A Mother; Remembering

These last two weeks have been a doozy. The demands of motherhood pulled me almost violently into my body. The baby was sick. Then I was sick with the baby. Then Adam was sick with the baby and I. Then I had a crippling toothache and eventually had 3 teeth removed (wisdom teeth are no joke you guys-- I'm swollen and uncomfortable at the moment). And then the baby continued being sick. And then my oldest son was sick for 3 days. My 34th birthday was thrown in there, but it was a blur of vomit and toothaches and Frozen 2 on repeat. There was nurturing, holding and taking care of their small bodies and also the mountains of chores-- so much cleaning and laundry and cooking. There has been little time for anything else.

Of course, this all happened just after I finished an Herbal Farming course at the Women's Environmental Institute, and had drafted up several blog post ideas and had sessions booked out. And. And. And. There has been a repeated pattern that as soon as I begin to focus on things outside of my parenting duties, I am directed in one way or another to focus on my family. It's simultaneously frustrating and humbling. I admit, as I watched the days blow by at speeds unrecognizable and my mental check-list of personal goals fell away into nothingness, I felt a bit frustrated. There was a sadness there, but I'm not sure how much of it was rooted in truth & how much of it was a trick of the enemy to cultivate doubt (but that's for another post.) I don't want to fall into the trap that if I am not working on projects consistently outside of the home that I am somehow not doing enough because taking care of the family is the most important work! We are rooting strong families. which are the cornerstones of a strong and healthy society. It is the highest calling and a sacred duty. The mothers are shaping the next generation.

Let's be honest, mothers are superheroes. This is not easy work. It can be emotionally depleting and downright exhausting. Luckily, before the last 2 weeks from heck happened,I had begun a new morning mantra:

Let my patience be bigger than the push.

I was sitting in church one morning and the words came into my heart and I scribbled it quickly into my journal. Little did I know that I would be repeating it over and over to myself between long, deep breaths:

*inhale* Let my patience be bigger than the push. *exhale*

*inhale* Let my patience be bigger than the push. *exhale*

*inhale* Let my patience be bigger than the push. *exhale*

Have you ever held a crying baby in one arm while vomiting into a toilet? I have. I would definitely not recommend it, but whoa, that requires so much patience. Spending the night in the living-room, alternating between throwing up with the baby while your partner is also throwing up and then not sleeping, getting up at 5:50 A.M. and to get 3 kids out the door, lunches and all takes a lot patience when one of them doesn't quite understand that Mommy isn't feeling well. I remember when the toothache began, the white hot pain that knocked me to my knees while I was doing dishes. The baby started crying and my daughter kept repeating, "Can I have some juice?"

*inhale* Let my patience be bigger than the push. *exhale*

I don't yell at my kids. I have a pretty laid-back household for the most part. I am often teased about being a "free-range parent". Ha. Don't get me wrong, I can lay down the law and be firm: but screaming, fits, angry outbursts? That's not my style. We tend to just go with the flow around here. But, wow-- I had moments over the last 2 weeks where I was close to losing it.

And just as my patience thinning from exhaustion, my sister-in-law, Paige, shared this quote from Dorothy Canfield Fisher and it lit up my soul:

Mother is a verb. It's something you do. Not just who you are.

Whoa! 'Mother' is an action-word! Just like Love! Of course! This is something I knew inside to be the truest of trues but had never heard articulated. It felt like a heart-song. A tunnel of light opening. The wisdom I needed in the moment, the next line of the poem, the chorus to the song I had been stuck in my head all week. I remember messaging her a series of Thank you Thank you Thank you. Because, Lord, I was in the thick of it and I needed that very specific encouragement and focus.

Mother is a verb.

There are four children who call me 'Mom'. I moving into the embodiment stage of the archetypal mother. But!! I am also a mother; doing. Every step I take (every choice I maaaake -- ha, sorry. 10 points if you got the (poorly articulated) reference)-- whether it be to make homemade soup for the babies with stomach flu, or vacuum the floors, or run errands, or fold the laundry, or cancel the session, or not open my computer for 14 days, or forget to text back right away, or video-tape a dance routine for the 300th time for my daughter even though I am desperate for bed, or to keep showing up when I want to lock myself in my bedroom because I am on day 4 of 2 hours of sleep--I am doing the work of the mother continuously.

And it's done without much thought because these are things mothers do.

Motherhood is not a lifestyle choice, it is a life-long promise to hold and guide, it is the strongest soul-contract you can enter into and it is the purest love one will experience for another person. I have decided to absolutely take this seriously. So, when I say, Mothering comes first what I'm saying is that I vowed the moment I took these children’s lives into my womb that I would nurture & protect them during their most vulnerable years. If I cannot be present with someone, it’s because I am honoring my children. I am honoring motherhood. And, when we recognize that 'Mom' is an action-word, we are honoring that mothers are inherently doing and moving at all times. The work never stops. We aren't "just mothers"-- we are always mothering.

And when you're already always doing something-- there is no reason to feel guilty for all the things you aren't doing. So, while I have so much to offer outside of the home: I trust this season of my life and the timing of everything around me. They won't need me like this forever. One day I'm going to wake up and the house will be quiet. And I will be mothering in a different way, and I have a feeling I will miss not being able to pull them into my arms. So I'm going to enjoy every ounce of this precious time with them.


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