I’m a mother. Always wanted to be a mother. At 8 years old I loved wheeling my cousin Bruce in his carriage around the neighborhood, looking after him, pretending he was my baby. That’s just the way it was. After Bruce, there were more cousins to take care easing into babysitting at 11 years old on through high school. College, marriage at 21, and first child at 25. And oh my, I wanted lots of babies. My words and thoughts were “have lots of babies” rather than “raise a lot of children.” Guess I hadn’t really thought that all through in my young adulthood. That I could get pregnant and have a baby was such a relief for me after all, and this is very bizarre, I’d been told as a young girl that I shouldn’t masturbate as I might not be able to have children -REALLY? Scare tactics to say the least. And as a teenager the hypo-thyroid diagnosis and treatment was according to one doctor a reason I might not get pregnant. My goodness – talk about stress and intense motivating factors. Five pregnancies and 3 grown children later and looking in the rear-view mirror, the effects of motherhood on all levels -physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual portend megabytes of data to fill this blog. All in good time.
What’s my point? Getting there folks. To say I was a militant mom with one-way thinking about what was right for my children – a most accurate, crippling but accurate statement. Example: Younger me running and screaming in robe and slippers after a five-year-old as he ran down the street to catch the school bus NOT wearing the outfit I, the mother who was trying to control everything in raising him, had laid out for him to wear (buster brown shoes and knee socks with short pants) but rather what he felt comfortable wearing (blue jeans and a collared shirt). Didn’t catch him. Me, red faced with anger and heart pounding, lacing my coffee with a shot of whiskey while talking to my great neighbor Becky who heard the yelling called to check on me. “Everything OK over there? “Followed by, “Choose your battles Judy, choose your battles.” I didn’t want to hear this. Of course, I wanted to be right! Was it me or just a different time? Me. It was all me and a tad of the times. Like I said raising children offers endless opportunities to change thinking and alter behavior. For the good that is and especially on the way towards unconditional acceptance.
We seem to emphasize Mother’s Love as unconditional. I don’t think that comes naturally, but rather learned and accepted over time – for me as I raised my children and realized that I had to give up control, accept them as they were with their own special soul’s purpose, and start to live in the grays of life – gradually it became a feeling I could trust and call on to just be – Unconditional Love.
I don’t think I even had the daily psychological jargon or words to express how to love someone unconditionally. The concept of talking about feelings in the 1970’s was just reaching the masses. When you live from an anger or fear response to all that happens to you, you are miserable, wreaking havoc on your body. Give it up! First, choose an inner goal to strive for – as in “I want to be more peaceful, more loving, kinder, gentler with myself” – there are many. Then start to change your thinking about everything in your daily life. Fear and Love cannot exist is the same moment. Live in the moment choosing to feel peace, love, acceptance. Those are qualities we all carry within us. The anger and fear will diminish greatly and retreat from the center of focus. Peace and loving kindness fill its place.
Now you are mothering yourself, nurturing your own imperfections, wounds, and hurts. Unconditional love is a state of being. Motherhood helped me get there and that continuing journey is enough material for a rather large book. Perhaps down the road. Blessings to all mothers and to motherhood! It is amazing to be someone’s mother and to learn how to nurture and mother yourself.