The last twenty some weeks of mothering have offered me joy and moments of pure ecstasy along with the ever looming “can’t do it all” ghost, but this week is different.
Balance has always be a struggle for me. I find myself often overindulging. One is never enough.
After 3 days teaching kindergarten, I have renewed sense of purpose in my mothering.
Today, I make a case for mothering.
Whether 5 or 6 or 66, we all need a mother at points throughout our years. This week, I saw young children needing mothering in a very real well. Granted, the ones that are desperate for it have non-traditionally absent parents or just absent ones altogether. The mothers who think it is a 5 year olds responsibility to remember his lunch, backpack, books, and socks are little different from the ones who cannot be bothered to get out of bed to come get their sick child so they send a relative stranger instead.
Today we suffer from both too little and too much mothering, with all the talk of millennials and helicopter parents, we know it goes both ways. I would, however , argue that there is a huge difference between mothering and smothering which is what I would define as a parent who cannot allow their child to succeed or fail on their own or without involvement.
To me, mothering is care. Mothering is patience. Mothering is putting my damn phone down and looking my daughter in the eyes. I am not great at all of these, but they are the core of connection. Connection, attention, safety, love is what each child craves and needs in order to learn, grow, discover themselves.
Today, we could use a little more mothering, a little more care, a little more time payed to what our thoughts and fears are.
Yesterday a child who is often treated like an after thought, drew a picture of a rose for his momma and wrote how much he loved her. I cried. I was angry. How could she not see the perfect love this little boy had for her and return it ten fold? It didn’t matter. Regardless of her mothering, he was going to love her fully.
I hate to judge but when I see children being hurt by blatant carelessness, I take it personally. Maybe that is why I became a teacher. Maybe that is why being a mom has been my biggest dream.
I try not to get blinded by the love. I want to support my daughter and help her develop the skills that will take her running from me and into her future. I want to teach her to be a good person as well as a good student. I want her to question and love with out boundaries.
She cannot do any of this with out love.
So today, I beg you, love your kids. Put your phone down when they are around. Look them in the eye. Put a damn pair of socks on them before they leave for kindergarten. Maybe then you would see the blisters on their feet, the cracked open sores, the love in their eyes when you notice them: this is the case for mothering.
*photo by Misty Crites