To the Mother in All of Us

This morning, I woke up s.l.o.w.l.y. We had a very active weekend, a quick overnight on the North Shore of Lake Superior…

IMG_1606…where we hiked…


…and explored…


…and had plenty of silly, fun, family time…


As I’ve been dragging through my day, wondering whether I could squeeze in a little nap before dinner and walks and other evening commitments, I began to question how I could be so tired, when yesterday I felt just fine.

I should have chosen something different for lunch.

I should have had a good snack last night before bed.

I should have gotten up for a walk this morning before work.

I should have gotten more sleep.

I should have had more water today instead of tea.

I should have…

As this train of thought gathered speed and began to derail, I noticed feeling a little cramped and uncomfortable and…bullied.

Hey! Wait a minute! a voice within me cried.

I took a deep breath, created a little space between how I was feeling (sluggish and run down) and how I was expecting myself to feel (anything other than how I was feeling), and wondered, what the heck is going on here?

And then a familiar question bubbled up within me…

What kind of mother do I want to be?

I began contemplating the concept of the myriad ways of mothering shortly after we learned we couldn’t have children more than ten years ago. It was something that occurred to me as being a part of my path. If I wasn’t going to have my own children, how was I going to mother?

Wasn’t that what I was here for?

Of course, I’ve come to understand that as women, regardless of whether or not we have children of our own, we mother in deep, meaningful ways that we may never realize or give ourselves credit for. If we have plants, if we have friends, if we have goldfish…we operate in our life relationships in this mothering, essential feminine capacity, in some way, shape or form.

It is our essence as living, breathing beings.

Anything we nurture, anything we create, anything or anyone we support, we tap into our mothering energy.

(This applies to the men and the masculine of our collective fathering, as well, and is completely independent of gender.)

Getting in touch with this mothering energy as been a long, arduous process for me. Surprisingly, I found I was completely tied to the idea that in order to be a mother, to be mothering, to embrace my feminine Self, I had to have a child. It wasn’t until I broadened my perspective and stepped out of that small, restrictive cultural/societal/familial/traditional story I had unwittingly bought into, that I became able to see my value as a girl, as a woman, and as a mother.

And now, I have to own it.

The question then takes on an interesting twist…and becomes not, what kind of a mother do I want to be? which assumes mothering as an external activity, something we do to or for an object or being outside of ourselves.

But, what kind of a mother do I want to be to myself?

We show how much we value others by tending to them care-fully, lovingly, compassionately.

And rarely, do we regard ourselves with such value.

So I started asking, what kind of mother do I want to be to the me, in here? To the most tender, vulnerable, real parts of myself? To my bright, shining, talented, happy, joyful parts? To my imperfect, scared, angry, messy, tired, hungry, crabby parts? 

This question became quite significant for me while in Thailand, both when I was processing my experience with the elephants, and in the last day or so when the realities of ten days of non-stop adventure half-way around the world began to take its toll and I chose to rest rather than go see the temples of Bangkok (I know!!!  A story for another day…).

In the case of my brain-chatter today, as I eavesdropped on my ego-mind trying to figure out how I could possibly be tired and imposing what I should have done differently to assure my perfect chipper perkiness, I was reminded that I have a choice.

I can be the mother that says, “well, I guess you shouldn’t have packed so much into such a short amount of time,” or “if you would only watch what you’re eating,” or “I told you so,” or “just suck it up and deal with it”.

Or, I can be the mother that says, wow honey, you’re really tired! How ’bout you take a little lie-down and rest?

No accusations. No judgments. No shoulda-woulda-coulda’s.

Just someone to hold space for what is, and give me permission to care for my needs in this moment, wherever I am.

What kind of mother do you want to be to yourself?
Magnificently, as with everything else in our lives, it’s our choice.

So in honor of mother’s day this weekend, in celebration of the feminine energy of nurturing and mothering within all of us, I wish you a lovely and loving time of self-care and compassion. A practice I hope we each can grow within ourselves, for the benefit of us all.


And now, perhaps that nap…