? No…better yet…hell no.
The bitter is bitter for a short while, and as your children grow up and become young adults, you watch them make decisions. Some of those decisions are good, some are bad, and some will change your life personally forever. No matter how you slice it, in the end it always ends up being the sweetest thing you ever chose to do.
The sweet to me is watching my children grow, cry, yearn, reach out, reach in to themselves, find comfort in others, reach for their personal best and knowing they are a part of my life.
Motherhood is a calling in life. Being a mother is love in action. The sweet of motherhood happens in those moments when we see our children come into their own, live their lives freely, and feel content with how things are going.
Even better is when they choose to share it with me. You can’t make your child tell you how they feel, no matter how much you ask. I know, I’ve tried.
It doesn’t work, and all it does is create resentment from them since that boundary has been crossed. When they are ready to share, they will speak.
Some will say that you should basically nag them till they share, but this shows them a lack of respect for their feelings or emotions. And while my children may feel like I don’t care at times because I don’t ask what is going on in their lives all the time, the truth is that I leave them room to grow and share with me as they feel led.
The sweetness of motherhood comes when I see all my children together dancing, cracking up laughing, telling each other secrets, being somewhat perverse (okay, very perverse at times), and feeling free to be themselves.
This past Mother’s Day was particularly bittersweet for me, since my daughter Shoshie couldn’t be with us. She had a wedding to go to on the east coast. Gina, Hannah, Noah and Simmi were here though. It wasn’t easy not having Shoshie here too since she is a riot when she lets loose.
Shoshie has this really funny sense of humor and I love when she and Noah get together and start joking around. Dare I say they stretch the boundaries of what is acceptable for young teens and do things that make me almost pee my pants.
Yes, I encourage such behavior, but only because I know that it is all in good fun. I love when they get all goofy, nuts and find the stupidest things funny. I also love who they are becoming.
Here’s a video of Gina, Hannah and Noah dancing for me on Mother’s Day…the only one missing was Shoshie 🙁
Okay, I’d like to shift gears and talk about our Mother’s Day brunch.
Brunch was awesome and Dom once again came through with a phenomenal meal. After our meal, we headed outside for a special tree planting. It was special for a few reasons…
First, our tree plantings are going to be traditions for each holiday and also to honor those loved ones in our lives or the lives of our children. We planted three trees that day, and it would have been four, but I need to go to Albuquerque to pick it up. The fourth tree was a gift from Vicki to me. And although I mentioned it as the fourth, it really is the first. It is a tree bearing my all time favorite fruit…the fig. The other three trees are as follows:
Tree #1- Granny Smith Apple:
Dedicated to Dom’s mom Annette. Thank you so much Mom for being such a beautiful and caring soul. Dom would not be who he is today without your love, care or influence over his life. I want to thank you for all the love you show to each of our children and how you embrace each of them as a treasure. Simone adores you and couldn’t get enough you when you were here in April. We love and honor you this Mother’s Day.
Tree #2- Granny Smith Apple:
Dedicated to Carole, Vicki’s mom. Thank you Carole for your gentle, loving and quiet spirit. I enjoyed getting to know you, even though we only had a day or two together. I look forward to seeing you again when you come in July. We love and honor you this Mother’s Day.
Tree #3- Elephant Heart Plum:
Dedicated to Greta Jo, Shoshie and Noah’s step mother. Even though you have only been in Shoshie and Noah’s life a short time now, I honor you for the courage it takes to become the mother of two young adults. Congratulations are also in order as you and Jon prepare for the birth of your second child. Love and Blessings to you both.
Here are some photos of the day’s events:
365 Days of Planting: Days 16-26
- 11 Artichokes planted in prepared patches in three separate locations over the span of a week and a half
- two Firethorn bushes
- two Granny Smith Apple Trees
- Elephant Heart Plum Tree
- Transplanted mint that I cut and rooted
- Peace Lilies transplanted in my kitchen
Out of the blue volunteers:
- some sort of bean sprouting up next to one of my broccoli
- cilantro growing where I did not plant it
Left photo is of Firethorn planted on either side of the pergola.
Photo below is of the first artichoke patches prepared in raised berms.
I will be planting strawberries on the sides of the berms all the way around each patch.
There is also rhubarb planted on each end of the berms.
This area is our back kitchen garden where we will be putting our greenhouses.
The greenhouses will be set behind the artichoke patches.
To the right of the patches used to be an ugly small enclosure of some sort.
All the rotten wood was taken out and we will be installing a prep/utility table for our garden needs.
Both sides of the utility table will be flanked with kiwi and flanking the kiwi will be espaliered fruit trees on the walls. The walk way leads into the back courtyard and also leads into the chicken pasture where we put all the fruit trees.