Courageous Mothering

Following are some thoughts after reading “Let Your Courage Emerge” (The Balanced Mom). These thoughts were written in five minute intervals between the words “Momma, come” …  “Momma, eat” … “Momma, play” … “Momma, help” … “Momma, read” … “Momma, cheese” … “Momma, milk” … “Momma, color” … “Momma, water” … and finally a meltdown over going outside to see a bird. And at one point WordPress ate the introductory paragraph which I do not have the time nor desire to attempt to recreate. It is gone now. What follows is a collection of scattered thoughts. … I rarely have time to write. I made time today. It did not feel courageous. I am inclined to throw out what I have written. But the morning’s efforts would seem wasted. This is my path. These are my struggles. And this is my attempt to stay in touch with my authentic self and to focus on what matters in this world.  

Courageous mothering is living our lives authentically so that we model for children the freedom, happiness, and joy that comes from living a life that is aligned with our True Selves. 

I have yet to feel like my authentic self has a place in the society in which I live. Generally, it seems, my strengths make me weak – compassion, introversion. But as I have gotten older, I have gotten better at resisting the pressure from society to live my life at a frantic pace. I take my time making decisions, and evaluate my sources.

Mindful mothering is all about balance; balancing our kids needs with our own and balancing our calling as a mother with our other callings and passionate pursuits that deserve expression.

Balance. Everything in moderation. The give and take of the external verses the internal.

Are my passionate pursuits a waste of time – spending time with my daughter, research, writing, social issues. Unless I am making money, my time seems to have no value.

I wonder if there really is such a thing as a calling. And as far as I can tell, any calling that I might have will not provide food, shelter and clothing to my daughter. I live in the precarious lower portion of the middle class world where just one thing could plunge us into survival mode. It has happened before. And it’s disheartening to experience the response to the words, “We can’t afford to do that.” “Well, get a job,” is the general consensus. Why? We can afford what we need and I spend my days with my little girl – the most important thing in my world. Why on earth would I “get a job” and put my daughter in daycare so that we can afford to buy a Harley or take a cruise or put in a swimming pool? Why are material possessions so valued in this society that people don’t understand why you would choose spending time with your children over them? Would my time be better spent in a cubicle? Would my daughter be better off in daycare? 

Set your own pace: As a busy mom, set up your endeavor so that your pace is realistic. Stay clear with your top priorities and keep a healthy balance.

I spent the first six months after becoming a stay-at-home mom planning and executing a daily excursion for my daughter and me. (My daughter was six-months old when I quit my job.) I was – and still am – repeatedly warned: “If she’s not in daycare, she won’t be socialized.” After six months of exhaustion, I made the decision to STOP. I hesitate to admit that we rarely leave the house by car now. My toddler is not enrolled in any classes. That’s right, you read that correctly. I hope I have not damaged her for life. 

Accept that not everyone will understand: Not everyone is going to understand and appreciate your courage. The sooner you realize that real courage requires letting go of what other people think, the happier you will be.

I fight to keep life simple. I am absolutely amazed by the pressure to participate in the latest drama going on in other people’s lives. I no longer listen patiently on the phone when someone wants to discuss how rude it was for so-and-so not to attend a party she threw. I cut people off with no intention of continuing the conversation. I do not say, “Let’s talk later when I have more time.” I will not have more time later. I must actively resist “obligations” to plan and attend events – and have gotten used to the snickers. What the hell DO I do all day? I had no idea how many expectations society placed on me until I started trying to resist them. My social circle has gotten significantly smaller. Fortunately, I am at a point in my life that this comes as a relief. And it has made me incredibly grateful for the few people left in that circle who seem to understand.

I know a time will come when I will need to return to the “workforce.” I have an education and a career that should make that easy. But I know that it will not be easy. My degree (Master of Library Science) was listed as the least useful degree in a recent survey. I’ve already worked at the local public and university libraries and really have no interest in returning to them. And after spending a lucrative and exciting year in corporate PR, I have determined corporate America is not for me – though there’s probably a book in that experience somewhere. Why am I not working on that? What the hell DO I do all day?

I  just discovered the NFL is a tax-exempt nonprofit. Its revenue for 2011-12 season was $9.5 billion. Billion. 

“Momma, eat, please.”

Source: “Let Your Courage Emerge” (The Balanced Mom) via www.mindfulmomsnetwork.com.

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