Mothers Day

Joni, via her lovely Dad, bought me some lovely presents and brought me breakfast in bed. Perfect.

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I have been reading lots of tweets today about how grateful people are for their Mother and about how it is ‘the hardest job in the world’ – i’m not sure about that, I’ve never been a slave, worked in a mine or tried to be a parent where there is disease, no water and no food. But I do agree – it is hard, sometimes very hard. I feel like I’ve felt things since becoming a parent that I have never felt before and I have levels of resilience and perseverance that I couldn’t have imagined before. Also the love – love like no other love. Indescribable in fact.

I have read ‘What Mothers Do – especially when it looks like nothing’ by Naomi Stadlen this year. It has been such an interesting and comforting book and all Mums should read it. Especially if you’ve recently had a baby.

Honestly the whole book is worth a read, I find help, inspiration and comfort in every chapter. Recently three parts have stood out to me though.

Firstly, about the relationship a child has with their mother. This is one of the main themes of the book and what stood out to me was how powerful the relationship is between a mother and her child. Whether its a good or bad relationship. In fact the author goes as far as to say that this is the most powerful relationship in anyone’s life. I am beginning to understand what this means. The more I think about my relationship with my Mum, and the relationships that my friends and family have with their mums the more I agree. I am choosing to see this as an exciting challenge. One which, to some degree, I am going to fail at – no one can be a perfect parent for a life time. No one can fully understand what their child needs or predict how their character will develop and respond accordingly. But, to think I will be one of the most influential people in my children’s lives is exciting and challenging and a privilege.

Secondly, about the idea of worrying.

“The most motherly achievements are often written off as failures. ‘Worrying’ is a good example. Most mothers worry. But what is a mother actually doing when she is worrying? If, for instance, her baby won’t stop crying, she may do some energetic thinking. She can listen and watch him crying, putting aside her own assumptions. She can try to ‘enter into’ how he feels. She may try to match up his behaviour with explanations she has read. She may dredge up something she heard many years ago and had forgotten until this moment.

In other words her thinking may be quick and wide ranging, and work on several levels. She may end up with a fairly clear idea of why her baby is crying. Then she checks out this idea with someone and they tell her that she ‘must stop worrying so much’, as if all that careful thinking had been stupid. It’s only too easy to feel crushed and stupid by this kind of remark. But this is because the word ‘worry’ is normally used to suggest a pointless and repetitive way of thinking. A much more appreciative word is needed to honour intelligent motherly concern.” p19-21

This really resonated with me. I was so worried when Joni was ill before Christmas and I wasn’t taken seriously by the GP. But, I chose not to write it off as ‘pointless and repetitive thinking’. I got a second opinion and I’m so glad I did – it turns out she needed to be treated in hospital. My instinct was right.

The third part of this book that stuck with me was the epilogue: Circles of Mothers. This is about the bond mothers have when they confide in each other, share with each other and understand one another. Motherhood, especially for the first time with a new baby, is powerful. It has changed me completely. I feel like my personality had been enriched and my priorities have shifted beyond measure. To be able to share this time with other mothers is precious and should be treasured. The author describes how mothers ‘form themselves into a kind of containing basket’ around a vulnerable mother. I have seen this and I have felt that support when I’ve needed it.

I really cannot recommend this book highly enough – it is essential reading and I could go on and on about bits that stand out to be as important or interesting or comforting.

I must admit that I haven’t been able to read the chapter ‘snapping at my partner’ yet … I really should. I’m a little afraid of the home truths.

So, Happy Mothers Day to all mothers, I hope you get lots of cuddles and love from your child/ren and tonight that you get lots of sleep!

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