What is Motherhood?
As I sit here quietly on this Mother’s Day morning, I think of our son, our daughter who is scheduled to join us in August and our miscarried child. I am contemplating “What is Motherhood?”
As with all aspects of life, if we don’t think about what we want motherhood to be and intentionally make that happen, life happens, we get busy and the life that we would want to have doesn’t come to fruition.
So, this it to my children, my personal reflection on what motherhood is to me and what I strive to do for my children.
For me, motherhood is…
- First, and foremost, it is raising an adult, not raising a child. As much as I try to live in the moments of your childhood, I know ultimately, my role is raise an adult who is a mentally and emotionally healthy individual that can use their talents to contribute to themselves, their spouse, their children and the world. Part of the way this is done is through teaching you through your moments of struggle – when that kid pushes you down on the playground, knowing that B on the test does not define you, knowing how to be who you are when there’s pressure in our society to be a certain way. But, it’s also in me modeling how to be an emotionally, mentally and physically successful adult as well. I believe, ultimately, you will learn more from my actions, than my words. That means when I have a conflict with your dad, I navigate that correctly. When I have a physical ailment with an unknown cause that Mayo can’t even figure out (of which I do), I don’t let fear dominate my thoughts. When I strive to be lead myself so that I can then lead others better, I learn from failures and know they are simply moments of learning. The truest measure of motherhood (and fatherhood) lies in the life you lead as an adult.
- Motherhood is not about total self-sacrifice. It is not giving up of who I am, my hopes and my goals so that you get something in return. For me, this is not modelling what a successful adult does. To always put you first at the total self-sacrifice of my talents, my marriage, my career is not showing you that all aspects of my life need to be honored. This is not what I would want for you to do as a mother or father. Here’s the reason why: If your dad and I totally self-sacrifice for you, our marriage suffers and we aren’t modelling for you want a healthy marriage is. If If I give up my career aspirations, I am telling you that a mother’s contribution to the world at the expense of her children should not be honored. If I give up those aspects that give me life (a quiet walk outside, sitting down to write or learning with a good book) then I am telling you that I shouldn’t do things that make me healthy. Do I devote a lot of time, energy and work towards your childhood? Of course, this is just part of the gig. But, do I provide a life to you that totally self-sacrifices me as a person? No, that is not the mother I want to be for you nor the father or mother I would want you to be as an adult.
- Motherhood is my honor. I am beyond grateful that I get to be your mother, to contribute to your life, to play a dominate role in your childhood, to influence the person you become, to facilitate you creating yourself and finding your place in the world. Along with the role I play in your father’s life, there’s no greater honor I have.
- Motherhood is a pure profound and amazing joy. To watch your personality emerge, to listen to you laugh, to see your demeanor towards others, to see you navigate life sometimes with my help and sometimes by yourself, is one of my greatest joys.
- Motherhood is learning. I fail and learn and know that you will show me grace along the way.
- Motherhood is a love that can be described. There is no measure for the love that I have for you. You have added value to our life like nothing else.