What is a mother? I've asked this question many times of myself in the last eight years, and had different answers at varying points along the journey. I know for sure that I am less self-centred since I became a mother, because motherhood is about sacrifice. It involves accessing love on a deeper level than you've ever known before, and giving of yourself even when you are sure you have nothing left to give.
It takes a long time to feel confident as a mother, or at least it did for me. I had to grow into it, like any new experience, and learn by making mistakes. The biggest thing that has helped me recently is fresh confidence that I am the best person to mother my kids. I know them better than anyone on the planet, and I am qualified to make choices for them based on who they are and what they need.
In our culture, we are in danger of information overload for almost everything, but particularly where it concerns our parenting. There is a book and a system for every kind of child and parent. Books and DVD's promise new kids in days if you try their proven method. We are told that spanking is wrong, and time-outs and consequences are right, but many of us feel overwhelmed and find that we have lost control of our own kids.
It seems as though I have become unplugged from my instincts as a mother, and in the attachment parenting course I've been attending, I've enjoyed navigating my way back to my own natural abilities as a mother, if I can simply put aside all of the "expert knowledge" I've received along the way. There is a natural power which lives inside of the parent-child relationship, provided we can access it and own it.
All moms love their kids, to the best of their ability, and as we get healthier within ourselves, our kids have the amazing opportunity to benefit from what we have learned. My renewed confidence in myself has helped my kids to feel stronger in their own identities, and that has been a beautiful process to watch, like a rose unfurling its petals in bloom.
Today I think of all of those who have longed to be mothers, and have not been able to be yet. Or those who have suffered the agony of losing a child through miscarriage, illness or death. And then there are moms who cannot be with their children all of the time due to work or divorce or other custody arrangements. I am grateful today that I have a daily relationship with my children, and for our health as a family unit, and for the many blessings we have received. I wish you all a Happy Mother's Day.