A Guest Blogger for OMG Parenting has this to say about motherhood….
Mixed emotions accompany the topic of motherhood. Motherhood is a beautiful, challenging responsibility, unique to women, and unique to each woman’s experience. Mothers are any and every type of woman: young, uneducated, poor, successful, well-off, supported, single, seasoned, professional, natural, adopted, powerful, utterly helpless, and alone. There is no single time, place or circumstance in which it’s ideal to become a mother, and on the other hand, motherhood rarely is inappropriate. It’s always welcome and yet always inconvenient. It’s a journey that is not only unique to each individual woman who is called “mother,” but it is unique in each manifestation.
Regardless of circumstances, however, there are some universals regarding motherhood, which, I believe, are shared experiences of all women who undertake the journey. One of them is that motherhood changes us. In fact, I think that the changes which take place in the spirit and mind of women during the journey of motherhood can be a saving grace.
Here are some ways in which I believe motherhood “saves” us.
Motherhood saves us from selfishness. Every mother knows that from the very instant they are born, we are that child’s total and complete source for life. It’s amazing to me when I remember my sons as newborns, and the strength that would just come to awaken in the middle of the night, even having had no sleep for 20 hours or so, to feed, change, or comfort. Yes, that time is a crucible. It truly is and I don’t know even one woman who, on her journey of motherhood, hasn’t cried out for help, even quietly within her own spirit as she, exhausted, scared, overwhelmed, alone has held a newborn in the middle of the night and realized that she is the sole protector of that life. It’s a heavy load; too heavy, in fact, and the crushing weight of it does indeed crush, even to the point of destruction. But the incredible weight of that demand destroys not will, or strength, or hope, or love, it destroys the powerful lie that we must have our own, often petty, needs met. Like lavender pulverized and pressed, enduring the weight of the demands of motherhood produces within us a potent salve that heals, soothes and provides fragrance and sweetness for all of those around us to enjoy and benefit from. We are no longer needy, self-absorbed, demanding. Instead, we become self-assured, selfless and sweetly giving.
Thankfully, mercifully, the crushing pressure of motherhood almost utterly and completely destroys selfishness, leaving in it’s place the strength to serve and the power to love.
I believe that motherhood saves us from constrained, narrow thinking. Beyond just the need to create silly, distracting fun with a paper bag on a rainy day, motherhood forces us to look creatively upon the world with eyes of hope, seeing the good in the people and situations around us, because we MUST. We begin to view the world as a place we will release our precious treasure into, and the overwhelming urge to make it a better place pushes us out of ingrained patterns of thought, routine, judgments, apathy, and negativity. It preserves our humanity and or concern for the world as a whole.
Motherhood saves us from simply pointing a finger at the wrongness of things declaring, “someone change that,” and it allows us the great honor of owning what’s wrong or deficient within our own sphere, and realizing the power within our own tender hearts to enact change for the better in some small way.
Finally, motherhood saves us from losing the battle for relevance. The hand that rocks the cradle really does rule the world. The attitude our children have towards this world, towards their own abilities, towards their own lives, towards the value of others, is primarily the attitude we impart. When we observe the warp and woof of the extremes within our world, it’s so easy to feel helpless, utterly disconnected and inconsequential to even have a voice, let alone make a difference. But like a warrior on the battlefield who garners strength knowing that they will stand their ground because they must, in the role of mother, we stand; The responsibility of being mother, provides that inner voice to remind us, “someone is counting on you, someone is looking to you, some small, small, person with big watching eyes looks out upon a scary and overwhelming world and sees peace, hope, love, and safety because their view of the world is through the rose-colored shield of YOU.”
With a smile, a positive attitude, a hopeful outlook, we soldier on knowing that our influence DOES make a difference, we HAVE purpose and a place, we win the battle, reassured of our own relevance.
Motherhood regulates, saving us from extremes, from apathy, from feeling impotent, and from being stuck in a selfish, narrow outlook on the world. As we submit to the ever-changing demands and process of motherhood, we are taught, slowly and gently, that everything really is going to be alright. We recognize that the world is so so so bad, but realize that it’s also really not so so so bad. There are bright places that we find, and as we notice and consider the dark places that we’re afraid of, we are motivated to venture there in order to bring some light, for the purpose of making them better. It preserves our dignity as a female, and the important role we play in “keeping” those around us with tenderness, patience, gentleness, and understanding, in a world that otherwise has no time for such things.
If we allow it, motherhood motivates us to make the world just a little bit better, and in doing so, motherhood saves us.
Written by Robyn Rinberger – a wife, a mother, and the principal consultant for a mid-sized marketing and PR firm in the US. She lives with her husband and her three sons in Florida. She can be reached for comments at @ on Twitter. Or email OMG Parenting at ns@OMGparenting.com and comments will be forwarded to her.