As soon as the world finds out that you are with child, you become pregnant with lots of other people’s words, comments, thoughts, and advice.
Some advice is welcome, and honestly many are not. After a few uninvited and unhelpful conversations, I felt exhausted. I remember thinking, “I didn’t sign up for this! After all, I thought it was just me and my husband having this baby!”
The reality is that words can put a lot of unnecessary burdens on us and can cause our minds and emotions to spin. I think we all struggle, to some degree, with keeping our opinions to ourselves. I think we also struggle, to some degree, with becoming easily offended. So, being mindful of this “two-sided coin” is really important as we journey through parenthood and that really applies to all areas of life.
With all that said, I want to briefly touch on the art of mothering the mother in Western society.
In a day, age and culture when information (past and present) is at our very fingertips, we are becoming less and less likely to learn from and lean in on our relationships. In one sense, we have so much privilege. Parents today have access to a wealth of knowledge and advice. It is so readily available, but what unintended outcomes are we reaping? What are we missing out on? Ponder that for a moment.
It wasn’t so long ago, in our culture, that mothers were learning about becoming mothers from the generations of women in their lives. Women knew how to birth, how to care for a newborn, how to raise their children from the “apprenticeship” of their grandmothers, mothers, aunts, and sisters.
Though there is not one single way to learn how to be a mother, we must stay mindful of the fact that we are missing out on some beautiful moments. If we only rely upon books and the world-wide web for our best mothering advice.
“There is not one single way to learn how to be a mother…”
I think as we enter motherhood, what I’m hearing from other mothers, is that we long to be teachable and we long to be taught. But not from a stranger, not from the acquaintances we meet at various mom groups, and not from the internet. We want to learn from the women we are closest to. Can you imagine the richness, the bonds, the encouragement, the support that these close relationships had to offer? I think we can not only imagine it, but that we do get to taste it a bit; it’s not a tradition that we have completely lost, yet.
This generation of mothers needs to hold on. We need to find that balance between relationship building and internet researching. Let’s not lose the art of mothering the mother. My hope is that we can begin to seek counsel and mothering skills more from the women whom we are closest to rather than finding it in a Google search or asking Siri, because the well-being of the mother and that of her children depend upon those relationships.
To illustrate my point, in all honesty, I did a lot of my learning from reading the literature on pregnancy, newborn care, postpartum, and mothering; sure I got the information, however, my best and most influential pieces of mothering advice and learning came from my own mother, my mother in law, and from close and very dear friends who were already mothers. The experience of learning from them gave me confidence, reassurance, and encouragement that no other source could.
One of the most encouraging and preparatory heart to hearts came through a simple phrase:
“Just remember, the days are long and the years are short.”
We are told over and over how fast time flies by. How quickly our children will grow. And it’s not that we don’t believe it, but really, when it’s only 10am and you are in the “trenches” day after day of dirty diapers, tantrums, and toddler demands, even a few hours can feel like forever. Some days I just don’t know how I’m going to make it and keep everyone happy….I mean alive!
The reason this phrase has been so good and has stuck with me, is the validation I’ve received from it. When I recall the truth of this phrase, it’s like I’m joining hands with all the other mothers around the world and breathing encouragement into all of our hearts. It’s another way of saying,
“Yeah, I see you. I see how hard you are working. You are flexing patience like a warrior. I see you doing your best even when it’s hard. I can see your fierce love and it’s not in vain. You are right, the days ARE long, but you know that these YEARS are going by so fast. So choose to cherish as much as you can.”
I’m forever grateful for the women who have invested in me as a mother. Please, don’t miss the opportunity to have the same investment and advice in your life!
If you’re tired of all the advice, of all the parenting articles, books, and blogs, just go ask the woman who makes you feel most like a mother.
Be sure to join us in our social media accounts to be up to date with the progress of our project!
And… Don’t forget to share your brelfies using our hashtag
Latest posts by Paige Christian (see all)
- What You Should Know About the Perfection Plague Ruining our Motherhood - April 28, 2017
- Are You Tired of all the Mothering Advice? - April 13, 2017
- Mama, This is Why it’s Absolutely OK to Cry - March 30, 2017