Years ago I was told “your identity is sooo wrapped up in being a Mother“. I was told that my children would one day grow up and what would I be left with if I spent these years focusing on them. This isn’t the first time I have been told something along these lines. Over the years I have been told:
- You shouldn’t help her fall asleep like that (breastfeeding, cuddling, insert any loving responsive way of helping a child ease peacefully into sleep).
- She doesn’t need to breastfeed all the time.
- You need to put her down.
- You shouldn’t co-sleep.
- You really need to stop breastfeeding.
- You’re going to want to put them in school so you can get your life back!
- You can’t be a stay-at-home-Mom, you need to get a real job.
- Aren’t you bored being a stay-at-home-Mother?
- You can’t keep them home, you need to get a life.
- This world is harsh, they need to learn this now.
I could go on but I’m sure you get the point and I’m sure you could add to this list as well. Many of these words were spoken to me by other women. Other Mothers. I’ve written before about how when I became a Mother I was in the midst of: mourning my Mother’s passing, had just been married, moved into our new home, dealing with estate issues with my Mothers Trust, my Father was dying and our toxic relationship. There was A LOT going on. I was a new Mother who had spent 41 weeks preparing to birth our daughter at home though had not prepared myself at all for what comes after. Mothering. Motherhood.
I transitioned into Motherhood about as seamlessly as you could imagine with all the externals happening around me at the time, all the major changes happening in my life. Despite all the pain and noise, I heard and listened to my instincts. I knew a home birth was what we needed. I began to listen to the fact that breastfeeding on demand was not only what she wanted but was the absolute best thing for her and me. Co-sleeping was natural and beautiful and I couldn’t imagine putting her in another room and I definitely could not leave her to “cry it out”. I loved wearing her on my back all the time and despite being told otherwise continued to do so. So many of the practices parents engage in today are horrendous, cruel and set the stage for their relationship with their children and the foundation of their children’s self worth. We need to name it for what it is.
When I was told that my identity is so wrapped up in being a Mother I was taken aback. I was shocked that these words would be spoken to me at all and especially by anther Mother. I was confused… why wouldn’t my identity be wrapped in being a Mother? I didn’t say anything, I just listened. One day my children will go and what will be left if my identity is wrapped up in being a Mother?
I reflected on her words after our conversation ended, I did not judge her for saying what she did. I understand that many feel this way. I did not hold her in disregard. When I spent time reflecting on her words and considering what she said to be true I realized yes, my identity is wrapped up in being a Mother. I do not see this as a negative. I did feel sad though for those who see Motherhood this way. That being wrapped up in being a Mother is seen as a negative, that somehow this was preventing me from being me.
You see… I view Motherhood as a Sacred path. I see it as the highest honour, the greatest gift and the greatest responsibility and a beautiful art form of living. One where if we listen, we can reclaim our intuition, our power, our knowing. It is an opportunity to heal and become the absolute best versions of ourselves. I know part of my healing and my path as a Mother is to help other Women heal. To help lift this idea of Motherhood back to its rightful place as the Sacred work it truly is.
I do not see it as a chore or a side gig. I do not outsource my parenting to the local school and those employed there. I do not feel children need to go to daycare six months after they are born so I can get my life back. I don’t feel the need to go out with the girls to have a few drinks so I can relax and get away from the kids. There is no place I would rather be than home with my children.
Why am I writing this? Is it to shame those who do not feel this way? No. Of course not. Is it to help those who feel similarly though feel not so solid in their decisions because most of the world will try to tell them they are making wrong choices? Absolutely.
We’ve heard enough of the programming that has told Women our only value is in the work force. We’ve heard enough of the programming that says your child needs to go to school or else they won’t learn how to read or they won’t be able to socialize. We’ve heard enough of the programming that says if you are a stay-at-home-Mother you are not contributing to society. We’ve heard enough of the programming that being barefoot and pregnant is shitty. We’ve heard enough of the programming that nurturing a loving home where our children have healed parents, have a peaceful environment to learn and grow is seen as a lesser choice than shipping them off to be raised by strangers in the schooling system. We’ve heard enough of the programming that says because you are home, attentive, focused on your children it means that your identity is so wrapped up in being Mother as if this is a negative way to raise our children and to live.
These last number of years I have been helping other Women heal; the one aspect, the one core wound we all share is: lack of self worth. This really is the most foundational wound we all carry and it informs all aspects of our lives from our relationships with our selves, our children, our partners, our careers, our pursuits, our creativity, our spirituality. It all comes down to self worth.
Now if this is what holds most people in emotional and mental chains, preventing them from becoming actualized adults whom are healed, preventing them from becoming their absolute greatest most magnificent selves… would we then not look to our children and do our absolute greatest to ensure we provide the very thing they need to thrive: their self worth? How do we do this? We wrap ourselves up in the vital role we are to them and be all that it entails. We offer them the absolute foundation of knowing they are worthy of all that we are meant to be for them. If this is what being wrapped up in Motherhood is, I am grateful I heard to call.
Parenting is not a part time job. Despite what has been fed to us and to our Mothers this past century. If you choose to keep your children home to learn, if you choose to co-sleep, wear your child on your back all day long, breastfeed on demand… know you are doing incredibly and your child is so very blessed to have you.
One day yes, my children will be off exploring the world in their own unique and beautiful ways and I will continue to be me. Mother, Priestess, Mentor and Guide. I will write my books, hold my sacred ceremonies, paint, laugh, dance and enjoy my life. Just as I do now.
The greatest gift I have been given is to be a Mother. My children have given me the opportunity to become the most amazing version of myself and for that I owe them everything.