Motherhood – the state of being a mother.
This is the definition of motherhood offered by most dictionaries. This is a rather thin and ambiguous description, yet I think it speaks to the fact that there is no universal definition or experience of motherhood. And so if there is no universal definition or experience of motherhood, why do we seem to be striving for one?
Motherhood is a personal journey and experience between a mother and her child/children. These personal journeys are rarely celebrated as the unique experiences they are. There is a sadness connected to this, because I think it contributes to a lost opportunity to appreciate difference.
Liberating information – or limiting?
Perhaps one of the reasons why personal journeys are not celebrated is the plethora of information available to people in the modern world. There is an endless supply of information on how best to do things, suggestions of how ‘real’ mothers look and implications about how if you are doing things a certain way then you are falling short. While it can be liberating to have access to so much information these days; and it can be comforting to know there are others experiencing similar situations, I can’t help feel it is also limiting. I think it limits us from the ability decide for ourselves what is useful and not useful. I think it limits us from experiencing the experience – from being present in the moment. It leaves us chasing all kinds of ideas and steps that many not fit with what we actually want to focus on in this journey, but we feel obliged to do because others have said it’s what works. It is great if it has worked for them, but it may not work for everyone and that should not leave one feeling like a failure.
Motherhood is not all pretty and perfect. You will never be the person you were, and perhaps you shouldn’t be. Your personal journey and experience will define what motherhood means for you. How can you embrace this journey? How can you support yourself through the not so good times? How can we begin to celebrate motherhood everyday instead of just one day a year? How would you define your motherhood, and how does that definition influence your journey and experience?
I would like to honour all mothers who are trying to figure it all out, one day at time, one mess at a time, and one victory at time. May you experience the blessing in it all.