Wisdom for Mother’s Day…and beyond

With Mother’s Day approaching, I’ve been thinking a lot about the role of being a mom: to nurture, to guide, to support, to feed, to teach. Years ago as a new mom I looked to books, pediatricians,  mom-and-baby groups, and Grandmas for advice and wisdom, making sure I was doing all the “right” things. Some of the tried-and-true practices and theories were very helpful at the time (only to change a few years later – exactly what is the right side to put a baby to sleep: back/side/belly???). Some of the advice was contradictory: “You should be harder on them” vs. “You shouldn’t be so hard on them”. Some of the advice was judgemental: “I can’t believe you let him get away with that” and some of the advice felt plain wrong: “It’s just one beer…”. Some of the guidance was invaluable: “Let them BE”.

Trusting in your own wisdom as a mom is so important, and requires you to take a good look at yourself. If you want your children to be happy, you must be that yourself. If you want your children to be free from anxiety, stop worrying so much yourself. If you want your children to be independent, confident, and content, let them do for themselves/be themselves/find themselves and do the same for YOURSELF. Be willing to let them go…

For some moms, Mother’s Day is a hard day. Dealing with loss, no matter how recent or how far in the past, it tugs at our maternal heart-strings. Perhaps this is the day to let it tug, to let yourself go there, to feel your loss, to release your sorrow, and to then take another step forward. Perhaps it’s a day to lift your heart to the sky and take a full breath for YOU. Some of us other mothers will be silently sending out energy, giving you support…because that’s what we do as moms…

Now as my sons are “grown up” and creating their own paths, I could not be more proud. Not because of what I’ve done for them, but because of what they are doing for themselves. I feel like my arms are opening wider, spreading out a huge blanket of love and support, giving space for them to grow. This Mother’s Day, I celebrate THEM, for teaching me to love and live.

“OPEN YOUR ARMS WIDE”

Wise parents do not strive,

yet their purposes never fail.

They are available,

but never interfere.

They communicate,

but never lecture.

They let their children go,

but never lose them.

These parents are like the Tao

They open wide their hearts and hands,

yet never lose a thing.

If I grasp my children and my other treasures,

I will have only what my arms can hold.

And even that slips through my grasp.

But the wider I have opened my arms,

the more and more I find.

If I can ever open wide,

I will have everything.

(from “The Parent’s Tao Te Ching”, William Martin; 1999, De Capo Press)

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