Mother’s Day and my youngest daughter, Lara, turning thirTEEN this month have me reflecting on my parenting journey.
I am lucky enough to have an extraordinary woman as my own mother. Like all of us, her mothering story has not been without turbulence (some created by her, some by me and my sister). I think what smooths out all the bumps in the road is I always knew she loved me.
Like her, I am fiercely devoted to my daughters. They honor, humble, teach, delight, and (I won’t lie) horrify me daily. During a study of world religions in elementary school, my oldest daughter, Sage, came home and said, “I know what religion you are, Mom.” (Though a spiritual person, we do not attend church, so I was curious to hear her thoughts on the matter.) “You believe in love and mothering,” she decreed. I was grateful she knew that truth.
If you know me in person, you know I am a very involved parent. I fear the girls’ teachers groan inwardly when they see me approaching. I know the girls groan when I ask my tenth question of the day! And recently my sweet Lara, gently suggested I stop being quite so hovering in my parenting. I asked her what I was to do with all my extra love and energy. “Love yourself,” she wisely advised.
Was she the first person to ever tell me this? Of course not. Is it super powerful to have your child, whom you’ve been pouring your love and attention on tell you this? It was for me.
I am thoroughly enjoying the taking-care-of-myself phase I am entering. After decades of nurturing others, I must say, I am quite the accomplished nurturer. And after decades of ignoring my own wants/needs it feels quenching to have those depleted parts of me tended to.
Reminding myself there is value in pointing out my inevitable mistakes and the steps I am taking to remedy them; I apologized to the girls for setting such a poor example of self-care. I urged them not to follow in my footsteps, but to maintain their own well-being even when there are important people in their lives that they want to show care to.
Like me and my lovely mother before me, my kind-hearted girls are not going to be the mythical “perfect mother”. They might not even chose to be mothers. However, I think that if love flows through their intentions in their relationships with others, I will have imparted the philosophy of love that is so important to me.
Happy Mother’s Day and LOVE
to all the mamas and care-givers
past, present, and future!