Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Motherhood Defined

I had an emotional and revealing conversation with one of my oldest (and I don't mean by age; I mean I've known her since I was born) friends about my associations with motherhood and being around children, specifically, negative associations about being a mother to my child.

I don't really want to get into where I picked up the associations (thanks mom) because I think that is less important than being aware that they exist and acknowledging that they don't feel good, and making the choice to now select new, more positive associations.

I had never articulated it quite so clearly or bluntly as I did with my friend--doing so felt both sad and freeing.
Essentially, what I came to terms with is that I have viewed being a mother and being with children as a burden, a chore, something "to get through." Not all the time, but a lot of the time.

This one particular association (children = burden), has colored my view of motherhood. It has challenged my transition into this new role and has led to resentment towards my husband. It has impacted my involvement with friends and limited my requests for help with childcare (because if being with my child is a burden to me, it must be a burden to others).

I hate the feeling. I hate thinking, "What am I going to do to get through this day with Lindsay?" I hate assuming that my husband's position of being away more is more appealing than my role of being home more. This is not me at my core. This is a learned association that I have acquired from others.

Exercise of The Day
What is my new vision of motherhood?
How do I want to be as a mother and with my child?

Today I declare new associations around being a mom and being with my child!
  • I choose to be in the moment; present during my time with Lindsay; aware of what is going on; connected to the situation and her; engaged
  • I choose to be loving and compassionate
  • I choose to be in awe and inspired by her mind, her smile, her emotions, her curiosity and her love
  • I choose to be playful; to laugh and sing and be silly
  • I choose to be patient and to help create ease during our time together
  • I choose to be emotionally available and to listen to what she needs
  • I choose to be open and accepting to her individuality
  • I choose to be honest and revealing
Being a mother to Lindsay is a gift. It is an opportunity for me to tap into my own "inner child." It is an opportunity to play and laugh and sing and dance. It is an opportunity for me to learn more about myself. My time with Lindsay is an adventure. I am surrounded by people who want to share in caring and loving Lindsay and by opening myself to that help I give everyone a gift--especially Lindsay and me.

(I just found this entry, which I wrote November 1, 2006. It's amazing to look back at this and see how by declaring my new associations around motherhood I have changed my life. My time with my daughter, especially the two days during the week when it's just her and me, are full of laughter, learning, fun and intimate moments. What a lesson in making the choice to show up a different way.)

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