Redefining Mother

I wrote this post a couple of years ago when I was coming out of the cocoon of what I now call “the Surrender years” of motherhood.

That intense time of parenting young children in an attached and attuned way.

Since there is a 9 year span between my oldest and my youngest (with the middle child coming smack in between), I was in the cauldron of caring for beings 5 and under for 14 years.

As they grew, I was able to grow as well, and my definition of how to mother well began to breathe & evolve.

Here are my reflections on that:

. . . . . .

It used to be so simple.

Or was it?

Give all. Surrender. Attune. Say Yes.

Give widely. Soften. Be a Good Mother.

Bring sweetness. Bring Generosity. Your time will come. Just not yet.

Breastfeed as long as they want.

Sleep with them as long as they desire your tender, warm presence next to them in the darkness.

If you feel resistance, that is on YOU to change…not them, not the situation, not your partner, not the world. Only you.

You have the power to change your perspective.

This is your mission.

So that you may become more giving, more patient, more loving.

Expand the limits of what you thought was possible.

Let go more. Become more boundless and wide open.

Expand beyond the container that you thought you once were. This is your polishing.

This is motherhood as a spiritual path. This selfless, no-self motherhood.

Or is it?

What if the answer to the koan is more complex than that?

Or perhaps this stage in my ripening is calling for a new answer to this age old motherhood koan.

The same Zen cliche to let go of your small self and Accept All As Is is now getting me a scowl and rung out.

(if you live in a Zen temple this is what happens when you give the wrong answer to a koan in your one-on-one interview with the teacher)

What about the yearning in me? My soul? The part of me that longs to be mothered, to be given space, to dance, to be free, to follow my impulses.

If I don’t give that to myself, no one else will give it to me.

Isn’t this my own precious spirit, calling to me, urging me, to listen to Her, to care for Her, to be loving, patient, and generous with Her?

For this is Her life too, and she longs more than anything to live fully, to feel connected, to explore and express many aspects of her being beyond the realm of selfless caretaker.

That role has had much to teach me yes.

I have listened and learned and sacrificed and felt in my veins the beauty of surrender there.

But that is one archetype alone and to limit myself to that repeating lesson would be to remain small.

To lead a life not fully lived.

What if the answer now is more nuanced, more layered. Requiring me to be more in the moment, more discerning, more fierce, born anew.

This grand rebirthing of mySelf.

My connection to Her and all the possibilities that brings, which includes my spirit and theirs

nurturing of all aspects of all of our beings, dancing together, all of us finding new steps, new swirls, new leading roles, new surrenders.

I am here for this evolution, for this inner redefinition of Mother.

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