A guest post to motivate, encourage, and inspire…
Who Will Mother the Mother?
As I dropped my 4-year-old twins off at preschool today, they asked cheerily, “Mommy are you going to work now?” For the past year, I have replied, “Yup, I’ll see you later today.” But today, when I replied “Yup, I’ll see you later today,” I held back a sting in my eyes. I was recently laid off from my sales job, and today is the first Monday that I’m not going to work.
Where was I going to go? I planned to write at a coffee shop, but first I sat in my car in the school parking lot and wished I could get mothered for a few minutes before launching myself into this new muddy abyss.
As a mom, we care for our children no matter what. We mother them if we are sick, if we are mourning, if we are tired. Motherhood never stops. Some days the mothering quality may vary. If I am sad or my insomnia has kicked in, my kids might get a strange dinner of dried cranberries and goldfish, or maybe they watch too much crappy television. But I still get the job done.
Today I wish I could be mothered. I wish my mom would scoop me up and lovingly put a Band-Aid over my pain. She would stroke my hair and soothe me. She would make my favorite meal and put on my favorite TV show. If I was tired, she would let me sleep until I woke up on my own. She would make sure I had teachers in my life that would guide me through tough choices. She would wash my clothes, wash my hair, wash my feet.
As I sit here and pity myself, I do know I am blessed. I have a loving husband, and a mother who is still alive. But my mom lives in another country, and my husband is…my husband. Yes, he can help soothe me, he can make me a meal. But it’s not the same as being mothered.
As I walked away from the preschool today, unsure of what’s next, I longed for a mom to hold my hand and lead me somewhere. A safe place where I would be protected. Instead, I went to a coffee shop, my new office. My new life. And since no one else can truly mother the mother, we must take this task on ourselves. Self-care feels extravagant and wasteful. It’s hard to justify, yet it’s what every mother craves.
Today, after I write, I’ll stop and get a 20-minute chair massage. I will be soothed and stroked by a stranger at the bargain price of $1 a minute. If love’s for sale, I’ll pay the price. To be mothered is the ultimate act of love. The more we mother ourselves, the better we can mother our children. And that’s a job I’ll have for the rest of my life.
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