Was your mother good enough?

With Mother’s Day today, most have us are reflecting on our own mothers, and the kind of mothering which we received. And if we are mothers, whether we are “good enough” mothers ourselves –  this blog is one I wrote and sent out 2 years ago and I’d like to repost today. But first a poignant passage by Dr Christiane Northrup in her empowering book “Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom” …  

MOTHERING MYSELF

In a society preoccupied with how best to raise a child
I’m finding a need to mesh what’s best for my children with what’s
necessary for a well balanced mother.
I’m recognising that ceaseless giving translates into giving yourself away.
And, when you give yourself away, you’re not a healthy mother and
you’re not a healthy self.

So, now I’m learning to be a woman first and a mother second.
I’m learning to just experience my own emotions
Without robbing my children of their individual dignity by feeling their
emotions too.
I’m learning that a healthy child will have his own set of emotions and
characteristics that are his alone.
and, very different from mine.
I’m learning the importance of honest exchanges of feelings because
pretences don’t fool children,
They know their mother better than she knows herself.

I’m learning that no one overcomes her past unless she confronts it.
Otherwise, her children will absorb exactly what she’s attempting to overcome.
I’m learning that words of wisdom fall on deaf ears if my actions contradict my deeds.
Children tend to be better impersonators than listeners.
I’m learning that life is meant to be filled with as much sadness and pain as happiness and pleasure.
And allowing ourselves to feel everything life has to offer is an indicator of fulfilment.
I’m learning that fulfilment can’t be attained through giving myself away
But, through giving to myself and sharing with others,
I’m learning that the best way to teach my children to live a fulfilling life is not by sacrificing my life.
It’s through living a fulfilling life myself.
I’m trying to teach my children that I have a lot to learn
Because I’m learning that letting go of them
Is the best way of holding on. 

I read this passage often to remind myself of these very powerful truths. Because I need to be constantly reminded so that my judging, clinging mind can relax just a little and I can enjoy the journey of motherhood without so much pressure and such high expectations of myself. And so on to the blog I wrote 2 years ago …

Some of us have close and supportive relationships with our mothers. Some have strained and difficult relationships. Some of us are now caring for our mothers. Some miss our mothers every day.  Some want to mother like our mothers. Some want to be nothing like our mothers. 

And yet no matter how amazing our mothers were, or how short they fell of our expectations, the only ones going all the way through life with us, is ourselves. We need to learn to take care of ourselves the way we would have always wanted to be mothered (whether we are men or women – we all need to learn to look after ourselves). 

This week in our Mindfulness session at Roedean, we taught the girls a simple but powerful tool. It’s a tool of self-care and self-compassion. It can be used in the moment, and can help us feel better almost immediately. We talked about cold, prickly feelings. The ones that don’t feel great in our bodies. They are the sensations in our body which we experience when we feel anger, fear, shame, anxiety, jealousy, worry, stress, and other difficult emotions, or sometimes the sensations just creep upon us and our body feels those “cold prickly” feelings without us even being entirely sure where they came from. Sometimes it’s just a general discomfort or dis-ease, sometimes it’s a churning tummy, racing heart, tension in our body, sweaty palms or the start of a headache.  In these moments we encouraged the girls to place their hands gently on their hearts, offering themselves the sort of loving kindness that a mother, or a person who is special to them, may offer them. And then to take a few deep breaths – for them we suggested 3-5 breaths, for adults it can be up to 10 deep breaths. This very simple little exercise is a profound pause. It allows us a moment to acknowledge our feelings and the sensations that are coming up in our body, to calm ourselves, and it allows us to be less reactive and rather to choose more consciously how we respond. It activates the parasympathetic nervous system and it helps us to learn to mother ourselves.  Please teach this little tool to your children and practice it yourselves. We need more kindness in the world and we need to start with being kind to ourselves.

Back to the present – today the 8th May 2021, Mother’s Day in South Africa – I have a couple of places left on my next Feminine Wisdom course which starts on Wednesday 2 June for the online course (evenings) and Thursday 3 June for the in-person one (mornings). It’s a 2 and 1/2 hour commitment that runs for 8 weeks. I love this course. I love the women who attend. It’s my gift to the world incorporating tools I’ve learnt and that I practice daily in my life including mindfulness, breathwork, gratitude, energy management and journalling as well as learning and understanding how our bodies really work. Please don’t feel intimidated or put off by the name, or by the contents. Often we feel like the Feminine is a bit scary, out there, “woo-woo”. We worry that it might be a very uncomfortable space. That we may have to share or do things that we feel uncomfortable saying or doing. You won’t. I promise. It’s a wonderful, nurturing space. A real gift of mothering to yourself (or to the women in your life). I really hope you’ll join me on it. May it be your Mother’s Day gift to yourself. So that we can learn to Mother Ourselves together.

Details are on my website or follow this link. And this little video explains it far more – it’s worth taking a couple of minutes to watch and to see if it resonates with you. The Finer Details are sent on receipt of your registration form explaining dates, discounts and details more fully so that you are clear before paying a deposit and committing. Spaces are limited, especially for the in-person course in my home, and are filling up rapidly. Your deposit secures your place. And with gifts worth more than R1700 there is a lot to look forward to! 

And on Thursday 20 May I will be teaching a free class called “Finding Flow” – an essential oils class focused on Women’s Health. I love my essential oils and use them daily to support myself and our family physically, mentally and emotionally. I cannot imagine life without them. This is a class for women who have oils to uplevel your use of them and to learn more about supporting women’s health issues with your oils. And it’s also for women who don’t use essential oils and who may be curious to know more about them, how to use them and how they work. The class is on zoom, details in the flyer below and click here to register, or go to my website www.nicolaaylward.com/essential-oil-classes/ 

“Tell me what it is you plan to do with your one Wild and Precious life?” Mary Oliver

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