What we, as mothers, must remember

String Around Finger

I recently spoke with two seasoned mothers who had asked what we do here at Power of Moms.  After I gave them a basic overview, one of the mothers said,  “I should tell my sister about this.  She’s going through a hard time right now with two young children.  She feels like she’s trapped.  She doesn’t enjoy motherhood, and she calls me, crying, all the time.”

The three of us then started talking about how we remember those days.  They were incredibly difficult, lonely, and exhausting.

You remember, don’t you?

“Yes, but pretty soon you’re out of it,” one of the moms replied casually, “and your life gets busy, and you just forget.”

I thought about that for a moment, and then I said, “But see, that’s why we started Power of Moms. Because when we were struggling through those early years, we promised ourselves we would never forget.”

Now, this website isn’t just for new moms. It’s for deliberate moms–which includes all of us. But whether we’re on the younger side or the older side, there are certain aspects of motherhood that we must remember–for the sake of the mothers who are coming next.

Here are a few:

  • Recognizing that our bodies are too weak to keep up with our hearts. Whether it’s because of morning sickness, health problems, or sheer exhaustion from being up every hour of the night, it often feels impossible to garner the strength to teach the co-op preschool, host guests for dinner, squeeze in three hours of work, and wash six loads of laundry (among hundreds of other little things).
  • Leaving our doctor’s office feeling like a failure because, after explaining to her that we’re hoping to get pregnant with a second child–but we’re not sure why we’re feeling so discouraged and tired, she chastens us with, “I can’t believe you’re even considering having another baby when you clearly can’t handle the one you have.”
  • Putting on a black t-shirt (the last clean one) so we can take 10 days’ worth of clothes to the laundromat, and then looking down to see that the baby we’ve been carrying has spit up all over the place.
  • Finding ourselves wearing our “exercise clothes” at 11pm for two (or three) days in a row–having never actually exercised.
  • Living on a student budget and buying only what’s absolutely necessary–and then finding out from the pediatrician that our premature baby needs a monthly shot that will cost $1200 a month out of pocket.
  • Often feeling that we’re letting someone down (our children, our friends, our spouse, our extended family), but we’re spread so thin that we have no idea what more we can do.
  • Wanting desperately for a few moments to think, but one child is pounding on the piano, two others are fighting over who gets the purple jump rope, and another is complaining that there is nothing fashionable in her closet.
  • Trying to console our child who hadn’t been included in the social schedule of the “popular kids” while simultaneously calculating shipping costs for the Lego Ninjago set our son has saved his money to buy and chopping celery and carrots for the soup we know at least two of our children won’t want to eat.
  • Scrolling through Instagram during a quiet moment on a bad day and wondering why everyone else seems to achieve happiness and success so easily.
  • Trying. Really trying. But feeling like we’re not even getting close to who we want to be.

There are certainly beautiful aspects of motherhood–enough to more than counteract the types of situations I’ve listed above. However, when we gloss over the heart-wrenching stuff and focus only on what is glorious, the mothers who are waist-deep in that heart-wrenching stuff think that they are alone.

So this post is a rally cry, if you will, to all deliberate mothers who want to join with us–who want to take care of the mothers who are daily joining our ranks.

Don’t know where to start?  Here are some suggestions:

(1) Think about your life with a broader perspective.

A shift in thought is a powerful thing. Instead of lamenting the multiple daily challenges, pay close attention to what’s happening.  When you read a great motherhood book, think about which ideas you could share with those who won’t have the time to read it. Notice where you struggle. Notice those sticky points in your day. Identify places where you did a great job–and the places where you could have done better.  Breathe in your life, surrender to motherhood, soak in your family.  Each day when you wake up, think, “How can I live this day so it really matters?”

(2) Record the details of motherhood.

The specifics of our lives are going to fade away, but the power lies in the details. And whether you’re recording quick voice memos on your phone to document the madness, writing down two or three words on a journal page that will remind you of a story, capturing photos of events that would typically not be photo-worthy, making videos of the not-so-glamorous parts of your family life, or jotting down ideas on Post-it notes that you can gather into a file folder, recording the details is the way we’re going to convince the next generation that we know what we’re talking about–and that we know how to help them get through it.

(3) Share your motherhood strength. 

When you figure out something that improves your motherhood experience, reach out and share it with someone who might benefit from your wisdom.  It has never been easier to make your voice heard: email, YouTube, podcasts, blogs, social networks…or simple discussions with other moms at the park, at work, or in your Learning Circle.

And if there’s something you love here at Power of Moms, pass it on. You can forward the link to a friend or post it in a place where other moms can find it.

There are a million ways to share.

The biggest lie is that you don’t have anything to contribute. Of course you do. Every mom does.

It’s just that in this world of ours, the loudest, most pervasive voices are typically the ones who do not value motherhood. And that MUST change.

Tell me if you see it another way, but what is clear to me is that it is our responsibility, as a worldwide community of deliberate mothers, to live our lives for more than just our own families.  It’s our job to help take care of each other. Because, honestly, if we don’t, who will?

Sometimes it might seem overwhelming, but isn’t it exciting to know that the work we do–in the midst of our own family chaos–has a deeper purpose? Isn’t it powerful to think that even though our present experiences might be harder than we ever imagined, we can ease the burdens of the mothers coming next? And isn’t it comforting to realize that even when everything in the news seems to indicate that “the sky is falling,” the united efforts of a devoted group of mothers can have such a huge influence?

When I look at the deliberate mothers of the world, I see hope. You are beautiful, hard-working, courageous women whose examples strengthen me every day.  And that is something I certainly will never forget.

QUESTIONS: What is one hard thing you have had to go through? How has encouragement from other mothers personally benefited you?

CHALLENGE: Look at the suggestions included above and take a minute to seriously consider one thing you can do to help another mother.

 

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