Every now and then, it appears that the world is conspiring to get my attention. Recently, I was forced to ponder many stories and images of motherhood. Here are a few of the synchronicities that converged during this time:
- Attended the wake and funeral for the mother of one of my best friends
- Met a darling young family just back from China after adopting their second child “Luke” – a special needs baby with a cleft palate
- Prepared for and presented a program to a group of Nannies for National Nanny Education Day
- Went through old scrapbook of family photos from 2 decades ago, marveling at how well I looked then remembering how exhausted I really was when those photos were taken.
- Had a phone call with a treasured babysitter Peggy, who loved my kids like her own and helped me balance life as a full time worker during my corporate years.
- Responded to a call for advice from one of my adult children.
- Pondered what more I might do to help my own mom (and my dad who cares for her) as she struggles with depression and signs of dementia
From all of the above, I found myself marveling at the many ways mothers and the spirit of motherhood change the world for the better. Mothers support, clean, cook, discipline, guide, mentor and nurture. They create a sense of safety, security and connection for their families. Perhaps the biggest wounds mankind suffers happen during moments when the mother is clearly absent, whether that absence means she’s fallen ill, abandoned a child, died, gone off to work, succumbed to depression or been compromised by alcohol or drugs.
In the very best case, other caring souls step in and seamlessly provide the love and action needed to fill the gap created by the missing mother. That certainly was the case when I found Peggy to care for my children, just as it is today with Luke’s adoptive mother. A genetic connection is unnecessary for successful mothering to occur. Men like my dad and husband step into the mother role too when duty calls.
The spirit of motherhood might be better defined as unconditional action and care from a place of love, for the benefit of another.
During my phone call with Peggy this week, I asked her if she might share some advice with the nannies in my audience on what she has learned from decades of serving families as a caregiver. After thinking for a moment, she said, “You know, I remember taking a stroller ride with my "daytime babies" on September 11, 2001, right after the plane hit the Pentagon. The day was hauntingly quiet. Not a single plane in the air. I found myself thinking, what would I do if I saw a plane falling toward us? I knew immediately. I would throw myself over those children and protect them like they were my own. Tell the nannies that!”
Yes, that’s my Peggy and why I still adore her all these years later. She is the spirit of motherhood, the antidote for the missing mother.
It takes a lot of energy to fill the role of mother and that too needs to be honored. When mothers make time for health, balance and positive connections in their lives, the world they nurture gets better too. Sometimes mothers go missing because they are worn out, tired, feeling unappreciated or have health challenges. I was a worn out mother for many years and it is such a relief that my kids seem to have turned out okay in spite of it. Clearly I did not raise them alone. My own mother helped watch my kids one day each week when they were little. I also had plenty of help from my husband. I will forever be grateful for that.
Energy Makeover, is a resource to help any weary mother get more out of each day. It is my sincere desire to put this book in to the hands of more mothers. If you know of any weary moms or grandmothers in need of a boost, let them know about the book. Hopefully someone will also offer to mind the kids so that mom has time to read it!
There’s a little mother in all of us. Look for ways to engage the spirit of motherhood in your daily life and support those weary mothers too. When we nurture ourselves and extend that same compassion to others, there is more energy for mothering, and a shining example for generations to come.